Selling FT891 to fund a ???

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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2023 5:06 pm

Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by Train-Ham »

Hi all
I’m a UK based,portable only operator who is learning CW with CWOPS (1week left to go on the beginner course)

My only HF rig is a Yaesu FT891 that I use mobile in the car and mostly pedestrian portable.
I’m finding it too heavy and complicated for my “walk in the woods “ type operating,so I’m contemplating selling it and getting something else-but I don’t know what yet
I could buy,for the same money I would get for the FT891 :-

Xiegu G90 and a nice Morse key (BaMa tech)
Xiegu X6100
Mountain Topper and a really nice Morse key(Begali),and a manual tuner

I already have batteries,end fed half waves,ham sticks,random wires etc.

I don’t particularly like talking much on HF,so I just really do contests or park activations just to get quick contacts in the log,that’s one of the reasons I’m learning CW,I’m in a communication hobby,but don’t like talking much 🙃😀

I have anxiety and get in my own head alot,I would value the opinion of experts
Thanks again
2E0HFO -Train Ham
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Joined: Thu May 18, 2023 4:26 am

Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by kc0myw »

I don't know firm or tight your budget is, but I would consider perhaps keeping the FT-891 to still use mobile or picnic table portable and give yourself the option of having more power and other modes available but then getting something smaller to carry into the woods. This way you won't permanently give up your ability to use voice or 100W of output power for those times when you want to use them.

If you are interested in a CW only radio for those walk-in-the-woods outings, an available and budget friendly option would be the Venus SW-3B. I don't have one yet, but I've read good things about them and have it on my ever-growing wish list. You mention the Mountain Topper and they are really nice and probably better than the Venus, but also more money and more difficult to acquire. Also more money but perhaps good for your operating would be something from the Elecraft KX series (KX-1,KX-2,KX-3) but not sure that's really what you're looking for and also backordered and more expensive.

There are a lot of nice portable keys or paddles out there, but I really like the cost-efficient options from and Thomas uses many of their paddles as well. I just have a hard time tossing a nice expensive key in my backpack and going for a hike. Plus, the nicer ones are usually heavier.

You already have antennas and batteries to use with whatever you get, so just save up a bit and end up with 2 kits:
- The FT-891 you already have and a nicer paddle for mobile/picnic table operations
- A CW-only QRP rig like the SW-3B and a cwmorse paddle for taking out to the woods and hiking with

Congrats on completing the CWOPS course and learning CW. Get on the air and use it and you'll get more comfortable and the anxiety will fade away.
Site Admin
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Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by K4SWL »

First of all, good on you for making such great progress on your CW path! Most of the CW ops I know (including me) are introverts. :)

I agree with KC0MYW. You should consider getting an affordable CW-only radio for your field work.

The Venus SW-3B is a very nice radio--performance beyond its price. I recently used mine and it reminded me just how well-balanced the receiver is (and filtering) for CW.

Also, you might look at the Penntek TR-35. Great little radio with wonderful audio and covers 40, 30, 20, and 17M.

QRP Labs also has the 5 band QMX. It's already a CW radio, but will soon sport SSB too. A brilliant value and solid radio.

There are so many good options for a dedicated, affordable, radio when you have CW skills.

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Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by N8TGQ »

I'll add a vote for the SW-3b also. It's been around for a while and proven itself. I would never buy a radio unless it's been out at least a year. See what problems the early adopters have. How does the company do with customer service, etc.
An 8 cell "AA" battery pack will run it. No need for high capacity lithium batteries and computer controlled chargers.
I built my own paddles and antennas to save money and really tailor my setup to just what I wanted it to be without spending a lot.

Have fun!
Rick N8TGQ
Rick N8TGQ
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:58 pm

Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by SkipRD »

OK, as long as everyone is piling on about the SW-3B, I jump on too. The SW-3B was my first QRP CW radio. I eventually upgraded to a KX2, but I kept the SW-3B in my truck as my spur-of-the-moment activation radio, and I still pull it out from time to time because it's just fun to use. I power it with a TalentCell LiIon 3Ah battery (,) (less than $30), which will power it forever and charge your phone while you're at it, running the radio into a homemade EFHW antenna, and using a little single-lever paddle.

I can keep the whole thing in a sweatshirt pocket. You say you already have batteries and antennas, so you may not need any of that other stuff, but a a radio, battery, antenna, and key, all in a package of the size of a bologna sandwich, is PDF (pretty darn fun).

73 Skip K4EAK
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:28 pm

Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by M0RGM »

Concur with all, the SW-3B is a great little radio for the money - mine is kept is my car along with a key and battery, antenna etc in a small pack for opportune activation or activity. You can't go wrong for the money.

The TR-35 is another excellent choice as Thomas has pointed out. Very light and robust, but a little expensive here in the UK in comparison with the SW-3B. It does give more bands and much easier to use in the field if you want to adjust settings.

Another option, since you are familiar with the Yaesu would he an 817 or 818, they are still great rigs! You could pick up an original 817, for not much more than a new SW-3B. I still have my original 817 which must be close to 20 years old and it works brilliantly, though you may wish to consider small external battery pack.

Food for thought....

73 Richard MM0RGM
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Re: Selling FT891 to fund a ???

Post by G8SYE »

I agree with RIchard,the FT817/818 if you can get a good 2nd hand one will give you the option to do all bands to 70cms.

Mountain Toppers- I've got the MTR4b which I love and I used to take it away with me on holiday to do a bit of SWL'ing ( Which I still do more of than TX'ing) another advantage of the MTR's is that you don't need a big (relativley) battery and I can run mine off a 9v rechargeable - mine are 1300mAh Li-ion's and a couple of those will do most activations, they also have the advantage of a built in charger so will re-charge of a usb battery bank if you want.

I've also got the band springer midi from Sotabeams and and a couple various tuners so that will cover most bands from 60m upwards.

The Bamatech key is beautiful ... I've got one of those in my growing key collection (I think I'm as bad as Thomas :D ).

hope that helps and good look whatever you do.

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