New Radio for SOTA/ADK Fire Tower Challenge

My current HF is a fantastic radio!  My Kenwood TS-480SAT is extremely capable and has all the capabilites that I need.  I love the detachable head and the audio is warm and clear.  However, I do not believe that this radio will work for my planned ADK Fire Tower Challenge and SOTA activations this year.

Yaesu FT-817

So I started looking at a new radio for this use case.  Very quickly, I came upon the well known Yaesu FT-817ND.  This radio is a QRP, 5w radio that covers HF up 10 to 160m along with vhf and uhf bands, 2m and 70cm respectively.  It is extremely compact at 5.3″x 1.5″x6.5″ and only 2.6lbs.  This radio seems perfect for hiking/backpacking for SOTA and the ADK Fire Tower Challenge.  But….


With the 817ND being a 5 watt radio, this could be very limiting with QSO’s via SSB.  This leads me to wonder if I should consider Yaesu’s FT-857D or newer FT-891.


Here is an excellent introduction to the FT-891 from Universal Radio.

But from the conversation that I started on the SOTA group in Facebook, the consensus seems to be leaning towards running a full power radio on reduced power but not as low at a KX or FT-817ND.

Bottom line for now.  I need to do more research.  I also need to get a handle on the best modes for SOTA as this will also play a key decision in the type of radio I end up buying and using.

2 thoughts on “New Radio for SOTA/ADK Fire Tower Challenge

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