Having started as a radio amateur with mt Yaesu FT-8800, I decided that I needed to be able to explore some SSB and Morse. In addition because my license allowed me into the HF bands at 10w a radio covering that area would be a logical next step.
So, as a birthday present I was bought a Yaesu FT-857D. After several weeks of looking, and narrowing down my choice, I was left with the 817, 857 and 897. I didnt wanted to be restricted to QRP as I was studying for my intermediate license so the 857 seemed the logical choice
It is a nice compact radio (somewhat bigger and a lot heavier than the 8800). It has a familiar Yaesu menu system and I was soon up and running on the local 2m repeaters. Later the first week I tried SSB succesfully during a 2m contest and the next stage is to get a good HF antenna and work further afield!
I also purchased an antenna tuning unit (ATU) to help match the homebrew antenna (a horizontal wire 20m dipole at the moment). The ATU is the LDG Z-11 Pro.
Having successfuly obtained a Notive of Variation (NOV) to my licence, for experimentation in the 5Mhz band, I needed to modify my radio to allow me to use those frequencies. Details of the mdoification are here. (Note the modification does not appear to extend the receive frequency bands)