This little radio is causing a few waves around the world and it is not hard to see why. It is the complete portable set we have all been waiting for and it does work rather well. It has all you need to head off into the hills with a piece of wire and a battery and get on the air. It receives well and the 20w PEP output on SSB will get you heard.
There is a lot going on with this radio but it doesn’t take long to sort out the things that are useful. Changing the frequency, mode and band are all off buttons either on the front of the radio or on top. The buttons are small and don’t convey a lot of feeling. I have read a lot of complaints about the buttons not working well. In my experience you must not press the buttons too long Just a press and back off. Hold them too long and they do nothing. They are not back lit or easy to read so best try to remember where they are!
What don’t I like about it? Not a lot and they are mainly minor. Its a tad heavier than it could be. The DC line seems a little flimsy and the buttons take some getting used to. But once you do get this thing on air it plain works.
I was hunting about for the DNR but it doesn’t seem to have any. Didn’t stop the signals coming in. Filters could be narrowed but the passband doesn’t shift. The mic compressor did not seem to work. Big deal. No RF gain control, just an attenuator and a preamp. It didn’t stop the radio from doing the job it was intended to do which was to transmit and receive signals.
The Tuner works on just about everything. Power is adjustable from 1 to 20 w in 1 watt increments. The fact it puts out 20w carrier in AM and 20w on SSB would indicate it is not being stressed on Sideband. It receives very well. Signals just pop out of the noise. The display shows a lot of whats going on and Ver 1.7 of the firmware also decodes CW. This radio came with Ver 1.6 of the firmware and I have not got around to updating it. too busy having fun!
The head is removable. The connecting cable is in the box along with the cable to update the firmware. I really can’t see me remoting the head because the cable sticks out the back and would make it difficult to stick on to a dash board or whatever. Someone is going to have to come up with a bracket to hold the head securely somewhere using the screw holes on the head that secure it to the body. It also needs a bail to hold the radio at a better viewing angle when in use. The speaker is on top but I think most people would want to use headphones in the field. A lot of the functions are also available on the microphone if your fingers don’t suit the buttons on the radio. Mic cable is a straight ethernet RJ45 cable. I am hunting around for a flat cable to replace the stock to reduce the flexing of the RJ45 socket on the set. There are also RJ45 right angle adapters that would work well to keep the mic cord from sticking out at 90 degrees.
I am not going to go into how to do this or that, but I do feel the majority of users will find this radio to be very friendly to use and it works surprisingly well. I don’t know what improvements the makers will make via software updates but it will certainly be interesting to see what the future will bring.
The mod to get it to TX from 0.5 to 30mhz is out on the net. Didn’t take too long. Hopefully Xiegu will not counteract it in software in later updates.
Bottom line is that this is a great little radio which will continue to get better with every update. It can only get better!