Sunday, October 18, 2015

Xiegu X108G Outdoor Version at JOTA 2015

Took the X108G Outdoor Version out to JOTA this weekend outdoors near Neys Provincial Park near Marathon, Ontario, temps during the day were 3c and at night was -4c first night and second night was -7c. We operated from a dining tent outside and was running battery power and a windom at about 15′.
We had light snow and rain during our outing and Saturday morning we did a hike to The Crack which is a large path through the rugged rock in the area.
Here are a few pictures of the weekend and a few links to YouTube videos of the X108G in action:

IMG_20151017_072959 IMG_20151017_110000 IMG_20151017_164758
Was a great weekend out in the bush and having the 1st Thunder Scout Troop again take part in JOTA

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Xiegu X108G Outdoor Edition Continued Testing Report

Xiegu X108G Outdoor Version
Continued Review: October 14, 2015

Having played with the radio mostly doing some CW operations and some shortwave listening I have stumbled across a few little issues that I am hoping can alos be fixed by Xiegu by way of firmware issue.
I have to say once again that this little radio does pack quite a punch for what is in the box, and at the same time this radios performance is guaranteed inside the amateur radio bands, anything else like expecting a hard headed shortwave radio or am broadcast band radio for DXing might be just a bit naive.
Again I have operated this unit on cw and have still to test it on SSB. But in my cw tests I can tell you that the cw tone tested against other radios seems to be spot on. When up against the FT-857 the blue light flashes right along on the same frequency. The 500hz filter also works extremely well and takes all that noise out and allows working the intended station easy. I run the radio with the ATT off and signals are clearly heard without a problem on my windom. I used straight key for my operations but there appears to be an issue with the built in keyer, it wants to add extra characters so until this is fixed stay with a straight key.

So what have I found that needs to be addressed on this radio, let me start:
I was attempting to check into a voice net on 40 meters one evening as they were looking for checkins on phone or cw. So I figured I would test the split function out and set one VFO to cw and the other to SSB, well I was surprised to find that the radio will not transmit cross mode, I would have to have both VFO's in the same mode to do anything which did not work obviously. 
The second issue that brought me to this split mode was the fact that no CWR (CW Reverse) is present that will allow me to listen to the required SSB while in cw mode to check into the same net.

This has been addressed with Xiegu to see if there is a firmware fix for the issues stated, including the Iambic keyer problem. As the radio is now it would make a good SSB rig, but performance as a dedicated cw rig and not being able to check in using CWR kind of takes away the joy of portable use and using the radio as a go-kit emcomm rig. The 20 watts of power and its size is nice when you need that extra bit of punch.

The multikey microphone as well as the two programmable keys makes the mike a handy addition to this radio. HRD can be used and the IC7000 is the settings that are used in HRD to use the radio. We are still working on pin outs for the ACC jack to figure out if full PTT and audio in and audio out are present for digital operations and HRD. 

Voltage Test: I did a voltage test to see what the minimum lowest power was to allow this rig to operate, this was asked of me by another portable radio operator. So I found 11 volts is the absolute minimum that the X108G will operate, once 11 volts is reached the radio will then start to motorboat and funny things happen to the radio, many of my battery packs I use for portable operations and teh other radios I use will cut off at 10.6 volts.

The other test that I want to do is to test the radio against an SDR radio like my KX3 or even by SDR dongle to see if any transmit spurs exist outside of the ham bands while in cw. This radio has attained FCC Certification so I know it has already gone through some hoops and hurdles.

So while I await a response from Xiegu I will continue to enjoy this little radio that has been designed as a minimalist radio with no extra bells and whistles attached to it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Xiegu X108G on 30 meters listening to Norway

Yesterday Saturday October 3rd I had the opportunity to work Kjell in Norway, his call is LA1MFA

He is located 400KMS North of the Arctic Circle. I attempted to call him running 5 watts and he heard me but sent SRI WEAK, he continued to call CQ with no takers, I went to 10 watts and he came back with "L"?. I then went to 20 watts on the X108G and he copied me, lots of aurora on his signal, he was a 539-579 with heavy fading so I gave him a 559, he gave me a 519. I was happy.
I was running my windom at 25' and 20 watts with Czech straight key. He was runnng 1 kw into a 4SQ antenna.

Youtube Link below of his signal.

LA1MFA on 30 meters

Information on the Xiegu Radio can also be found here:

Friday, October 2, 2015

First CW contacts with X108G Outdoor Version

Hooked the straight key up to the X108G tonight and called CQ on 7.050 just after listening to W1AW for a while on 7047.5.

Put the Czech straight key on, using a windom set the power to 5 watts, cw delay at 250 ms and called CQ, Reverse Beacon Network showed the following:
I watched the FT857 blue light flash in time to my cw sent from the X108G.
I was called by Art W2NRA in NY and he gave me 339 and he was a 559.
I was then called after Art by Danny N7DC in VA who gave me a 559 and he was also a 559.

A good first test for the X108G

N8MSA VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 22 dB15 wpm0042z 03 Oct
W8WTS VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 12 dB15 wpm0042z 03 Oct
KQ8M VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 11 dB14 wpm0035z 03 Oct
W8WTS VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 8 dB15 wpm0032z 03 Oct
N2QT VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 8 dB15 wpm0032z 03 Oct
N8MSA VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 10 dB15 wpm0032z 03 Oct
K9IMM VE3FAL 7050.0CW CQ [LoTW] 11 dB16 wpm0032z 03 Oct              

                           on the X108G.                                                                                                  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Xiegu X108G Outdoor Version First Test

X108G Review October 2015
By: Fred Lesnick VE3FAL

Note:  All firmware updates are done at your own risk and caution should be used when installing or updating any firmware into this radio. The removal of any covers or mods will void your warranty. Never hit the RST button while in the engineering menu. All settings should be written down and stored in a safe place in the event that RST is hit or if a firmware update makes any changes as all radios are aligned individually. To find these setting do the following then take a picture or write them down:

“Hold the F1 button while powering up the radio, a list of 14 items will appear. If any changes are made you hit the SAV button, if no changes are made you can power the radio off and then back on without any changes made.” Sometimes Menu 11 will set itself to 1, it needs to be at 0 or you will not hear anything on the radio.

I placed an order for the Xiegu X108G and it was shipped from China via D.H.L. on Sept 25 and arrived here on Sept 29 2015 at 12:30 PM. The unit was well packaged and no damage to the box at all after the trip from China. Inside the box was the X108G, Xiegu sticker, power cable (much longer then first models, but still no in-line fuse), microphone and microphone cable, as well as USB cable for firmware updates.  Manual for radio was in the box and a warranty card with serial number of radio attached. The radio is equipped with front and back handles.

Unboxing the unit after its arrival:


 Powering The Radio Up
An inline fuse should be installed on either one or both of the power cables before the radio is powered up to avoid any damage to the radio. I finally got the chance to power the radio up and see how this unit plays after all the updates and fixes that Xiegu made to make this radio a seller. First thing I did was to put my call-sign into the radio, this is undocumented but was found by a fellow X108G owner while playing with the radio.
This is how it is done:
Press F3 on powering up. Use the VFO to select letters/numbers then to move onto the next letter press INS button for each letter or number, when finished hit save. The radio will power back up. Switch it off and on again and you will see your call sign where the word Xiegu used to be.

Powering the radio up (continued)
After going through the supplied Operating Manual and getting familiar with what each button does (many changes to these buttons since versions 1 and 2) I was ready to hook my windom antenna to the SO239 connector and listen on 20 meters SSB for a bit. Tuning across the band with the 2.3k filter on signals were clear and clean, I was in AGC-S and pre-amp was in off position. Signals on 14.300 were an S5 with the pre-amp off and came up to a solid S8-9 with the PRE on, no distortion or overmod was heard or encountered nor was any splatter from adjacent signals heard. A move to 40 meters and LSB I was able to pick up a station on 7.188, and just like USB signals were right on where they should be, I was listening on my VX1700 with windom as well and noted the similarities in signal and quality. Once I was happy there I went to 20 meters and tuned to CW and went to 14.020 and monitored a station in the UK working an N3 station stateside, both signals were S5 and I had .5k filter on and no stations nearby were heard breaking through. A quick tune by the PSK frequency on 14.070 yielded a bunch of PSK signals. Next will be to hook up a key and attempt some contacts using a straight key and testing the waters that way. I will also hook the microphone up and try make a few SSB contact and get reports on both USB and LSB to compare. Videos of the radio in use and contact’s will be recorded so others can see and hear how well this unit works.
So what are some of the features this radio offers? First off is the display on the outdoor version, this display is bigger and brighter and designed for use outside where it is brighter, of course a video and pictures to show this will follow. Next is low current operation, with my power supply set at 13.1v on receive my meter shows 600ma of current draw, the stated current draw on transmit at 20 watts is rated at 7.5A, but again I will test this later. 2.3k and .5k filters for SSB and CW choices. The radio offers SSB,CW and AM modes and can be tuned from .5-30mHz and includes all shortwave bands in between the filtered amateur bands. Multi-function microphone. Variable power output from .5 to 20 watts. Adjustable microphone compression, Dual VFO’s, Split feature, accessory port for digital modes as well as jack for morse code key  and external speaker. Many other options to list but will talk about those in a later review.


So this is a start and looking forward to playing with this radio and putting it to the test. I should add there is a 1 Year Warranty on this unit from date of purchase.
Communication's with Xiegu as well are fast. Xiegu also monitors the X108G Yahoo Group which can be found here if you are looking for more information as well about this radio and what other radio owners think of it, the group can be found here:

I look forward to taking this radio out portable and testing it and bringing more information out there for potential radio buyers.
Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada