Xiegu G90 20 watt rig

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N2DTS, Nov 19, 2019.

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  1. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was looking at utube video's and came across a few for the G90.
    Looks cool, 20 watts (5 watts carrier), its an sdr, so maybe its great on AM.
    Then it came up on Amazon, order by 4 pm and get it today.
    Today? Its sunday at 2pm!
    Well, it arrived next morning before 6:30.
    I have no idea how they do it.

    Anyway, the radio arrived working ok on RX but not at all on TX, all distorted and nasty sounding.
    It arrived with version 1.6 firmware, I loaded 1.7.1 and it seems to work much better.
    As it is now, AM is stuck at 5 watts carrier max (which is fine) but it only does about 20% positive at 100% negative, maybe they will fix that in the future.
    Bandwidth on TX is 5.5 Khz audio, about 11 Khz wide signal.
    If they fix the modulation, it can sound good, receive is good, not great, the screen is small, not for vision impaired operators, its got little buttons as well.
    More a man pack rig that does 160 to 10 with a good wide range antenna tuner built in.
    The output is clean, it does not get hot, it seems very well made, its heavy for its size.
    Its a 24 bit sdr, the RF spectrum is downconverted to baseband like the old Flex 3000 and 5000 rigs, but its a 24 bit A/D converter.
    The RF passes through the band pass filters as well as the antenna tuner (if selected).
    Bandwidth is adjustable on RX, audio is good in the headphones and not bad in the built in speaker.

    The front is detachable and hooks up with a DB9 cable, but I am not sure what you would then do with it.
    It has no way to mount it to anything.
    The radio has an IQ output so you could run it into a computer and run hdsdr on a big screen, or one of the many other programs.

    I am still waiting for a small easy to use hifi sdr transceiver, the G90 is not it.
    Its just too small for easy use and the TX is not great (yet).
    The MChf and its clones (R928 plus) are great in every respect except the poor TX.
    Easy to use, nice display, nice options, fantastic audio on RX, and a totally crappy transmitter in every respect.
    The Elad fdm duo has fantastic audio rx and tx, and overall great performance, and about 10 buttons or knobs short of easy to use.
    The elecraft stuff stuff needs more knobs and buttons and audio is so so.

    The Nouveau 75 is fair on RX (it overloads and does not have sharp filters) but it quite good on TX with some simple mods. Its not an sdr, and its 80 meters only.
    All the smaller Japanese rigs I have tried were very poor on AM.

    As it is, if you want a small portable or battery operated station, there is nothing good that I know of.
    The Elecraft is about best, the KX2 and KX3 at least work like you expect, not hifi, but not a dirty distorted mess.
    The G90 comes close if they fix the modulation, its small, but its all band, all mode, has a (good) tuna built in.

    Thats my two cents anyway.
  2. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    WA4SIX likes this.
  3. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is Craig (red hot radio) on his new toy on the display.
    On AM, the filters are sort of soft, I think like many, AM is an afterthought.
    Seems good on CW and ssb though, band and mode buttons on the top of the radio.
    A lot of good useful information on the screen.
  4. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    i like mine, ez to learn, get great reports on audio, work rhode island on 1 watt ssb fron indiana!
    added bigger knobs, nice.display is small but nice. it has to be small,tiny radio...
    drive my amp to 4-500 watts. tuner works GOOD . need to compare to my 7300.
    a weak station sounded better on g90 than on 7300 !!
    qso for an hour at 20w,its hot...
    great on am bcst and short wave .
    more later
  5. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    With the noise floor getting higher and higher, why are some ops ragchewing with less and less power?
    KW6LA, K0UO and K4KYV like this.
  6. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just because. I don’t ragchew, but I operate QRP purely for the satisfaction of working DX with 5w and a simple wire antenna while others are moaning about the bands being “dead.”
  7. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    My review is this:

    I found the G90 on amazon and ordered it to see what it was like.
    The radio arrived from Amazon in hours!

    It worked ok on RX, loads of distortion on TX audio and very poor filtering. I upgraded to 1.7.1 and the TX was fine and the filters better.

    Sturdy well made box, quality jacks and so on. Easy to figure out settings and menu's.

    The display is very small, as are the buttons. Not for old folks.

    My lower group of buttons do not work well, you need to really push them far in.

    Filtering on AM is very broad, useless on a crowded band, much better on ssb or CW.
    Even on the narrowest filter it picks up 3 qso's on 80 meters AM.
    CW and ssb seem fine..

    AM transmit has no positive modulation, 5 watts carrier and no positive, just downward modulation.

    That is a shame as the bandwidth is over 4000 Hz and the radio could work well and sound good on AM.

    The antenna tuner seems good, power output is good, the radio is not hard to figure out but some things are missing or hard to get at.

    For CW and SSB, the radio works fine, the price is lowish, but its HEAVY (well made) with a screen the size of a postage stamp and buttons that make some surface mount parts look large.

    It needs a tilt bail, or legs, or some way to mount it up.

    The front panel comes off but what are you supposed to do with it, it has no mounting system other then to the radio???

    So the radio is sort of big and heavy, with very small buttons and screen, its poor on AM, has no way to hook up a better speaker (headphone or line out only).

    If they could just make the front panel bigger/better and do some tweaks to the firmware it would be a great radio.

    The mcHF radios are SO much better, but do not have a built in tuner and lower power output.

    The Chinese copy those as well but with erratic quality.

    The Elecraft stuff works well and although small and compressed have much better screens and buttons.

    I would do a KX2 before the G90 or I would get the mcHF (not from China) radios.

    Still, they are getting close, Elecraft and the big 3 watch out!
    K0UO likes this.
  8. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am not going to make an old buzzard transmission in a large group round table running 5 watts, but its fun to contact someone on a small hand held type rig 800 miles away.
    Some of these radios have fantastic receive fidelity and filters on AM.
    And great fun for when the power goes out I suppose.
  9. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    HRO has the icom 7300 for $899.00.
    Hard to top that....
    K7JOE likes this.
  10. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    some radios are just fun to mess with,my g90! on battery. beside my 7300.
    but a 7300 at twice the price is a SUPER TON OF MORE RADIO for sure.
    and i wont say what i paid for mine.
    shouldnt they rebate me back a couple hundred...

    g90, a great starter rig...a spare, an extra, a portable.
    wish it had 2 mtr 5 watts

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