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Xiegu G90 In depth Walkthrough

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Feb 29, 2020.

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  1. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. KA8YWB

    KA8YWB Ham Member QRZ Page

    After seeing this radio close up there is no way I would buy one. You can clearly see a lack of quality right off. The screws on top are not even counter sunk and stick up. The dials look like cheap plastic and when pressed wobble. These three things alone make me wonder what else they did not care about when designing and building this radio. I know performance is what counts but IMHO a radio also has to look solid and well built and this one does not.
    WD4ET, VE7COJ, VA7BC and 3 others like this.
  3. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep and opinions are like belly buttons.
    What you're failing to grasp is several thousand of my followers and subscribers already own this radio. They've asked me to present it on the channel. There are others who are on the fence about buying it, and wanted objective information published about it. That's what I'm doing.
    On the flip side I look at it like this. There's a company who understands the need for a bridge radio. Something between my qrp radio (the soon-to-be-released IC-705), and my QRO field radio, which is the Yaesu ft-891. Since Yaesu didn't bother to update the FT-817/818, with variable bandwidth filters, a better display, faster charging, ... I'm open-minded about other options. That's why Icom gets my qrp money.
    The Xiegu G90 is not perfect, but as an HF radio, it's better than the Yaesu ft-818. It's also about a hundred and fifty bucks cheaper. Add the cost of the (unobtainium) filters for the Yaesu ft-818, ...

    So is it going to last 17 years like my Yaesu ft-817nd? I don't know, and neither do you! I do know the caps in my Yaesu ft-897 started to degrade after about seven years. Every rig has its problems. We just have to be objective with our reviews, and present no BS information to the community.
    Now to play Devil's Advocate. I'm generally a China radio hater. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that but it's the truth. My experience with YouKits left a very sour taste in my mouth. Most of you already know that if you've watched my channel. If the G90 bursts into flames while having a qso, I'll be the first to tell you. I won't pull any punches.
    Thanks for your honest albeit emotional opinion.
    Julian oh8stn
    VA7UO, KN4EQG, N7BWB and 18 others like this.
  4. N2NUT

    N2NUT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Julian, thanks for what you do for he community.
    WD4ET and OH8STN like this.
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    For a few hundred bucks you can get this radio, and spend ten dollars at Home Depot to countersink the screws...

    The point is that it is now possible for just about everyone to afford an acceptable HF radio.

    I have seen concerns on whether this radio has sufficient timing stability(?) --I may have got this wrong-- to work on FT8.

    Anyone have it up and running on FT8?

    Also, the 'face' detaches, I understand, for mobile placement, so why does anyone need to mount the whole radio inside the driver compartment?That is another gripe I have seen...
    KK5R, NC7U, G3SEA and 2 others like this.
  6. K7JOE

    K7JOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Excellent video. Good overview of the features.

    Like the prior poster, I too purchased a Xiegu G90 and owned it for a total of two days. Back to Amazon it went.. It was a nice concept but is very poorly executed-- the knobs were cheap and the controls are wiggly. The buttons are difficult to push without moving the radio all around, they do not have a tactile feel at all. one must hang on to the radio when pushing the buttons or it moves all around. The touch screen was helpful but is way too small for practical use without grabbing my reading glasses. The radio receive audio sounded good but overloads and no good RF gain, only ATTENUATOR so watch out. Sadly, the transmitted audio was over-driven and distorted even at a very low mic gain setting when using the compressor or not . The manual was a photo copied and stapled manual looking like something Swan would have sent you from back in the 1960's. It's rated at 20W but i never saw more than 15-16 watts with 13.8V input. To run an external amplifier, you need a break-out box called a CE19 which adds bunch of wires hanging off the back of it. The mic is a cheap Icom clone/copy and is very light weight. On CW the tone is acceptable but the breakin is not true QSK / full breakin. Tuning around, the VFO is not set up the way you would think. It reminds me more of "click click click" like a "select" knob rather than smooth VFO action. I could go on. For the price, $400-$450 USD here, i would much rather recommend a high quality older generation used 100W all band HF rig for a newer or budget conscious ham. There are MANY choices in that price point that will be loads better in actuality. This is typical "looks good" radio but when using, it is, to be very honest, not high quality. Then do not forget there is little if any warranty, no national service support, becomes a headache easily.

    PS: Pronunciation is SHE (as in a woman) and Goo (as in glue that is dripping)... She Goo.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
    KR3DX likes this.
  7. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting, this rig doesn't have a touch screen!
    Anyway I don't want to be in a position to defend this radio or any other radio for that matter. Still, you may be missing the point. I have a hundred watt radio, the FT-891. It is double the weight of the g90, and almost double the current draw. That's a huge weight savings for field operations. By the way, how much time do you spend operating man-portable in the field?
    We can agree about the buttons. They are tough to push in, but that's not a deal-breaker for me. I think it's logical to buy a box of LEDs from Amazon or eBay. Bt buying a radio from Amazon or Ebay is just asking for trouble. There are pretty reputable distributors in Europe and North America. Why not support ham radio shops who support you?
    Julian oh8stn
    VA7UO, N5EQY, G3SEA and 1 other person like this.
  8. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's a pleasure to give something back.
    Julian oh8stn
    KN4EQG likes this.
  9. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the first things I tested, was its frequency stability for narrow bandwidth data modes. I've got no problem with ALE, SELCALL, JS8Call, WinLink or FT8. I've tried it two different ways. Using a cheap USB sound card with my Raspberry Pi. The other is using a audio interface the ZLP miniprosc. It was more difficult to set it up with the cheap USB sound card. The audio interface was easy as cake.
    Julian oh8stn
    VA7UO likes this.
  10. K7JOE

    K7JOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    touch screen - just a mis-type. I meant multi-function color screen. It displays everything at the same time - frequency, mode, filters, waterfall, spectrum display, and so forth. It's a LOT of info in a tiny tiny postage stamp sized little screen. Too small for mobile operation... and even for fixed operation I'm needing reading glasses.

    I purchased from a place called Radioddity - it's a seller who sells via the Amazon channel. They use amazon for order fulfillment logistics. They also have their own web site, but I do not think they do any brick and mortar. Actually, buying through Amazon (different from ebay) provides some additional guarantees / free 30 day policy for returns, no "restocking fee" like some ham dealers, not to mention the best prices especially during our country's annual "black friday" sale where prices can be spectacular. I paid $450 if I recall, back in late November 2019.

    I've operated for more than 2 decades as DX/DXpeditions all across Asia and Oceana, I guess you could call that portable/field.. Headed to Guatemala next week...and to Croatia in mid March... So ya, I guess I operate portable! Not often in a tent though...often mobile. For travel, I have to carry my gear with me so that makes a difference and I get the weight / size issues -- but my point is that a radio that is frustrating to use or performance is sub-par, it is of little benefit in the field.... i'd be better carrying a brick with me... It's about functionality as much as it is about the overall weight. Every use-case is different. I'll bash the poor quality. This thing could have been implemented so much better -- the electronics and SDR are ok and some of the bugs are firmware fix-able if there is long term firmware support -- but as minimum, they could have put it in a very nice case, with some nice knobs and some nice rotary controls. An additional $50-$100 in fit and finish would have made this a deal. They could have used the company that makes the Flex chassis and used something of that quality for the front panel.

    For the money if this is the primary concern, or the power output/capability level of performance that one wants, one is better off building a uBITX and using a econotuner / hamfest $25 MFJ manual antenna cost $175 or so.... It will do the same thing, it weighs even less, draws less current, etc. . . .

    The Icom IC-705 is gonna kill this thing fast. I'd save my money and put it toward a 705 if you want an SDR based QRP radio. I tried a 705 at Orlando Hamcation and it's gonna be a killer. You see why the Xiegu G90 is junk after playing with the IC-705 (both with hands on experience).

    Now if someone can create a 500-700W LDMOS amp with a light weight switching power supply from a server... man that's gonna be ultimate in portable light weight gear !
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
    NL7W, N5EQY and KR3DX like this.
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