New Radio

Sometime back I decided to sell all my HAM radio equipment as I’d completely lost interest in the hobby and decided to utilise the money to build a custom motorcycle. (Yes I build and ride motorcycles ). Selling all the equipment raised a few thousand pounds which covered the cost of building the motorcycle.

So after a 10+ year break from HAM radio I’ve decided to get back into it, this means I need to buy a transceiver. The HAM radio market has changed considerably over the time I’ve been away from the hobby and there are a lot more manufacturers from China selling some interesting looking radios.

I’m currently considering two QRP transceivers, the Xiegu X6100 and the Icom IC705. These two SDR based QRP radios offer a lot of the facilities that I had with my Flex3000 and have peaked my interest for different reasons.

Firstly the Xiegu X6100 HF/6m transceiver is an Arm CPU based unit that runs a somewhat cutdown Linux operating system, being a UNIX/Linux admin professionally for many years this really appeals to me.

Xiegu X6100 SDR QRP Transceiver

This little radio has a small colour screen that displays the normal waterfall, VFO frequency and more however, it’s not a touch screen which is a shame. The plus for this radio is that it has a built in ATU, amazing considering the size of the unit.

I’ve joined the TOADS Discord group that are actively working on the O/S side of this little radio together with the manufacturer to try and get the code released into the Open Source world so that a community group can start developing it to its full potential. There’s some interesting reading in this group from some very knowledgable people and is well worth joining if you’re considering buying this radio.

Sadly the current firmware for the radio is very buggy and a fair bit of the functionality doesn’t work but, overtime I’m sure this will be resolved however, it’s a concern especially since it will be my only radio.

I’ve not been able to find any receiver test details for the transceiver so I’ve no idea how it performs. Since I’m only looking to use weak signal modes having a good receiver is paramount and is top of my list of priorities at the moment.

At £589.95 it’s at the lower end of the price spectrum for SDR radios but, it’s still a fair chunk of money to spend if it turns out problematic.

The Icom IC705 HF/6M/VHF/UHF QRP SDR transceiver is getting rave reviews and has a huge following. Coming from a long standing radio manufacturer you just know that this radio is going to be a high quality device that will just work out of the box.

With a price of £1299.99 here in the U.K. it’s more than double the price of the Xiegu X6100 but, it covers the VHF/UHF bands as well as the HF/6m bands and has a touch screen with GPS built in, there’s a lot packed into this little package!

When I look back at the little Yaesu FT817 I had years ago and how much fun I had with it, the Icom IC705 takes QRP radio to a new level.

What I really need to do is visit a HAM Radio store and sit down and try out these two radios side by side. Sadly the nearest store is over a hundred miles away!