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Author Topic: help me pick a commercial qrp backpack/portable rig  (Read 5023 times)

Posts: 13

« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2019, 07:51:13 AM »

Xiegu X5105 overloaded front-end in close proximity to an AM broadcast station. I used an end fed half wave from

Maybe a resonant antenna would fare better.

I bought the FT-818 (at the higher price, which happens most of the time to me!).

You'll need the 300 cycle filter for CW.

Good luck deciding.

Tom W3TW

Posts: 965

« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2019, 11:40:19 AM »

The more I play with the 818  the more I like it.

Posts: 523

« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2019, 09:39:46 AM »

Take a look at my review of the Xiegu X5105 in the latest QST. I really liked the radio, other than the key-click issue discussed in the review. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future firmware upgrade. I know there has been at least one firmware upgrade since I had the review unit.

Phil - AD5X

Phil’s review plus Bob Allison’s inset tests are the technical standard for the X5105. I had an online chat early this morning with a Xiegu engineer. Next firmware is well in progress but “any day now” as one Facebook Group administrate has been stating for weeks. But the firmware will clear up some things, the engineer told me. Plus add a CW decoder to go along with the PSK Rx (no Tx) as well as significantly enhance the SWR analyzer by including markers and a pause in the sweep. Details are in the Facebook X5105 Group that I co-admin with Eddie Leighton. A Xiegu Rep is a Group member.

I’d suggest that you study Phil’s review in QST and consider the X5105 for backpacking, adding the XPA-125B amp for portable and QTH use. I have an 891 and a 857D so take my suggestion within your financial boundary Space. Not everyone will agree but you have several parameters in play here. Evaluating this option is a suggestion.

Posts: 163


« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2019, 04:57:31 PM »

Used FT 817. Does nothing great but does everything well enough. I also have an ICOM IC 703 which I like a lot (built in ant tuner is very useful) but its standby/receive current draw exceeds the FT 817 by a fair amount. Used FT 817s can be found cheap if you are patient. The ND suffix isn't worth much extra money IMO, but the market disagrees making FT 8172 significantly cheaper than FT 817NDs.

Posts: 232

« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2019, 01:36:32 AM »

I got a Xeigu X-108G 10 months ago. They are under $500. Has CW with a built in 500 Hz filter and  keyer, SSB, and it runs FT8 very nicely with a SignaLink. Can run up to 18 or 20 watts so running 5 watts on a key down mode like FT8 isn't stressing the finals. Display has good info and is bright enough to be used outdoors. Size and weight is about like a 703 or 817. It does draw more current than the straight analog 5 watts rigs but if you run it at 5 watts battery life isn't too bad. I used it portable with a 30 foot balun end fed wire up about 12 feet and easily worked everything east of the Mississippi from WV on 40 meters. Some DX on 30 and 18 meters. Using an LNR loop 8 feet high on 20 meters from RV parks in Florida I worked some DX easily. It's easy to use. So far has been reliable and fun.

Posts: 642

« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2019, 05:25:47 PM »

I got a Xeigu X-108G 10 months ago. They are under $500.
So far has been reliable and fun.

I'm glad you got a good one. Unfortunately, coming from China, that isn't necessarily guaranteed.
The features on that radio are pretty impressive. And it looks like a very sweet little radio!
It's definitely tempting.

I've been pretty happy with the used FT-817 I bought from a guy at Hamvention a few years back.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 05:31:47 PM by N8AUC » Logged

Posts: 240

« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2019, 08:11:13 PM »

I got my FT-818 yesterday and very happy with it. Did not shop around too much, this was the lower cost option with ALL bands, and familiar Yaesu design, including data and ACC capabilities.

First HF contact i made on it was 80 meters using large inverted L antenna.

I have plans to utilze an MFJ 971 manual tuner with it, using a signal generator app on my phone to modulate the radio (by  microphone) for tuning..  the 971 is compact and has dual needle meter for swr and power.

Regards, Jeff KG5AHC.


Posts: 965

« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2019, 06:53:13 PM »

The 818 is really an amazing package, so much packed into such a little box.

Posts: 1823

« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2019, 08:20:25 AM »

As someone mostly turned off by menus and hard to read displays
the addition of a FT817 was a well worth it addition.  I've warmed
to it and found it a fun radio.

Like many say does everything generally well but not great.
If speech compressor is added and better filters it does perk up.
That and the used prices of FT817 or ND versions are attractive.

The only QRP multiband I have to compare it to is a Tentec
Argonaut 505 (ca 1973) and the differences are Argo is only 5 bands
(80/40/20/15/10), I feel the Argo RX is a tad better for SSB, Does
CW well (QSK) but needs narrow filter, and far lower power
consumed RX and TX.  Its down side is bigger box though
about the same weight and its 1973 tech so no warc, or
digital dial.

A modern used radio to compare to is the IC703 or the SG2020.


Posts: 329

« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2019, 03:01:00 PM »

As another mentioned, what is your budget?  Right now the Xiegu G90 is making some good impressions at only $450 new.  Color screen, 20 watts out, built-in auto tuner,  etc.  Backpacking.. well then I'd go even smaller with one of the LNR rigs.   I've owned both KX3  and KX2 along with the FT817ND.  The 817 is far more rugged, vhf/uhf all modes.  It makes a decent scanner with the memories loaded up.  I tried running PSK31 at 2-3 watts with the KX2 and it would heat up so fast and shut down; no problems on CW.  I preferred the KX2 over the KX3.  I had the 8 internal AA batteries in the KX3 and it was like carrying a brick.  If the rig you end up with does not have a built in tuner, get the Elecraft T-1 auto tuner, its great and can handle up to 20 watts.  Let us all know what you end up buying, 73

Posts: 26

« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2019, 06:48:51 AM »

I think the X5105 is a great little radio, very compact, built in battery, tuner, antenna analyzer and I've made several contacts on it with the portable 4 band 100 watt end fed, no radials, not even a ground. I get good audio reports too. When I use it on 80 Meters I get great reports n the U.K from Ireland using the Myantennas EFHW 8010. People are amazed at how good I get in with only 5 watts no doubt helped by the antenna.

Yes I'm sure the Elecrafts have better receiver but the question is , is it worth the extra cost for some occasional portable use ? for me I would say absolutely not considering the cost difference here in the E.U.

And yes the new Firmware will be available soon, I'm using the beta.

I'll be taking the X5105 to Germany in July and will take the portable end fed, it fits nicely in the Tecsul PL-660 leather pouch.
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