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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | SGC SG-2020 Help

Reviews Summary for SGC SG-2020
SGC SG-2020 Reviews: 79 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $675.00
Description: Fixed, Mobile, Portable or Aviation "multi-mission" HF Txcvr
Product is not in production.
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N6AIR Rating: 3/5 Aug 10, 2015 00:55 Send this review to a friend
Terrible audio but has 20 watts  Time owned: more than 12 months

1. It has automatic mic gain control and I get good reports on the audio using the stock mic.
2. There's no need for filters because you can narrow the receive from 2.7 down to .1.
3. The 20 watts output is perfect for reliable, low power communication. With a decent antenna, if you can be heard with 100 watts, 9 times out of 10 you'll be heard with 20 watts. With a 5 watt rig, you have to be lucky enough to experience favorable band conditions.
4. It has full coverage receive and transmit (with a simple jumper wire mod.)
5. Controls are easy to use. Not a lot of menus.
6. CW has full break-in and the keyer is good.
7. There is a good automatic shut off that protects the radio if you accidentally transmit without an antenna or with a super high SWR.


1. The audio receive is atrocious and will give you a headache if you listen for more than 15 minutes. It's "communication quality" which is like saying your blind date has a nice personality.
2. The case is thick metal which makes it heavier than it needs to be.
3. Channel memories frequently get screwed up for unknown reasons.
4. A station that sounds weak on a typical radio can't be heard at all on the 2020.
5. The SO239 is not bolted to the chassis which is insane. It's only a matter before it breaks off from the circuit board.
6. The power plug is poorly designed and has to be taped to stay connected.
7. If you run battery power and your voltage dips too low, it goes haywire and you'll need to do a time consuming factor reset.
8. The digital frequency display is not accurate.

The FT817 sounds much better and has many more useful features. But the truth is, a lot of times, 5 watts just isn't enough power and 20 watts almost always is.

G4LHT Rating: 4/5 Jul 28, 2015 02:01 Send this review to a friend
Worked some incredible DX  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had 3 of these. The ADSP 2 being the best of them,
I completed the 2 resistor mod and added the Kenwood
Microphone with up/down band hop further to which
a Heil 5 mic insert.

On a trip to Canada with 30 foot LW a 20 foot counterpoise
300 feet ASL, 7 amp battery an Elecraft T1 ATU
bemused inlaws in 2011 (sunspots low) I worked VK followed
by NZ ssb about 15000km as the crow flies on 20M/40M
I've just sold my KX3 & yes I'm looking for another one
4/5 because no 6M and the output drops to 8 watts on 12/10M
but I love this ugly beauty of a frog radio.
G0UCH Rating: 4/5 Sep 3, 2014 04:49 Send this review to a friend
OK But not brilliant  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my one off of e Bay. It worked alright and I liked the variable filter.
I did surprisingly well with only 20 watts on SSB ,but had a total lack of success on CW.
It looked to be a tough rig that would put up with a lot of rough handling in the field. But I only used it in the shack.
I disliked the key socket being on the back.
NA5XX Rating: 5/5 May 11, 2014 19:06 Send this review to a friend
Good field radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I saw the ads for this radio when I became a ham in 1997 and decided I wanted one. A few years later I found one in a pawn shop for under $200. A couple of months later I had to send it to SGC for the 60mHz display issue. They added ADSP at that time. It is a good radio, but a bit complicated do to the menu setup, but not bad over all. Total investment in radio is just over $300. This is a good DX field radio. Idaho to Lithuania, Spain on 20 watts, 20 meters with a dipole. I recently thought of selling to buy another radio. My son informed me that he planned to inherit it from me. Combined with an LDG qrp auto tuner it is a keeper for me and my son.
KG9H Rating: 5/5 Nov 24, 2013 04:05 Send this review to a friend
Good little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Keeping in mind it came out many years ago.. you cannot compare it to a current radio. Mine sits on 60 meters and 40 meter CW most of the time.
Built like a tank, mine plays effortlessly getting me many contacts. Waiting to use it on 160 meters this winter.
KB5RU Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2013 09:36 Send this review to a friend
Fun Little Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My 2020 is an older one without the dsp unit. There is a learning curve because of the number of settable features verses the number of available buttons to set them with. The frequency stability is good after a short warm-up period. The radio does not have a amplifier keying circuit so I added one in mine using a power n channel mosfet transistor providing a sinking output to my AL811H amp. With 20 watts it drives the amp to 400 watts.
I use mine with a external speaker as I am hearing impaired. The 2020 is a fun little radio and I like mine.
WB4TJH Rating: 0/5 Aug 7, 2013 08:53 Send this review to a friend
Total waste of money  Time owned: more than 12 months
My SG2020Adsp2 was bought brand new but has been sitting on the shelf for the past FIVE years. After I got it back from SGC for the THIRD warranty trip, I finally gave up on it. The radio would work for a week or two, then the main oscillator would go off frequency and back to SGC it went. The only place the radio was used was on my desk, so it never got dropped or shaken up. It was a nice idea, but a total flop as a practical radio. My 2020 was the single biggest total waste of money in my 43 years as a ham.
VE3JSJ Rating: 1/5 Aug 7, 2013 06:24 Send this review to a friend
Sad expeerience on the road to the ideal portable QRP rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
When this radio became available, it really looked like the ideal radio for my portable QRP operating while on back country canoe trips. Unfortunately, it has proved to be the most unreliable radio I have owned. It had to go back to SGC three times for repair under warranty, and the third time it came back with no RF output, so now it is essentially just a mediocre general coverage receiver (with no AM or FM mode!)

There is just no comparison with the beautiful QRP FT-817 from Yaesu. I don't miss the 20 watts RF from the 2020, 5 watts from the 817 does the job! The 817 is also much lighter and can be 'fine-tuned' to consume less battery (~250 mA) on receive compared to about 450mA for the 2020.

However, the 817 now has competition from the Elecraft KX3 which I used last week during a back country canoe trip. I can bring it down to 175 mA on receive. It is a bit heavier than the 817, but the extra features make it worthwhile. The only problem is that interfacing the KX3 with the PACTOR Modems is more complex than with the 817.
HFHAM2 Rating: 3/5 Aug 3, 2013 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Fun but has issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had two of these and also the later ADSP2 model. It was a further development of the Index Labs QRP+ rig as I understand it.

First of all, let me say that with its bright, flashing, multi-colored (S/PWR meter) LEDs and clacking relays, I had a blast with this radio when I had my first one back around Y2K. I made CW QRP contacts all over the world with it (near sunspot max and with a horizontally mounted MFJ Magnetic Loop antenna on 3rd floor balcony near the Atlantic ocean).

However, in hindsight, it had a number of deficiencies. Even though it had general coverage receive, it always sounded lousy when listening to SW broadcast stations (had no AM receive). Many of them did not put out the full 20 watts on all bands, with around 12 watts being the tops on mine on 10 meters. Many (not all) of them had a chirp on CW that SGC seemed powerless to fix. SGC Customer Service were often rude and ineffective too by many accounts (and my own experience). I think this rig was a problem child for them.

The variable bandwidth SCAF was very good (narrows down to ~100 Hz) but being an audio filter, was subject to AGC pumping with strong nearby CW signals. You could tame that using the RF Gain control but then you lost sensitivity and S-meter functionality.

The ADSP equipped version added DSP noise reduction and DSP bandwidth filters (in addition to the SCAF) and they worked very well.

I mostly used it for QRP CW and didn't have much luck on the few occasions I used it at "20 Watts" for SSB, but that may just have been bad propagation conditions on the day.

All in all, a very fun little rig but not a great performer.

I really wish more manufacturers would make 20 watt rigs at an affordable price as although you can work lots of stations at 5 watts with CW, you really need ~20 watts to do much with SSB.
KATEKEBO Rating: 3/5 Jan 31, 2011 09:17 Send this review to a friend
Great on paper, OK in real life  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned 3 of these radios. One with ADSP, two with ADSP2. As much as I tried to convince myself into liking this radio, I eventually gave up and sold them. Here is why.
On paper, this radio seems like a perfect portable / backpacking option. Compact, robustly built, low power consumption, enough output power, simple to use. In practice, though, this radio leaves a lot to desire.

First, the design of the oscillator is terrible, resulting in big tonal difference between USB and LSB, and poor frequency stability. The audio varies with temperature, voltage, time. All three radios suffered from the same problem, so I am sure it's a design issue, not a problem with one particular sample. Although it can be corrected through cumbersome (and costly) alignment procedure, the problem reappears quickly, and the audio quality between USB/LSB is never perfect. It also affects the quality of the transmitted audio. No other radio I have used had this problem.

Second, I haven't noticed any advantage in having 20W vs. my 5W Yaesu FT-817. Four time more power should make difference, but signal reports I was getting back did not indicate it. Ocassionally the SG-2020 would "score" one S-point more on the receiving side, but the poor audio quality would make it actually less readable than the Yaesu.

Net, while in theory this is a neat radio that could appeal to many as the perfect portable / backpacer HF XCVR, in practice there are several modern Japanese offerings that are much, much better - Icom IC-703 and Yaesu FT-817 are two fine examples.
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