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Reviews For: Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver
Reviews: 82MSRP: 499
G90 is a portable 20W HF amateur radio transceiver with an
SDR architecture with built-in auto antenna tuner. The
display unit and the radio can be separated. It is a new
member of the Xiegu product family and the first model of
the G series.

SDR structure, 24-bit data size @48kHz sampling rate,

it has excellent transceiving performance and a highly
configurable function experience;

The design of detachable display unit allows you to
flexibly arrange the position of the radio;

Built-in high-performance auto antenna tuner to meet your
needs at any time, so the antenna is no longer a problem.

Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K4ARP Rating: 2023-08-22
Love this little HF rig. Big bang for the buck. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been running this rig for over a year now - 8-2023. I am still surprised at how well it does. Hams are always so surprised when I tell them I am only running 20 watts on a wire antenna. The built in antenna tuner is really great. I have been using dipole and EFHW antennas, all home brew. From the state of Washington I am reaching out all over the USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, Japan, Europe, South America.....

Only "wish it had" was better information on the software upgrades.
NB4M Rating: 2023-07-16
Wow Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

Consider me a new member of the Xiegu G90 fan club.

The cost makes this one of, if not, the best deal available.

The SDR receiver is brick wall, performs as well as anything I have/had, present or past. Selectivity is amazing and CW notes jump out of the very low and (very) well managed noise levels of the G90 receiver.

Please note - A complete and thorough understanding of available settings (as with any rig) likely make it the best rig experience encountered outside of the K3 and KX3. All to say, do your homework before complaining about Xiegu.

So far - I've not experienced and quirky effects, only having the rig a week now, but have run the CW mode at (very) surprising performance levels not available in many rigs offered today.

Overall, the G90 provides amazing results on CW operation and I ever expected this level of quality outside of the top name brands.

More to come (as time allows) with possible digi and portable/field ops.

K1IO Rating: 2023-07-06
Almost great Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I'd give this 4 1/2 stars if I could. It is 5 stars for value. Just a few quirks show up now and then. First, the really good -- you could call the G90 a really great 20 watt antenna tuner with attached transceiver to drive it. This can *almost* load up a piece of wet spaghetti. I am using a 20m dipole and have gotten FT8 signals out on 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. To be sure it is *really* touchy on 17m, but that is so far off resonance that you can't expect much. Update: When using a fan dipole now, the tuner isn't even needed on 20 to 10, but it gets out well on 30.

The front panel is crowded with little buttons, but given the space there isn't much room to make it easier. My thumbnails work on the little buttons. The CAT is pretty good too, which helps, but many functions do require knobs and buttons. Downside: The arrangement of some of the functions is just really obscure. You need the manual or a cheat sheet handy. There are single presses, long presses, double presses, and those again with the function key. Plus the knob menu. Tuning is also a little rough, as it is not dynamic - you press to go from 100 to 10 to 1 kHz to 100 to 10 Hz steps; it thus takes four presses to go back up (say 100 Hz to 1 kHz). These are my main complaints; the user interface is a bit rough.

The display is small but incredibly functional. I give it credit for making great use of space. For instance the bottom centimeter or so is not a precise panadaptor but you can see if there's activity nearby. (But using that space for CW decode is a waste; that function is too touchy to be useful.) The screen shows power supply voltage, power out, SWR, ALC, and more, and that actually helps, especially when you're working the tuner hard.

Performance seems quite good. For some reason 20m seems louder than other bands, not just because of the resonant antenna I have, so I usually throw on the attenuator on 20. I haven't seen receiver overload, a major concern, but then it seems like there are no high-powered hams in my immediate neighborhood. Huge RF from broadcast towers (TV, FM, AM) nearby but not on HF band. So it sounds good.

I'm mostly using it on FT8 and FT4 (FT8's impatient cousin) and the hookup wasn't hard (you need the data adapter). One glitch is that sometimes FLrig seems to throw it into "split" mode and you're transmitting off frequency; you have to keep an eye on it (also on the little screen). On CW, the very tunable bandpass filtering (set upper and lower bounds as you wish) shows off why SDR is the way to go. This is an under $500 radio with flexible filtering that would have cost hundreds on an analog radio.

The instructions say it needs 8 amps. A review somewhere said that it only used 6 amps. Maybe true on SSB. I had a 6 amp supply lying around so I used it... and it craps out at 15 watts output on FT8, so full power may well require an 8 amp supply. Just pointing that out. Update: It does do 20 watts; I just need to keep the voltage on that 6A supply above 13.6.

All told this is the most fun radio I've owned. Not perfect but really amazing for such a small, inexpensive package. I waited for a while reading what others said before choosing it and I know I made the right choice.

Update 1/2013: After about a year of daily indoor use, it has developed a modest glitch. Sometimes the received signal strength just goes down by itself, coming back if I wiggle any of the rear connectors. It sounds like a loose connection or dirty relay. So while the radio still works okay with that occasional extra effort, it suggests that these aren't built to the very highest quality standards. Not that surprising given the origin and price, and still a great fun toy.

Update 7/2013: The glitch I mentioned in January goes away when unplugging the key. Apparently there is not quite enough clearance there so sometimes it pushes on something. And that's using the plug they supplied. After a while (months of no CW) I put it back in and it hasn't given me trouble this time. The totally passive CE-19 auxiliary connector breakout box, however, failed (receive audio path went out) and needed replacement.
W0BKR Rating: 2023-06-27
Great Radio, Great Size! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Great little full featured radio. You can read the reviews or pull up the tech specs. Nice band scope, too bad some manufacturers don't use a scope on a radios display similar to this SDR. Only nit I have as I wish it had a separate external speaker jack. Mine works great but moving on to another new radio toy so mine is up for sale (likely a bad move). I am running version 1.75 S/W. Worked lots of EU for instance 5-8 reports. 20 watts and other state side running 1KW. Not sure why as lower power works great. Takes a bit of learning on the controls.
EA4HWT Rating: 2023-06-23
Great for POTA-Portable ops Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
What are my impressions of the Xiegu G90 radio?
After using it for a couple of weeks, I can confidently say that, for the activities I engage in, particularly portable operations, the Xiegu G90 radio has left a positive impression on me.
Typically, I don't rely heavily on the tuner, but that feature happens to be one of the strongest points for those who have purchased this equipment.
Generally, I use antennas that are tuned to the specific band I intend to operate on, as I also enjoy constructing my own antennas.
The audio quality is excellent, provided you know how to configure the Automatic Gain Control (AGC). Personally, I set it to a maximum of 25%, which prevents saturation. The default setting is at 50%, which I find to be quite high.
In terms of weight, if you're engaged in activities like POTA or portable operations, the Xiegu G90's weight is ideal. However, if your activity involves SOTA, I would recommend equipment that is even lighter and offers the option of an internal battery.
The heat generated by the equipment is not a critical issue, as it remains within the operational range. However, in extreme temperatures, it is advisable to exercise caution and take appropriate measures.
The difference between transmitting at 5 watts (QRP) and 20 watts is remarkable. At 20 watts, you are only one unit away from transmitting with 100 watts.
If you have a clear understanding of what you're purchasing and how you intend to use it, I wholeheartedly recommend this equipment. While it may be of Chinese manufacture, it offers excellent value for the price and performance it delivers.
If you're expecting the same level of quality as the FT 101MP, ANAN SDR 7000, or IC-7800, but in a smaller form factor, then I believe you should explore other options.
That sums up my opinion on the Xiegu G90. Considering its price and performance, I would rate it 4.7 out of 5.because they need to improve firmware update regularly.
It's a fun and practical device to take out into the field and enjoy a day of radio. However, it's worth noting that there are better options available, such as the KX3, but of course, these alternatives come at a higher price.
K3DMM Rating: 2023-01-04
Great Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was able to find a used, but nearly new, G90 last summer. I really love this radio and am amazed at the reports I get. I use this mostly for portable use and also enjoy hooking it up in my shack just for fun. It's so easy to operate and has the most impressive internal tuner. Once i had found out how versatile this radio was, I knew i wanted one. I've made several significant DX contacts and much to their surprise on only 20 watts. I'm glad I have mine and it's a lot of fun to operate on.
N7BWB Rating: 2023-01-02
Pretty Amazing Little Rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I've owned this rig for about two weeks now and am very impressed. I had my doubts about initial "quality" but it is built soundly and feels like you're holding something substantial in your hand. I've had no issues at all with the buttons not responding. Although I've owned a few SDRs now, SDRIQ, RSP1A and RSPdx, this is my first SDR xcvr, coming from my trustworthy Kenwood TS-440SAT and Ten Tec Scout. I've wanted a QRP rig for a long time, and I'm glad I waited.

The proof is in the pudding as they say, so here are a few comments from QSO's:
20 meters:
"Congrats on the great signal 5x9 plus" 10 watts - 814 miles
"Great QRP signal 5x9" 10 watts - 338 miles
"Perfectly readable" - 10 watts - 1840 miles
"5x4" - 2 watts - 1755 miles
40 meters:
"5x4 and perfect copy" - 2 watts - 362 miles
Numerous net check-ins with similar comments.

These contacts were all made from my QTH on a MFJ-2010 OCFD feed point at 28', configured as a sloper with the legs pointed roughly SSW and NNW. I'll be using this rig camping with a home-brew 66' dipole. The tuner will handle the rest.

Speaking of, the tuner in this rig is a work of art - it can tune 80 meters on my MFJ-2010 down to 1.5:1, an antenna designed for 40-6. The fact that it has a tuner at all at this price point is amazing. The fact that it is this good is groundbreaking.

I've used the G90 mobile with ham sticks on 20 and 40, and received good reports.

Being a medium wave DXer I was intrigued by the possibilities of using this as a MW DX machine. Sadly, it is not that, the "front end" overloads significantly on my (too close) local stations unless I use the attenuator. But I didn't buy it for MW DXing.

As I am in my late 60's, the small screen requires me to use reading glasses. Considering the size and capabilities of this little rig, it's a worthwhile trade-off.

I purchased a Beaudens 166 watt hour solar generator to power this rig, and it has powered it all day in my use.

Whether you're a new ham, or a seasoned old Elmer, this little rig will surprise you with what it can do, and how inexpensively it can do it.

Update: Four months into owning this rig, I am still beyond impressed. I'm now using a cable-connected powered Bluetooth Bose speaker connected to the headphone jack and the audio is superb, and makes for much easier listening.

Update #2: Two years later, still, a very impressive rig. Best contact to date has been a VK while running 20 watts with my OCFD. Not sure who was more shocked about the contact, the VK ham or me. I recently purchased an FTDX10, but I'm keeping the G90 for portable/mobile use. It's been a blast to own.
N8MRC Rating: 2023-01-01
Good portable HF rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Good little radio for the money. It's my go to radio for POTA activations, 20w is enough power. Updating the FW is a pain in the butt but it can be done. The tuner will tune a wet noodle.
WB8ICU Rating: 2022-12-31
well worth the money Time Owned: more than 12 months.
g90 does everything it claims. took awhile to get used to all the features. I found that lowering rf gain to 35 cleared up the excessive noise. with 20 watts i can still copy anyone i'm able to transmit to. I only work cw most of the time, but I did find it is much better suited to ssb. The internal tuner is phenomenal! my biggest problem is the sdr , which I don't really know how to use.also, updating is not explained very well, so I am still using 1.74 version. For the money, you'll not find anything better.

I have now had the rig for 2 years. I have more to say about cw on the rig. The receive audio is very harsh, almost non readable on some stations, regardless of agc or rf gain adjustments. NOT AS BAD ON SSB, which I really don't use. I tried using headphones, 8 ohm and 600 ohms--no difference.also tried using amplified speaker since there is no external speaker output; forcing you to use headphone jack,which is very low audio. very disappointing...I wanted to put new review on so I could change to 3 star rating, but can't seem to find what to click on.
K0CRX Rating: 2022-12-29
Disappointing Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The good: Cute, small and compact, lots of features, the bandscope and waterfall are good, the screen is crisp and clear, build quality appears good, SSB OTA reports are good, the ATU is great (matches better than my Murch UT-2000).
The not so good: The CW decoder is a joke. The BCB QRM is noteworthy, making 40-meters and below difficult. An external bandstop/bandpass filter is a must and I am NOT in an urban, high RF environment.
Conclusion: It's a fun experience into the world of SDRs. Knowing what I know now, I, probably, would not buy it. I bought it out of curiosity and I'm not so curious, any more.