A weekend with the Xiegu X1M
So, I have now had the X1M since Friday. I have to say that overall, I like it. Friday night (as previously posted) I checked in to the
Brothers Net, and was heard clearly in Virginia, and again on Saturday night, when one of the members in Virginia relayed my check in to the operator in Maryland. Also on Saturday I logged 5 of the 7 Florida QSO Party spelling bee stations from my living room, as well as a couple of other Florida stations. Reports ranged from good for QRP, to Wow! Only 5 Watts? Keep in mind this is in a much-less-than-ideal setup.
In our apartment, KD2CHE and I are extremely limited on space, inside AND out. The X1M is attached to an L-shaped random wire in the front yard, by way of a Balun Designs 9:1 Unun, and an Emtech ZM2 tuner. Emtech recommends not using an additional balun or unun, but it seems to perform a little better with this crazy antenna.
It tunes up on most bands, and appears to tune up on 75, but signal reports were bad on 75, with a lot of RF feedback, and I can hear myself in the speakers I have attached to our TV when I transmit. 17 meters seems to be an issue with the TV speakers as well. I’d love to put up something better in the front yard, but we’ll see what the landlord and neighbors are willing to put up with. 160, by the way is a no-go, but I don’t think that’s a surprise.
I’ve gotten the hang of using the X1M pretty quickly. I haven’t used the memories yet, but I use the dual VFOs quite a bit, as well all of the different tuning speeds. Everything is fairly straight forward once you get the hang of it. Audio is what you would expect for a radio of this size (this thing is SMALL!), and fine through headphones. The receiver is very sensitive. I’ll get some actual numbers next weekend. I like that you can kill the display light to conserve batteries, which will help when portable.
I’ve tried battery power. With 8 alkaline AAs the radio seems to perform OK, however, 8 LiIon batteries are not quite enough voltage for the rig, producing some howls and distortion with the volume above about 40%. I guess I’m not too surprised at this, since 8 FULLY charged AA Eneloops only put out 9.6 volts. I will supplement that with 4 more Eneloops in series for a max of 14.4 volts. Later on, I can pick up something a little more sophisticated. I also made a coax-to-powerpole cable for mobile use, so I can always just set up next to the car when needed.
A coax power plug for making your own power cord, and a 1/8″ stereo (3 cond) plug for wiring to a key/paddle are included. The power connector is a very common size, 5.5mm OD x 2.1mm ID, or Radio Shack size M, which made powering the radio up easy, since I had a size M-to-tinned-leads cable already. I wired a straight-key up to the 1/8″ plug, and had to set the keyer mode to manual, which was also not hard to figure out. The instructions are in Chinese, but an English translated manual is available from Import Communications, or in the X1M Yahoo group.
I think the little X1M has a nice future in my collection. It’s no KX3, but for about $300, it’s a nice little radio.
To be continued………..
Thanks for the great review, Neil! I’ve had my eye on this radio since I first saw it on Ed’s Import Communications website.
Where did you buy it?
Nice review. This one made it under my radar. What does it have for cw filtering?
What is the range for 40 meters? What I got from the specs. was that it only went to 7.150 and nothing higher. That’s sounds crazy, I’m probably wrong.
@Dave: I do not know the specifics of the CW filtering. I am planning on getting this thing on a friend’s service monitor soon and I’ll get some specifics. Comments on the CW filter that I’ve heard were that it is a great little CW rig, but might be a little too broad. My experience with listening to CW (I’m not an active CW operator…YET)on it is good. One of my clubs got to check one out and they were pleased too.
@Joel: This rig will XMT/RCV through the whole range of HF bands (160-10) and everything in between. It seems to have some pre-programmed additional filtering in specific areas I guess relating to the band allocations in China, which is why the additional filtering stops at 7.150. I have made several contacts above that frequency. So far, no complaints of any spurious emissions from anyone who has used one of these. I can hear a difference in the receiver when I cross into one of these pre-set ranges, so it could just be a receiving filter that kicks in. As I said above, I’ll know once I get it on the service monitor.
Great review. I’m looking to get into to HF and this seems like a good thing to start out with, just to get a feel for it.
You mentioned having difficult with 75, 160, and 17 meters. Is that the fault of the radio itself or the particular antenna setup you’re using?
The issues with 75, 160, and 17 are the fault of my antenna system. I’m in a very small space with concerns about ridiculous neighbors and such. As far as getting an X1M to start with, I think you inspired me to write a whole new post about that.
HELLO 73 BONJOUR A TOUS JE SUIS TRES INTERESSE PAR ACHAT DU Xiegu X1M pour mes voyages en AFRIQUE LE SENEGAL OU JE RESIDE CAL 6W7SS JE CHERCHE UN OM POUR ME DONNER ADRESSE POUR ACHAT DU X1M …TNX TANKS FOR THE INFORMATION FOR ADRESS MICHEL F6AFH -6W7SS SITE (sénégal découverte par michel 6W7SS..)
HELLO 73 BONJOUR A TOUS JE SUIS TRES INTERESSE PAR ACHAT DU Xiegu X1M pour mes voyages en AFRIQUE LE SENEGAL OU JE RESIDE CAL 6W7SS JE CHERCHE UN OM POUR ME DONNER ADRESSE POUR ACHAT DU X1M …TNX TANKS FOR THE INFORMATION FOR ADRESS MICHEL F6AFH -6W7SS SITE (sénégal découverte par michel 6W7SS..)BYE 73
Great qrp radio for the foundation class operator in the uk