X1M HF Transceiver Review and Testing


First Impressions:

Very well packed with bubble wrap for shipping. Included is information about X1M from Xiegu Technology but it is in Chinese so does little for the North American Operator. When I took the unit out of the box I was once again  amazed at the size and ruggedness of the build. The green display is easy to read as is all the silk screening on the front and rear covers. The audio from the unit is also very clean and loud for a small unit. The unit is very light for an all band and all mode unit. Preamp works well and unit is very quiet on receive. Menu navigation is easy.

New Version Comments-Read last review for comparison:

  1. Coax connection is still an SO-239 connector. Change over to BNC would be an asset.
  2. Polarity is now marked and unit comes with barrel connector included.
  3. CW delay works wonderful on this unit now with no issues
  4. Adjustable cw pitch is an added bonus
  5. CW mode will not work if microphone is plugged into the front of the radio
  6. Marked KEYER on the back which is nice to see
  7. No Power Out or S meter indication on display
  8. No adjustable filtering for SSB or CW use.
  9. Adjustable cw side tone volume would be nice feature, too loud with headphones on
  10. Headphone jack should be on front of unit –BUT NOT  A BIG DEAL
  11. Display is clear and bright, not too small and still easy to read
  12. CW tone is clear
  13. Audio is clear from unit
  14. Size of radio makes it very compact for portable use
  15. Data jack on back of unit nice feature for digital modes
  16. Silk screening is very pleasant to read
  17. Case and unit is well built
  18. All controls on unit feel good
  19. 99 memories
  20. General coverage receiver

RIT Button:  When pressed for 2 seconds this will bring you too the SYSTEM MENU display-from here you have 2 options- YES or NO. By pressing the button directly underneath either option will make the choice. If YES is pushed this is what you may see: * indicates default setting when radio received.

  1. RCLK Ratio  x6*  x1
  2. DDS Clock  032768131*
  3. LSB BFO  08988750*
  4. USB BFO  09000850*
  5. CW BFO  09001380*
  6. IF OFFSET  +08999830*
  8. KEY SPEED  A-KEY-SPEED 060* (adjustable)
  9. CW DELAY  1000* (adjustable from 0000-5000)

NOTE: Obviously all radios will have different default settings. Owners should be advised to write these down for future reference.

New items in menu are:

  1. CW TONE  800*
  2. MUTE  NO*

To make any changes to the menu values push main tuning knob in and if value can be changed you will see 2 arrows on either side of the setting, it then can be changed. Once changed quickly press main tuning button again to exit menu.

When all settings are adjusted-momentarily press and release RED BL/LOCK button- It will then ask if you want to SAVE CHANGES? YES or NO

Press the black button directly under the option you wish to choose. You will then be directed back to the VFO/MEMO setting when all is saved.


After having given this small radio a good going over into various antennas and testing I have to say that it does what a 5 watt QRP rig should do. It has proven itself on cw for me as I an avid cw operator. Only draw backs on cw are that there is no adjustable cw sidetone volume or any form of cw filtering for the unit. Keeping in mind all the horsepower under the hood I would not expect there to be a whole lot of room left for such a filter. But when tested against other rigs and put on frequency counters this unit is bang on frequency from the factory. I operated the radio on all bands in cw and traces of me calling cq and the frequency were bang on according to The Reverse Beacon Network.

Audio from the internal speaker is great sounding, for a tiny speaker the unit has lots of output. Volume control is also good with full control from minimal output to full output with no gaps or problems in between; some smaller radios are either too low or too high in volume because of the lack of audio control.

A good power source is required if using a wall wart as the audio will get distorted if the power draws too much when turned up and listening.

Here are the current specifications of the radio in receive and transmit: Note volume turned down to low level for these tests, so some very slight increase in current will be there when volume is turned up.

  • Receive with backlight off: 413 ma
  • Receive with backlight on: 492 ma
  • Transmit with backlight off: 1.15 A
  • Transmit with backlight on: 1.23 A

These measurements were taken using a dummy load on transmit for a 1:1 swr and the radio showed almost a full 5 watts at 13.6 volts from the power supply.

The radio case is very rugged looking and nicely assembled, the radio does get warm when sitting after being turned on but does not affect the operation of the radio. The green display is nice to look at, a bit small but still able to navigate through it no problem. The buttons on the front appear to be a better quality than the first model that was tested and very easy to push and gain control of the radio with.

The backlight default is ON so if you turn the unit off with the backlight OFF it will come back on when radio is again turned on.

The microphone is small as well. Comments on SSB are that the microphone is very hot or sensitive and the radio can be overdriven if talking too loud or too close to the microphone. I did tests on 40 meters using the dummy load and another radio out in the backyard and was told that the audio was best when the microphone was held at chest level and talking into it. Keep in mind that this is 5 watts on SSB so not a whole lot of RF being sent out like on cw. Both USB and LSB work well on receive and even when shortwave listening it sounds great when tuning an AM station once you get used to it.

The memories are nice if you wish to program your favorite calling frequency or shortwave station. You cannot however use the memories and then tune the vfo from them; you have to go to VFO mode if you want to change frequency as the memories are locked as just that. 2 VFO’s for split operation also make the unit like the big boy toys. The RIT works too but you have to turn the knob slowly, if you tune too quick the RIT will jump some pretty big increments either to the plus or negative side.  This does not appear to be an issue when doing normal tuning on the ham bands in VFO mode.

The Band Pass Filters (BPF) on the traditional ham bands really click into play when you tune into the band, you can hear the noise dissipate almost instantly. Because this radio does have full open transmit one would have to ensure that when using it on the WARC bands or out of band for other purposes that there are no spurious emissions being sent out or harmonics that might cause problems.

CAT control is not possible at this time with HRD as the cables used here for my testing would not allow communication to the radio. Using this radio with HRD would be really cool as it would make this portable unit that much more fun to control from the computer screen. This would make frequency and memory changing a snap.

If used with a small amplifier this little radio would be a powerhouse in the field for portable operations and still allow conservation of power for field use. A small snap on or strap on battery pack the same size as this radio would also make it a winner in the field.

Overall this radio is a big improvement from the first unit I tested and with some small changes I think this radio is going to give the ham market a run for its money. Filtering and adjustable sidetone volume are a few of the things that should be looked at in future revisions, the BNC connector will be an added nice change as well to this radio. As long as QC (Quality Control) and returns and repairs are dealt with in a efficient manner this will keep North American buyers happy as they seem to be the toughest market to please considering many countries still have strict radio regulations and many and much of their ham gear in other parts of the world is still built by the ham.

I give the radio a 4-4.5 rating at this time out of 5 because of the tests that it has gone through. More testing on SSB is required but band conditions have not been good to say the least. Great job all around with this radio and I look forward to the X1M MKII and testing that if it comes out in assembled version.

I might add that many of the builds that come from Asia are difficult for the North American builder because of instructions and language barriers. The other issue is lag time when exchanging parts for many of these builds and not having a supply in North America. Just my .2 cents worth on that one.

(Editor’s Note: A new version of the X1M is going to be available soon from Ed at Import Communications.)

Fred Lesnick, VE3FAL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

13 Responses to “X1M HF Transceiver Review and Testing”

  • Fred VE3FAL:

    The new X1M Platinum will be available at the end of this month, they have fixed the bands for North America with better and wider filtering to cover our original bands, and have changed the display quite a bit. Once I get the Platinum I will send the review in.


  • Matt W1MST:

    I’ve heard rumors that the new version will have wider bandpass filters that will cut down spurious signals. I’ve also heard that there may be some firmware improvements and possibly a USB port. All rumor, however. Nothing confirmed by Ed at Import Communications or anyone else in the know.

  • Mark AI4HO:

    Ahhh, a small, compact, inexpensive QRP rig, at least I understand them to be rather inexpensive at $400 or there abouts, the venerable FT-817ND is still well over $600 last I knew. Too bad..just got rid of about 90% of all my QRP gear, have a couple pieces for a Buddipole/Buddistick left and that’s about it. I think at least for now, it will remain as far out of reach as the new Kenwood TS-990S or whatever that big beautiful Kenwood is.

    Don’t mind small and inexpensive, love to used to go to the park set up with the 817 and play radio. Now, I cannot, my disability has reared up its ugly head yet again and is now threatening my ability to even walk. So, for now, QRP is gonna be set far back until such time as I am able to get out and about like I used to. The specs on the little XM1 look great, look forward to reading your review on the platinum version..when you get it.

  • alex, g7kse:

    Looking forward to it coming to the UK. I’m sure it’ll end up being over priced by dealers and far more reasonable on our favourite auction site!

  • Fred VE3FAL:

    Yes the new model has expanded PBF to help with the problem. Ed also said that the new control cable will be USB and should be a bit easier to be able to run the radio with HRD. Some nice new features and upgrades for sure, cant find teh email Ed sent me or I would share some it with you. I am awaiting the next version for review as well and compare with ver II.


  • Charlie , W5COV:

    Fred did you run it at some higher CW speeds and is that issue resolved too ? There was some type of issue with it dropping characters at higher CW speeds .
    I am disabled too and the size makes it perfect for my ability to lift and move it and carry it with me .
    I am an old time builder and look forward to building lots of neat little accessories to go with it , to pretty much customize it to be the radio that I want . Just waiting to get one in hand to actually see that my accessories will work with it as I have them planned to . I am also going to try to make them match cosmetically for a small home station on the bench .
    Ed has updated the price and it still looks like the best bargain in ham radio out there today .
    Once they get caught up on back orders , I can see myself “needing” a second one 🙂
    Would love to see what if anything that they have in the pipeline . Being a builder , I just HAVE to open up any new models that I can get my hands on that they are designing and testing so I can build some matching goodies .
    Charlie , W5COV

  • w3fis:

    I believe there is an internal trim pot to set sidetone level. See the discussions on the Yahoo news group for this radio.

    73 /paul W3FIS

  • Steve S.:

    Very disapointed with mine, purchased in March and had low audio and no RF on some bands out of the box.
    Returned under warranty in April and as of July still waiting for any word on a replacement.

    Looks like I’ve done my dough – caveat emptor!

  • Richard, SP6JZH:

    What is smallest frequency raster? Whether 100 Hz or lower?

    vy 73!


  • Ray G3LQC:

    I have only had mine for a few hours but what a great little rig. I have noticed it reacts to different antenna
    types and connections. I can find no record of exactly what the antenna impedance should be..Does anyone know. ?
    The first one I had was dead on turn on, with just a slight hiss is the speaker.No display either.. With NO handbook
    and circuit diagram or even a block, HAS IT GOT A FUSE TUCKED AWAY SOMEWHERE. Anyway the supplier did me
    a great deal and changed it for another without question..That’s service.
    EA6/G3LQC from Marjorca in September when I tyke this set portable.
    73 and Regards
    Ray G3LQC.

  • Andy G6OHM:

    Just been reading about the XM1.The only comment i have is pity it does not have FM.I see the rig covers upto 29.700 mhz which is the FM portion of the band.Also fm is good for tuning up an atu.

    Andy G6OHM

  • Phil ZF1PB:

    Hi Ed, I’m interested in the X1M-PRO,or newer model, any info is appreciated,

  • Jozef yu7aa:

    Hi all Im new users X1M and need a help for X1M using with FT8 , conection PC out too-mikrofone for X1M is a problem inpedance. Any one using this RIG with FT8 comunication ???

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