POTA Field Report: Pairing the Xiegu X6100 and PackTenna Random Wire

I’ve had a lot of fun testing the Xiegu X6100 in the field. Each time I’ve taken this little shack-in-a-box radio outdoors, I’ve paired it with a different antenna.

I’ve paired it with the Elecraft AX1, an End-Fed Half-Wave, and my 28.5′ speaker wire antenna.

On January 10, 2022, I decided to try one more antenna: the PackTenna 9:1 UNUN random wire.

The Packtenna random wire is a brilliant little antenna to pair with radios like the X6100 that have built-in, wide-range ATUs. It’s such a small antenna and can easily find matches on my favorite POTA/SOTA bands:  40 meters and up. It’s also very compact and super durable.

I use te PackTenna random wire quite a lot in the field, so I was curious just how effectively it might pair with the X6100.

Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378)

That Monday, the most convenient place to activate was the Blue Ridge Parkway Folk Art Center. I believe I mentioned before that this particular site is starting to feel like a “shack away from shack” I’m there so much.

Perhaps I should go ahead and order a name plate with my callsign to put on the picnic table?

Hmmm…I’ll give that some thought!

Setup was super easy–that’s the glory of using an antenna as short as the PackTenna 9:1 random wire (28′).

Gear:

When your radio is a shack-in-a-box like the X6100 (or the X5105 and KX2), there really aren’t a lot of accessories needed in the field– only an antenna, feedline, key and possibly a microphone if you choose not to use the built-in mic. This makes for a quick deployment–both set-up and take-down.

On the Air

I pressed the ATU button on the X6100 and it tuned the PackTenna random wire on 40 meters with ease.

I started calling CQ and the contacts were very steady.

Within 9 minutes, I worked the ten stations necessary for a valid activation. It’s hard to beat that kind of pace in POTA!

I continued until I’d worked a total of 23 stations in 24 minutes on the air.

It was serious fun!

QSO Map

Here’s what the X6100’s five watts can do with the PackTenna random wire on 40 meters:

I always find it so interesting to see the antenna propagation pattern on a QSO Map. In this case, the PackTenna was deployed vertically with the feedline (the shield of which acts as a counterpoise) in a north/south direction.

Activation video

Here’s my ad-free, real-time, real-life video of the entire activation:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Shortly after making this video, I packed up the Xiegu X6100 to send to the next reviewer (Mike, K8MRD).

As I mentioned in the video, I did purchase an X6100 of my own from Radioddity. I look forward to taking this little radio to the field much more this year. I’m also interested to see what sort of improvements might be made with each successive firmware upgrade.

Thank you

Thank you so much for joining me on this activation.

I’d like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.

Patreon and Coffee Fund contributors help fund my radio purchases, experiments, and travels. Without this support, I would not have considered purchasing the X6100. My hope is that this little radio will continue to improve with time and by adding it to my radio arsenal, it allows me to follow progress in real time and report back here on QRPer.

Again, many thanks!

Let’s go play radio, shall we?!?

Cheers & 73,

Thomas (K4SWL)

5 thoughts on “POTA Field Report: Pairing the Xiegu X6100 and PackTenna Random Wire”

  1. Hi Thomas,
    Interesting to read your view on this packtenna – may be another to add to my collection!

    On a separate point I’d be interested to see a back to back review between the X5105 and the X6100….

    Richard M0RGM

    1. A few others have asked for this, so I will plan to do a video and short write-up comparing the two. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I keep looking for the packtenna but of course it is always out of stock. Someday, I will hit the button at the correct minute……..

    Thanks again and 73
    WB8YXF

    1. You might join their email discussion group. George tends to announce when units are back in stock (and they can sell out quickly).

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  3. Great video, thanks. It just made my decision between the G90 and x6100 even more difficult. I thought I would need the 20w for POTA, but you did great with just 10w or less.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.