Regular readers of QRPer.com might question the wording in my title since I’ve already posted several field reports and even a full review of the Xiegu X6100. So why would this X6100 be considered a “new” radio–?
Since I go over this in more detail in the activation video (linked and embedded below), I’ll give you the nutshell version here:
My activations with the X6100 early this year (2022) were all performed using a loaner unit sent to me by Radioddity. I kept that unit for a few weeks, shipped it on, and purchased one of my own.
In February, when I received the X6100 I purchased, I immediately noticed a small mechanical issue with the encoder.
I tried fixing it (with instructions received from Xiegu) but in the end had to return the transceiver for replacement.
The X6100 unit in this field report is my replacement–technically, the third X6100 I’ve had in my hands, and this was my first activation using it.
Many of you have asked why I haven’t taken the X6100 to the field more often this year and this is why. I basically didn’t have a functioning unit for most of February, March, and April. Radioddity was quite responsive to my issues with the X6100, but frankly I had a lot going on during that time frame so it took longer than normal to troubleshoot, modify, test, and send back the faulty unit.
Fortunately, the replacement X6100 has no encoder issues other than the brake is very tight. I’m not willing to break the warranty seal on this unit to adjust it, so I’ll just live with a much-tighter-than-I’d-like encoder.
[Update: Bob (W0BNC) points out that the tight brake is due to friction caused by a felt pad under the X6100 encoder knob. The remedy is to pull off the rubber ring around the encoder knob, loosen the set screw, lift the knob slightly off the body, and retighten. I’ll do this when I’m back with the X6100 after summer travels. Thanks, Bob!]
X6100 field kit test
The kit consists of:
- The Xiegu X6100 QRP transceiver,
- a BNC binding post adapter,
- the X6100 battery charger,
- a 31′ speaker wire antenna
- 25 meters of 2mm throw line,
- a weaver 8oz weight, and a
- logging pad and pencil.
Everything, save the antenna, fits in my Red Oxx Hound EDC pack.
I’ve decided that the X6100 will live at my parents’ home in the NC foothills, so I’ll always have a field radio kit available while staying there overnight.
Lake Norman State Park (K-2740)
The weather couldn’t have been better: it was sunny, warm (but not too hot), and the relative humidity was low.
Honestly, it was perfect POTA weather!
- Xiegu X6100
- Speaker wire antenna with a 31′ radiator, 17.5′ counterpoise using one BNC Binding Post Adapter (affiliate link) click here to read about building this antenna in the field.
- N0SA portable paddles
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Mini Arborist throw line kit: Tom Bihn Small Travel Tray, Marlow KF1050 Excel 2mm Throwline, and Weaver 8 or 10oz weight
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- Moleskine Cahier Journal (affiliate link)
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil (affiliate link)
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera with Joby tripod (affiliate links)
On the air
Just throw a line in a tree, pull the radiator up, lay the counterpoise on the ground in a straight line, and plug the BNC binding post adapter into the X6100. There’s not even a feed line to deal with.
I started my activation by hopping on the 20 meter band. It seemed like I was calling “CQ POTA” for quite a while before I worked two stations, so I decided to QSY to the 17 meter band.
Turns out, 17 meters was a no-go.
Herein lies my biggest gripe about the X6100: overloading.
On the 17 meter band the receiver overloaded and caused splatter in the audio up and down the band. This served as a reminder that (unfortunately) an external BCI filter is a necessity in any X6100 field kit. I need to build one.
I assume the overloading was due to a local AM broadcaster–one that has never affected any of my other transceivers–but I didn’t hang around to investigate. Instead, I QSYed to the 30 meter band.
Thirty meters turned out to be a much more productive band than 20 meters and overloading wasn’t a factor.
On 30 meters, I worked thirteen stations in 15 minutes.
I decided to then QSY to the 40 meter band and it, too, was in much better shape than 20 meters. I worked 6 stations in 6 minutes!
Having run out of time, called QRT after a total of 34 minutes on the air.
Here’s how well the speaker wire performed paired with the X6100 pushing 5 watts of power on 20, 30, and 40 meters:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, there are no edits during the activation and no ads. I have embedded chapters so you can skip through the video if you wish:
BTW: Folks ask why I don’t monetize my YouTube channel.
It’s because I don’t really consider myself a “YouTuber” and I don’t want ads interrupting the activation. Lots of subscribers use these videos for CW practice and if I were in their shoes, I would get frustrated with ads randomly popping in during the middle of copy. I want these videos to closely represent what it’s actually like in the field (where there are surprisingly no ads!).
Some of my favorite ham radio channels do monetize and I’ve no problem with that at all. I just prefer not doing it myself.
Of course, I’d also 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.
If you’ve been out there activating or chasing during the past couple of months (May/June 2022) and found conditions to be rough, that’s because they are. It’s no reflection on you as an operator, it’s simply that propagation has been unstable and QSB very prominent. There are still excellent openings for DX although the windows can be short.
Since this field report on May 9, 2022, I’ve found it takes much longer to complete an activation.
As with fishing, bird-watching, or astronomy: simply take your time, keep your expectations in check, and enjoy the fresh air.
The contacts will all eventually come in…it might simply take a bit more patience.
Have a brilliant week everyone and I hope you all get a bit of radio therapy!
Cheers & 72/73,