I sold the Xiegu X6100 (G106 Incoming)

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing the classifieds at QTH.com and saw a WTB (Want To Buy) ad for the Xiegu X6100. Without giving it a lot of through, I contacted the ham who posted the note and gave him a fair deal on my X6100.

As I mentioned in my last field report with the X6100, this unit was actually very new. The first X6100 I used was a loaner from Radiodity, the second I purchased and discovered it had a little mechanical issue with the encoder–it was returned–and the third was this unit which I received in April 2022.  It had only been on one activation.

Why did I sell the X6100?

I had some fun with the X6100 on a few very successful activations in the field and made numerous contacts with the X6100 at home. Why would I sell it?

The biggest reason is since I already own the Xiegu X5105–and personally preferred it over the X6100–I simply wasn’t using the X6100 a lot.

Specifically:

  • The X5105 will run about 2 to 3 times longer than the X6100 on a fully-charged internal battery.
  • The X5105 isn’t as prone to front-end overload
  • The X5105’s audio is marginally better than that of the X6100 in CW mode. (To be clear, though, neither radio has great audio.)

I’d planned to build a little BCI filter for my X6100, to mitigate the overloading, but at the end of the day, I found I just wasn’t reaching for the rig when heading out the door.

If I were primarily a digital mode operator, I think I would have kept the X6100. It’s a pretty easy radio to use and set up for digital modes.

Final X6100 thoughts

As I pointed out in my X6100 review, the radio is a bit of a “mixed bag.” It also seems to be a polarizing radio out there in ham radio community: some love it, some hate it.

Me personally? It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

That said, it is a very interesting radio platform and I am very curious if others will develop a Linux-based operating system that might allow for things like native digital mode operation.

G106 Incoming

Mike (K8MRD) has sent me the latest Xiegu G106 unit he reviewed over on his YouTube channel. I should receive it in a few days.

Josh, over at the Ham Radio Crash Course channel, also recently reviewed the G106.

Check out both of these reviews.

The take-away is that it’s really not a great radio, but it is very cheap. In fact, Mike was very vocal about how much he disliked the first G106 unit he received.

After seeing Mike and Josh’s reviews, I contacted Radioddity and told them to skip me in the review process. Frankly, reviews and field tests take time, and I don’t have a lot of that particular resource to waste.

Radioddity encouraged me to reconsider because new firmware promised to fix many of the issues noted in previous reviews. Indeed, they told me that the first thing I’ll need to do to the unit I receive is update the firmware.

I decided that what I’ll do is take the G106 to the field and do a couple of real-time, real-life activations with it. We’ll explore its performance together and see if it’s worth the $320 price.

Being completely transparent here, I’m biased towards paying more to get a better quality radio. I’m not so sure how well the G106 and I will get along, but I’ll give it a good ole college try.

Of course, I’ll give the G106 a heavy workout in CW mode. Maybe I’ll eat my words, but I’ve no intention of adding the G106 to my radio collection; I do want to give it a fair shake-out in the field though. Very curious if it’ll have any issues with front-end overloading.

Stay tuned!

27 thoughts on “I sold the Xiegu X6100 (G106 Incoming)”

  1. “Radioddity encouraged me to reconsider because new firmware promised to fix many of the issues noted in previous reviews.”

    Hmm….sound familiar? Just like the X6100, here we are nearly a year later and 7…..1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 firmware updates later and there are still original features that are on the spec sheet that are not working. We are all beta testers for Xeigu. Don’t get me wrong the radio works for most of the stuff that I want to use it for but it’s not the 705 killer that it was meant to be and does not live up to it’s specifications.

  2. Congrats Thomas.

    I sold mine too. I mentioned it in the X6100 users group on FB and someone jumped on it. I’ve since sold him the G90 and my FT-891; part sale and part trades for stuff I needed.

    I think I will pass on the G106, but I may get a 5105 or another G90. Those radios are not perfect but I am tired of playing beta tester for new Xiegu radios. They need to perfect their current offerings instead of bringing out new radios.

    W4MKH
    https://w4mkh-qrp.com/

    1. I’ll admit that while I get it that Xiegu products use early adopters for Beta testing, I’m just not a fan of this. I much prefer a radio that hits the market fully-baked. It builds confidence in a brand when they are.

  3. Interesting that Martin Lynch and Son this morning released a YouTube video – as part of their Something for the Weekend series – showing sensitivity and harmonic test results as acceptable.
    Even though they mentioned their purpose was to debunk misinformation about the radio, they did not hook it up to an antenna for a listen. But it’s all interesting and worth a look.
    If word gets out in the dug other community that you’ve sold a radio, tho, we’re all gonna have trouble!🙈
    Looking forward to your review.

    1. Thank you for the tip about the ML&S video. I’ll check it out.

      Honestly, if I didn’t have the X5105, I probably wouldn’t have sold the X6100. Being perfectly honest, though, I haven’t missed it.

  4. Definitely have no plans for a G106. Don’t know what’s happening at the XIEGU factory these days but IMHO, they should forget transceivers and develop another line of products to sell.
    Owned an X5105 for as long as it took me to put it on the air, operate cw and sell it. I found the constant receiver background hash to be annoying and the choppy dot dash ratio could not be adjusted to my liking.
    I don’t own a X6100 but I think it’s another XIEGU that missed its mark in several categories. Just my humble opinion. 72 de KE2YK

  5. While I liked the X6100 and thought it was a fun radio, it wasn’t the one I grabbed so I sold it along with my G90. The QRP radio I take to the field the most is my IC-705. I can’t say enough good things about it. My other choice is my Lab599 TX-500. I do not have any intentions of owning another QRP rig. The two I have will do everything I need.

  6. I appreciate reading about these… um, low-end QRP rigs. I don’t think I will ever be in the market for something like a 705 because for me, QRP means being thrown in a pack and thrown into a Canoe. I have a quality 100w rig, but I don’t want to cry when the QRP rig goes swimming or gets dropped in a ravine (or just succumbs to years of physical bumps).

    For now, it’s the old Youkits Hb1b, but I like watching out for newer rigs in that same price point with more bands, features, or better performance -knowing they will always be engineering compromises. It doesn’t look like Xiegu has quite hit that yet, but happy to keep watching.

    1. You know? For what it does, I’ve only heard positive things about the HB1B. I have a Ten-Tec version of the dual band YouKits I picked up early this year used. Have yet to take it to the field.

  7. I also sold my x6100 and purchased a G106. I found the x6100 to be less than ideal for POTA work mostly due to it’s color screen being difficult to read in daylight. I have been using the G106 for POTA Hunting for a couple of weeks. Granted this is not “field” POTA work. I did test and find the G106 display very easy to read in outdoor daylight which I why I decided to give it a try in the first place. I have had good success in working POTA stations at QRP levels from home and getting good reports. I find the audio more than adequate for CW. I do mostly CW QRP but I did make at least one SSB contact with it and got a good report there also.
    I bought the G106 realizing this is a low end radio at a low end price. It’s ergonomics are bit quirky i.e. the only headphone jack is on the handheld microphone and uses a mono jack. I liked the radio enough to cobble up an adapter for the RJ11 mic jack to plug in my headphones. Details are posted in the G106 Groups.io. I have not had the chance to “field test” the radio so I look forward to reading Thomas’s take on it.

    1. Thank you so much for this feedback, Pete. I’m glad you’re getting some good use out of the G106. I’m truly curious how it’ll handle in the field. I’ll certainly be posting my findings here.

    2. Pete, how fast do you operate CW? I operate CW at around 30 WPM and my sample of the g106 doesn’t hack it. The sidetone sounds OK, but the transmitted signal is uncopiable, everything is run together so that is sounds like a continuous dash. If I lower the speed to about 24 WPM, transmitted CW starts to be copyable, though not completely right. Does your radio work right at 30 WPM? Thanks, Kevin

  8. A very concise and well documented report, have you have put out any books? Well done. I really need to clean up my act. Baby steps I guess.

    1. Thank you so much, Joseph. Very kind of you.

      I haven’t written a book yet, but I’ve thought about a few topics I might put in an eBook form just for fun some day.

  9. I have a number of 100W rigs, IC7610, IC7300, FT991, IC7200, new FTDX10 (love that rig), IC718. I do have IC7300, IC718 & IC7200 in go boxes, use for Field Day.

    But for QRP I do have FT817, IC705 & X6100. I like all of them, but prefer the IC705. I keep the X6100 for use in more rugged events. FT817 has not seen much use lately, but have had lots of fun with it over the last 18 years. I will keep using the IC705, but always take along the X6100. Except for heat issues it is great rig.

    I have no plans for the G106, but would like to hear how it is working out so can tell others that want to get into QRP if the rig is worth it. Price is often an issue with some and I can see the G106 being a popular rig if it works.

    73, ron, n9ee

  10. Over here in the U.K. the radio has been subjected to a few reviews and I think Mike K8MRD got a bad one. I support a previous comment that Martin Lynch & Son has posted a review as well as Waters & Stanton and I think this will give you some comfort. The point well made is that this is a compact cheap radio with a lot of technology and it does not pretend to be a fully fledged bomb proof radio costing 4 times more. Steve from ML&S commented that the issue with filtering can be solved quite easily. But at 5 watts is it an issue? I don’t think so. A lesson for the major 3 is that China keeps on making progress and maybe only a matter of time before a contender for the 817 is on the market – we will see. But as I always say buy and enjoy what you can afford as radio is a great hobby especially outdoors.

  11. I’ll be interested in your take on the G-106 since you’re looking at it from a completely different perspective than the other reviewers. Having said that, I’m not expecting great things. I own the G-90 and I use it but not a lot. It’s works well and I do like the built-in tuner. Based on what we’ve seen to date the G-106 seems like another good, but not well executed idea.
    Between Xiegu’s issues with the botched GSOC, then the 6100’s issues and now the bad reviews on the G-106 you have to wonder why they don’t stop for a bit and take a long hard look at their manufacturing and marketing processes.
    In many ways it seems like they could turn things around by just making these radios open source since a lot of the problems revolve around questionable firmware and software decisions. There are plenty of Hams who have the software skills to make these things work way better which might result in real following. As it is there’s a fair amount of reverse engineering going on already with the 6100. Yes, this is a basic low-cost small light weight radio but every time I hear about reviewers having to receive three radios before they can do an actual test or that the firmware is wonky I take a step back.

  12. Thomas, I really appreciate your candid reviews and field tests. In the time I’ve been reading your blog you have probably saved me more money than you have caused me to spend!

    My current portable stable of radios includes an Elecraft KX2, a Yaesu FT-891, an LNR MTR-3BLCD, and the newest member, a Venus SW-3B. I’m not ready to sell the MTR-3B yet but I have to admit I prefer the SW-3B over the MTR.

  13. Thomas thanks for the solid work and reviews you put out. My current schedule keeps me out from doing radio out in the field with the exception of the occasional camping trip. I’ve got a G90 that’s been a lot of fun but I purchased it after it had been out for almost two years so the firmware was pretty up to date. I’d like something more compact for travel, and I really want to like the X6100 but it looks like I’ll be waiting a while longer or pick up an X5105. Thanks again!

    1. Good luck.

      I think I would like to have a 5105 for a small radio that I could pretty much just throw in the car. Something for when i don’t want to carry the 705.

      Internal battery life on the 5105 and the built in ATU make it an ideal candidate.

  14. I bought the G90 in April 2020 and really enjoy it. About six months ago, the headphone jack caved in. I found a video showing how to open up the head unit and the jack was floating free. It was surface mounted – bad design. I tried to replace it with a more securely mounted jack and I screwed the unit up. I though it was finished and asked Jerry from connect systems what I could do and he said Xiegu would fix it for $99. I sent it to him and it disappeared in China. No word until about it until early last month and it was being shipped back to. Total charge to fix and ship – $73. I couldn’t believe I had it back and I was quickly reminded how much I like this radio.

    I have a 705 and two Mountaintoppers but I keep coming back to the G90. I look at the G106 and I can’t figure out why I would want it compared to the G90. Same with the 6100. I understand why the KX2/3 are popular and I suspect I will own one someday, but they are 3-4 times the price of the G90.

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