Over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to give the Xiegu G106 a thorough workout in the field. This little HF QRP radio is on loan to me from Radioddity who has very kindly been quite flexible about the loan period.
I want to give the G106 a fair shake-out because I believe it must be the least expensive multi-mode, full HF coverage transceiver on the market. Field ops are always looking for portable, affordable, effective radios to take to the field so many are considering the G106.
Of course, you simply can’t get benchmark performance out of a low-cost leader.
My full review of the Xiegu G106 will be in the May 2023 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine. It’s one of the longest reviews I’ve published in TSM because I try to fully explore the pros and cons of this pint size rig in order that pretty much anyone can make a purchase decision based on their own preferences and requirements.
POTA Plan B
On Saturday, March 18, 2023, I decided to take the G106 out for a very brief activation during a return trip to my QTH.
My park of choice was Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861) because it’s conveniently located, is an excellent POTA site, and I wanted to fit in a quick hike as well. Tuttle’s two mile loop fit the bill perfectly.
When I arrived at the park entrance, however, the gates were closed. I had double checked Tuttle’s schedule in advance and was under the impression that they had started opening the park on Saturdays again for the season.
I really wanted to fit in a decent hike so the next logical park choice was Lake James State Park. It didn’t require a major detour and I was certain it would be open.
Lake James State Park (K-2739)
Lake James has two major access points: the Paddy’s Creek Access and Catawba River Access.
I prefer the Catawba River Access even though it’s much smaller than Paddy’s Creek. For one thing, it’s always less busy and they’ve better spots to set up for POTA (since I like hanging wires trees more often than not). Although the Catawba River access lacks the trail network found at Paddy’s Creek, they do have a few trails that can be stitched together for a nice workout.
After arriving at the park, I put on my hiking boots and walked the Fox Den Loop and a bit of the Lake Channel Overlook.
I hiked back to my car, ate a bite of lunch, then grabbed my radio gear for some cheap POTA fun!
Lately 10 meters has been wide open at times, so I had a hankering to start on 10 meters, then move to a different band if there wasn’t a lot of activity.
Since I wasn’t planning to use an ATU with the G106 (which, of course, doesn’t have an internal ATU), I needed an antenna that I could configure to be resonant on both 10 meters and 17 meters: the two bands I planned to operate.
The Chelegance MC-750 vertical once again fit the bill!
After I started recording my activation video and while I set up the G106, I demoed my simple N1JEO Battery Tester by connecting it to my freshly-charged 3Ah 12V Bioenno battery pack.
Joel sent me this tester a couple years ago (see photo above taken at the QTH). He builds little accessories like this for his club and just for fun. I checked with him and he does have about 20 or so of these he could sell for $20 each shipped in the US, if you’re interested. He might have some 3D printed case color options as well. This is a fully-assembled and tested unit. A link to his email is in the gear list below.
It’s super simple to operate–if you’d like to see it in action, check out my activation video below!
I turned on the G106 and heard no broadcast band interference.
I believe the G106 is a little less susceptible to broadcast interference when connected to a vertical rather than a long wire antenna like an EFHW. That and there are no AM broadcasters near Lake James that I know of.
Still, I attached my inline K9DP BCI filter for good measure. Its insertion loss is modest at <0.3dB between 3-30MHz, so why not?
Time to hop on the air!
- Xiegu G106 (note: using this link will include a $15 discount for you and a commission to QRPer.com)
- K9DP BCI Filter Kit
- Chelegance MC-750
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- CW Morse CNC Machined Paddles
- Blue Ridge Overland Gear Gadget Bag
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Rite In The Rain Notepad
- N1JEO Battery Tester (contact Joel for availability)
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
I started calling CQ POTA on 10 meters and was very quickly rewarded with two distant stations: Michael (N7CCD) in Washington State, and Jean Baptiste (F4ILH) in France.
Not bad at all with 5 watts into a small vertical!
I continued calling CQ on 10 meters, but there were no others takers. After a few minutes I moved to 17 meters which was much more productive: in 13 minutes, I worked 13 stations including one Park-to-Park with Joe (N1QD).
I was well behind schedule at this point, so I called QRT with a total of 15 stations logged.
I’m so glad I fit this short activation into my schedule–it was amazing fun!
Here’s what this 5 watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map (yellow lines are 10M, purple lines 17M). Click to enlarge:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.
Xiegu G106 Questions?
In each activation video, I’ve tried to share some of my thoughts about the radio, but if you’re seriously considering purchasing one, I’d encourage you to check out my detailed review in the May 2023 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine.
I’ll post this same review on QRPer.com in June, but you should grab The Spectrum Monitor anyway! It’s an amazing radio publication despite the fact that I write features for it! Annual subscriptions are also very affordable.
I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them.
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.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me!
Here’s wishing you an amazing weekend!
Cheers & 72,