Xiegu X6200 Trial by Flare: Answering your questions and sharing my field notes

Update as of May 31, 2024: I’ve just learned that the prototype unit I used for this activation has been superseded by a production model Xiegu X6200. While many of my initial impressions remain valid, some of the bugs and quirks I noted have likely been addressed in the production model.

When I published this post, I was under the impression that this loaner unit was representative of the final production run. In light of this new information, I’ve removed the mention of some specific bugs until I have the opportunity to evaluate the production run unit.

I’ll be receiving a production model loaner in the coming weeks, and I’ll update this post and share a video demonstrating the updated radio. Stay tuned!

After publishing my post yesterday morning, I ran a few errands in town, then headed to Lake Powhatan in Pisgah National Forest to perform a POTA activation with the new Xiegu X6200.

In short, my buddy Vince summed it all up in a text he sent, stating that I sure picked an interesting time to get on the air. I received this image from Vince–while calling CQ POTA for the 100th time–showing the results of our X-Class Flare:

It was a radio blackout.

In the end, I did log eleven stations: 1 on 30 meters, and 10 on 20 meters, all with CW.


Eventually, I did plug in an external battery and run the X6200 at its full 8 watts of power in SSB mode, but there were no takers on 20 meters. The bands were so dead, I even received reports from some of you that the FT8 portions of the band had little to no activity.

That dead!

I did manage to hunt some other park activators successfully–we activators had to work together to get through this one!

Video: Change of plans

I had originally planned to create a video of the activation, write a detailed field report, and answer some of the questions you left in the comments section of my previous post. I was actually able to make a video, but it’s incredibly long. Because of that, I’m only going to upload it to Vimeo for QRPer.com Patreon supporters to view. I simply don’t want to deal with the inevitable drive-by comments on YouTube from people expecting quick-hit thoughts about the X6200 in a nearly two-hour video.

No worries, though, I will make another video witht he X6200 in the next few days and publish that one on YouTube.

In the meantime, I’ve also taken some thorough notes that I’ll be sharing here.

X6200: Initial Impressions and Notes

Disclaimer: It’s important to keep in mind that this is a prototype loaner unit, and the firmware is still in its early stages (Version 1.0). Because of this, the following observations and notes should be taken with a grain of salt.

Many issues will likely be addressed in firmware updates that Xiegu will be releasing in the coming days and weeks.

The date of publication for this article is May 30, 2024. Considering

I will eventually be posting a comprehensive review of the X6200, but only after I’ve spent a significant amount of time (weeks, not just hours) with the radio. This initial write-up is just to share my first impressions.

Moving on…

Since there simply wasn’t enough band activity and the X-class flare created more band noise than normal, I wasn’t able to properly evaluate the X6200’s filtering (thus how it might handle a pileup, crowded band conditions, etc.). I also couldn’t get a good read on the radio’s noise floor and overall audio characteristics.

I did, however, spend nearly two full hours with the X6200 going full bore sending CQs, so I had quite a bit of hands-on time, and I feel the X6200 got a proper burn-in period.

First, I’ll share the observations I made (both pros and cons), then I’ll try to answer your questions.

Field Notes

  • Fit and Finish: The X6200 feels like a quality radio. Overall, it has slightly more heft than the X6100. The removable battery seats itself securely, and all of the ports and seals feel well-designed.
  • Removable Battery: Speaking of the battery, this is a big positive for the X6200 over the X6100 and X5105.
  • Color Backlit Screen: The 4″ color screen is superb. The contrast is excellent–black is very dark and lighter colors are crisp. I feel like this screen is better than that on the X6100. It is not a touch screen. See photo below of the screen in full sunlight.
  • Side Rails: I know some users might prefer not having built-in side rails on their X6200. Personally, I like them. I don’t feel they intrude, and they seem quite sturdy, thus should protect the front panel without needing to add a 3rd party protective cage.
  • Legs: he pull-out legs on the side of the radio fold up flush to the body when not in use. Also, the spring mechanism feels better than that of, say, the X5105. Time will tell how well it holds up, of course. The operating angle is quite good when the legs are deployed.
  • Built-In Speaker Audio: Again, band conditions were not ideal to test this since noise levels were higher than normal and signals were weak. Still, I felt like the audio fidelity was a bit lacking. I had the volume turned up to 100% the entire time I operated and felt like I had to strain, at times, to hear incoming signals. I’ll have a better opinion of this in due time.
  • Power Levels: Interestingly, the X6200’s power levels are 4 watts via the attached Li-Ion Battery pack and 8 watts when connected to an external power source. The X6100 was 5 watts (battery) and 10 watts (external). This would have no impact on my purchase decision, but I imagine some SSB ops will be disappointed the X6200 can’t produce 10 watts like the X6100.

Your Questions

Many of you had some of the same questions, thus I’ll try to group together answers below. Note that I have not yet tested the X6200 on FT8 or any digital modes. Since it’s still such early days, I haven’t formed an opinion about some aspects of this radio–this is just how I operate. Keep in mind that I will eventually post a full review, and when I do, it’ll be after spending weeks (not hours) with this radio, and I’ll feel more comfortable making statements.

Your questions…

Does chassis heat up after extended use?

Many of you were curious about this because both the X6100 and G90 can get quite hot after extended use. Fortunately, it seems the X6200 does not get terribly hot. I ran it for probably 90 minutes with the internal battery, thus 4 watts of output power, and the top of the radio got warm, but not hot to the touch.

I only ran the X6200 at 8 watts of power for about 15-20 minutes, and most of that time was in SSB. After some updates, I’ll see how it handles FT8 at 8 watts during long sessions as a worse-case scenario.

Does the receiver overload? Birdies?

This is a weakness of the X6100 and G106. I noticed no broadcast band interference during this particular activation, but it was not terribly close to an AM broadcaster. I will be testing this further in future outings and from the QTH. I haven’t done a thorough scan of the bands for birdies yet (I will, of course), but I did notice some internally-generated noise on the spectrum display (mentioned above). Whether or not this is audible will have to be tested on a dummy load soon.

Can you expand the radio?

Some have asked if the X6200 offered expansion options (additional bands, external monitors, etc.). I can’t answer this yet, but I will check with Xiegu.

I would be surprised if you could add VHF/UHF to this radio—it already covers 160-6 meters. I doubt it’s designed for expansion beyond those frequencies.

“Fun Factor” and Ease of Use/Ergonomics?

The experience using the X6200, so far, is very much like using the X6100. It takes time to boot up and shut down, but the ergonomics are pretty acceptable. There is a learning curve with the X6200, but if you’re familiar with the X6100, you’ll catch on very quickly.

Many asked about the ease of changing the CW speed mid-QSO. It’s easier than it was with the X5105, but it still takes opening the KEY menu, selecting CW speed, then adjusting it.

The tuning knob is much like that on the X6100…quite acceptable for a field-portable radio.

Internal Speaker

Again, I feel like the audio fidelity of the internal speaker is a bit weak. That said, I have limited time using this radio and will be able to comment more confidently later.

CW Bandwidths

I actually have an inquiry with Xiegu now about the ability to change CW filter width. It’s quite easy to change the high/low settings, but I’ve yet to sort out how to widen the widest default filter (500Hz). It’s been so long since I’ve used the X6100, I can remember just how variable the filter widths were–of course, the X6200 has a different architecture. I assume I’ll be able to sort this out, though.

CW Message Memories

I’ll save you YouTube and Internet searching. Here’s how to use your CW message memories once you’ve added them to each memory position:

Press the APP button, then press the MODEM button, then select the MODE as CW. Next, press the MSG button, and your CW message memories will be there.

While in this mode (using CW message memories), you can’t adjust filters, etc., without exiting the mode, then re-entering it via the APP button, Modem, and making sure CW is the mode, then pressing the MSG button again.

Seems overly complicated, but it’s the same way that the X6100 was set up. (Sorry, John…)

QSK (Full Break-In)

The X6200 uses relays (not pin diode switching), just like its predecessors.

There is no full break-in operation because there’s always muting while operating.

Display in Full Sunlight

I feel like the display is easy to read outdoors. In full, unobstructed sunlight, it is a little more difficult to read, especially if there are additional items glaring on the screen. Even then, though, with any amount of shading, it’s still pretty easy to read.

I took the following photo as a worst-case scenario in full sunlight directed at the screen:

LED indicator

As mentioned above, the X6200 has an LED indicator located to the left of the red power button. The LED is kind of buried in the radio, and the lens is a transparent XIEGU label.

In a dark room, you can see the LED. Outside in full sunlight? It’s very difficult. The LED only illuminates part of three letters of the XIEGU label. An odd design choice.


I took the following measurements with the X6200 hooked up to an external antenna at the QTH.

Receive current with volume at low/moderate level:

Receive current with volume at 100%:

Transmit current with 4 watts output:

Transmit current with 8 watts output:

Note that the voltage was set to approx. 13.8 VDC.

Battery Life

After nearly 90 minutes of operating, the battery display turned red, meaning it needed to be recharged soon.

I’m uncertain yet if the charging mechanism automatically kicks in when an external battery is applied. I will need to investigate this a bit further. Ideally, I would hope that you could change settings so that the radio will only use the external battery for power, instead of power and charging.

What I haven’t yet tested…

Readers asked about a few things that I haven’t checked out thoroughly enough to comment on yet, including: wireless connectivity, digital modes, filtering, receiver overload, battery charging characteristics, etc.


Update: again, I’m being sent a representative unit from the first production run and I should have it within a week or so. I will check it for any issues and report back here with what I find.

I’m looking forward to continue testing this radio under different conditions and share a more comprehensive review once the X6200 firmware has had a chance to mature and I’m holding a production model. Until then, stay tuned for more updates and some activation SOTA/POTA videos using a wide variety of antennas!

Thank you

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 not a requirement, as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.

As I mentioned above, Patreon supporters can watch the (very) long activation video from Lake Powhatan. The Patreon platform connected to Vimeo makes 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!
Cheers & 72,
Thomas (K4SWL)

12 thoughts on “Xiegu X6200 Trial by Flare: Answering your questions and sharing my field notes”

  1. Wow, that is a very thorough commentary! I will need to read it again much slower.
    I could briefly hear you in the noise but it went away to static and I didn’t hear a return. That was close for these conditions.
    Thanks for your hard work and experimentation with such a variety of ham equipment. Cheers, K7ULM

  2. Thanks Thomas. It’s obvious that the X6200 wasn’t designed by someone who understands CW.

  3. I agree with John AE5X. If they had to fix similar problems at the beginning before they rolled out the X6100, it seems troublesome that they didn’t learn from their own mistakes. That isn’t very reassuring. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they will fix this all before they start shipping to customers. ???????????????? Fingers crossed.

  4. Hi, All,

    Note: I’ve added an update to the top of this post to reflect new information I’ve received from Xiegu about this particular X6200. Please read the update for the latest details.

    Additional note: I’ve temporarily removed some specific bug mentions until I can test the production unit and confirm whether those issues have been resolved. I want to ensure my review reflects the final product as accurately as possible (and to be fair to the manufacturer). I was initially under the impression that this model was representative of the first production run, but it seems there may have been a slight misunderstanding in translation.


  5. In a different video I saw that these “prototype” units have firmware version 1.0.0 published in early May. It will be interesting to see which firmware version shows up with the first production units. Seems to me that if they have already released a newer firmware version for production that perhaps they could have sent that to you. Thank you for doing such a thorough review.

  6. I hear “it’s SDR, we fix it in software” all the time and their early bird purchase ends up needing hardware mods

    Take an extra month and really test it out in the field before taking orders

    John VE3IPS

    X6200 is a winner once they work out the bugs but it’s not a 705 or a 818 replacement, it’s it’s own QRP radio

    Thanks Thomas for your honesty reporting of facts

  7. “I hear “it’s SDR, we fix it in software” all the time.” So true, taking 5 yrs+ if the product stays around that long…. Watched some other YouTube tests on the 6200 [sorry Thomas!]. It seems to be a big improvement – except for the proprietry battery page [sorry if it’s NOT their own footprint, etc.]. The inexcusable bit is that they don’t use PIN (sic 1N4005-7) diode switching for QSK. Really, they could just copy loads of circuits and make the circuit cheaper/better. The GUI should at least be made OpenSource, even if the core SDR code isn’t. Then at least the menus could be easily fixed. I’m writing this in Vivaldi Browser, where the core is Chrome, but the GUI can be completely customised in seconds. All my menus are how I want them, not how Google wanted them. Identical to the 6200 situation. Lend me a 6200 and I’ll soon tell ’em how to fix their CW.

    1. Sorry, I meant ‘pack’ not page. I LOVE that it isn’t a touch screen but uses buttons which are reassigned along the bottom. There should be three up the left side too. Touch screens are awful. Unfortunately, Icom may go from the IC-7851 buttons-on-the-side format to a touch screen in their ‘X60’ project [which is just a 2 rx SDR, 200 W o/p DPD]. HP started the simple screen, buttons along the sides with their HP-8510 network analyzers in 1988 and they were super! Not least that they could use the same hardware over many families of instruments after that.

  8. Thank you, Thomas!
    Splendid detail for a first outing with a radio that caught my interest from the moment of your first preliminary pictures.
    I’ll keep my 6100 for now, pending further reviews … and anyway, a KH1 is at the top of the purchase queue at the moment.

  9. Interesting radio. No birdies because of direct conversion. That it is direct conversion makes me wonder how much if at all it might be plagued by the same malady the IC 7300 had when operated in either a field day environment or when for example, a European op working 40 M traffic with one of the European powerhouse broadcasters a few Kc or so up or down the band and say 100 Km distance from our op. Main thing I am concerned about is the Rx section’s ability to reject strong adjacent signals and how effective the bandpass and DSP filters are in a really crappy environment. That and use in an urban environment where there are numerous noise radiators everywhere. How effective is the Rx section in digging signals out of the garbage. A kind person I know related that their example worked well in an urban environment in a room full of computers, monitors, chargers, power supplies yadayada even when using a less than optimal antenna. So I found that interesting. Whatever I buy next will be used for a combination of CW/digital work with the occasional SSB QSO…..and SWL’ing and listening. Where I live is an urban environment with poor soil ground conductivity, so even grounding is going to be of marginal effectiveness although it will I would guess, improve things a bit. Going to be interesting to see how the non prototype units fare in this regard. I do like the built in antenna tuner and sound card.. Those for me are pluses. One wonders if the antenna tuner is as good as the G 90 which some say will tune a wet string.
    Also wonder if Rob Sherwood is going to put this on his bench and do an eval.

    Thanks & 73

  10. Are the upper buttons LED-lit like on the X6100? And it would be interesting to know if the jack sockets are again just SMD-soldered like on the X6100 or at least thru hole. There were several reports of broken sockets for the X6100!

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