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View Full Version : Thoughts on X1M QRP HF Transceiver?



MI0PYN
20th May 2015, 08:17
Hi All,

Has anyone used one of the Xiegu (sp?) X1M QRP transceivers?

I'm pretty desperate to get on HF at this stage, and want a small/compact QRP transceiver. Elecraft are way out of my price league at the moment, as is an FT817.

I've seen mixed reviews of the X1M and I'm not sure how many of them were real issues with the radio, how many of these have been addressed in firmware revisions and how many were people just automatically dissing cheap Chinese transceivers without a realistic view of their limitations.

I've asked on a few websites if there are any 2nd hand ones on offer and not got any nibbles yet.

So, has anyone seen/used one?

G8TDU
26th May 2015, 00:47
I had a quick look at the specs on this, as i hadnt heard of them before. They look nice, but in my opinion i think they are a little pricey. Ive recently picked up a tidy Yaesu HF transceiver for quite a bit less then this second hand.

M0LMK
26th May 2015, 07:09
I would personally save for a bit longer and pick up an FT-817. Proven and reliable.

I know that's not much help to you though!

Essex Ham has a good review... http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/wouxun-x1m-pro-qrp-review.html

Just read that it has no foldback protection so the main PA will go pop if the SWR is over 2. Not good! That alone would stop me from buying one.

MI0PYN
26th May 2015, 08:07
Well, an FT817 was my first choice!, There seems to be very little in the way of real use reviews on the X1M, and I didn't know about the PA being so fragile in higher SWR situations.

As I'm likely to only be able to buy one radio for the foreseeable future, I'd need it to be a good one, so my quest continues...

G4YVM
26th May 2015, 13:45
The X1M is an ergonomic nightmare. I took one apart once (and used it, obviously) and was not impressed. But if they are cheap...

The youkits HB1b is much better - quite a superb radio to be honest and the cheap equal of the elecraft. It is of course only CW, but if you cant use CW I would urge you to take the effort (ten minutes a day for two months will see you...email me if you want help). With CW the HB1b is in your range and it is 100 percent the one to go for.

817s are ok but dinosaurs nowadays, though they do the job well.

Without being nosey, whats your budget and what exactly are the must-have features you need?

David

MI0PYN
26th May 2015, 14:50
Hi David,

Thanks for the pointers. I am serious about CW, but have lacked the time to knuckle down. I have started the K7QO course but do find it harder due to the lack of feedback from someone sending looking at/listening to my responses. This is making it a little slower than I'd like, but I do understand that proficiency comes with practice. Any pointers or tips gladly accepted though, I'll contact you through PM later.

On the rig, to be honest, my budget at the moment is hovering around £50, but in a month or two £200 - £250 would be doable. I'd be saving for 4 - 6 months for the money 2nd hand FT817s are going for. I would like to have SSB available too, I do like talking as well as listening to tonesand the ability to stray into digimodes make the FT817 a good fit. I actually had one for a while, and stupidly sold it to raise some funds for something else, I regret that so much now!

My situation at home means I have nowhere to set up a permanent shack, any operating I do from home will be more or less /P in the garden anyway so I'm looking for a rig that is primarily a portable rig, with an option of using off the dining room table on occasion.

Oh, and I'm happy to work QRP all the time, so a radio with only 5W output is fine for me.

I know, a weird set of requirements, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually.

Stefan

G4YVM
26th May 2015, 15:19
Stefan,
not weird at all...we have all been there.

At 50 quid to be honest, you're looking at a CW kit...plenty out there and they work well. I have just finished an Oxo transmitter...took about an hour to build and works fine. I also patched it through a homebrew 10 watt amp which makes it simply superb. Although it does require a separate receiver of course.

Alternatively, Walford electronics and Kanga do great kits. Mind you, as the projects become "better" so the prices easily hit the 200 quid mark and for that, as you say, you're into X1M, HB1b and even tatty 817 territory. Youkiys also do this type of kit in case you arent confident at building: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Youkits-TJ5A-HF-SSB-CW-20W-TRANSCEIVER-Level-one-Kit-/281482980334?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4189b16bee But again, you'll notice the price!

You will, if you search around, find radios at the 100 - 200 quid level but you'll need to search and perhaps know a bit about telling dogs from good ones.

So, for the 50 quid you have now you'll struggle unless someone does you a favour.

What would I do if I were you? I'd probably do what I did 40 years ago...learn morse, build an Oxo and buy a receiver! My first HF qso was on that kit. Having said that, here's a good transvceiver for less than 50 quid...http://www.kanga-products.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=89


Yes its a kit and yes it's CW...you might see a theme here.


As for learning morse and listening to tones...who does that? I dont. I dont know any CW ops who "listen to tones". When Im head reading morse I am chatting to a guy just like an SSB qso, and I really dont hear tones. If you put in the ten minutes or fifteen minutes a day, no more, you'll be amazed at hpw fast you learn it and once you can read the letters you're away and on air! The avearge qso is quite slow CW (16wpm maybe) and I struggle to find any at 23. I tend to sit around FISTS freqs and there the usual speed is 16 - 18. If you know morse there's a LOT more cheaper rigs around.

Now, Ive got a Walford Berrow here - 1 watt out, 12v power needed, its VFO and on 80m. Works a treat. If you learn morse (and prove it!) I will GIVE it to you free of charge as a gift to a fellow radio amateur. It's been built by me about three years ago and is worth (as a kit) about 80 quid I think).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEHwp5644uE Alas, no SSB on it!

Anyway, Stefan...I'll email you some other stuff I have.

David

G4YVM
26th May 2015, 15:23
Oh, one more thing...






THESE http://www.mkars.org.uk/mkars/mkars80


Are really good. £72 each . Several club members have them, they work well. If you get one but cant build it I will build it for you free of charge. If you are an electronics graduate who builds space ship computers for fun in your lunch hour...my apologies!!!

D

MI0PYN
26th May 2015, 15:40
Hi David,

Thank you, that's a lot of useful info. Tuning around on the WebSDR I tend to find morse that sounds incredibly fast, but I get what you say about most QSOs being around 16-18WPM, I guess it's just a case of getting used to it.

As for listening to tones, do you think it's better to learn to recognise patterns by listening to faster code to try and stop myself from breaking what I hear into dits and dahs and thinking about it? I'm guessing you don't hear dits and dahs, but patterns which make up letters, right?

The £50 comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, and I'd rather save up and then get something better, but I will take a look at some of the kits you referenced. I'm reasonably confident with fairly simple builds having messed with Arduino and electronics for a few years, but it is sometimes a little daunting, and SMD is definitely beyond me or my gear. Most kits seem to use through hole though, which is good.

I'm going to try to dedicate 15 minutes a day to CW and actually stick to it and see how far I can get in a few weeks, as you say once I know the letters, it's a case of listening to code and getting more practice. Sending would then be the logical next step.

Your offer to give me a transceiver is very generous, and that spirit is one the things that draws me to this hobby. Thank you very much, and I may well take you up on that in a few months!

best 73s
Stefan 2I0SEH

G0DZB
26th May 2015, 19:05
Hi David,

Thank you, that's a lot of useful info. Tuning around on the WebSDR I tend to find morse that sounds incredibly fast, but I get what you say about most QSOs being around 16-18WPM, I guess it's just a case of getting used to it. It's a matter of knowing where to listen to get the slower speed contacts. You'll do better away from the very bottom of bands. Around the QRP frequencies on each band is a good starting point.


As for listening to tones, do you think it's better to learn to recognise patterns by listening to faster code to try and stop myself from breaking what I hear into dits and dahs and thinking about it? YES
I'm guessing you don't hear dits and dahs, but patterns which make up letters, right? It is all about the rythmn of the letters not the dots and dashes

best 73s
Stefan 2I0SEH

I have my bronze "Portable Professional" award all on CW at ~14 wpm and mostly on 10W so there are plenty of contacts to be had :-)

PeterO

G7CSM
27th May 2015, 16:42
So far ( 9 months ) never had a problem with the PA even with some suspect SWR, filtered for 80,40,20,15 and 10 but can be "opened up " via software for top band, 17 and 12 using external filters. Only CW and SSB so if you want data then the 817 , which is a great rig is better. 73,s Rob.

G7CSM
27th May 2015, 16:44
Use one all the time, great little rig. 73,s Rob.

M0LMK
4th Aug 2015, 11:59
Do any of our members who use one have a video clip of it being used in anger?