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Reviews For: Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver
Reviews: 79MSRP: 499
G90 is a portable 20W HF amateur radio transceiver with an
SDR architecture with built-in auto antenna tuner. The
display unit and the radio can be separated. It is a new
member of the Xiegu product family and the first model of
the G series.

SDR structure, 24-bit data size @48kHz sampling rate,

it has excellent transceiving performance and a highly
configurable function experience;

The design of detachable display unit allows you to
flexibly arrange the position of the radio;

Built-in high-performance auto antenna tuner to meet your
needs at any time, so the antenna is no longer a problem.

Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K3DMM Rating: 2023-01-04
Great Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was able to find a used, but nearly new, G90 last summer. I really love this radio and am amazed at the reports I get. I use this mostly for portable use and also enjoy hooking it up in my shack just for fun. It's so easy to operate and has the most impressive internal tuner. Once i had found out how versatile this radio was, I knew i wanted one. I've made several significant DX contacts and much to their surprise on only 20 watts. I'm glad I have mine and it's a lot of fun to operate on.
K1IO Rating: 2023-01-03
Almost great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I'd give this 4 1/2 stars if I could. It is 5 stars for value. Just a few quirks show up now and then. First, the really good -- you could call the G90 a really great 20 watt antenna tuner with attached transceiver to drive it. This can *almost* load up a piece of wet spaghetti. I am using a 20m dipole and have gotten FT8 signals out on 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. To be sure it is *really* touchy on 17m, but that is so far off resonance that you can't expect much.

The front panel is crowded with little buttons, but given the space there isn't much room to make it easier. My thumbnails work on the little buttons. The CAT is pretty good too, which helps, but many functions do require knobs and buttons. Downside: The arrangement of some of the functions is just really obscure. You need the manual or a cheat sheet handy. There are single presses, long presses, double presses, and those again with the function key. Plus the knob menu. Tuning is also a little rough, as it is not dynamic - you press to go from 100 to 10 to 1 kHz to 100 to 10 Hz steps; it thus takes four presses to go back up (say 100 Hz to 1 kHz). These are my main complaints; the user interface is a bit rough.

The display is small but incredibly functional. I give it credit for making great use of space. For instance the bottom centimeter or so is not a precise panadaptor but you can see if there's activity nearby. (But using that space for CW decode is a waste; that function is too touchy to be useful.) The screen shows power supply voltage, power out, SWR, ALC, and more, and that actually helps, especially when you're working the tuner hard.

Performance seems quite good. For some reason 20m seems louder than other bands, not just because of the resonant antenna I have, so I usually throw on the attenuator on 20. I haven't seen receiver overload, a major concern, but then it seems like there are no high-powered hams in my immediate neighborhood. Huge RF from broadcast towers (TV, FM, AM) nearby but not on HF band. So it sounds good.

I'm mostly using it on FT8 and FT4 (FT8's impatient cousin) and the hookup wasn't hard (you need the data adapter). One glitch is that sometimes FLrig seems to throw it into "split" mode and you're transmitting off frequency; you have to keep an eye on it (also on the little screen). On CW, the very tunable bandpass filtering (set upper and lower bounds as you wish) shows off why SDR is the way to go. This is an under $500 radio with flexible filtering that would have cost hundreds on an analog radio.

The instructions say it needs 8 amps. A review somewhere said that it only used 6 amps. Maybe true on SSB. I had a 6 amp supply lying around so I used it... and it craps out at 15 watts output on FT8, so full power may well require an 8 amp supply. Just pointing that out. Update: It does do 20 watts; I just need to keep the voltage on that 6A supply above 13.6.

All told this is the most fun radio I've owned. Not perfect but really amazing for such a small, inexpensive package. I waited for a while reading what others said before choosing it and I know I made the right choice.

Update 1/2013: After about a year of daily indoor use, it has developed a modest glitch. Sometimes the received signal strength just goes down by itself, coming back if I wiggle any of the rear connectors. It sounds like a loose connection or dirty relay. So while the radio still works okay with that occasional extra effort, it suggests that these aren't built to the very highest quality standards. Not that surprising given the origin and price, and still a great fun toy.
N7BWB Rating: 2023-01-02
Pretty Amazing Little Rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I've owned this rig for about two weeks now and am very impressed. I had my doubts about initial "quality" but it is built soundly and feels like you're holding something substantial in your hand. I've had no issues at all with the buttons not responding. Although I've owned a few SDRs now, SDRIQ, RSP1A and RSPdx, this is my first SDR xcvr, coming from my trustworthy Kenwood TS-440SAT and Ten Tec Scout. I've wanted a QRP rig for a long time, and I'm glad I waited.

The proof is in the pudding as they say, so here are a few comments from QSO's:
20 meters:
"Congrats on the great signal 5x9 plus" 10 watts - 814 miles
"Great QRP signal 5x9" 10 watts - 338 miles
"Perfectly readable" - 10 watts - 1840 miles
"5x4" - 2 watts - 1755 miles
40 meters:
"5x4 and perfect copy" - 2 watts - 362 miles
Numerous net check-ins with similar comments.

These contacts were all made from my QTH on a MFJ-2010 OCFD feed point at 28', configured as a sloper with the legs pointed roughly SSW and NNW. I'll be using this rig camping with a home-brew 66' dipole. The tuner will handle the rest.

Speaking of, the tuner in this rig is a work of art - it can tune 80 meters on my MFJ-2010 down to 1.5:1, an antenna designed for 40-6. The fact that it has a tuner at all at this price point is amazing. The fact that it is this good is groundbreaking.

I've used the G90 mobile with ham sticks on 20 and 40, and received good reports.

Being a medium wave DXer I was intrigued by the possibilities of using this as a MW DX machine. Sadly, it is not that, the "front end" overloads significantly on my (too close) local stations unless I use the attenuator. But I didn't buy it for MW DXing.

As I am in my late 60's, the small screen requires me to use reading glasses. Considering the size and capabilities of this little rig, it's a worthwhile trade-off.

I purchased a Beaudens 166 watt hour solar generator to power this rig, and it has powered it all day in my use.

Whether you're a new ham, or a seasoned old Elmer, this little rig will surprise you with what it can do, and how inexpensively it can do it.

Update: Four months into owning this rig, I am still beyond impressed. I'm now using a cable-connected powered Bluetooth Bose speaker connected to the headphone jack and the audio is superb, and makes for much easier listening.

Update #2: Two years later, still, a very impressive rig. Best contact to date has been a VK while running 20 watts with my OCFD. Not sure who was more shocked about the contact, the VK ham or me. I recently purchased an FTDX10, but I'm keeping the G90 for portable/mobile use. It's been a blast to own.
N8MRC Rating: 2023-01-01
Good portable HF rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Good little radio for the money. It's my go to radio for POTA activations, 20w is enough power. Updating the FW is a pain in the butt but it can be done. The tuner will tune a wet noodle.
WB8ICU Rating: 2022-12-31
well worth the money Time Owned: more than 12 months.
g90 does everything it claims. took awhile to get used to all the features. I found that lowering rf gain to 35 cleared up the excessive noise. with 20 watts i can still copy anyone i'm able to transmit to. I only work cw most of the time, but I did find it is much better suited to ssb. The internal tuner is phenomenal! my biggest problem is the sdr , which I don't really know how to use.also, updating is not explained very well, so I am still using 1.74 version. For the money, you'll not find anything better.

I have now had the rig for 2 years. I have more to say about cw on the rig. The receive audio is very harsh, almost non readable on some stations, regardless of agc or rf gain adjustments. NOT AS BAD ON SSB, which I really don't use. I tried using headphones, 8 ohm and 600 ohms--no difference.also tried using amplified speaker since there is no external speaker output; forcing you to use headphone jack,which is very low audio. very disappointing...I wanted to put new review on so I could change to 3 star rating, but can't seem to find what to click on.
K0CRX Rating: 2022-12-29
Disappointing Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The good: Cute, small and compact, lots of features, the bandscope and waterfall are good, the screen is crisp and clear, build quality appears good, SSB OTA reports are good, the ATU is great (matches better than my Murch UT-2000).
The not so good: The CW decoder is a joke. The BCB QRM is noteworthy, making 40-meters and below difficult. An external bandstop/bandpass filter is a must and I am NOT in an urban, high RF environment.
Conclusion: It's a fun experience into the world of SDRs. Knowing what I know now, I, probably, would not buy it. I bought it out of curiosity and I'm not so curious, any more.
K8DXX Rating: 2022-12-24
Good for the Price Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased this radio mainly out of curiosity over how good a $439 SDR could be. Also, think I might get out my MFJ 2289 "Big Ear" portable antenna and try POTA. Anyway, what I'm comparing it to are Flex 6600, IC 7300 and Yaesu FTDX 101MP (least favorite oversold radio in the world).

Physical construction seems good. The case feels solid as does the cooling stand. Generally, the knobs and buttons operate smoothly and give good tactile feedback. The display despite being small provides a ton of information. So far, I have used this radio through my Mosley PRO67-C3 beam at 80 feet. The receiver appears selective enough (able to tame strong signals with 3 - 4 KHz). I have not experienced any overload on 20 or 40 but have noticed occasional crispiness/artifacts with certain signals. What I'd like to reduce is the 'rushing sound' that is always present. This causes operator fatigue and can obscures weaker signals. The SSB TX and antenna tuner seem good.

What amazes me is how much I can do with 20 watts. On 20 and 40 meters yesterday (admittedly using the beam at 80 feet), running 20 wats and the compressor with mic gain at 12, I was able to work all over the USA. Audio reports were positive. Almost makes me ask, "why do I need this KPA 1500 amplifier?" but not enough to give it away!

Honestly, I would NOT buy this as my first HF transceiver. It's just a little too glitchy and small for someone just getting into the hobby. For 2X the price, I'd go for an IC 7300. Certainly, the user interface and sound on the '7300 would be far more pleasant to a newcomer.

73 de Bill K8DXX
W6KMG Rating: 2022-12-10
Gives more expensive rigs a run for their money Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I picked up the G90 on a killer sale for $390, so I also grabbed the flrig kit as well with the money I saved on the radio. I plan to pick up the cooling fan bracket at some point, but for now I use a laptop stand with a fan in it. Works great when running digi modes.

I got this rig mainly for portable/pota/sota and to try out as a mobile in my truck (although I do love my TS-480s, I have 3!). It's small size and remote mountable display make it well suited for each of those applications.

Although I've only played around with it as a base radio so far to get to know it, I'm pretty impressed.

Things I love: Fantastic receiver, the display, although small, is really good. The bandscope is crisp and accurate. The SWR graph is a really great feature for antenna tuning, and the antenna tuner is really good when needed.

Things that are okayish: The menus take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, not too bad. It's just a matter of "finding" the functions and getting used to accessing them. The most used functions aren't hard to find. The AGC isn't my favorite. I leave it off. The waterfall is too small to be very useful.

Things I don't like: It's small, so the buttons are small and close together. It being a somewhat menu driven interface, this can become irritating, but that's the price you pay for having such a small radio I suppose. I wish it put out 100w... Xiegu makes an amp that will bump it up to 100w, but it costs as much as the G90, and there's better 100w options once you get into the four figure price range IMO.

Overall, it's a great little rig. Build quality is solid, has great features, and for the price, I don't know if there's many better options, at least for a brand new radio. Super easy to set up for digital modes using flrig, and I've made several contacts on ssb here on the west coast as well during my limited time with it.
G3SEA Rating: 2022-11-04
Impressive features for an Economical Rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Jumped into last weekend's CQWW SSB Contest with 20 watts into a 10meter Whip directly connected to the Rig's Output PL239 Connector and From Honolulu worked Mainland stations out to Texas in the East and to VK,JA,VR2,B7P, and ( JT5DX in Mongolia ) in the West.
Yes Mother Natures Solar Cycle 25 and an MUF of 35 Mhz evened out the playing field for us low watters.
Feature wise it seems to be everything the FT 818 should have been.
WD0EGC Rating: 2022-10-27
G90, the good, the bad, and the ugly Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The good: I bought the G90 as a second HF radio, primarily for Parks On The Air (POTA) activations. For my needs, it is a perfect rig for POTA. It hits a sweet spot with regards to power out (20 watts) with relatively low draw on the battery (4 amps) on CW. Compare this to my Kenwood TS-590, which draws 12 amps, key-down, when putting out 20 watts on CW. The receiver on the G90 is good, CW filtering is good, so it has been a great rig for POTA. I've done about a dozen activations with the G90, and have no complaints about its performance.

The bad: I just received my third new G90 in four months, under warranty. The first one had a bad Key jack (probably just a bad solder joint) and had to be returned. The second one suddenly stopped giving output on SSB, was deemed defective by the distributor, and was replaced. Many G90 owners have had good reliability, I have not.

The ugly: One of the standard checklist items for troubleshooting is to reinstall the firmware. It took me many hours, because the instructions at the distributor's web site show dated/wrong screenshots, critical information is not given, etc. There is no excuse for things like this.

Summary: It's a great rig for POTA, but there have been problems. I'm hoping that my third unit will finally be a good one, and if it is, I'll update this review with more stars.

Jay, WS0Y, formerly WD0EGC