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This is my third Xiegu, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I really like their products. My first was the G90, then the X5105, now the X6100. The X6100 seems to be an amalgamation of most of the best features of the G90 (rock solid tuner, SDR based transceiver, waterfall display), the beautiful display of the short lived GSOC, plus capable of operating on 160m through 6m, all crammed into a small form factor slightly smaller then the X5105.
First things first..... the display on this radio is AMAZING! Large enough to see, all the info you need to see, but most of all it is just so crisp and clear and bright! I think part of the reason it looks better than my TV at home it that it is not a touch screen. I really liked the display on my Icom 7300 when I had it, but it just doesn't compare to the clarity of the X6100, and I do believe it has a lot to do with this one not being a touch screen.
The menu system is extremely easy to navigate, along with enabling the filtering for SSB and CW. The bottom MFK (multi function key) can be set to any of the menu items with the press of a button. I keep mine set to adjust power.
I have heard some complaints from users regarding poor receive audio, but I'm not one of them. Not sure if it's a hardware or firmware with some of the other user's radios, but one of the praises I have for this radio is the clarity of the audio. It sounds perfect, and is an absolute pleasure to listen to both on SSB and CW.
I do have a few complaints about this rig. None of them are deal breakers, but should be noted:
- VFO scratchy: One of my first complaints, and one I've read in many places, but easily fixed. When spinning the VFO, it feels like it's dragging. And it is. The bottom of the VFO has a thin felt pad applied to it, and it rubs on the case just ever so slightly. I removed the rubber ring from the VFO, loosened the set screw on the knob, and raised it ever so slightly up, then snugged the set screw back down. Problem solved.
- Battery: This one was a little deceiving, and has upset a few owners. The manual for the radio advertises it as having a "built-in large capacity lithium battery pack (3000mAh, 12V)" . Well, they are only half right. Inside the radio are two 3.7v, 3000mAh Li-Ion pouch cells. That make it an 8.4v (max), 7.4v (nominal) battery. FAR from 12 volts! This is disappointing because the radio needs 12v to run at 10 watts. Otherwise, on the internal battery, it runs at 5 watts. If you've seen my battery made from Ring doorbell cells, then you have an idea of what my next project will be..... to shoehorn 3 of those pouch cells into this radio so I can have an actual internal 12v battery to run this rig at 10 watts without connecting an external battery.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: At this time, these features are not fully functioning. And that's OK with me, for now. I would like for the Wi-Fi to be functional at some point as I would like to run this rig headless with a LarkBox Pro mini PC and a tablet for the display. Being able to use this radio as a functional VNC hotspot would be pretty cool, but it's not a deal breaker either.
- Microphone and distorted audio reports: I had not received any bad audio reports, but others have. On my first outing with the X6100, I noticed the hole in the mic over the microphone element itself was about 60%-70% blocked off by something white. Taking the mic case apart revealed the hole in the rubber keypad that should be centered over the mic element was way too small and not centered over the element. A couple seconds with a small pair of cutters quickly opened that up. Since I was there, I drilled out the small hole in the front case cover with a 3/16" drill bit. I have not received any poor audio reports, but I have received several unsolicited great audio reports since doing this small modification!
I don't have this fully assembled as a kit yet as I'm still trying to decide what it will be housed in. When I do, I will have photos of it's contents posted below.-