After doing a bit more business travel, and having nothing to do in the off time while traveling, I started to explore what the options were for a “easy to throw into the suitcase all-in-one- HF radio” that I could play with while traveling. I have an FT-817, and so I probably could have used that, but with the tuner, battery, cables, etc, it wasn’t a very convenient package for my usual carry on suitcase (I almost never check a bag).
I wanted to keep the price point low… otherwise I could have spent $1500 on a decked out Elecraft KX2 and been done with it. I figured around $500 would be great. So… After googling a bit, my interest was mostly peeked by this little x5105 radio. It had “everything” in one little package (meaning all bands and modes, internal stout battery, and an ATU that would tune just about everything). So I joined the Xiegu X108G/X5105/G1M/G90 Facebook group and read my tail off. My main concern after coming up to speed was the maturity of the firmware. But, from what I could tell, the firmware had come along way since the early pre-release units. The FB group was really helpful as well as I was able to get several “pre-sales” questions answered before I pulled the trigger and bought the radio through HRO/MFJ.
Well, I am not disappointed at all so far. The unit is solid, and on my first two outings it worked just fine on SSB (I didn’t have a CW key with me). My next outing will be to try out how it performs on CW. There were some concerns on the FB group about the first dit getting cut off for straight key users, but this is not supposed to be an issue for paddle users. We’ll see.
The radio I received came with -1 rev of the firmware so I went ahead and updated it to the latest recommended version (v1.0.6). The update was pretty simple and again, the FB group was helpful with tips as well.
I have not yet traveled since I got the radio, but I plan to take it on my next trip – so probably more to come as I use this radio a bit more.