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Xiegu G90 transceiver

Xiegu G90 HF portable transceiver by Alan McPhail, VK2AMC 

We were delighted to receive this fantastic  “Rig Review” from fellow radio enthusiast Alan McPhail. His story starts below!!

In 1951, as a four-year-old, I first became aware of amateur radio. My father had been transferred to Townsville by the Department of Civil Aviation and, while sitting in the rear of my parents 1934 Continental Beacon, I saw an HF quad antenna mounted on a tower.

My father explained to me that the antenna was at the home of a radio amateur and it allowed him to talk with people around Australia and the world by radio. This was the beginning of my interest in amateur radio. I have been licensed since 1978, but because of an interesting career, I did not become active on the bands until 2011 and then only occasionally.

After a lightning strike at home in 2015 along with the subsequent fire that burnt through the roof space, the house was severely damaged, contents written off and I lost most of my equipment.

The rebuild of the house took 13 months to complete and the subsequent time to resettle limited my amateur radio pursuits. Our home is on a corner block and the backyard garden is unsuitable for setting up a permanent antenna. I have experimented with dipoles but most often I used a home-built Buddistick antenna (www.buddipole.com).

When I was asked to review the G90 I was reticent to accept the task, not because of my extensive electrical and communications engineering background but because I did not have enough experience as an operator on the amateur bands. I note that in-depth reviews have been done by the RSGB, the ARRL, and on YouTube. The G90 has an active and supportive user group. It was suggested that I should share my user experience of the G90 for Amateur Radio readers.

Xiegu G90

I needed to do some preparatory work to power the G90 and choose an antenna. I fitted Anderson Powerpole connectors to my 4200 mAh LiFePo4 battery and to the battery end of the G90 power cable. I connected the G90 to the battery and a short inside wire antenna. This was sufficient to check that the G90 was working on receive and to become familiar with the basic controls. Initially, I tuned to the ABC frequencies in the broadcast band and experimented with the filter control width and position. The operation manual was easy to follow, and others have improved versions available. Initial observations The colour display is approximately 4.5 cm (1.8”), but it displays a large amount of information very effectively, making the front panel appear larger than it is. On the air Every Friday between 09:00 and 10:00 hours, the Hornsby and District Amateur Radio Club (HADARC) conducts a 40 m net on 7.106 MHz. I thought this would be an ideal occasion to test the G90 on-air. I used a 10 metre length of coaxial cable to connect the transceiver to the antenna. My home-built Buddistick antenna was assembled and slid into the lower three sections of a 7 m-tall telescopic fiberglass mast, increasing the overall height of the antenna by 2.9 m. After installing the antenna counterpoise, I switched on the power to the G90 and tuned to a vacant frequency on 40 m, switched to the AM mode, and pressed the transmit key. The SWR was very high and I checked the antenna connections. Normally, I would adjust the counterpoise length to try to reduce the SWR. However, as I had read good reports about the auto tuner, I decided to activate it. 

After a few clicks of changing relays, the SWR dropped to 1:1 and I tuned to the net frequency and joined the net. I spent an hour with the group whose reports on my signal were very encouraging. I could hear most of the participants and received “5 and 9” from several of the participants. Being able to join the group net so quickly on the fi rst setup is a demonstration of how easy the G90 is to operate. The 20 W power output also helped in successfully communicating with more participants than I have previously achieved with my 5 W transceiver. Being able to see the power supply voltage on the display was useful in monitoring my new battery. When switched off, the G90 saves the frequency and mode settings as the start-up values for the next time the rig is turned on. I joined the HADARC Net on a second occasion and I found the controls to be tactile and the panel layout convenient. The receiver audio was of good quality while the ±24 kHz bandwidth spectrum display and SWR scanner were very useful and easy-to-use features. A feature for the hearing impaired in CW mode is the yellow LED that indicates when a signal is being received if there is good reception. The controls There are four pushbutton switches on the top horizontal portion of the front panel, a pair to step up or down the bands, and a pair to cycle through the modes: LSB, USB, CW, CWR and AM. The three front-panel knobs are: • Volume control; a short press will toggle to and from the headphones; • Multi-function Adjustment default steps at 100 kHz and a short press enters the receive mode filter allowing adjustment of the bandwidth and position of the filter. The default operation of the knob can be changed with a long press to change other parameters;

In summary:

The Xiegu G90 is a capable HF QRP transceiver that has easy-to-use – controls with an information-rich colour display. The 20 W output power, adjustable from 1 W, would be appealing to QRP and DX operators, particularly for SOTA and POTA. The standing wave scanner and automatic antenna tuner would also be useful in the field. Above all, I found the Xiegu G90 HF Transceiver was fun to operate.

Read the full article which includes additional tips, information, and even information about the Xiegu G90s portability, click here

The team here at Tecsun Radios Australia are serious about amateur radio and have found the G90 to be fantastic value for a receiver with this power and capabilities on the market.

Thank you the Wireless Institute of Australia for this information.

Get your G90 here 

Transceiver radio

Shortwave radio, the original and most crucial form of radio communication in our history, and dropped by many countries 20 years ago, is set for a resurgence!

Used heavily during the Cold War, shortwave was vital for communications in isolated areas.

After the war, listenership dwindled and as the equipment aged and the energy bills continued to accrue, one of the first in line for budget cuts was shortwave, with no importance placed on replacing it.

 

Not unlike the song, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, many say that satellites and the internet killed shortwave radio.

 

Really it is a combination of technology and content delivered directly to the savvy FM listener and streamed to the cell phone obsessed user generally at a reduced cost compared to shortwave. 

 

As Shortwave dwindled, radio began being broadcast in FM and DAB modes to radios, devices, and laptops, with thousands of listening options. 

Many new broadcasters began piggybacking on the local popular informative radio stations.

 

This new technology, however, in many countries is not without its issues. At first, it might appear that these are cheaper and more modern options, but slow buffering times, multiplexed DAB+, excessive and expensive cost of data in many countries, as well as a listener’s preference for anonymity has seen a return to shortwave.

 

As mentioned in previous articles the emerging ability to transmit shortwave radio digitally using DRM ( Digital Radio Mondiale) has seen a resurgence in the use of shortwave due to its wide coverage and heavily reduced cost.

 

Specifically China has opted to use DRM Shortwave to provide full coverage to the areas between the large cities.

 

China National Radio broadcasts from five upgraded sites 80 hours a day with seven to eight transmitters sending shortwave DRM to most areas of North China, East China, South China and Southwest China. Russia is also airing DRM in shortwave over huge areas of Siberia.

India is now looking to increase its three DRM shortwave transmitters for further national and international reach. 

 

Several CRN transmitters beam enormous DRM signals into our part of the world daily.

 

Indonesia and Brazil are also said to have expressed interest in adapting their shortwave analog over to DRM for greater coverage. 

 

As mentioned previously Vanuatu, has recently opted for DRM shortwave to save lives in disaster situations by using its integrated emergency warning capability, and a site in the United States has recently started broadcasting in DRM the popular Radio Marti programs toward central and Latin America.

 

As many areas of the world are re-discovering the value of shortwave we may see the resurgence of shortwave being replaced by its new digital form.

 

Are you interested in listening to Shortwave radio? Imagine picking up and decoding radio stations from remote areas of the world? Re connect with the world during this time of isolation.

 

Tecsun Radios Australia has a great range of Shortwave and Digital radios available.

Shop the range here

Radio licence applications soars.

This morning’s launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A of Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, carried a payload designed to boost communications for the amateur radio operators among us!

Read more

PL365

The Tecsun PL365 was recently reviewed by Radio Jay on his blog.

Here are just a few of the things he had to say about the PL365

“The ETM has its own, temporary 100 station memory which is perfect for travelling to new areas where you can quickly populate that memory bank with receivable signals in that location leaving all your other 450 presets untouched…very convenient.”

“Tecsun has done an incredible job of making SSB tuning as precise and easy as can be”

“Its overall performance is excellent for the size and price”

“Its layout and design were carefully considered and well executed”

“The general shape and layout of the radio make one-handed tuning as easy as possible”

We’ve had a bit of a play around with the Tecsun PL365 today too!

PL365PL365

Thanks to Radio Jay for this review very detailed review. Read the full review here.

Garry VK2YBX has prepared some great tips and tricks for using the Tecsun PL365. You can read them here.

Treat yourself to a great new radio today. Buy the PL365 now.

The Tecsun PL680 has been a long time coming to the Australian market so we’re very excited that Silicon Chip Magazine has featured this great new addition to our range of radios in their most recent December 2015 magazine’s Product Showcase.

The Tecsun PL680 is featured in Silicon Chip Magazine December 2015

The Tecsun PL680 is featured in Silicon Chip Magazine December 2015

“For keen shortwave listeners, you’ll notice the difference in the PL680.”

– Silicon Chip Magazine

And the Silicon Chip team aren’t the only ones excited about the upgrades. Here are just a few other reviews the PL680 has received:

“Worth the upgrade.”

swling.com

“Tecsun certainly gives you a lot of bang for your buck.”

Chris Freitas, On Radio Blog

The PL680 was featured and reviewed in Silicon Chip Magazine alongside the new Tecsun PL365 giving two of our most popular portable receivers a major makeover, making them even better value for money.

The PL680 radio with VHF Air Band is a great radio for communications enthusiasts with the radio providing excellent reception to all of the major frequency bands including AM/MW, FM, Shortwave with SSB, Longwave, and VHF Air Band.

The Tecsun PL365 is the only radio in the Tecsun range (apart from the Tecsun S2000 Desktop Radio) to provide an external antenna connection for the AM/MW band. The Tecsun PL365 Radio is an ideal radio to use for AM/MW EMI surveys because of its external AM antenna, ability to accept customised antennas and display showing signal strength in dBuV.

Both radios are available and in stock now, right in time for Christmas.

The PL365 connected to the AN100 Loop Antenna

The Tecsun PL365 is the only pocket-sized radio in the Tecsun range that offers an external antenna connection. It’s easy to use, portable and comes with a great list of features to make this pocket-radio perfect for the outdoors and for use as an emergency radio.

Extended AM coverage

The PL365 is configured so that when the user selects 9Khz channel spacing on the AM broadcast band (as used in Australia) the frequency coverage is set to 522 -1620 Khz. This means that when a user tunes across the AM broadcast band in Australia, the receiver increments in 9Khz steps, which conforms to the ACMA MW bandplan.

However, it is possible to select 10Khz channel spacing (used in the USA and Japan), and this changes the frequency range  to 520-1720Khz. By setting the receiver to 10Khz spacing ( With the radio off, press and hold the 9/10Khz button until 10Khz is displayed), it will be possible to tune the extra 1620-1710Khz segment. Those stations broadcasting in this band segment are known as Medium Frequency Narrowband Area Service (MF NAS) stations

Extended FM coverage

With the PL365 OFF, press and hold the FM button to select either 76-108Mhz or 88-108Mhz.

External antenna connection for the PL365

An external shortwave or AM broadcast antenna (including our AN 100 loop antenna) can be connected directly into the “MW antenna socket” to refine the tuning

The PL365 connected to the AN100 Loop Antenna

The PL365 connected to the AN100 Loop Antenna

Rechargeable batteries

Whist the PL365 is not supplied with rechargeable batteries, it is possible to fit rechargeable Ni MH batteries and utilise the USB changing socket. The recommended Tecsun batteries are 1000mAh capacity. The PL365 has internal charging circuitry to cater for this. Tecsun Radios Australia can supply batteries, USB lead and charger, shown in the Tecsun website and catalogue under “accessories”.

 

Get your own PL365 here and find out what all the fuss is about!

Thanks to Garry VK2YBX for these great tips and tricks.

pl880

Radio reviewer Gary Ryan VK2ZKT has put together this great list of top tips for using the Tecsun AN100 Loop Antenna to help get the best AM reception with your radio.

AN100 Loop Antenna being tuned with the PL880 Radio

AN100 Loop Antenna being tuned with the PL880 Radio

Tecsun AN100 Loop Antenna Top Tips by Gary Ryan:

  • Place the radio and loop outside the house if possible on your veranda or outdoor entertaining area.
  • If used inside always switch off all light dimmers.
  • Switch off energy saving lamps; these produce all kinds of noise.
  • Keep the loop as far as possible away from home entertainment systems like DVD players, LCD and Plasma TVs, set top boxes and the like, as the majority all use switch mode power supplies.
  • Start by keeping the loop as close as possible to the radio, within 30mm. The distance will vary, depending upon the size of the ferrite rod antenna inside your receiver, so determine the optimum distance by observing the signal strength.
  • Keep mobile phones away from the loop.
  • Place the radio for optimum signal by rotating it on a flat surface. Best reception should be obtained when the radio is facing 90 degrees from the direction of the transmitter.
  • First tune the receiver to the  frequency of interest, then tune the loop for best reception.
  • Try different locations in your home; remember you may have insulation that is backed with foil in your walls and or ceiling. This greatly attenuates the signals on the AM broadcast band.
  • Always rotate both the radio and loop to gain the best-received signal strength along with the best noise reduction.
  • Keep iPods and other MP3 players away from your radio and loop, the RF hash they generate even when switched off is huge.
AN100 Loop Antenna being tuned with the PL880 Radio

AN100 Loop Antenna being tuned with the PL880 Radio

Thanks to Gary Ryan VK2ZKT for this excellent list of top tips. Gary has also written a review of the AN100 Loop Antenna. Read his review here: AN100 Loop Antenna Review

tecsun pl880 radio firmware 2

Checking your Tecsun PL880 Radio Firmware

1/ The radio should be turned off. Press and hold ‘AM BW’. The display panel will turn on and display all functions.

tecsun pl880 radio firmware

2/ Press and hold ‘AM BW’ again. Your Tecsun PL880 Radio firmware will display as a 4-digit number.

tecsun pl880 radio firmware 2

The latest firmware version is 8820. All of our Tecsun PL880 Radios come installed with the latest firmware.

This hidden feature is one of many that can be read about here in the Tecsun PL880 Hidden Features post.

amateur radio clubs

CQ VK Amateur radio clubs!

With over 15,000 members of the Australian amateur radio clubs and societies, we believe that it’s important to support these amateur radio clubs and societies which bring welcome and together hobbyists, amateurs and licensed amateurs. Best of all, these amateur radio clubs introduce the interest to new members of the community creating great friendships and sharing knowledge.

amateur radio clubs

We regularly offer group-buy discounts and inform clubs and their members first of any upcoming sales before the general public.

If you or your club would like to find out more about how Tecsun Radios Australia can support your amateur radio club and its members, please contact us using the form below. Our friendly team will get in contact with you shortly after.