Saturday, 1st April, 2023

April fools day. Doesn’t need to be the 1st of April for me to be a fool.

I spending too much time looking at radios. It’s very reminiscent of looking at cameras. Evening after evening of forums, YouTube, and blog posts going from one to another to another and still not making any progress. Even considering not bothering at all. I just need to pick something or stop and do something else.

The logical choice is the Xiegu G90. It’s £400, the cheapest by far of any of them, even used ones. The only exception is if I can find someone locally selling something for mates rates, but that’s pot luck. It’s a 20W HF transceiver, has an antenna tuning unit it in, and a reasonable colour screen. I’d need to get a power supply to go with it, which is probably another £100. I can only use 10 W on my licence, and the next level is 50 W. The ATU lets you match the antenna if it’s not quite right - I’m thinking of end fed one in the garden, so ATU is useful. So it does everything I need and not at a great cost. I’m worried I’ll get it all setup then immediately be bored of it.

I don’t like its form factor. It’s a like a ream of paper, and the screen, whilst nice, seems too small to actually make use of the spectrum or whatever it has. Although it’s still quite small even if a funny shape.

Next up is another Xiegu, the X6100. It’s a portable one with built in battery. Does 10 W with external power supply but only 5 W from the battery. Has a much bigger screen for the spectrum/waterfall. Other people even make a new interface for it which you can load from a SD card. Has ATU too. It is about £550-600. I like the style of it but only 5 W on battery means I’d want to use an external power supply anyway. This could be a battery pack, so not a huge deal but feels like it defeats the point of the internal battery.

Then Yaesu ft-891. It’s more “ream of paper” shape but often comes up as a very good radio. Simple screen and “complex” menu system, so no waterfall, but 100 W and good radio filtering etc. qualities. No ATU and needs external power supply. Ream of paper in shape but I think smaller, so quite portable. Maybe £600 used.

Portable for me means, carrying it into back garden as I’m not sure I’m running coax all through the house to get from the antenna in the back garden to the office at the front of the house. Maybe in time I might but not just now. So I don’t want it to be this huge setup and faff to get to use it, as then I wont. Also I’d consider taking it on trips away.

Now for the ones I want…the Elecraft KX2. Very portable, but feature packed, with ATU, internal battery that it runs at 12 W with, high quality components, all sorts. Just it’s probably £1000+, can only import from USA (more cost in duties) and they currently have a 4 month waiting list.

Similar to it is the labs599 Discovery TX-500. This is milled aluminium and looks amazing. 10W, and no internal battery or ATU, but a very thin profile. No speaker either as it’s waterproof/resistant. It’s available now but £1200, and have to buy a power supply/battery.

The KX2 an TX-500 would be fine just now for my everything radio but if I got more serious would be the portable unit and then I’d get a proper home base station. Whereas the G90 would probably end up getting sold as floating between not that portable and not that great for home base station. But equally nothing wrong with buying it now and then selling it and getting soemthing else, particularly as I’m not sure if I’m really going to get into it.

Logically, it’s the G90. So why am I still deciding 😅

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