Thursday, 22 October 2020

POTA - EASY SOTA

 PARKS ON THE AIR


SOTA (Summits On The Air) is great fun if you are fit and active and happy/able to be on your own at weekends, but sometimes, you just can't be bothered with huge hill-climbs and maybe your partner/family wants to join you but won't agree to climbing your local Mount Everest.

That's where POTA (Parks On The Air) comes in. It's a worldwide activity and simply involves visiting one of the many designated parks (or areas of natural beauty) listed on the POTA database, finding one which is close enough to travel to and playing a bit of radio there. While you're doing that, your partner and maybe other family members can have fun doing other activities in the park. Everyone's happy!

Because some PARKs and AONBs can be accessed by vehicles, it's perfectly feasible to operate from your car, which gives you greater degrees of comfort and convenience - especially helpful in those bitter cold winter months. It also means that you can carry more gear with you and setup a bigger station than you would otherwise be able to.

Connecting a mast to the towbar

It can also mean that you can operate more bands simply because you can take more antennas with you instead of being limited to a single wire. You could even erect a small beam!


Where I live (between Lancashire and Gtr Manchester), there are a whole host of activation points including some stunningly beautiful areas such as the Forest Of Bowland, Arnside, Martin Mere, etc, etc. So not only can you get outdoors in the fresh air and play radio, but you could also throw in a bit of photography, sketching, painting or whatever else tickles your fancy.

To officially activate an area, you must log at least 10 QSO's which should be an absolute doddle! In fact, I'd be quite disappointed if that's all I managed in a day. But that low number means that you could, if you wanted, activate one area and then move on to another area not too far away.


The first step to joining in the POTA fun is to register. All this started in America, so you'll have to visit their website and sign up to create a new account. It's all free and perfectly secure. Just go to www.parksontheair.com and click on DASHBOARD/LOGIN and then again on LOGIN.


Once you entered your details, you'll receive a verification email and away you go. The POTA website contains a database of all the activation sites in the world and it has filters for narrowing it down to your specific region.

Just like SOTA, there are rules regarding activating and chasing on the main website, so be sure to familiarise yourself with them. This may help too.

Have fun! 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.



Thursday, 15 October 2020

QSL DESIGNS

 Following on from my previous post about eQSL CARDS, I decided to make up a few new designs to swap and change things according to my mood, etc. Plus it makes it a little more interesting to get new and different cards from a regular contact, I guess.

So here are some that I've designed so far. The empty white section is where eQSL overwrites the contact information stored in the log.














Tuesday, 13 October 2020

QSL CARD STORAGE

QSL CARDS are great when they arrive through the letterbox and there's usually a space in the shack to pin them up, but when it comes to eQSL cards, there's often many more and you've got to decide where they go (assuming you even care).

Following in the path of PE4BAS, I started a BlogSpot page to store my eQSL cards and it's a great idea! I just created a new blog using my callsign (m7mcq.blogspot.com) and hey presto.

It soon dawned on me though, that posting each and every card was a bit of a bind and often not very rewarding when many of the cards were the same! This is because many operators just choose a common 'library' design and so it seems like you're forever coming across the same QSL card even though they are actually from different operators.

On the other hand, some people go to great lengths to make their cards interesting and unique - sometimes even changing them according to the season. I appreciate their efforts and I'm always very pleased to receive them.

I have now decided that I'm only going to collect the unique QSL cards and will leave the library cards in cyberspace.

Finally, when I've posted a batch of QSL CARDS onto the blog, I type the operator's callsign beneath each one for search purposes.

 vs



 
Please leave any comments below. 73!

Sunday, 11 October 2020

KX3, G5RV & SB-40

FIELD DAY AT HOME?

I was supposed to go out and about on Saturday but the weather killed my intended excursion plans (again), so in the end I decided to travel all the way to the bottom of the back garden early on Sunday morning 😂😂😂

I set up the ELECRAFT KX3 with battery power using my trusty FlightMax 8.4Ah LifePO. I was going to set up a resonant linked-dipole in the garden but was constantly wary of the dark, cloudy skies and decided instead to use a length of RG174 to connect to my G5RV. Well actually, it's a half-size G5RV.

Using a SignaLink USB and a Surface Pro PC Tablet, I thought I'd do some FT8, interspersed with a little SSB work. Everything went well and I was able to make FT8 contacts across the whole of Europe. Sadly, I got no Transatlantic contacts.

SSB wasn't too easy either. I could hear North American operators easily and I tried many times to speak with K2TRD-Martin and VE1SVP-Richard, who were both BOOMING in but there were hoards of QRO stations tramping over each other (and me). Normally, I can establish contact with American and Canadian operators without a problem, but not today and not on the G5RV.

If I'd used my SotaBeams 20/40M dipole, or my Home EFHW, I'm sure it would have been a better day. Nevertheless, using 10W, I managed 90-odd contacts on 15, 20, 30, 40 and 80M (thanks to the built-in tuner).

Throughout the day, I used a "gaming" headset (KOSS SB-40) plugged directly into the KX3 and it performed superbly! I got good modulation reports and with 'monitoring' activated, I could hear for myself that the mic sounded great.



Quite a good day, I thought. 



Tuesday, 6 October 2020

ELECRAFT KX3 REVIEW

ROLLS ROYCE QRP?

October 2020

I got my KX3 almost 2 years ago, so maybe it's time to talk about it.

When it comes to choosing a QRP Transceiver, there are basically 3 main dealerships you can visit -  DACIA, FORD or ROLLS ROYCE. Or in other words, XIEGU, YAESU or ELECRAFT. 

There is also a new kid on the block from Icom, but since it's not even reached the showrooms yet, there's no point talking about it - it's been coming for over a year now! So let's focus on what you can get right now!

Now please bear in mind that these are just my opinions and I'm not saying that my choices are right and yours are wrong. We all have very different requirements and opinions.

At the budget end, Xiegu offer a nice range of QRP radios and I have the Xiegu G90 which is an absolutely stonking bit of HF kit for the money! It really does amaze considering that it costs so little and yet includes so much. 

Somewhere in the middle is the YAESU FT-818 /817 which not only does HF, but also 2M & 70cm. It's compact, tough as old boots, good looking and performs really well out on the field. It's probably the most popular portable qrp-transceiver ever built and I'll never sell mine.

At the top end, there's the stunningly good ELECRAFT KX3 and that's what we'll be looking at today. It's by far the best radio of this little group, but it costs a small fortune if you spec it up to include all the desirable options.

 
The KX3 covers 160-6M straight from the box and at the time of writing, that will set you back £1300 plus another £50 'build fee' and then another £80 for a microphone! 😮

On top of that, I have the following optional extras...

* KX32M        £300

* KXFL3        £190

* KXBC3        £100

* KXPD3        £160

* KXAT3        £260

I sold the KX32M (2M module) because I just never really used it. It could only put out 3W max and I rarely go outdoors to play anything other than HF. If I do decide to spend the day engaging in VHF activities, I use the FT-818 which has twice the power.

But anyway, if you bought the same spec KX3, it would add up to a staggering £2390 😮 That is an insane amount of money for a little portable QRP radio! But that's where this radio differs to the others - used with an amp, this radio could also be your main Base Station too.

WEB PRICE @ 6th OCT 2020

The first thing I want to point out about the KX3 as an outdoor-radio is that although it's beautifully made, it is also (in my opinion) quite vulnerable to damage from knocks and scrapes. The only solution is to protect it (at even more cost) by adding side-rails and a cover. These are readily available on the internet for around £70. Without them, you'd be worrying and fussing over your prized possession.

This fear of damage is what lead me to buy an FT-818 and this fear is something that never goes away. And it's not just about the obvious fear of breaking it and having to splash out on repairs - it's about the resale value being affected by the knocks and scrapes. Maybe it's just me, but something tells me that it's a dark shadow that hovers over all KX3 owners.

That aside though, the radio is an absolute JOY! 

The KX3 has an incredibly sensitive receiver and it's easy to demonstrate it's superiority over the other two radios when you put them side by side and tune into weaker stations. On the G90 and the FT818, there's many occasions where you just cannot pick up the signals that the KX3 hears.

Let's not get silly about this though - all three radios can obviously pick up the more powerful transmissions and many operators will be perfectly happy with the cheaper radios. It's worth mentioning though, the KX3's noise floor is supremely low and that's one of those things that just makes you smile every time you switch it on. It's one of the things that makes this radio special.

The Elecraft also benefits enormously from the KXFL3 Dual PassBand Roofing Filter for SSB, CW and DATA. The G90 has some great filters built-in but they obviously don't compare to Elecraft's. This filter makes a huge difference and puts the receiver in a class above the rest.  I installed a Collins SSB filter to the FT-818, but to be honest, it didn't seem to make much of a difference - to the point where I might actually remove it and sell it!

 
The other massive advantage of the KX3 is that big, crystal clear LCD display! It is just soooo nice to use and let's not forget also, all those lovely buttons and dials which are lacking on the 818 and 90. Although I am very familiar and comfortable with the menu system of the Yaesu, there's nothing quite like the ease of use of the KX3.

When I'm using the 818 outdoors, I always seem to struggle to find a good spot for the radio to sit so that I can see the display. The KX3 on the other hand always seems to be in just the right position and everything kinda falls to hand. The G90 (with the H1 cooler/stand) is much better than the 818 in this respect, but the (lovely) 2" colour screen is not always easy to see in strong sunlight - I think I need to come up with some sort of sun-screen for it.

The G90 has one thing that I truly wish the other two radios had - a panadapter and waterfall. Boy, that is such a great feature and I think the Elecraft should also have one - even if it's a simple affair. Needless to say, you can spend even more money on a PX3, but then the total price just goes into lunatic mode. 


So what's it like to "lug around"?? Well I'd say it's similar to the other two radios. There's not a lot between any of them, but the Xiegu is a bit more awkward due to its length. The 818 is super-slim and if you've got the Yaesu matching leather case, then you can just chuck the 818 into your rucksack without a second thought.

LowePro Tahoe BP-150


 
The Elecraft fits neatly into my small rusksack and leaves loads of space for other stuff including a LifePO battery, connectors, antennas, phone, torch, whistle, notepad and even a handheld radio for a spot of DSTAR, FUSION, VHF, UHF or whatever takes your fancy. I could actually use a much smaller rucksack instead, but I like having a few extra bits and bats with me. Inside that top section I also have a rather nifty 6M antenna which simply hangs from the top of my telescopic mast.

 Compact 6M Antenna

If you're really pushed for space and are happy to operate on 20M only, you can carry your KX3 and battery in the smallest bag you can find and just take Elecraft's AX-1 telescopic antenna with you. It's a fabulous little thing and performs really well, out in the open. I've managed amazing distances with it, even from my back garden!

Although I mentioned 20M, the AX-1 antenna is also usable on 17M and the unit can cope with up to 20W. I've tried this beaut of an antenna connected directly to the BNC socket of my FT-818 too and got from Manchester to Denmark on 2.5W. And I'm talking about a proper lengthy chinwag, not a quick report and 73. I sometimes use this antenna at the top of a portable mast so it's 20ft up in the air. Highly recommended bit of kit.

Anyway, back to the KX3 itself.  Amongst its other useful features, it has a built-in, on-screen decoder for CW, RTTY and PSK. Personally, I don't (can't) use CW but I do sometimes like to listen and watch the decoded messages. I also like to be able to SEND CW messages like "CQ TEST M7MCQ" to see how far my signal can be heard.

Being an SDR radio, the Elecraft is, of course, able to have its firmware update and Elecraft are not slow to give their customers what they ask for. The same applies to the Xiegu G90 too, but the FT-818 is obviously a superhet and frozen in time (but in a good way).

Highest power output puts the Xiegu in first place with 20W. Elecraft is second at 15W and the Yaesu a lowly third with just 6W. The good thing about the KX3 is that its power can be reduced down to a few mW which can save battery usage and is a lot of fun.

Speaking of power, the KX3 is the most energy efficient of the bunch, consuming less than 150mW in receive mode. That is a very important consideration when working outdoors on battery power for hour after hour. To many field-operators it is the Number One consideration when choosing a radio.

Another important option is having an internal ATU. The Xiegu has one built-in and I'd say it's every bit as good as the Elecraft's optional ATU. They're both just superb! Sadly, the Yaesu has no ATU and you have to resort to buying (and carrying around) an external unit. I'd recommend the LDG Z-817.

CONCLUSION

So in summary, I'd say again that the Elecraft KX3 is a magnificent radio and something that anyone would surely be proud to own. It's ridiculously expensive with all the optional extras and the Xiegu G90 almost laughs in its face when measured in terms of cost alone.

There's no denying that the Panadapter & Waterfall of the G90 is a huge benefit, but operators have been playing radio without them for many decades. It's certainly not worth buying a PX3 for the KX3 unless you find one super-cheap at a rally (unlikely).

As for the Yaesu FT-818, that too is a fab little rig. It does so much and is so incredibly dependable that it feels like sacrilege to discuss it in anything but positive terms. I adore mine and like I said, I'll never sell it. But the truth is, compared to the Xiegu, its design is showing its age.

But if you've worked your ass off and saved up some money, or if you just won a bet at the races and want to treat yourself to something REAL SPECIAL, then buy an Elecraft KX3 without any hesitation. They are very special and a joy to use. 


Have yourself a Rolls Royce parked on the drive 😂



SPECIFICATIONS :

KX3 STANDARD FEATURES

•160 - 6 meter ham bands; general coverage receive from 1.5 - 32.0 MHz (also covers 0.31 - 1.5 MHz with reduced sensitivity)

•All modes: SSB, CW, Data (four sub-modes), AM, FM

•Ultra-compact size: 3.4"H x 7.4"W x 1.7"D; 18 oz. (less options)

•Rear tilt feet fold up for transport

•Custom high-contrast LCD with alphanumeric text display

•Internal 8 - AA battery holder

•Current drain as low as 150 mA in receive mode

•High-performance 32-bit floating-point DSP

•Built-in PSK/TTY decode/encode allows data mode operation without a PC; transmit in data modes using CW keyer paddle

•Low-noise synthesizer with 1-Hz tuning resolution

•Firmware updateable via provided application software

 

 RECEIVER

•Quadrature down-sampling mixer compatible with PC-based SDR (software defined radio) applications

•Receiver I/Q outputs for use with PC soundcard

•Dual roofing filter option for enhanced dynamic range.  (500/1500 Hz analog filters; effective IF b/w of 1000/3000 Hz) 

•Switchable preamp and attenuator 

•8-band receive audio equalizer

•Dual watch over +/- 15 kHz range; uses applicable roofing filter

•Easy-to-use PassBand Tuning (PBT) for shift/width/hicut/locut; roofing filters automatically track DSP filter settings

•Automatic and manual notch filtering; adjustable noise reduction and noise blanking; binaural audio effects for enhanced receive

•Center-tuning indicator for CW and data modes

•Built-in speaker; stereo jack for headphones/external speakers

 

 TRANSMITTER

•Adjustable output, 0.1 to 10 W (8 W 12, 10 & 6 M)

•(100 W with KXPA100 amp)

•Rugged, SWR and temperature-protected final amplifier stage

•Optional MH3 microphone with PTT and UP/DOWN functions

•Optional attached keyer paddle with spacing adjustment

•Switchable PA output impedance for efficient 5-W or 10-W use

•Fast, silent, PIN-diode T-R switching - no relays

•DSP RF speech processing for excellent 'punch'

•8 band equalizer tailors passband to your voice and microphone

 

OTHER FEATURES

•Built in digital voice recorder (DVR) with two message buffers

•Internal CW keyer with 8-50 WPM range

•Six CW/DATA message memories

•100 general-purpose memories store VFOs, modes, etc.

•Computer control via supplied USB cable or optional RS-232 cables

•Full remote-control command set works with most amateur radio software applications (emulates Elecraft K3)

•One-click firmware upgrades via the web (with free PC software)

•Tutorial-style manual ideal for new hams

 

OPTIONS and ACCESSORIES

KXFL3 Roofing Dual Bandwidth Filter for SSB/CW/DATA

KXAT3 Internal, Wide-Range 20-W Automatic Antenna Tuner

KXBC3 NiMH Charger

     (8 - AA NiMH batteries not supplied with KX3; non-rechargeables can also be used in KX3 internal battery holder)

KX3-2M Internal 2-Meter Module

H3 Hand Microphone with UP/DN Controls

KXPD3 Attached Precision Keyer Paddle

KXPA100 High-Performance 160-6 meter, External 100-W Amplifier

     also usable with most 5 to 10 W transceivers

KXAT100 Wide-Range 100-W ATU with Dual Antenna Jacks

 

If there are any operators who have both the KX3 and the IC-705, I would LOVE to hear from you with regard to a comparison of the two radios out in the field (their natural habitat). 

Please leave any comments in the box below. And thanks for popping by.

Friday, 2 October 2020

XIEGU G90 SDR REVIEW

 WEEKEND TEST

With a wet weekend ahead and little danger of the wife dragging me out somewhere I didn't want to go, I thought I'd take the time to have a play around with my latest acquisition - the XIEGU G90 SDR QRP Portable HF Radio.

I'd seen these around the internet and mentioned in the magazines quite a few times and I didn't pay them much attention at all - to be honest, I'd kinda ignored them because I already have the fabulous YAESU FT-818, so what did I need another QRP transceiver for?? Well the truth is, I don't need another QRP transceiver, but what's that got to do with anything? Like most other Hams, I just like getting new radios and experimenting.

The thing that triggered this little purchase was an online conversation with a friend. He'd just acquired one and was telling me about it, so I then started to read/watch a few reviews and discovered that people really did rate this rig - a lot! And it wasn't a scary chance-purchase from China like all those unbranded amps and stuff that you constantly see on eBay. The Xiegu has partnered with MFJ, so it's not going to be an overnight fling.

So soon after, I found one that an old mate was selling one and it was actually brand new in the box and I got it for a saving of £165 on RRP with extras!! How could I say no to that?? In all honesty, I probably wouldn't have bought one at full price because of the 818 sat in my ruscksack, but at this price I just couldn't resist.

Built just a couple of months ago

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, the radio arrives in a neat, well-padded box containing everything you need to quickly get on air. They even include a programming cable (which many manufacturers charge extra for). The manual is surprisingly well written and contains enough instruction to get you on-air. In all fairness, the radio is surprisingly intuitive to use and there's plenty of really good videos on YouTube to help you get to grips with more technical issues.


I was immediately impressed with the heft and quality of construction - it seemed much nicer built than I'd expected. Mind you, there's some really crummy images of the rig on the internet so that probably effected my judgement previously. Now that I can see it in the flesh and handle it, I have to admit that it's a nice bit of kit. Sure, it doesn't have any sexy contoured styling (it's quite angular and sharp-cornered) but it is still very well presented.


The switchgear is well laid out and most buttons have multiple functions which, like I said earlier, are very intuitive. At the rear of the unit, there is a single SO239 and various ports for a key and other accessories and input/outputs. The power-connector is quite unusual and some people may have never have seen one like it before, but it is actually a common connector in the RC world and is made by Tamiya - very easy to get hold of. And just below that is the GROUND connector which is a nice, easy to use thumb dial - no screwdriver required!


You'll notice from the photos that the radio is fitted with guard rails front and rear. This is another nice touch from Xiegu and something that you normally have to pay extra for. It does seem a little odd though, that they didn't incorporate some sort of folding feet in the design of those rails. They don't even include any rubber feet on the base 😮 

Luckily for me, my radio came with a 3rd party stand which also doubles up as a cooler system. I believe that this cooler is quite a common purchase because the fanless G90 radio may run very hot when transmitting at 20W in CW or DATA modes, so it makes sense to find a way to cool things down. How effective it actually is, I don't know, but judging by the size of the fan, I'd hazard a guess that it's more effective than Yaesu's SMB-201 with it's tiny fan. The fan, by the way, only kicks in when (if) the temperature reaches a certain point (60 degrees)). When running, the fan consumes 150mA.



The fan is unprotected and when you try to pick up the whole unit from the desk, you naturally put your fingers underneath where the blades are. I decided to fit a steel finger-guard which not only protects the blades, but also makes it very easy to pick the unit up.




Apart from providing a cooling system and an adjustable stand, this device also provides connectors for powering accessories. On the side of the unit is a Tamiya connector and an Anderson Pole connector. That's neat!

I also fitted a 12V colour temperature gauge and replaced that plastic VFO knob with a nice metal knob. I think it looks much better and certainly feels better.



Back to the radio - On the right of the G90 is the RJ45 connector for the supplied hand mic. And this is no cheap mic either - it's an Icom type unit with a great range of buttons and it's also illuminated! I remember just how surprised I was when I opened the box of my Elecraft KX3 to find that they didn't even include a microphone even though the radio was £1800!!! Well done Xiegu for not penny-pinching (or yen-pinching).


On the left front side, there's a couple of 3.5mm jack plugs - one for headphones and one for firmware update of the head unit (there's a matching jack plug on the rear of the base unit for programming that). It's not uncommon for separate units to need separate updates. It's worth noting that although the headphones on QRP radios are often heavily used, they may not be so on this radio because it has a fantastic speaker built in, with very good volume levels. Elecraft would do well to take note from Xiegu in this respect!

 

The spec of the radio is really quite impressive, not least of all because of that amazing TFT screen. Yes, it's tiny at just under 2" but so too is the 818's screen. The G90's screen is full colour and razor-sharp! It really is quite impressive and the waterfall and panadapter are fantastically usable even at this size.


The scope has a really fast response time and is an incredibly useful tool to have when working outdoors - and it's a fully active scope too, so you don't have to keep refreshing it. There's limited bandwidth on display, but that suits me fine - if I can see too much of the band at once, I tend to be flicking backwards and forwards all the time.

The receiver covers 0.500MHz through to 30MHz and you can transmit from 10-160M. Some people complain about 6M not being included but personally, that doesn't bother me too much. Operating modes include CW (there's also a great built-in CW Decoder), AM and SSB. A recent update brings FM into the mix too somehow, but I've not done an update yet.

 
It should be noted that there is no provision for internal battery power like there is on the 818 and others. That's disappointing to some operators but not to me because I virtually never use anything other than my 13.2V Zippy FlightMax LifePO batteries when out and about. They're incredibly light and keep their voltage right until the death.

Speaking of voltage, you will probably come across a video where Bob Nagy demonstrates how the Xiegu G90 keeps on pushing out its full power when running on anything from 13.8V down to 10V. That's amazing and makes it so much more usable with different power supplies.

Like my beloved IC-7100, this radio includes a very nice SWR Sweep function. In fact, it's actually better than the 7100. This is one of those features that isn't at all essential, but it sure is nice to have - especially when you can have it without having to lug anything extra with you. The unit also allows you to set an SWR figure at which you want the radio to protect your finals. Maybe you want to play it safe and shutdown at >1.5 or maybe you are happy to go up to 3.0. It's up to you to decide.

The built-in ATU is crazy good at finding a match on virtually any antenna and it does it super quickly!! I always used to praise the Elecraft KX3 for its tuner, but this one is every bit as good. And that's another extra item that you don't have to pay for (or lug around with you like I do with the FT-818).

When active, the ATU pushes out about 7 or 8 Watts even though you may have the TX Power set to 1W. That seems a little odd, but hasn't caused any issues. It's also odd that you cannot set power to zero, so there may be an occasion where you unintentionally transmit into say an Active Receive Only antenna. Again, not a huge problem, but I'd sure prefer the option of being able to set the radio to Zero-Power.

The radio might benefit from a TCXO because the claimed frequency stability is only +- 1.5ppm whereas the FT818 with it's built-in TCXO9 oscillator is +- 0.5ppm. In practise however, I couldn't really detect any drifting.
 

So, now for the actual testing of the radio
Nothing scientific - just my old ears. 

I thought I'd give it a quick try on my home QTH EFHW before heading out in the cold damp October weather tomorrow. I connected it to my EFHW and looked on 20M for a signal. There was one at 14.274MHz but that particular frequency was VERY NOISY (quiet either side of this - Sod's Law 😂).

I listened to the operator for a while (IS0FDW) and when a break appeared, I gave him a shout. He immediately came back to me and was very complimentary about my signal and modulation. That's 1800km on a wire from a less than ideal location using half the G90's available power. Not bad.



I spun the dial and listened in on a few more stations across the bands. The G90 has no problem picking up signals and switching between this and my IC-7300, revealed that the only real world difference was the floor noise.  I managed to speak to a couple of UK stations on 40m and got some great signal reports from them too. I also got a few more unsolicited complimentary audio reports. It seemed strange that people went out their way to mention the audio - must be good!

Then I updated the radio to V1.75 and it became even easier to use. Switching to CW, I tuned around for some CW signals to see how well the built-in decoder worked. I don't think any of them are perfect, but I'd say it's every bit as good as the one on the FT-DX3000.


The update process was fairly straight forward as long as you follow the instructions to the letter. There's a point in the update were you have to switch on the radio and then press a key on your computer's keyboard - do it quickly or you'll have to restart the process.

Also, don't be tempted to use another Terminal Program other than the one which is supplied in the Firmware Update Zip File!

Like I said previsously, the G90 is definitely noisier than the 7300 but you wouldn't expect anything else! The filters are quite good once you learn how to trim the Low/High parts of them. This little QRP radio will come into its own in the great outdoors away from noisy urban interference. 


I look forward to getting to the Trough of Bowland with a good dipole this weekend and then I will report back with more experiences of this neat little SDR radio.

73, Tom. M7MCQ.

UPDATE : I was unable to play outdoors due to the UK's horrible weather this weekend. I tried the radio on my EFHW and G5RV and was very happy with the results. Having that panadapter and waterfall will be incredibly handy out in the field and should result in far fewer missed opportunities.

I spoke to quite  few operators from all over Europe and the UK on SSB. I'm sure that I'd have been able to make some Transatlantic contacts too if I'd still been on the radio later in the day. I can't wait to climb a hill and setup a resonant dipole. This radio is a little bundle of fun!

COMMENTS :

Very readable review, matches my own experience over the past year. Just a couple of points wrt updating:
- When rebooting, hold down the key WHILE rebooting, don't try to be ultra-fast AFTER rebooting 🙂 That's what most of us do.
- There is a very efficient little command line terminal app which Dale Farnsworth wrote for the G90 (search for his name in the Group), originally for Linux and Mac, now for Windows 10. Much simpler and faster than Teraterm.