The Xiegu G1M is a quad band QRP HF SDR transceiver with general coverage receive. It boasts a 5w transmitter for SSB and CW operating on 80/40/20/15m. This rig has served me fairly well with a few issues.

Xiegu G1M on top of the IC-730
Xiegu G1M SDR on top of the ICOM IC-730

This radio has received a mix of audio reports on SSB mostly good 55 to 59. Rarely do I get less than a 55 as the noise floor of stations receiving the signal tend to hang around 5 s units of late. Gotta love propagation and city noise! But there has been the 37, 35 and 44s in there also. So why such a mix on the readability report, well continue reading OM! When it’s working this radio is a dream, its light draws next to no power and will run all day on a 12ah Duracell AGM battery.

G1M microphone jack solder connection issues

As much as I want to brag on this little radio, I do have a few issues with it. First and foremost is the way the microphone jack mounts. It does not physically attach to the front panel, instead it is only soldered to the traces of a SMD circuit board and is thus susceptible to improper insertion forces of the microphone connector or other damage due to strain from operation with the microphone installed. This radio honestly would have been better served with a stereo 3.5mm jack that has a nut and is physically attached to the front panel. A mod I may wind up doing at some point. Its second big issue, revolves around the same area, the microphone itself! Its, as you would probably expect from a $250 new radio is not the highest quality, but worse, the cable is tightly coiled and doesn’t stretch that easily. The coil keeps the cord short and when the radio is laying on a table there’s not a lot for you to work with before putting strain on the mic connector pictured here. The mic cord connector is the typical 3.5mm stereo phone jack all are familiar with all the way down to the screw on cover and no strain relief, this coupled with the thin light gauge wire used in the cord can lead to cable breakage at the phone jack. I’d suggest inspecting the mic cord at the connector when you buy one making sure the cord is ok, then use marine adhesive heat shrink to create a strain relief after reassembling the phone jack.

G1M PA BOARD

The rest of the PA board looks neatly laid out and well assembled. The power transistors are physically mounted to the bottom aluminum case and this serves as the radio’s heat sink, not an unusual situation although I’d rather see deeper cooling fins in this part of the case. The bottom of the radio does get warm during extended operation but not overly so, thus I’m not thinking its a problem but more of a preference for me to see deeper fins and improved passive cooling as there is no forced air in this radio.

G1M IF BOARD

Again, a well laid out and beautifully designed IF board with the SDR processor chip neatly placed in a logical location. The 3w speaker has nice audio and doesn’t sound tinny when phone conversations are playing out of it. Its probably a good match for the airspace in the radio and thus drives in good if not optimal conditions. With that being said I feel the radio could be well served by a 5w or 8w speaker as the 3w top mounted speaker is a little difficult for me to hear in outdoor spaces if its not perfectly quiet without a cup or something to direct the sound to me. Though changing to 5w or 8w speaker could throw the drive off without doing the calculations on the airspace inside the radio and actually be worse, but somehow I doubt it. Again I’m not saying this is necessarily a failure on xiegu’s part as many radio manufacturers top mount the speakers and it becomes a common point for me as the audio is directed up instead of to the operator.

Overall I love using the little QRP radio as it’s light enough and small enough to where I can literally pack the entire rig, 40m dipole and all in a 3″ zipper binder and have the antenna, feed line, nanovna, radio, key, and microphone in the one package that also holds the logbook and any other documentation i feel I might need. The one thing that doesn’t fit in the zipper pouch and is usually carried in a small tool bag with alternate antennas is the 12ah AGM. If I was to go LifePo on the battery it would probably fit in the zipper binder with the radio.