I was lucky to be able to buy this little radio recently and boy am I glad I did! I love small form factor radios and this immediately reminded me of my K2. It's around the same size and covers all bands from 160m - 10m including 60m. This particular radio is fully kitted out with all the current options, including the optional additional 4 pole filter, ATU, Noise blanker and H Mode Mixer.
Like the K2, it is a single down conversion superhet and the features and specs are below.
As anyone who follows my exploits on YouTube or on this blog, I like to go portable. My noise floor at home is terrible and someone is managing to put something on charge at weekends that is making 20m difficult now!
I have had reports that the internal speaker is not great but I have to say that I have found it fine and loud! Perhaps I am less bothered about it sounding 'tinny' than others. With my ears, that is probably a good thing 😂
I downloaded the manual from the website and had a good read. It is really not that complicated a radio, which I love and everything you need on a regular basis is on the front panel, with the menu items being reserved for 'set and forget' items.
One thing I was not happy with was the sound of the narrow filter on SSB. This is variable and with this kind of filter you expect some boxiness of the audio at narrower bandwidths but it was really boxy. I grabbed the filter manual and had a look. The filter centre points and bandwidths are user adjustable and you can stay in the menu while you adjust, making it a breeze. I got it where I wanted it and it is much better now. Again, probably the difference in my ears compared to the previous owner.
The one thing I am hoping for is the promised audio filter. There is a socket on the board for it, so hopefully this will arrive soon.
Initial operation was on SSB with 10W. The radio will do 50W but when I am portable I tend to work QRP, so why not? 😎 I was at the home shack and so was using my 40/80m trap dipole at 35ft and my Cushcraft R6000 vertical. I got 54 from Minsk on 20m and 59 plus from Orkney on 40m. Considering the band conditions, I was extremely pleased to say the least.
I am sure that I will continue to tweak things for a little while but I am absolutely in love with this radio already! It is firmware upgradable and so I expect it to get even better over time.
The radio was designed and is manufactured in Bulgaria by Boris, LZ2JR.
You can find a much more detailed review on Tom's blog at tommcquiggan.blogspot.com
Here is a short YouTube video showing my initial contacts
- QRP/QRO output 1 – 50W [1 watt increments]
- All mode(?) shortwave operation – coverage of all HAM HF bands (160m/60m optional) No AM/FM modes
- High dynamic range receiver design including high IP3 monolithic linear amplifiers in the front end and diode ring RX mixer or H-mode first mixer (option).
- Low phase noise first LO – SI570 XO/VCXO chip.
- Full/semi (delay) QSK on CW; PTT/VOX operation on SSB. Strict RX/TX sequencing scheme. No click sounds at all!
- Down conversion superhet topology with popular 9MHz IF
- Custom made crystal filters for SSB and CW and variable crystal 4 pole filter – Johnson type 200…2000Hz
- Fast acting AGC (fast and slow) with 134kHz dedicated IF
- Compact and lightweight body (5lbs / 2.3kg)
- Custom made multicolour backlit FSTN LCD
- Custom moulded front panel with ergonomic controls.
- Silent operation with no clicking relays inside – solid state GaAs PHEMT SPDT switches on RX (BPF and TX to RX switching) and ultrafast rectifying diodes (LPF)
- Modular construction – Main board serves as a “chassis” also fits all the external connectors, daughter boards, inter-connections and acts as a cable harness.
- Optional modules – Noise Blanker (NB), Audio Filter (AF), ATU, XVRTER, PC control via CAT protocol; USB UART – FTDI chipset
- Double CPU circuitry control for front panel and main board – both field programmable via USB interface.
- Memory morse code keyer (Curtis A, CMOS B); 4 Memory locations 128 bytes each
Congatulations Ian !
I'm dying to have my RGO here on my desk
Thanks for the review, best regards
Giorgio - IK1BXN
Thanks Giorgio, I really hope it happens soon :)
Looks like that little beaut found its forever home. Enjoy!
Indeed Tom. I am highly delighted :)
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