After owning an Elecraft KX3 for many years, I wanted to try something new. After many hours of operating my ICOM 7300, the ICOM IC705 was my first choice. Julian OH8STN and Tom K4SWL gave a lot of praise to the IC705 in their VLogs. I’m convinced that ICOM engineering has made the IC705 the premium QRP rig for many. I spent a lot of time thinking about the IC705 and ended up deciding against it. IMHO for a little old CW Op like me, the IC705 was overload. I have no interest in VHF, UHF, DSTAR, Bluetooth, GPS and more.
While the XIEGU X5105 has been around for about 3 years, it’s new to me. Connect Systems gave me a great deal and the rig is pretty much what I expected from a highly portable QRP rig. There were no real surprises and no rig in the $500 realm is going to be perfect.
As much as I get a kick out if the rig, IMHO there may be a few too many dislikes over likes for some. Understand that my evaluation is based on operating CW. So, if you happen to be an SWL’er or like to work SSB then you will want to look elsewhere for reviews.
With tons of X5105 YouTube VLogs, there’s no need to regurgitate the features or operation of the rig. Keep in mind that the last firmware from XIEGU was v3.0. Older VLogs and blog posts may be using outdated firmware. As I understand it, 3.0 radically changed how the X5105 menus work, etc.
- Well written version 3.0 manual.
- Awesome antenna matching unit.
- Durable aluminum case with built in heat sink.
- Front facing speaker.
- DSP unit with low/high cut adjustments.
- Auto AGC, RF gain, noise reduction, noise blanker, etc.
- The LCD screen is easy to see in and outdoors.
- Backlit keys.
- Menu system is easy to learn and navigate.
- Low power consumption.
- 3800mAh 12v internal Battery.
- Sturdy full featured hand Mic.
- Antenna SWR Sweep by band.
- Front facing speaker is small and raspy sounding. Headphones or ext. speaker a must.
- No low battery indicator. Rig just shuts off abruptly when battery dies.
- Misleading battery indicator. The indicator was around 80% remaining when the rig shut off.
- Battery charging time is 10-12 hours. A 13-15vdc supply is needed to recharge battery.
- Battery recharge indicator was reading 96% when the charging cycle completed.
- While recessed to avoid damage, the Tuning Knob is very annoying to use.
- CW dot dash ratio needs better adjustment granularity.
- CW decode feature only works with very strong signals.
- Assigning preset messages to the 10 slots is very tedious.
- Using the 10 message slots for CW is useless because of they are accessed serially by scrolling the Tuning Knob.
- The CW relay clicks are somewhat disturbing with headphones.
For the price of the X5105 I think XIEGU has done a decent job designing this QRP rig. The XIEGU X5105 is probably better suited for SSB or digital operating. If it’s a serious CW rig you are after, I’d say keep searching pilgrim.
Own a 5105? What’s Your Opinion?
72 de KE2YK