Xiegu G90

This page is for information, notes, links, and thoughts about this hardware. It is not intended as a thorough review, or an argument. I do not claim to be an expert on this hardware.

Purchased the G90 late 2021. First HF rig purchased. Operated it voice and digital for several months as a primary rig. Original firmware (1.74 I think.) Added a better VFO knob. Shipped with the cooling stand, which I've always used. These days, I keep the G90 in a go bag, and take it out to keep current with it every once in a while. I took it on a road trip and operated out of hotel rooms and in backyards of Airbnbs. It's a great radio.

Things I Like about the G90

For the price, the Xiegu G90 is a great radio. I came off the FT-857, and on to this. The screen is bright and easy to read, even though it's small. I appreciate that it's easy to dim the screen quickly, and even shut it off without shutting off the radio. Great for digital modes where you don't need or want to stare at the screen. Great for lowering power just a tad for portable/mobile. Also, Coming from a radio with no waterfall, to any waterfall at all, was great. Most controls were easy to understand and use.

The tuner seems quite nice. That said, I'm not sure it is quite nice, or if it's just programmed to seem that way. Many people rave about the tuner, but some have picked it apart. Not sure what to think, but for me it has worked really well, and is fast. To be honest, it makes the FTDX10 tuner seen slow and only half-capable.

At home, I use the G90 with an EFHW-8010 130' long antenna. I also sometimes connect a QRP 40m dipole, an Alpha DX portable, or a GRA1899T portable. The G90 handles them all quite well, though the GRA1899T really benefits from a 25' radial in terms of tuning. I thoroughly enjoy using the G90 as a portable radio. It's quick and easy to get on the air, and is very forgiving of the antenna.

With the CE-19, it is very easy to connect the G90 to the computer. Not single-USB cable easy, but easy enough. Easy enough to control the audio quality for digital.

Light and small, low power. Great for backup, bugout, and portable.

Things I Dislike about the G90

The stock VFO knob had to go. I'm not sure the hardware behind the knob can handle anything better for very long, but the stock knob was trash for tuning. Larger aluminum replacements are very easy to find and only cost a few dollars. The replacement I got was easy to install and hasn't had any trouble staying in place.

People say these are well built, but that is quite subjective. Compared to Yaesu build quality, it's a hard sell. I understand there is a wild price difference, and I think that has a lot to do with it. I guess I just can't see the G90 lasting for 20 years, like the major brands tend to. At least, not without careful care. Still, for the price, I think the radio is solid. My feelings about it have improved in this area, after taking it on the road for a couple weeks.

It's stupidly sensitive about leaving the CAT cable connected at powerup. Like, "brick your radio" stupid. Hard to fathom, yet it's true. Easy enough to avoid problems if you understand the issue, but this really shouldn't be an issue. To be fair, this may be corrected in later firmwares.


5/20/2022 - A few days ago, I unwisely started moving things around to get ready to disconnect, before shutting off the radio. I was operating from a battery at the time, with a fuses on the positive and negative on one cable (battery to powerpole) and a fuse on the positive only on the next cable (powerpole to g90's connection.) Something was loose enough that there was a short circuit, then a visible spark, a pop, immediate radio shutoff, and some smoke.

It turned out that the fuses closest to the battery were 30A, way too high for this application. The fuse closest to the radio was 10A, and it was blown. The negative side had no functioning fuse. Upon opening the radio I could see that the RF filter toroid next to the power into the main/lower PCB was visibly damaged, with one of the wires burned through. No other damage was visible. On groups.io I learned that the short had probably put voltage on the negative side, and the RF filter had essentially acted as a fuse.

Unable to locate a replacement part, I went ahead and desoldered and disassembled the wrapped toroid, after taking photos. I unwrapped it, measured, and re-wrapped it. I used 8" of 22awg enameled copper wire to create 8 turns ccw (there was excess, which I trimmed to size), to match the original. I soldered the repaired part on and re-assembled the radio... and everything is working great again! Tested digital and phone on multiple bands.

The moral of the story is: use the right fuses and use them on both the positive and negative sides, and be careful of shorts! I'm pleased that the radio survived this little mishap, and was easily repairable.