The Xiegu G90 as a shortwave broadcast band receiver

After publishing a couple of posts about the Xiegu G90 QRP transceiver, I’ve gotten a number of inquiries from readers asking about the G90’s ability to receive AM broadcasts. Although I’ll address this in detail in my upcoming TSM review, I thought I’d also share a few notes with you.

One of the main reasons I decided to review the Xiegu G90 is I found so little information out there about how well the general coverage receiver worked for HF broadcast listening.  The G90 has a frequency range of 0.5-30 MHz (SSB, CW, and AM), but I couldn’t find a specification showing the maximum width of the AM filter. I had seen a few display photos with the AM filter width indicated as 5.4 kHz–that’s not terribly wide, but workable.

Only moments after opening the box and putting the G90 on the air, I tuned to the Voice of Greece (9,420 kHz) and learned how to change the bandwidth.  I was very pleased to find that in AM mode, the indicated filter width is actually half the actual width. This means, the G90’s AM filter can actually be widened to 10.8 kHz–brilliant!

In addition, the bandwidth adjustment is variable, meaning you’re not locked into pre-determined, stepped bandwidths as with so many other transceivers.

In this short video, I widen the AM filter while tuned to the Voice of Greece:

Here’s another video of the G90 tuned to Radio Exterior de España on 9,690 kHz. Although the REE transmitter is located across the Atlantic Ocean in Spain, they sound like a local here in North Carolina:

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the G90 on the HF bands.

Of course, there’s no synchronous detector (although users have requested this in a future firmware version) and there’s no notch filter as of yet. While I expect Xiegu may consider adding a notch filter, I doubt they’ll ever add a sync detector as this rig is primarily aimed at QRP ham radio operation. Of course, I could be wrong.

I also haven’t found a way to completely disable the transmitter or set the power level to zero watts. It’s quite possible I simply haven’t discovered the appropriate setting for this yet.  Disabling the transmitter adds an extra level of protection when I use receive-only amplified mag loop antennas, for example. Also, some G90 owners may purchase the rig for listening purposes only and would rather not accidentally key the transmitter or engage the ATU.

Retailers

I purchased my Xiegu G90 from MFJ Enterprises because I wanted to support a US retailer. There are a number of other G90 distributors across the globe. Here’s a short selection:

I’m sure there are many other G90 retailers across the globe.  Before placing an order, I would suggest you double-check availability as some retailers are on back-order.

Post Readers: Have you used the Xiegu G90 on the broadcast bands? Please comment with your thoughts!

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11 thoughts on “The Xiegu G90 as a shortwave broadcast band receiver

  1. Pingback: Upgrade the encoder on your Xiegu G90 for about $8.00 US | The SWLing Post

  2. Paul

    I just received this from Xiegu after asking them about missing features:

    “There has been a passband filter added in recent versions, to adjust the passband simply press FUNC F-L or FUNC F-H to adjust the skirts of the passband.

    I also know that work has been done on the NB, but it doesn’t seem to solve all issues (yet).

    A Notch filter would be nice, indeed. I believe its on the list of things to do.”

    Reply
  3. Pingback: The best general coverage transceivers for shortwave listening | The SWLing Post

  4. Dean Bianco

    I look eagerly to reading your review in the Spectrum Monitor, Thomas!

    There are a number of recently produced, stand-alone, SDR-based QRP radios that feature touch-screens and knobs, and forego the need for computers. This is a welcome trend when we consider the near-demise of traditional superhets on the market currently. This G90 along with the Belka, the Afedri LAN-IQ, the Elad FDM Duo, to name but a few, are filling in for the analog receivers of yesterday. As long as one is a generalist 0 to 30 MHz hobbyist, there are always signals to enjoy, and these relatively inexpensive radios provide the generous feature-sets and the high-performance specs that were previously only attainable with expensive, analog equipment. We are in good times, and we can now enjoy them while they last! Who says radio is dead?!

    Reply
    1. Harald Kuhl

      Interesting little radio indeed. Does the G90 provide a digital broadband signal output for recording and analyzing?

      Reply
      1. Thomas Post author

        It has I/Q output for interfacing with panadapters, but I believe the output is only available via an audio patch cord. Hopefully, someone can correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t tested this yet.

        -Thomas

        Reply
      2. Ron F

        By the manual & user reports, the IQ output is an analogue baseband signal derived from the internal 48kHz sampling (which, since it’s IQ, will be the ~ equivalent visible/usable BW) signal. It’s also by many accounts, at least in earlier firmwares, rather ratty with lots of spurs & VFO bleed – which may limit its usefulness, particularly for wider-bandwidth stuff like AM & DRM.

        Reply
  5. Guy Atkins

    I bought my G90 in early March strictly for broadcast listening (although I have a ham license). Thomas, you’re missing out on a lot of fidelity if you don’t attach an external, powered speaker to the transceiver! The small internal speaker has good voice clarity with narrow SSB bandwidths but is really hampered with AM mode broadcast signals in my opinion.

    I’ve found my G90 quite usable on the medium wave band too. One idiosyncrasy is that the low end of reception on my unit is about 550 kHz; it does not tune all the way down to 500 kHz (which is listed in the specs).

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Thanks for the tip, Guy! Yes, I did plug the G90 into an amplified speaker recently and was very impressed with the audio fidelity! I’m finding it to be a rather capable MW receiver as well when coupled with a proper antenna!

      -T

      Reply

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