Wouxun X1M Pro (Platinum) QRP Transceiver Reviewed

The Wouxun X1M Pro is a budget low-powered HF rig that covers 0.1 to 30 MHz. Priced around £250, this makes for a great low-cost entry way into HF.  You can buy this either as a kit, or fully assembled. Our thanks to Steve Smith 2E0UEH for the following article on this little HF gem:

X1M PLATINUM 5-Band Amateur HF QRP Rig
X1M PLATINUM 5-Band Amateur HF QRP Rig

 

W1M Pro Specs:

  • Frequency range RX & TX:  100 kHz ~ 30 MHz
  • Modes: USB & LSB & CW
  • Power output: 5 Watts
  • Operating voltage: 12 Vdc
  • Operating current: 0.35 ~ 1.2 amp
  • Receiver Preamplifier:  Yes
  • Memory Channels:  100
  • RIT Function:  Yes
  • Automatic Internal CW Keyer:  Yes
  • Backlight On/Off:  Yes
  • Keyboard  Lock:  Yes
  • Dimensions:   3-13/16 x 1-9/16 x 6-1/8 inches
  • Weight:   0.65 kg  ~  1.43 lbs
  • PTT Microphone:  Included
  • Computer Control:  Compatible with Ham Radio Deluxe (factory adapter required – Choose FT-817 in HRD)

Transmits continuous 100 kHz – 30 MHz via  Menu option.

Five Ham Bands are configured with bandpass filtering.  Transmitting on frequencies outside these ranges will require external bandpass filtering. Frequencies shown are the US band limits.

  • Band 1 3.5 – 4.0 MHz (80 Meters)
  • Band 2 7.0 – 7.3 MHz (40 Meters)
  • Band 3 14.0 – 14.35 MHz (20 Meters)
  • Band 4 21.0 – 21.45 MHz (15 Meters)
  • Band 5 28.0 – 29.7 MHz (10 Meters)
  • Receiving sensitivity: better than 0.45uV,
  • RF output power: ≥ 4.5W
  • Frequency stability: better than 0.5ppm
  • Frequency accuracy: better than 0.5ppm
  • Operating voltage: 12.0 ~ 14.0V DC
  • Receiver Standby Current: 0.5A
  • Emission current: 1.5A Max
X1M Compact 5-Band HF QRP Rog - Rear View
X1M Compact 5-Band HF QRP Rog – Rear View

My First Impressions:

I went for the kit, (I’m that kind of amateur, at home with a soldering iron). When I took the components out of the box I was amazed by the small size and ruggedness of the case.

The kit came with a selection of instructions on how to put together – some in Chinese – but the diagrams are good. So what you can’t read in the text can be seen in the plans. The PCBs are of a good quality and are silk screened. The kit came with everything; including the screws and link cabling – although I have heard that not everyone gets the same from other suppliers.

After a couple of weeks of construction, the big moment came to put power to it; and to my surprise: it worked first time.

The display is easy to read, as is all the silk screening on the front and rear covers.

The audio from the unit is very clean for a small unit. There is a mod to the audio via the headphone socket. A resistor (R8) is to be shorted out to give full volume from the headphone socket.

My X1M Version Comments:

  1. Polarity is marked and unit comes with barrel connector.
  2. CW mode will not work if microphone is plugged into the front of the unit
  3. Marked KEYER on the back which is nice addition
  4. No Power Out or S meter indication on display
  5. The headphone jack on the rear of unit. You may find that a pain
  6. Display is clear and bright, not too small and still easy to read
  7. CW tone is clear
  8. Size of radio makes it very compact for portable use
  9. All controls on unit feel good
  10. 99 memories

 

Menu navigation from the front panel is easy. With just a few button presses and you are in the heart of the menus.

Below are a few menu items which will need to be adjusted to fit your requirements because there is a bit of setting up to be done.

RIT Button:  When pressed for 2 seconds this will bring you to the SYSTEM MENU display-from here you have 2 options- YES or NO. By pressing the button directly underneath either option will make the choice. If YES is pushed this is what you may see: * indicates default setting when radio received.

  1. RCLK Ratio  x6*  x1
  2. DDS Clock  032768131*
  3. LSB BFO  08988750*
  4. USB BFO  09000850*
  5. CW BFO  09001380*
  6. IF OFFSET  +08999830*
  7. KEY MODE  MANUL*  AUTO
  8. KEY SPEED  A-KEY-SPEED 060* (adjustable)
  9. CW DELAY  1000* (adjustable from 0000-5000)
  10. CW TONE  800*
  11. MUTE  NO*
  12. RST SETTING NO*

NOTE: Most radios will have different default settings to start. You should be advised to write these down for future reference.

To make any changes to the menu values push main tuning knob in and if value can be changed you will see 2 arrows on either side of the setting. It then can be changed by moving the arrows up and down. Once changed quickly press the main tuning button again to exit that menu.

When all settings are adjusted- briefly press and release RED BL/LOCK button- It will then ask if you want to SAVE CHANGES? YES or NO

Press the black button directly under the option you wish to choose. You will then be directed back to the VFO/MEMO setting when all is saved.

NOTE: There is a VERY loud beep, confirming the save function. May be best not to have the headphone on during the setting up.

There is a very good video on YouTube for setting the Upper and Lower sideband plus the CW BFOs and the IF off set. (Link at bottom of this report)

 

My conclusion:

After having given the X1M a good work out into my 10mtr vertical (Homemade Fishing Pole) antennas, I have to report that it does what it says in the tin.

Using SSB, I have worked Norway and Russia amongst others, from the Southeast coast of Essex, UK. And got reports of 57, I gave the 58.

Being a new boy to CW, it has proved itself to me. Only draw backs on CW are that there is no adjustable CW sidetone volume or any form of CW filtering for the unit that can be got at without taking the unit apart. Adjustable CW side tone volume is a pre-set on the PCB, the top of the case must be moved to adjust. Front left corner of the top PBC, next to the microphone gain pre-set.

Audio from the internal speaker sounds great, for such a small speaker. Volume control is also good with full control from minimal output to full AF output.

When I am using the rig at home, I use a CB power supply, but when portable, I use a small 7ah battery from an intruder alarm. I get about 9 hours of operation before the need to charge.

The radio case is very rugged looking and nice when assembled, the radio does get warm when sitting after being turned on for a few hours, but does not affect its operation. The display is nice to look at, a bit small but still able to navigate through it no problem. The buttons on the front appear to be a better quality than the first model and very easy to push and gain control of the radio with.

The backlight default is ON so if you turn the unit off with the backlight OFF it will come back on when radio is again turned on.

The microphone is small as well. Comments on SSB are that the microphone is very sensitive and the radio can be overdriven if talking too loud or too close to the microphone.

There is a mod required to the case of the microphone. There have been reports that the speech can be muffled. The way to get over this is to, disassemble the microphone case. Note the position of the mic. Drill the case (3 small holes approx. 1mm size) at the mic location. Reassemble the microphone and test your handy work.

I did the tests on 20 meters using the dummy load and another radio out in the back garden and was told that the audio was best when the microphone was held at chest level and talking into it.

 

The Band Pass Filters (BPF) on the traditional ham bands really click into play when you tune into the band.

Because the X1M radio does have full open transmit you should ensure that when using it on out of band for other purposes that there are no spurious emissions being sent out or harmonics that might cause problems.

CAT control: Using this radio with HRD makes this portable unit that much easier to control from the computer screen. This would make frequency and memory changing more straight forward. The supplier sent me with the unit a CD with the FREE HRD software. I loaded it on the a windows vista PC and worked first time. I do suggest you purchase the CAT cable at the same time as getting your X1M, You will find it so much easier to drive the rig via a PC.

 

If used with a small RF amplifier this little radio would be a powerhouse in the field for portable operations.

New to Market: XPA20 Compact 6-Band Amateur HF 20 Watt Linear amplifier

The XPA20 is intended as a companion linear amplifier for the X1M HF QRP transceiver, for those who would like a little more oomph than the X1M’s 5 Watt output. It is rated at 20 Watts maximum output for 5 Watts input and is suitable for both CW and SSB modes. Although the cost for the RF amplifier is on the expensive side. I have found the FT817 RF amplifier works on this unit and is slightly cheaper. Of course you can always construct one of your own.

The addition of a small snap on battery pack the same size as this radio would also make it a winner for portable work.

I would suggest that you take a look at the X1M Yahoo group. This is a great place to find out more on any updates, mods and problems.

 

My last word of warning…… DO NOT transmit if your SWR is greater than 2:0. The RF PA transistor will go pop and that’s the end of your DX for the day. If that happens it’s time to get the soldering iron out and change it. Not a straight forward task. So: be careful.

I hope you find this review useful.

Enjoy your X1m and good DX.

73’s.

Dr Steve Smith 2E0UEH

 

Helpful Links and User Manuals

8 Comments

  1. 2E0PFX-Paul 7 July 2014 Reply
  2. EA7LX 11 July 2014 Reply
  3. Wayne Tunstall 2e0bvj 20 August 2014 Reply
    • Mike 16 July 2015 Reply
      • Rich K. 5 February 2017 Reply
  4. Mike 9 December 2014 Reply
    • chris 19 March 2015 Reply
  5. marco 12 June 2016 Reply

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