KX2 or 6100 for SOTA ?

When I bought a Xiegu X6100 earlier this year, I contemplated selling my KX2, but having been in North Wales for almost a week now, the KX2 has been in the rucksack most days and the 6100 hasn’t, so I’m glad I didn’t. Why ? Well, I guess the main reasons are that 6100 is a tad heavier than the KX2 and I take a lipo out with me if I use either, so although the internal battery on the 6100 is handy, I want the extra power an external battery gives you (10W on the 6100, 12W on the KX2).

Also, as my inverted V dipole is resonant on and around the “SOTA” SSB frequencies (17,20,40m), so I don’t really need the tuner on the 6100 - although I am considering one day upgrading the KX2 just in case I manage to master CW and need to tune to the bottom of the bands. Also, as my eyesight is getting pretty bad these days, I can’t really see all the menus on the 6100 so I end up adjusting things I don’t intend to by mistake. Because of the reflection of the sky on the screen, I find I have to cover the 6100 and my head with a cagoule, or such like, to be able to see the menus, and that’s all such a faf. Both have built in SWR meters, but the scale on the one on the 6100 is linear which means all you can tell is the SWR is less than 2:1, so I end up putting a nanoVNA or external swr meter in the rucksack just in case. The one on the KX2 tells you exactly what it is on the frequency selected; which is all you really need.

Yes the waterfall is a nice thing to have (I have a ICOM 7300 back home) but I’ve found I really don’t use it when out portable. I guess if I was summit camping, searching for S2S it might be useful to see where the RF is, but the SOTA app tells you all this anyway - assuming you can get service on a summit.

In my (limited) experience the KX2 interface is much simpler to use when you’re outdoors, the only downside is the quality of the audio - which is also pretty pants on the 6100 to be fair. If you whack up the volume to 11 to hear a feint station, everything gets a bit distorted for everyone else, especially when good old reliable Chris (F4WRN) comes back to your QC call and wastes your ear drums. The solution I’ve found for both radios is a pair of ear phones as recommended by Martin (M7BIA).

I’m going to keep the X6100 as it’s an amazing radio for its size and price (It’s essentially a QRP ICOM 7300). I brought both radios (and a FT-818) with me on this trip to North Wales and as the KX2 has been up Cadair Idris, Glyder Fawr, Trum Y Drysgal, Myndd Brafon, Holyhead Mountain, Craig Cwm Silyn and will be in the rucksack tomorrow on Yr Aran, the KX2 is clearly my preferred HF radio.

I wonder if anyone else has both radios and whether they have reached the same or different conclusion ?



I know KX2 options are expensive [in the UK at least] as is the KX2 itself but I and others on this reflector have sung the praises of the internal ATU - it seems to be able to tune up the proverbial wet piece of string. I have frequently been grateful for having the ATU for my range of different antennas including making my EFHW work on bands it wasn’t designed for [and getting & giving decent reports].

Good luck with the Morse training if you decide to go that way. I highly recommend 10-15 minutes every 3 days. If you stick to it, you will be amazed with your progress.

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Hi Dave,
I am making these comments while never having owned a KX2 nor an X6100 so these are opinions only and based on what I have seen and read on the web. So take this all with a pinch of salt.

My first thought when reading your post was - as you already had the KX2, why buy the X6100, unless you plan to load some Linux Apps on it in the future, which of course is not possible on the KX2.

The X6100 is quite a bit cheaper than a KX2 and while both are good radios, at the price, the KX2 should be the better radio.

Regarding reading the display in bright sunlight on any Xiegu radio with an LCD or OLED screen my solution (on my X108 and G90 radios) is to run a remote control app from my smartphone - that way I have a simpler layout (no waterfall) on the phone’s larger and higher contrast screen.

It will be interesting to see how the new G106 fairs as a portable radio. It is far more basic than either the KX2 or the X6100 but is smaller, lighter and will be cheaper than the other two. Perhaps it will be a “good enough” radio for a SOTA activation where many of the features on the more expensive radios might simply not be needed.

73 Ed.


I connected to and tuned up the guard rails around W4V/HB-002 and made a contact on 15m the last time I was out there with my KX2. A 57’ wire radiator and a 17’ counterpoise gives me every band from 40-10m. I haven’t been skunked on an activation since buying it in late 2020 (I struggled at times with my 817).



Hi @M0JKS Dave, you may of seen my post asking has anyone got a KX2 to sell…. I currently use the Xiego X6100 and have done for some months. It’s been all around UK with me and over to Germany too. I find it to be a cracking little SOTA radio for the price!

The internal tuner will literally tune a screwdriver to every band (doesn’t work very well), the scope is a great feature to tell if the bands are alive when on summit, it’s not touch screen which is a bonus being on summit in all wx conditions, it has a built in mic if you forget yours and the receive audio is pretty good.

Why do I want a KX2…. well, I travel quite a lot for my job and want to make my equipment as light as possible because I intend doing some SOTA activations when abroad. I understand the KX2 is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the X6100. That is the main reason for wanting one.

Apart from that, I find my X6100 to be a great radio and wouldn’t even think of selling it. You won’t notice any difference between the extra 2w the KX2 pushes out. But, once I find a KX2 to buy, I will be doing side by side tests.

73, GW4BML. Ben


Very happy with my KX2, as others have remarked the internal ATU seems to match up pretty well anything.

73’s Wal VK2WP


Honestly I think the 6100 is a radio marketed for people that can’t get a KX2 for whatever reason it may be. Right now, it seems a good choice for SOTA if you can’t wait a few months to get a new kx2 from Elecraft, but I would rather have a 817/8 for harsher wx and when you want to do v/uhf and a kx2 for the shorter trips HF only. A kx2 IMO out performs a 6100 on Rx but it should at double the price!



Can’t comment on 6100 but since I got the KX2 my 817 has only occasionally come out of retirement. Why - the internal battery - 10w out with the ATU which will tune almost anything, a display that I can read without glasses, a menu which seems intuative ( Is it just me or are Yaesu menu’s awkward - if I don’t use the rig for a few weeks I need a cheat sheet…)… and I have solved the unintended QSY on the KX2 by disabling the other buttons on the microphone. My usual combination is a 2m HH + the KX2 and so far it has been very effective!


I realise that I’m swimming against the current, but I find that the Yaesu menus are very intuitive and I can navigate around them easily.

Icom menus though - don’t even get me started…


Hmm, I can’t remember the last time I used a menu on my FT-817. Basically it’s set up for how I like it and there’s no need to faff around on an activation.

As for Paul’s comment about worsening eyesight, I’ve started taking a pair of cheap reading glasses on activations - usually £2 or so in various shops. If my eyes are doing okay on the day, they stay in the backpack, if not then they are there to use.


Hi Dave,

so a year and a few months later, I’m asking you the question KX2 or X6100?
Or even a other radio?


Hi Julian,

That’s an easy one - the KX2. I do use the X6100 here in the shack (sometimes with a ACOM 1010), but due to it’s lightness the KX2 always makes it into the rucksack. The MH3 microphone is a bit bulky, so I leave that at home and use one I made myself. Don’t get me wrong the X6100 is a nice radio, but for SOTA activations I personally do not need all the extra features that come with the X6100 - over the KX2 (like the waterfall etc). I use a resonant antenna (switchable inverted V - 10/15/20/40) and so all I really need is the SWR meter on the KX2 - to make sure I’ve switched in the correct band. Although nice, I don’t need the waterfall that comes with the X6100 as I use the SOTA app to chase - so I know where the RF is and on what band. This, and the light weight of KX2, means it always come with me - unless I take out the FT857 that is (which is not very often).

Here’s my activation log for 2023 almost all (98%) completed with the KX2.


and a S2S with you (GW/SW-001 to OE/NO-135) using the KX2 on 10W.


73 Dave

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Hello Dave,

thx that’s what I want to hear hahaha.
I bought a KX2 and it will come in a few weeks.
I used a FT817 5W with an EFHW 64:1 and 66 ft of wire.
Made also pretty nice and long contacts with my FT817 and don’t get me wrong I love this baby but something new is always nice hahaha.

here some recent QSO’s with my FT817 @5W

This one was with Randy @ND0C he was also sending with 5W if I remember corectly (7040km or 4374 mi).

so I would say can’t wait to get my KX2 :wink:

Thx a lot, looking forward to the next S2S we had 5 in total if I logged everything correctly :wink:


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I keep thinking to myself just order a KX2 then I get it in the checkout and see the $1800 CAD for it and rethink it. one day One day I will press the buy now button.


Jesse, you need as a minimum the KX2, the ATU and the IO/RTC card. You don’t need their key or mic, or their LiIon battery and charger. You’ll probably already have plenty of batteries that will be fine. Although the internal battery does make a neat and cute setup but I’ve had external batteries for so long I don’t care. And the end plates and Perspex cover. So work out that price and buy it.

I have plenty of HF radios but the KX2 came about by a long and boring route. So I got mine in May and there’s a small learning curve compared with the 817s I’ve used 2006. I was unimpressed at first… a lot of money and it was not amazingly obviously better than the 817. But now 6 months later and a few activations I realise that it’s a lot, lot lighter, the batteries last a lot, lot longer. It’s easier to use if you have big fat fingers and palms the size of a bear’s paws like me. And then there’s the ATU which will tune anything and everything which was never missed when I used the 817 but is great to have now I have one. And then there’s the radio where it’s hard to explain why it’s better than the 817. But it is just so much better when you are listening to it.

So would I buy a KX2 now based on owning one? The answer is simple. if you have the cash, buy one and enjoy it. :wink:

I haven’t sold my 817s which are still needed for transverter driving etc. I might sell one of them and sell the CW filter separately. I’ll be third of the way towards a KH1 then!


He Jesse,

yes the same happend to me…
FT817 is still nice, I have also a FT891 which is perfect for activations with more power.
The X6100 is 2,5 cheaper then the KX2. And also the TX-500 is cheaper. But in the end I ordered the KX2 :wink:
Let’s see how I like it hahaha.


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Hey Andy,

thx for your words.
For sure I’m not selling my FT817! It’s my first radio hehe.

I didn’t see the purpose for the " ELECRAFT KXIO2". For what is the clock necessary?
I’m logging everything with my phone. So for me its not necessary.

But maybe you can convince me to order it haha.



The clock is used in the built logging option and having some programmable outputs is probably useful for the future. If you buy the internal charger you get the charger and what this board does. Elecraft’s battery and internal (or external) charging option isn’t cheap but I am very cheap! So I am using all the batteries I have for 817s etc. for now. :wink:


Yes this was my plan also. Using the 18650 that I have.
Maybe I’m installing my own external charger at the LED hole or like he modified his radio.


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