Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don (W7SSB), who shares the following photos of the new lab599 Discovery TX-500. Don notes that all of these photos were taken in Russia–where the TX-500 is manufactured–and include a number of Chameleon resonant field antennas.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Josh (KI6NAZ), who shares a link to his YouTube channel where he takes us on a tour of the lab599 TX-500 Discovery:
Thanks for sharing this, Josh! The TX-500 is certainly a unicorn in the world of field-portable QRP radios since it’s designed to be weather-proof.
lab599 has confirmed that they will dispatch a TX-500 loaner unit for my upcoming review. I’m looking forward to see how it plays in the field and might compare with other QRP rigs in my arsenal!
A number of SWLing Post readers have been contacting me this month regarding the lab599 TX-500 Discovery QRP general coverage transceiver. Since its announcement around this time last year, a number of radio enthusiasts have been seeking any updates or information regarding price and availability.
Spoiler alert: Sadly, I have no meaningful updates at present.
Here’s what I do know…
The product page for the TX-500 now has more photos and specifications. They also added a downloads page with the manual, software, and firmware. [Update: I removed links to these pages because some systems report that the site may have gotten a malware injection–common with WordPress sites.]
Many of you have asked if the TX-500 will be “vaporware.” Possibly, but I don’t believe so. I suspect lab599 is keeping everything under wraps until they have firm information regarding availability and pricing. I’m actually happy they haven’t asked for pre-orders with cash deposits because that always adds a layer of risk with products that are not yet in production. At this point, no consumers have an investment riding on this future rig.
Of course, I imagine the Covid-19 pandemic could also affect their supply chain.
There have been two new videos posted on the lab599 YouTube page this month.
The first video shows the TX-500 in the field and the operator (R9JC) making a contact in CW:
The second video shows the TX-500 display as the operator tunes through the CW portion of the 20 meter band with the 50 Hz filter engaged:
Following TX-500 updates closely…
I am following TX-500 updates very closely. Since I’m primarily a “field” ham radio operator, the idea of a weather-proof, rugged, QRP transceiver is very appealing. Seriously…just take my money!
Of course, being first and foremost a shortwave radio listener, I’m also very interested how the TX-500 might play on the broadcast bands in AM mode.
You can bet I will review the TX-500 as soon as it’s available.
I recently sent another inquiry to lab599. If I receive any meaningful information, I’ll share it here on the SWLing Post. Simply follow the tag: TX-500
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Vlad, who shares some images and a video of a new QRP transceiver in development: the Discovery TX-500 by a company called lab599.
Specifications have not been published yet, but we have confirmed a few details from the manufacturer:
- 10 watts PEP
- HF plus 6 meters
- Weight 570 grams (1.25 pounds)
- Voltage 9 – 14 VDC
- 105 milliamps at 13.8 VDC and with backlit display on
- CAT control via USB and using Kenwood codes
- I/Q outputs
- Expected availability autumn 2019
- Target retail price is $700 US
- Product website is forthcoming
All of the following images came from the Discovery TX-500 gallery on Instagram:
Here are a few videos:
For someone, like me, who loves playing radio in the field (Parks On The Air and Summits On The Air) this looks like an ideal rig. It’s one of the only ham radio transceivers I’ve seen that is weatherized to some degree (how much, we don’t know yet).
I don’t see a speaker on the TX-500, so I’m guessing it might require a mic/speaker combo or an external speaker of some sort? I also don’t see a built-in ATU, but at $700, I certainly wouldn’t expect one.
With a power consumption of 110 milliamps at 13.8 VDC, this little transceiver should run for ages on a modest battery pack.
This is certainly a fascinating prototype QRP transceiver. If the Discovery TX-500 transceiver can be produced and marketed at $700 with all of the features mentioned so far, it should certainly fly off the shelves. They can certainly take my money!
Of course, I will plan to grab one of these for review. I’m also eager to see how this little SDR transceiver might perform on the broadcast bands.
We will post post TX-500 updates and details as they become available. Bookmark the tag Discovery TX-500 and stay tuned!
Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?
Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!