Last year, I was lucky enough to obtain a lab599 Discovery TX-500 QRP transceiver for review on the SWLing Post.
It was a bittersweet experience because 1.) I really liked this transceiver, and 2.) I could only keep it for one week!
One week?!? (Now I can’t get this BNL song out of my head.)
Typically when I receive a loaner transceiver for review, I like to keep it a minimum of 4 weeks, but actually ask for up to 6 or 8 weeks. I like spending quite a lot of time with a new transceiver so I have an opportunity, for example, to take it on multiple field trips, pair it with a wide variety of antennas, and also using it in the shack.
My time was limited with the TX-500 last year because I had one of only a handful of pre-production units in the US (one was being used for FCC testing). Josh, from Ham Radio Crash Course, sent me the TX-500 after he spent a week with it, and I sent it Ham Radio Outlet where it would be eventually used as a demo unit.
When I took delivery of that TX-500 in late August 2020, I immediately hit the field. In one week, I performed seven park activations and also spent a great deal of time with the TX-500 in the shack.
In short, I really like the TX-500 as a field radio. Sadly, however, I didn’t have an option to purchase one anytime soon. There was already a massive backlog or orders at Ham Radio Outlet and lab599, like other manufacturers last year, experienced production delays due to Covid-19.
Last autumn, I asked lab599 if they would consider sending me another TX-500 on extended loan when they had a unit available.
Yesterday, I took delivery of a new TX-500!
Of course, I’ll be taking this unit to the field ASAP and plan to make a number of videos readers have requested comparing the TX-500 to the KX2, KX3, FT-818, and IC-705.
Although I’m not a fan of “unboxing videos,” I did make one of the TX-500 yesterday only moments after I took delivery. Why? Frankly, because I believe the box design itself speaks to lab599’s attention to detail.
I’ll admit right up-front that this video is a bit of an unrehearsed stream of consciousness ramble as I tried to share some of my thoughts about the TX-500. You’ve been warned:
Again, I’m looking forward to taking this weatherproof rig to summits and parks soon, so expect some field reports and videos featuring the TX-500.
In the meantime, please let me know if you have a TX-500 and consider sharing your thoughts and comments!