Return of the lab599 Discovery TX-500!

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.

For more details, click here to read my full review of the TX-500 on the SWLing Post.

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!

7 thoughts on “Return of the lab599 Discovery TX-500!”

  1. Congrats Tom! This radio is on my short list of radio’s to own!
    Really looking forward to more of your commentary and experince wit this rig!

    Thanks for all you do!

    73 de N1ONE

  2. Thomas,
    Yes, I still have my TX500 (box #5061) from the September 2020 shipment. Great unboxing video! I noted that your TX500 now has the serial number (…263) etched into the back of the radio, as well as having a numbered (5263) label on the exterior of the box. I invite you to join the email list (Lab599) where there are currently 117 members. Also, be aware that there is a matching 60W plus tuner unit (PA500) being offered through another company –, of which there is also a list (diy599) with 36 members. In addition to the upcoming Lab599 battery pack, KB7MDB, Brewer3Ddesign, has designed a matching battery pack that may soon be available, and has available now – front protector pieces for the screen and controls area. Relative to contesting, I did use my TX500 in the November 2020 ARRL SSB Sweepstakes and was pleased with its performance.
    73, Henry – K4TMC

  3. I would like to also see a comparison of it to the x5105 and a magnetic loop antenna.
    Thanks, KC5BNM

  4. Looking forward to your reviews, the waterproof design for sure is a plus compared to KX-2/-3, IC-705 and others.
    The connectors however are strange but well chosen in regard to the waterproof concept. Please also see if these can be bought elsewhere on the market.


  5. Hi Thomas. Your videos are awesome, and I am a subscriber. I have recently ordered this amazing radio from HRO. Do you have any insider information as to when the next shipment comes to the US?

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