Comparing the lab599 Discovery TX-500 with the Elecraft KX2

Since I took delivery of my lab599 Discovery TX-500, one of the most asked questions I’ve received from readers of and my YouTube channel is:

Which should I buy, Thomas? The KX2 or TX-500–?

I’ve also been asked which radio is “better” and which one I’d purchase if I could only buy one.

To address these questions, I decided to make a YouTube video where I outline some of the pros and cons of both radios, and compare them in terms of features especially with regard to field use.


Click here to watch my video on YouTube, or use the embedded player below:

In this video, I mention a number of external sites. I’ve included them in the video description, but I’ll also link to them below:

Feel free to comment if you have any specific questions and I’ll do my best to address them!

5 thoughts on “Comparing the lab599 Discovery TX-500 with the Elecraft KX2”

  1. Thomas, that was an excellent, balanced and very fair comparison of the two radios. I think what it does show is just how fortunate we now are in Ham Radio to have companies making radios like these.

    The new kid on the block is shaking things up a bit, but the established manufacturers have a following and years of experience of making & supporting radios to call upon.

    I am greedy and would like both, but if pushed, (and the 705 is in the mix too!) I think I will go KX2.

    But that’s for my use-cases.

    I don’t do digital, otherwise I would probably go 705 with it’s soundcard built in. I don’t like being out in bad weather so wouldn’t make use of the 500’s ruggedness.

    One thing that does occur to me though is that 500 users may still have the issue of non-weatherproof accessories to contend with – which means you could end up with the strange situation of using a weatherproof radio, while having to protect and cover your ATU, headphones, key, computer, etc. when it rains!
    What’s the point of a weatherproof radio then?

    Ah – I know!
    Lab599 can design and market some weatherproof accessories to go with the radio!

    Can’t wait!

    1. Thank you and very good points, Chris!

      I think you’re right and the QRP transceiver space is one of the most innovative in the radio world at present.

      And I had the same thought about lab599. Wonder what sort of weatherproof accessories they might develop? 🙂


  2. Hi Thomas, do you know if the TX-500’s exterior is black painted aluminum, or *anodized* aluminum? To my knowledge anodizing is far more scuff and scratch resistant that painting, except for some special high-end painted coatings.

    Anodizing would certainly be in keeping with Lab599’s design philosophy of ruggedness…I hope the transceiver is indeed anodized.

    1. Good question Guy. Here’s what they state on their website:

      “The case is also covered with a layer of black anodizing substance, to maintain an attractive appearance for a long time, even during extreme operation.”

      So I’m guessing that’s a yes? I can say that the black exterior feels like it wouldn’t easily scratch off. That would certainly, as you say, go along with their design philosophy.

  3. Thanks Thomas, I missed that info on their web site. Yes, it appears the transceiver’s case coating is as durable as the rest of the unit!

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