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Lab599 Discovery TX-500

TX-500 in action on a stone

This is the third HF transceiver that I bought. I was looking for a while for an alternative to the FT-891, because I wanted something leightweight for my little hiking tours.

Low quality mic? #

It’s like many plastic mics on other radios, it definitly feels a bit “cheap” and it was the first (and only; until now) thing that broke. I haven’t noticed the broken mic until I tried to call CQ in the mountains and I fixed it on the same day. I haven’t been out since then…

I bought a Laravel mic from Amazon and I already got a spare in-ear plugs from Sennheiser which I combined with the adapters from Robert W2ENY (including a hand-held push-to-talk button adapter (like the Heil HS-2 but smaller).

This is pleasing to use and you got the sound directly in-ear. Though, the Laravel mic has no punch and I’m not using this for the moment.

Original CAT cable settings #

Baud rate9600
Data bits8
Stop bits1

Firmware version 1.19.01 or later includes a second CAT protocol named Lab599 which adds support for DIG mode switching commands (MD6). It uses the same settings as the KENWOOD mode.

I use these rigctld commands:

KENWOOD mode #

$ rigctld -m 2014 -r /dev/ttyUSB0 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -P RTS -s 9600 -vvvv

Lab599 mode #

$ rigctld -m 2050 -r /dev/ttyUSB0 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p /dev/ttyUSB0 -P RTS -s 9600 -vvvv

Power output at 10% #

Since someone asked on a mailing list to verify his measurements and I had my tinySA in reach I also created these measurements and I do not want to hide them :)

As always, take these with a grain of salt!

80m3.530 MHzNORMAL0.8 W1.72 W
DUAL0.6 W0.48 W
40m7.130 MHzNORMAL0.8 W1.40 W
DUAL0.6 W0.41 W
20m14.285 MHzNORMAL0.7 W1.40 W
DUAL0.6 W0.44 W
15m21.245 MHzNORMAL1.3 W2.13 W
DUAL1.1 W0.60 W
10m29.080 MHzNORMAL1.7 W2.86 W
DUAL1.5 W0.90 W

PA500 #

Since the TX-500 does not have a built-in tuner the PA500 is well worth the investment. It got it’s [own page]({{/* ref “/equipment/accessories/diy599-pa500/” */}}) in my equipment collecion.