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Lab599 Discovery TX-500 - A different perspective

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Sep 30, 2020.

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  1. G0UUT

    G0UUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    nice unit good radio for sure however one man company no email address you can even order one try to contact some other company no answer no support no point
  2. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The point of this video is a rugged ham radio, with excellent receiver, at an affordable price. Something manufacturers have neglected the community until now. People keep saying how good the kx2 is, but the 800$ price gets you a radio, and nothing else. No tcxo, no charger, no battery, no tuner, no 6 meters, no weather protection, no microphone(?). The kx2 can't be charged in the field, and has to have the battery removed in order to charge it. Regardless of how good the RX is, it is not designed for extended field Comms. It seems better suited for an afternoon on a park bench (which is ok).

    I wish the kx2 community would enjoy their rigs, and let the rest of us enjoy not choosing a kx2. Lack of a tuner is not a deal breaker, for many. Personally, I think the Xiegu x5105 is a far better value for someone on a budget looking for kx2 form factor. For someone operating in harsh conditions, I believe the tx500 is a better choice than the kx2. I don't hate the kx2, but would rather have a radio designed for the field.

    I've only spent a few hours with a kx2 a few years ago. It is a beautiful radio, and no one is arguing it's legendary performance. It simply isn't rugged.
    Julian oh8stn
  3. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I stood corrected on the price. Still using 817 and 857 though and yet to see such a great jump other than the radio claims to be weather proof. Now my 857 has done thousands of sea miles and been through two hurricanes on a 41 footer. It has had more salt spray than a ford test mule and even though its ugly it still works. I appreciated your review of the 818 and haven't had a second glance. For 800 bucks though the 500 seems decent but I will hold till its had some miles behind it. Also I am not sure of the customer service. So far I have had two radios to Yaesu and though not five star they did fix both in a timely manner. Those things do come into play. I am probably a Yaesu/Standard fanboy. Had very good luck with the brand in hard service unlike the other two majors. But, that includes aviation and marine radios. Bought a second 891 and a 991a last year and both I am very happy with. The first 891 gets pounded in a 3/4 ton truck and it has around 75k of bounce so far with only one issue when I first got it. The display went dark and HRO swapped it on the spot. Only issue I have had in years now. If that makes me a fanboy so be it.

    I agreed with your 818 vid and have stated same here before. That may make me less of a fanboy though.
  4. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Let's not get SJW ok? I actually support a couple of channels but none you mention. I more appreciate those who make videos for information's sake and dislike the ones who it's all about them. Most of the latter have gone overboard posting here with little or no info past vying for celebrity. I like your vids as its mostly about the subject matter.
    Past that most don't draw the line between promotion and objective review and that to me is an issue that needs discussion.

    Your opening statement needs validation also as the only platforms I have commented on is Qrz and maybe Youtube and there I could count on one hand. Be careful of what you put in print that is untrue.
  5. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fair enough. You know I have in the past Bay but Yaesu fanboy. Carried the 817 since 2000. Also had 897, 857 FT-100, VX-x. I also have the Vertex Standard VX 1210 which I love. I believe we need to encourage forward motion when manufacturers even small ones, come up with something we've been waiting for. I was heartbroken when Yaesu decided to sell off its Vertex Standard brand to Motorola. I was also heartbroken when Yaesu discontinued the ft-897. Still I bought the ft-891, but admittedly was disappointed that he didn't have an internal audio interface like the 991 Alpha. From my perspective, Yaesu is focusing on contest radios, and has put literally zero effort into portable radios since the release of the ft817nd. That's why radios like the tx500 are so important. If we just keep throwing our skepticism out there, these small manufacturers have no incentive to develop any innovative answers to that which is lacking from the big manufacturers. I know I pick on the elecraft kx series, but now we know it is possible to produce a radio with well-designed thermal protection, with weather proofing, with watertight connectors. When we see this type of innovation, we have to ask ourselves why didn't Elecraft do something like that!? Why didn't the Yaesu ft-818 come out with something like that!? I believe it's because companies like Elecraft, like Yaesu, ... have become lazy. FT-818 and KX4 should follow the design lead of the tx500.

    Anyway, I don't think we have to love our chosen radios any less, but we should be open minded and objective regarding new developments in the community. In this case the tx500. By the way I'm kind of tired of the increased polarisation in the community. I'd rather spend that energy supporting innovative portable radio designs.

    Julian oh8stn
  6. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    All fair, Same with me when Yaesu sold off Standard. I also agree with Yaesu going contest mode. Not a fan of contesting today. It's the wild west during most contests now and there is no room for a Qso or net when the big contests are running.
    Those who promote contesting should put band limits in place to discourage the hoards from shutting the band down. Yaesu would do well to watch your 818 vid. They could learn a lot.
    Now the 500 I will keep an eye on. If it is as bulletproof as you say I will buy one.
  7. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The negative part first. I may have mixed you up with someone who has been hounding me on other networks almost word-for-word with some of the things you've said here. Apologies if you're not him. Wasn't being spiteful, the similarities were that close.

    About the other channels. You know I generally like to walk alone. My work speaks for itself. No clickbait, no sensationalism, just see if it does what it says on the box, then tell people what I found out and how to apply that in the field. No bikini-clad females on the channel, no giveaways, no BS. Still, it's my flavor. Others have unique flavors of Their Own, and I don't have to watch. Still I'm happy they make content in a flavor for someone who does like to watch. Whatever the flavor, it doesn't mean we're all getting paid or selling out, or not telling the entire truth. I've sent back gear which was absolute trash. I've lost hundreds of subs at a time, for calling out manufacturers, ... so when you throw us all into a " profiting" pot, it's an unfair statement. Be careful spreading opinions as truth.

    To your points though. If I'm sent something for review and it's so bad that I would have to crush it in a video, I provide feedback to the manufacturer or distributor who sent it. This way they have an opportunity to correct the faults in the system, before I ever release a video. If they feel there's no point to correct the faults, I ask them to send a shipping label, so that I can send the equipment back. If they don't do that, the gear goes in the trash. There's full disclosure.
    J oh8stn
  8. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It would be interesting to have defined what "rugged" means in terms of amateur radio and have that standard tested. Something like drop testing, exposure to moisture, high/low temps, etc.

    I had an 817nd for 13 years, modified it extensively, and used it almost exclusively in the field (reference this post to see the sort of places I took it). I even took it on trail runs in a well secured Camelback pack so I could stop during my run, set the station up, operate for a bit, then continue my run. Not to mention numerous camping and hunting trips in the US Appalachian Mtns. It held up fine for those activities.

    I just recently purchased a used KX2 with all the bells and whistles (ATU, Battery, Charger), as well as a number of aftermarket accessories (side rails, heatsink, top cover, padded case). I've taken it on one SOTA activation that was a short hike distance-wise (1 mile each way), but more bushwhacking and orienteering than hiking, and a handful of impromptu field "deployments" to the woods in this area. I haven't yet done any runs or camping trips with it yet, but those are coming (runs as soon as I find a better pack, it won't fit in the Camelback).

    Having used both radios and having looked inside both, I'm not convinced one is more "rugged" than the other. The 817 is certainly heavier, but it lacks any sort of water ingress protection (there's a freaking speaker grill on top!) and also lacks shock absorption.

    Regarding the TX-500, while the product lit references shock and water resistance, I don't see how it achieves either. From pics, I don't see that the chassis is sealed at the seams (just tight fitting), nor does there appear to be any shock absorption where the circuit boards are mounted to the chassis. If so, this means any shock to the chassis will be transmitted to the boards, potentially damaging components. Again, this does not appear to be an improvement over other radios. A drop might result in a failure invisible to the eye, but still catastrophic to the functionality. It is likely more durable than other radios, but without an objective test standard, I don't know if it's slightly more or substantially more durable than its competition. I'm concerned its durability is more for show...

    All that said, I'm not against the TX-500. I find it interesting and hope it starts a trend toward more outdoors-oriented ham gear for those of us not interested in home-based operation. In the HT arena, the old Yaesu VX-7r was a pretty good attempt, let's get the same in our HF rigs.

    G0NMD, N1IPU and OH8STN like this.
  9. W9AC

    W9AC Subscriber QRZ Page

    Admittedly, I'm in the minority here. While at a campsite, I prefer an external tuner, 600-ohm open feeder lines, and one tall tree to support a 40m-10m inverted Vee. My campsite choice is made based on proximity to trees. For multiband operation, a simple inverted Vee at 40 ft., fed with open-feeder line, will significantly outperform (and out-model) just about any portable vertical antenna except for one dipped into the edge of a saltwater beach.

    Unless I'm backpacking, I use a highly efficient <gulp> Johnson Matchbox (275W version) sitting on a picnic bench or inside my tent. Yep, the matchbox is larger than the rig, battery, and accessories combined. But, from the comfort inside a tent, I can tune all bands with superlative RF efficiency and attain excellent DX and local performance from the inverted Vee. Maybe one day I can figure out how to load the rig and accessories into the Matchbox cabinet while not damaging the internal components!

    Paul, W9AC
    N1IPU, WN1MB, KL7KN and 1 other person like this.
  10. AJ6KZ

    AJ6KZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hope you noticed the part of my post where I noted I was thinking about buying TX-500. :)

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