Lab599 Discovery TX-500 - A different perspective

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

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  1. KL7KN

    KL7KN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Tx-500 caught my eye for 2 reasons. Form factor and the appearance of weather sealing.

    Now that the rig has transitioned from vaporware to a shipped product, I'm keeping an eye on it.

    Since I own a KX2, I just went ahead, got the armor kit/cover and a nice dry bag. At my age, one doesn't stand out in the rain and try to work HF....I did way too much of that while active duty with my PRC radios.

    Could Elecraft have put a heavy duty case on the rig?
    Sold the rig with a $0.50 cover for the key port? Not left the programming interface exposed?

    Sure. But $0.03 worth of electrical tape fixed the case/board exposure 'issue'.

    I have to believe Elecraft built the radio for the majority of the operator - folks that have the $ to purchase the rig.
    Those decisions are why the radio is built the way it is.

    The Tx-500 is nice, but - I'm more excited about the QCX Mini that should hit the market in the very near future. I'm very happy with my SW-3B. I had a MFJ-9200 (HS-1A) and at one time, a PFR-3A, but both went out the door, replaced by the SW-3B. The reason is - form factor.

    My point? I'm looking for a small, solid QRP radio (CW or SSB) that is light, and easy to use in the field. IOW Trail Friendly. Not everyone cares for that aspect.

    Closing - I'm happy to watch the videos about different rigs. Some contain technical material and others seem to focus on the operations side.
    I rarely make a purchase decision based on a video.
    I'm still 'happy' that the folks produce the videos - and that I get to make my decision based on my criteria.... The videos are part of the decision process.

    Again, my thanks tot he OP for taking the time to shoot, edit and post the video - that is real work and time invested.
    AJ6KZ likes this.
  2. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very practical solution there.
  3. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Always like your channel Julian. Your very clear about what and how your doing with equipment in your vids. I tend to be Yankee frugal so generally pessimistic on new equipment and manufacturers. I have to see a lot of reviews before I pull the trigger.
    The 500 interests me at the price point it actually is but I will wait a while to see how people do with it. Still would spend twice the price or more if someone made a full waterproof and hardened rig that proved reliable and had good support. Digital doesn't even matter except for maybe JS8 call. You cannot rely on any of that if GPS goes dark except JS8. You turned me on to that too.
    As a side note we got hit hard by straight line winds two days ago. My town was without power along with many others. I lost some huge maples. Every wire, the mast and all antennas succumbed before they hit my house. Sitting at the radios one came down on top of me but luckily stopped just above my head. Going to be mobile or portable only for a while now as I have to find temporary digs. But with all that I noticed many repeaters were down with the loss of power (crazy). My towns share the public safety tower so it was up on generator but many others not. Peoples cellphone were spotty at best a few hours later as some cell sites dropped and internet by smartphone slows to a crawl when major fiber goes down. It makes one understand that portable ops and HF will be key in more serious circumstances. So keep up the good work, Your doing a real service.
  4. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mark: Sorry to hear of your recent weather related damage. Tragic, but as long as nobody was injured, "things" can be rebuilt or replaced. Hang in there, brother.
  5. N6NLX

    N6NLX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Julian,

    Yes, I did watch it. For me it’s isn’t about the Elecraft fragility. I’m not a mountain topper. My reason for lack of use is due to boredom with the hobby. I’ve been doing qrp for many years so I’m not one of those who jumps in to try it and gives up. Over the years I’ve built several pieces of qrp gear and antennas. I was one of those that strung wire through the trees while out camping and used a manual tuner to load them. I still have one of the Super Antenna YP-3 portable beam antennas. I really like that antenna. I think it’s more because I’m kind of burned out on ham radio at the moment.
    I do like new tech when it comes to new toys. I would like to see one of the TX500 radios in person to get an idea of its size and feel. HRO doesn’t have them at the moment.
    One of the nice things about ham radio is that you can get burned out for awhile and put it away. Then something comes along and re-ignites the spark and I’m back in with both feet.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Don N6NLX
    AJ6KZ likes this.
  6. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, I'm good as the only real loss was antennas but the Yaesu rotator survived so not so much expense. Rest is insured. Was a strange one though. No warning whatsoever. 15 seconds of shaking then bang, trees down all around, It was gone just as quick.
  7. PA0MHS

    PA0MHS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The typical "chicken and egg" problem. If you need to clove your first piece of wood with your Brusletto knife, you need a log to hammer on it. Now there's a radio you can use for that :D
    WN1MB likes this.
  8. PA0MHS

    PA0MHS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Their web site mentions o-rings aroung pot-shafts. Not sure about a seal between both housing halves. As for shock absorption: electonics can handle a fair amount of shock. I design marine electronics and some devices get tested for IEC/EN 60945, which is required for ships sailing under SOLAS regulations. One of the tests is a vibration test and another is a drop test from 1.1 meter height. The products survive without any special measures to the suspension of PCB's. Just four screws to the chassis.
    AJ6KZ likes this.
  9. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I saw the o-rings around the shafts, but I was looking for confirmation the chassis halves were similarly waterproofed.

    That's interesting about the vibration and drop testing. I would have expected more isolation was needed. Is there a standard at which isolating the PCB from the chassis is necessary? Does achieving the 60945 standard require special soldering and assembling practices?

  10. AJ6KZ

    AJ6KZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Interesting question. It makes me think about the stuff they launch to Mars. The custom electronics boards are mounted directly into chassis. The chassis are then mounted directly to the spacecraft. The spacecraft is bolted to the delivery vehicle. The entire spacecraft goes through vibration testing and during launch there is a LOT of vibration.

    Still, I don't think I'd try to chop down a tree with the spacecraft.

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