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Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Adventure HF Transceiver

(19 customer reviews)

In stock

Discovery TX-500 ultra-compact HF transceiver from Lab599 is tailored for adventure, for extremes, for using in places unattainable before, with no sacrifice of performance or features.

More documentation and Firmware updates in Downloads.



  • USD: 1,468.25 $
  • SEK: 15 272 kr

In stock

unlimited available through backorder

Discovery TX-500 General Features

  • 160-6-meter ham bands
  • General ‘receive’ coverage 0.5 – 56.0 MHz
  • All modes: SSB, CW, DIG, AM, FM
  • High-performance 32-bit floating-point DSP
  • Current drain as low as 100 mA in ‘receive’ mode (backlight on, preamp off, no signal)
  • External power supply DC 9-15V, 1 to 2A typical in transmit
  • High-contrast LCD with 256 * 128 px
  • High-performance real-time panadapter (48 kHz wide)
  • On-line firmware updates
  • Tilted feet (rear), fold up for transportation
  • Ultra-compact size (H*W*D): 90 mm (3.5″) * 207 mm (8.1″) * 21 mm (0.8 “)
  • Weight: 0.55 Kg (19,4 oz)

The Lab599 Discovery TX500 covers 160-6 meters, all modes, with a maximum power output of 10 W. It comes with true desktop-radio features, like auto-notch, noise reduction, and RX/TX EQ. The transceiver has a built-in fast pan-adapter, for easier search for new contacts and evaluation of band conditions wherever you are, at any time.

In receive mode, current drain can be as low as 100 mA —a unique feature on the market. Transmit efficiency is also excellent, with improved battery life.

Unique form-factor

The Lab599 Discovery unique form-factor allows you to operate from anywhere. The transceiver is only 30 mm thick, including knobs, weighing only 0.58kg. Fold out the tilted-feet at the rear for use on a desktop or picnic table.

11 discrete RF bandpass filters

Discovery TX-500 has 11 discrete RF bandpass filters. The RF signal is only passed through one of the band-pass filters — any out-of-range signals are rejected.

Built-in pan-adapter

The transceiver features a built-in high-performance pan-adapter, for better search for new contacts and evaluation of band conditions — wherever you are, at any time.

Aluminum alloy body

The transceiver’s body is made of durable aluminum by the method of precision milling, to ensure a unique shock protection and provide good heat removal from the output part of the transmitter.

Well shielded inner units

Toachieve high sensitivity of the transceiver, separate functional units are isolated from mutual influence and external interference by partitioning walls installed in the device case.

Dust and liquid protection

The liquid-protected housing and the absence of through-holes, spatter resistant plugs, valcoders with sealing rings provides for a level of weather protection unseen of before in the amateur radio market. The Discovery TX-500 transceiver will work reliably in extreme conditions.

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.

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 General Features

  • 160-6-meter ham bands
  • General ‘receive’ coverage 0.5 – 56.0 MHz
  • All modes: SSB, CW, DIG, AM, FM
  • High-performance 32-bit floating-point DSP
  • Current drain as low as 100 mA in ‘receive’ mode (backlight on, preamp off, no signal)
  • External power supply DC 9-15V, 1 to 3A typical in transmit
  • High-contrast LCD with 256 * 128 px
  • High-performance real-time pan-adapter (48 kHz wide)
  • On-line firmware updates
  • Rear folding kickstands for viewing angle and transportation
  • Ultra-compact size (H*W*D): 90 mm (3.5″) * 207 mm (8.1″) * 21 mm (0.8 “)
  • Weight: 0.55 Kg (19,4 oz)

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Receiver *

  • Sensitivity (MDS) -136 dBm (typ. with preamp on)
  • Quadrature down-sampling mixer compatible with PC-based SDR (software defined radio) applications
  • Receiver I / Q outputs for PC soundcard
  • Switchable low-noise preamp and attenuator
  • 3-band receive audio equalizer
  • 4 adjustable digital filters
  • Automatic notch filtering
  • Adjustable noise reduction and noise blanking
  • Audio Output ext. speaker, 3W typ

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Transmitter *

  • Adjustable output, 1 to 10W PEP
  • Rugged, SWR and temperature-protected final amplifier stage
  • Carrier Suppression > 50 dB typ.
  • Harmonic / Spurious Outputs > 50 dB below carrier
  • CW Sidetone/Transmit offset 400-1200 Hz, adjustable
  • Speaker-microphone with PTT
  • 3-band microphone audio equalizer
  • 2 adjustable digital filters
  • DSP RF speech processing for excellent ‘punch’

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Other Features

  • Internal CW keyer with 10-300 СPM range
  • 100 general-purpose memories store VFOs, modes, etc.
  • Computer control via USB
  • Full remote-control command set (with kenwood emulates)
  • One-click online firmware upgrades (with free PC software)

Included Accessories

  • Speaker-microphone;
  • CAT cable for on-line software update;
  • Power cabel for external power source DC 9-15V
    (battery not incluide);
  • Headset and mic adapter with PTT (3.5 mm jack);
  • CW adapter (3.5 mm jack);
  • Additional connector GX12 type, 7 pins.

Recommended Optional Accessories

* Specifications apply only within ham bands except as noted. All measurements taken with 13.8 VDC supply

TX-500 is assembled in UAE.

Weight 1.03 kg
Dimensions 27 × 17.5 × 8 cm


Based on 19 reviews

4.8 overall

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  1. Dirk

    Thank you very much for the super fast delivery.
    It is a really great QRP TRX, very robust and after a short period of getting used to CW or SSB Mode, it is also ideal for Beginners or those returning to CW as, it decodes on both sides and you can check for yourself whether the characters are given optimally. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t have an internal sound card…


  2. Tobias (verified owner)

    Jag är riktigt nöjd! uppfyller de krav jag sökte i en amatörradio; portabel, robust och enkel men samtidigt innehåller de funktioner man behöver. Jag har den till anda användningsområden. Kan verkligen rekommenderas och om man ligger i valet och kvalet så skulle jag säga, kör.

    I am really satisfied! It meets the requirements I sought in an amateur radio; portable, robust, and simple but at the same time includes the functions one needs. I have it for various purposes. I can really recommend it, and if you’re hesitating, I would say, go for it.


  3. Gio Mario

    Alles Peefekt! Thanks.

    Gio Mario

  4. Greg (verified owner)

    The Radio is great!
    PileUpDX is a first Rate Operation.

    Reno, NV USA


  5. Daniel (verified owner)

    An extremely portable and easy to use transceiver. The way the menus are organized requires little attention but nothing to be afraid of. Although the display has a pretty good contrast, for some options, the font is too small for those who do not see well up close. Otherwise, he does everything he set out to do. He’s not perfect, but he plays in a league on his own. For those accustomed to the ICOM-like interface, it will appear as a “downgrade” but, with a little care, everything is adjusted accordingly. The guys at Lab599 do a good job with the upgrades as well. Too bad they are affected by what is happening on the planet today. It’s worth 5 stars, but for me personally, it affects me that I can’t easily read the values of some settings that are barely visible. Easy to correct by software.


  6. Marc (verified owner)

    This is my third portable radio, the first ft817, the IC705 ad now the Discovery TX-500. I have to agree with OH8STN, Julian and Wolgang from Vienna, this the first radio I really can take out in the field without to be fear that something’s happens during packing or has happens with it after arriving to the spot. All packing, weight, transport condition or in rough weather conditions are covered.
    The only I miss is the battery that withstand the same condition. I’m happy and free now of the normal fears of damaging the rig
    during hiking and canoeing.

    I really appreciate the full featured but uncluttered HF/6m SDR radio, designed by and for portable operators, like readability and the rugged design, waterproof connectors and an excellent receiver, with extremely low current draw.A radio I have no complains to take it with me, everywhere, from the mountains,over rivers to even on my office desk.
    A small and smart and build as a tank. Excellent job, well done!
    Marc ON5TT


  7. jerzyo688 (verified owner)



  8. ADRIAN RYAN (verified owner)

    Having now had my ‘Discovery’ transceiver for a while, I thought it would be appropriate to report on its performance. As others have commented, it is an extremely rugged piece of kit, and well able to tolerate the rigors of backpacking and portable operation, even to the extent of surviving the occasional splash. One point, the AF GAIN and RIT/XIT knobs on my unit were very loose. They are made of a rubbery material, and only fixed onto the encoder shafts with a spot of adhesive. They come off very easily, and in portable usage might well get lost. I realise that a spot of cyano-acrylate glue would fix them in place, but then they would be extremely difficult to remove without damage when it comes time to replace the internal clock/memory backup battery. Perhaps someone will make a set of replacements that are secured with grub screws? – Hint – hint!

    I particularly like the almost intuitive user interface, after reading the User Manual and spending a few minutes playing with the buttons, it becomes very easy to operate. You have everything you need and nothing you do not. The latest firmware, v1.12.00, adds the facility to correct the internal reference, and in my case only a small correction was required. The ‘out-of-the-box’ error was only +0.35ppm, which is very good. Even so, a small correction was applied and this has virtually eliminated even this offset error.

    The manufacturers do not specify the sensitivity of the receiver, so I conducted my own measurements. The standard definition is that signal at the input that results in a 10dB Signal Plus Noise to Noise ratio at the output of 10dB in a 2.4kHz bandwidth for SSB, and a 500Hz bandwidth for CW. I measured this for all the bands individually, and the mean value for the 160m through 10m bands was -120.4dBm corresponding to an input voltage of 0.21uV for SSB, and -125.9dBm corresponding to an input voltage of 0.11uV for CW. For the 6m band the SSB MDS was -117dBm, 0.32uV, and the CW MDS was -123dBm, 0.16uV. For comparison, the Icom IC-705 SSB MDS is specified as -120.97dBm, 0.2uV for the 160 to 10m bands, and -123.5dBm, 0.15uV for 6m. Icom do not specify a CW MDS. Consequently, this receiver is at least as sensitive as the competition, and well suited to portable operation when the antenna is usually sub-optimum.

    The panadaptor display is quite usable, and, it can be averaged to smooth out the noise making weak signals more visible – something that Yaesu might well like to consider in their next firmware updates for the FTDX101D, as it constantly annoys me having to look at the raw display on this transceiver.

    The quality of the audio from the speaker-microphone is adequate for communications purposes, and there is ample audio power available for outdoor use, especially if you use the increased audio power by setting it to OUTDOOR. Be aware however that the headphone socket on the side of the speaker-microphone is only wired for one earpiece of a stereo headset, which is a nuisance. Much better results can be obtained by using a standard computer boom microphone headset. This plugs into the accessory lead and I have tested it with several headsets, the Yamaha CM-500, Koss SB-45, Trust, Logitech, and the EPOS H3. The latter headset performed the best, with reports of excellent speech quality, as well as being a comfortable fit and good audio in the earpieces. No adjustment of microphone level was required except for the Logitech unit whose microphone output was significantly lower than the others, but there is still more than enough adjustment range available to compensate. If the audio output is connected to a good quality 8 ohm bookshelf speaker, the AM shortwave performance is quite good. Note however that the audio amplifier uses a bridge-mode device and neither side of the speaker is grounded – be careful!

    On the down-side, the receiver is not without its share of spurious signals. Especially annoying are two on the 40m band, and one on the 20m band. Most of the spurii are of a sufficiently low level that they are at or below atmospheric noise when connected to an antenna, and so are less likely to be heard. Also annoying are the loud glitches when tuning. This is not a fault, but merely an artifact of the way the synthesiser works. The radio uses a Silicon Labs Si531 PLL Fractional-N synthesiser, and the tracking range of the PLL is limited to about 3,500ppm from its set frequency. Consequently, if you tune further away than this then the microprocessor has to change all the internal multiplication and division registers to a new centre frequency, and this change is what causes the glitch. It might be worthwhile in a future firmware update muting the audio whilst this register change is occurring – just a thought.

    Also on the downside, there is no ATU, so either you have to pack one, or else your antennas needs to present a reasonable match to the transmitter. Lab599 have said that an auto ATU that can be attached to the transceiver is one of the things that they are considering, as well as an integrated battery pack.

    So, I am very pleased with my transceiver, easy to use, excellent overall performance, compact and rugged, with a really low power consumption in the receive mode, hence 5 stars.

    Adrian, 5B4AIY


  9. Petr Merta

    I can say that I am an universal activator, mainly on cw, for about ten years. After hundreds of activations in sota, wwff, wca and now mainly in gma program, with the Ten-tec R4020, FT-817, KX-2 radios, I like each of these rigs. But I think the TX-500 is really a higher level of portable rigs. The one only little disadvantage – not have an internal ATU, is nothing for me – think even in a portable is a very important the resonant antenna, which does not need an ATU. All parameters are excellent, plus big weather resistance as first of all my field radios – it seems that maybe only our friends from Russia take the seriously crazy conditions in which we sometimes stay on portable outside.. Very thanks!

    Petr Merta

  10. Peter Fors (verified owner)

    Har provat tx500 portabelt,fungerar utmärkt.
    Testat både mic och headset .
    När jag sänder med headsetet på,så kan jag höra mig själv .Undra om det är en inställning ,eller det kanske ska vara så.Första gången jag provar ett headset.Ett billigt sådant.Motstationen tyckte det lät bra,lika som mottagningen hos mig !
    Mvh Peter SM4XIP

    Tried the tx500 portable, works great.
    Tested both mic and headset.
    When I transmit with the headset on, I can hear myself. I wonder if it is a setting, or maybe it should be like that. The first time I try a headset. A cheap one. The opposite station thought it sounded good, the same as the reception at my place !
    BR Peter SM4XIP

    Peter Fors

  11. Liam (verified owner)

    I received DiscoveryTX500 at the end of August,have been using it since ,I find it to be a really robust portable Radio, I find it good for SSB and Digital Modes on 20-40 m bands using variable antennas using a super lithium polymer battery D12-6800


  12. Kari Jaakkola

    Nice little Transceiver have activated tenths of ohff Parks on cw/ssb 10w with home made mostly end-fed antennas. As expected nothing to complain well worth the price and easy to operate.Battery pack would be nice but Telwin 1300 starter works as well.

    Kari Jaakkola

  13. Carlos Pollet (verified owner)

    First experience : strange; however after RTFM (Read That Fucking Manual) I must admit ; it is a great , well and good concepted project. Great for cw!
    ssb : good audio ; good filters. Super that finally 10w is real even with 9v PS ! small minus :2.5mm jack in the mike should have been a stereo one to connect stereo headset.
    Congrats to lab599 !!

    Carlos Pollet

  14. Hans Ohm (verified owner)

    Hello,this trx is very fine to use and i have fun. The noise reduction can be a little bit better to adjust. 73 Hans DH7TB

    Hans Ohm

  15. HB9DGV, Rolf von Allmen (verified owner)

    It’s the perfect Transceiver for outdoor Activities in all WX-Condx. Good audio, excellent Display and stable case.

    HB9DGV, Rolf von Allmen

  16. jack m0pls (verified owner)

    After 4 weeks off playing I give it 4 stars. Its great radio and can more then my TS-850. Little 7Ah LiPefo4 battery lasts for Days!I have been able to test it only on my magnetic loop at home and I had QSO with States on 10 watts on 20m band . Once I have portable antenna I’m sure I will have more fun. I give it 4 stars only because it does get quite hot when using SSB even with SWR 1.0 . Its super light and fit in your knee pocket of your trousers . If you plug in headphones to microphone with a little jack you can hear only in one phone ( it could be in both).I do recommend to buy it if you are keen portable operator. 73

    jack m0pls

  17. RM2D (SM6LRR), Mats Strandberg

    TX-500 was purchased with the purpose of being a complement to my other transceivers TS590S and KX-3.

    Both these radios are excellent for fixed operations or expeditions (KX-3 more for Holiday Style), but I wanted something more rugged for tougher hiking expeditions (SOTA, WWFF or similar).

    The TX-500 has now been tested in both fixed contest operation (CQWW CW) as well as in portable operations.

    I conclude that the radio fully met or exceeded my expectations:

    Power usage
    RX quality (sensitivity as well as selectivity)
    Intuitive user interface
    Connectivity with Computer and Winkeyer
    Water/moisture resistance in the field

    RM2D (SM6LRR), Mats Strandberg

  18. Julian White OH8STN

    For several weeks during August and September 2020, I had the pleasure of testing the Discovery TX-500 in Lapland. This was a wonderful experience, and one which I hope to repeat soon! The Discovery TX-500 is a full featured but uncluttered HF/6m SDR radio, designed by portable operators, for portable and QRP operators who take field radio seriously. Operators who go far off the beaten path, regardless of the weather. The Discovery TX-500 was designed for this operator, in fact, it felt as if it was designed for me! This radio has everything we need, while leaving out anything which is not useful to our task. This makes it a lightweight, energy efficient, rugged and very practical QRP+ rig, capable of surviving the adventure.
    Here is a link to my full review.
    73 Julian OH8STN
    OH8STN Video Review of Discovery TX-500

    Julian White OH8STN

  19. Julian OH8STN

    The Discovery TX-500 is the first portable ham radio which can actually survive the rigors of field operations, in rough weather, and conditions.

    I had the pleasure of testing this radio for 3 weeks during August 2020. It was an absolute pleasure to use, without the normal worries of damaging the rig, during some forest mishap.

    Daylight readable display, rugged design, excellent receiver, extremely low current draw, waterproof connectors, …
    This radio is simply amazing!
    Julian oh8stn

    Julian OH8STN