There might very well be an innovative new HF man pack coming to the ham radio community.
I understand there might be a few operators around who might not be enthusiastic about a new Russian radio. I get it, and I won’t be offended if you ignore this video. For the rest of you, keep reading!
Lab599 added an Instagram post about a version of the TX-500. It’s called the Lab599 TX-500MP. MP stands for Man Pack or Man-Portable).
It seems like they’ve taken seriously the “wire management” feedback we’ve given them over the last few years, updating the TX-500, into a much more backpack friendly radio.
Questions from the community
- When will the radio be available? Mnufacturing is panned to begin during April 2024. That’s all I have at the moment.
- Is there a manually adjustable VFO on this radio or, only programmable channelized frequencies, or both? Answered in the following video:
- Why no internal audio interface and CAT control over a single USB-C cable? I believe Lab599 is losing the data mode operators, who are heavily dependent simple interfaces, fewer cable, and integrated modems/audio interfaces: Answered in the video below:
- The radio appears to lack VFO knobs. I understand this is done to prevent breaking them off during extreme operations. Are the up down arrow on the front face of the rig able to control +/- frequency changes in VFO mode? WIll there be any frequency control on the microphone? Answered in the video below:
- As this radio is designed to used “on the go”, will there be a remote control interface or “smart” microphone with frequency display to control the radio without removing it from the rucksack? Partially answered in the above video:
- Does the TX-500MP have a spectrum dislay like the TX-500?
- How water resistant thie TX-500MP?
- Does the TX-500MP utilize the BP-500 battery used on the TX-500? This is answered in the latest update JAN30, 2024.
- Will the internal antenna tuner auto-trigger tuning, or is the tuning process manual?
- The antenna port appears to be a TNC or N-type connector to facilitate an antenna which mounts to the case. Will there be any other connector options?
- Is there any plan for rig control via an app?
Data mode operators
The question of USB-C kept coming up when speaking about the TX-500/TX-500MP. Therefore, I decided to reach out for clarification.
Operators perspective: For data modes operators, moving the connectors from both sides of the radio to one side of the TX-500MP is a huge step in the right direction. However, for the data modes operator, it is still required to use an external device (Digirig) for data and cat control. By implementing an internal audio interface and communications port for CAT control and the internal audio interface, additional wires/connectors can be removed.
Food for thought.
Comment from Lab599
“There will be audio and CAT control via a plug-in junction box.”
The breakout box image is below this paragraph. I like the idea. I also like that it has a buit in audio interface, cat cotnrol and USB-C interface for a remote computer. Initially I beleived an internally mounted audio interface would be my prefereence. The break out box concept probably has less development overhead, while bringing the remotes I/O away from teh radio anyway. This seems like a good idea.
Update 2, 30 January 2024
To be fair, this is the type of form factor innovation I would’ve expected from Japan.
As we get more information about this rig, I’ll keep updating this post to reflect the latest information.
Anyway, time to start saving up!
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