Wednesday, January 17, 2024

POTA/SOTA-inspired radios - more to come?

As a large chunk or ham radio activity now consists of outdoor operation, it seems only natural that manufacturers would address this trend.

The KX2 has been there for the duration and remains a popular choice among POTA/SOTA ops, myself included.

The new KH1 has generated a lot of interest but is very limited in what it offers given the $1100 price: 5 bands, CW only, flimsy paddles that flex when used, and therefore of questionable longevity. (Actually, $1215 to US buyers - taxes and shipping must be factored in).

It could be argued that the IC-705 fits the bill. The IC-705 is a fantastic radio - but it does too much (D-STAR, Bluetooth, etc) to be considered a dedicated POTA/SOTA rig, plus it's a battery hog with that big (but beautiful!) display. And there's no ATU.

Lab599 now appears to have an upcoming rig designed specifically for portable operation - the TX-500MP.

Unlike the regular TX-500, the MP version will have a built-in battery, ATU and a (near) waterproof N-connector for RF. 10 watts, all modes and 6-160m operation in a rugged 600g (1.3 pound) radio.

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  1. What a fascinating design out of lab599. This looks like a great option for folks wanting to do pedestrian mobile SSB. I'm sure I'll break down and give this a go. It's a very unique offering for the amateur radio market as it smacks of a channelized military radio. I must say that I'm so impressed with the TX-500, I imagine this radio will be a success.
    Looking at the photo, it's hard to believe that the weight is 1.3 pounds with an internal battery & ATU. Most impressive.
    That said, since I'm primarily a CW op these days, I'm not entirely sure how often I would use it PM. On a table, it looks like you'd want to stand it vertically. Hmmm... Also, it appears (like the MTR series) all functions would be controlled by button presses.
    Then again, all of this is a bit of speculation until we get to play with the real thing. Super pleased to see a unique offering like this on the amateur radio market.

    1. Yes, 1.3 lbs seems overly optimistic if a battery is included. I like the rugged all-weather characteristics of it but am not a fan of pushbutton slewing of the VFO either. It'll be interesting to see what emerges. An email from Lab599 says it will be available sometime this spring.