Integrated Battery Pack for the Lab599 Discovery TX-500

A new item arrived on my doorstep this week.

Brewer 3D Design (hyperlink), a seller on, has created a few accessories for this rugged and capable radio including screen covers and caps for the connectors. They recently added a battery pack for the radio that makes using it in the field that much more convenient.

From their posting:

While the world waits patiently for the OEM battery pack from Lab599, I decided to build my own based on their initial renderings.

Brewer 3D Designs

So what did I get in the mail today?

I received a well designed, 3D printed (in ABS) battery pack that mounts via the included hardware directly to the back of the radio.

Also in the box is a 3D printed radio stand that tilts the radio back into a comfortable operating position, and a hang tag that lists a serial number (mine is 0006 which I assume means that this is the 6th one sold) and thank you note from the seller, and two (spare I assume) magnetic connectors that align to the connections on the back of the radio.

The specs as noted by the seller are:

  • 4000 mAh capacity
  • 9-12.6 volts
  • Li-Ion polymer cells (PL-605060-2C)
  • 3S2P configuration
  • Included BMS
  • 5.5mmx2.1mm charging jack

Mounting the battery pack requires the removal of the 4 rubberized feet on the back of the radio which exposes 4 tapped holes which are there for future accessories. Installation is simple – use the 4 included screws to attach the battery pack to the radio via the now exposed holes. Make sure that you align the connections properly. They are magnetic so you will feel a slight attraction as they line up.

Note that no instructions are provided with the radio, but mounting and operation is quite straightforward. For the switch, one direction enables power to the radio while the other allows for charging. HINT: sliding the switch towards the center of the pack powers the radio. Towards the outside is for charging.

Also note that installing the battery pack makes the built-in tilt legs non-operable – they are blocked by the battery pack. That is what the included stand is for.


Measuring the pack with my cheap calipers, I get the following measurements:

  • 17.1mm thick (top to bottom), compared to 21mm for the radio itself
  • 79.5mm wide, compared to 90.5mm for the radio
  • 197mm long, compared to 205mm for the radio (not including the connections in the measurement)

Attaching the pack almost doubles the thickness of the radio itself, but doesn’t add any additional width or length.

The print resolution seems to be quite fine, with all layers uniform and no visible separation or flaws that would affect durability or longevity. The lines and edges are smooth. All parts mate up uniformly and without gaps.

The case is held together with screws that are connected to threaded inserts in the ABS – no direct screw to plastic contact. Nicely done!

On the inside, this is what you’ll find:

The BMS appears to be this one on Amazon (hyperlink), or at least something similar.

Specs from that listing are:

  • 3 strings: 3 18650 batteries or polymer lithium batteries in series
  • Polymer battery rated voltage: 10.8V
  • Rated voltage of 18650 or 3.7V lithium battery: 11.1V
  • Maximum discharge current limit: 10A
  • Maximum working current: 5-8A

Upon full charge the battery bank should have about 12.6 volts.

Final Thoughts

KB7MBD at Brewer 3D Design has created an extremely well thought-out design and has implemented it quite well. The design is a good balance between utility and matching of the TX-500’s aesthetics. I haven’t had enough time yet to determine how the battery holds up, however I am convinced that the capacity (about what I normally carry outside) combined with the convenience will mean that this is a power pack that I can use for multiple POTA activations. Further testing will be required which I guess means more time playing radio.

Bummer 😉

I also need more time to determine if the BMS is RF quiet or not – I don’t foresee any issues there but is always a concern with anything electrical that is attached to our radios.

At the end of the day, it is exactly what it is advertised to be; namely a rechargeable battery pack that fits the TX-500 like an OEM accessory.

The pack can be purchased via their Etsy site, though availability determines whether it shows up in their listings or not. Also for anyone outside of the US, at the time of this writing the seller offers a “kit” version that doesn’t include the battery cells themselves.

Expect a follow up after some field time!

Additional Images

Ignore my thumbprints at the bottom – embarrassing.

UPDATE – 2022/03/11

After posting this I started to receive multiple inquiries about the availability of this product in the vendor’s store. I should point out that I have no affiliation with the vendor, and therefore have no visibility into whether it is available or not at any given time.

My working assumption is that like many vendors on Etsy, items only appear as they are available and ready for purchase.

You can see the vendor’s shop at

There is contact information there which you can use to reach out and verify availability.

Shameless Plug

If you like what you read on my site, consider buying me a coffee (well, I don’t actually drink coffee, but a soda would be nice) at I don’t use advertising and anything reviewed is done with items purchased myself.


caging the IC-705

Some things just belong behind bars.

In my previous post, I wrote about my newly acquired IC-705 and compared it to two other commonly used QRP radios for SOTA/POTA/QRP operating.

The IC-705 is an impressive radio, and includes a host of features. It does come, however, wrapped in plastic.

We use plastic across a broad spectrum of products that require durability. As such this isn’t a condemning criticism of the rig, rather a recognition that unlike other radios in its class it might be more prone to scratches or cracking if dropped. But, as this video shows, it really is mostly plastic at the end of the day.

There are two cages that I’m going to review today – the Peovi Camera Mounts Carry Cage and the Windcamp ARK-705 Shield.

The Peovi Carry Cage behind the Windcamp Shield

We’ll focus on the strengths and differences of each below. One note up front is that both connect to the body of the radio using the lugs on the bottom of the IC-705; though one uses the four M4 screws and the other uses 2 M4s plus the center 1/4″x20 camera mount screw.

Both are designed to protect the front face and controls.

In addition, neither is a lightweight option and if added, will be something you’re carrying with you into the field. It is up to you to decide if the extra protection offered offsets that weight addition.

In my case it does.

Peovi Carry Cage

The Peovi Carry Cage is made in the USA and available through their own website and other online retailers for $135.00 USD at the time of this writing.

The IC-705 behind bars with the top handle folded back

It is CNC machined aluminum and feels quite robust in the hand.

The Peovi Carry Cage is a solid piece of 3/4″ x3/8″ (at the widest point I measured) aluminum that wraps around the front edge of the transceiver, with screw-on risers to protect the front controls and a folding handle on top for transportation. It does not extend further back than the 3/4″ width except for at the bottom where the mounting screws/plate are to secure to the radio.

Side view of the Peovi Carry Cage

The cage comes unassembled but includes everything needed to quickly get it ready to keep your rig secure. All screws are big and beefy, giving confidence in the durability and longevity of their offering.

On my kitchen scale, the Peovi Carry Cage came out as 13.6 ounces or 387 grams.

The bottom of the cage does extend backwards approximately 3/4″ and provides a non-slip and solid foundation for the radio to be securely tilted into an optimal viewing angle. This was an unexpected surprise that delighted me since I’ve found the radio’s built-in ability to stay in that position to be tenuous at best.

The mounting plate also allows for the 1/4″x20 tripod mounting hole to still be accessed with the cage in place.

A big advantage of the Peovi Carry Cage is that there are multiple 1/4″x20 threaded holes lining the circumference of the cage. That means that if you have made any DIY or home-brewed accessories for the IC-705, you have a place somewhere on the cage to attach it with the right sized screw. This is commonly used in the photography world (which is where Peovi excels) and is an interesting idea to bring to the world of ham radio.


  • Solidly built – you won’t be disappointed in the construction of this
  • Allows for continued use of the 1/4″ threaded hole build into the radio for tripods, etc.
  • Made in the USA
  • Multiple mounting holes for your imagination to extend its usefulness
  • Carry handle on top
  • Side guards double as carry handles too


  • Only protects the front portion of the radio

UPDATE 2021-12-02

In the comments below you’ll see one from (Side KX) about a polycarbonate screen protector that is compatible with the Peovi Carry Cage. Similar to the one that I use for my Elecraft KX3, it attaches using the two side guards and provides complete coverage for the entire face of the radio.

At the time of this update they are available for order (backordered) for $39.95 USD.

You can pick yours up here. I ordered one and will review it here on my site. Looking forward to it!

(Note that I have no affiliation with this company other than being a satisfied customer. I wholeheartedly endorse their KX3 accessories and have no pecuniary interest in doing so)

Windcamp ARK-705 Shield

The Windcamp ARK-705 Shield is made in China and is available through for $139 USD at the time I wrote this.

Side view of the ARK-705 Shield from Windcamp

Clocking in at 19.6 ounces or 557 grams on my scale, the ARK-705 takes a more encompassing approach to protecting your radio investment. Unlike the Peovi Carry Cage, Windcamp chose to create a cage that more fully encloses the radio on all sides. With the Shield in place, you can set the radio down on any of its six sides and only the Shield is touching the ground.

Per their seller site, it is also CNC machine aluminum with an anodized finish.

The ARK-705 does not use an angled mount plate to allow for positioning the radio; rather they chose to include a flip-down bar which acts as front legs for the radio. It easily moves into place and positions the rig at the right angle for viewing. When not in use, it covers two of the mount screws.

One things to note is that where the Peovi design uses 1/4″ screws almost entirely throughout the build, Windcamp has multiple sized screws that can be seen in the photo below. Everything seems to be well put together and tight, so I don’t have any reason to doubt that the construction here is solid and will last.

The bottom of the Windcamp ARK-705 Shield showing the kickstand extended (top of image). The three mounting holes are visible in the center.
Fully encased.


  • Full enclosure of the radio for maximum protection (means heavier cage, but more complete coverage)
  • Kickstand for getting the radio in the best viewing angle
  • Side guards can be used as carry handles


  • Made in China (not a weakness, I just like to support home-grown businesses)
  • No carry handle
  • 1/4″ mounting hole on radio is used for securing this cage and therefore not available for other uses
  • Heavier than the Peovi (but also plays into the strength above)
  • EDIT: After posting I realized that the angle which this cage puts the radio in is not as steep as the Peovi, and not as optimal of a viewing angle


Both of these products do exactly what they advertise – they provide protection for the front facing controls. Each one, however, brings a different set of complimentary features that are desirable.

They both only touch the radio on the bottom where the mounts are secured using the built-in holes that Icom added to the IC-705. The rest of the radio is encompassed, but not touched by the two products. This is exactly the same as how camera cages work and is commonly used in that industry.

I really like the folding carry handle and additional 1/4″x20 mounting options that Peovi added.

I also really like the fully enclosed protection that Windcamp brings to the table

At the end of the day, I am confident in the build quality of both and that they will each provide significantly improved protection for your valuable IC-705 investment.

UPDATE 2021-07-19

After a few days of playing with both cages, I’m keeping the Peovi Carry Cage and will be returning the Windcamp ARK-705. Why?

  • Lighter while still being quite robust
  • Mounting holes all around (I have some ideas in mind)
  • I neglected to mention that with the carry handle folded down along the back of the radio, and taking into account the bottom mounting bracket, the cage provides enough protection in my view
  • Tripod mount hole
  • Optimal viewing angle – the Windcamp was only reclined a few degrees
  • Made in the USA

I stand by my previous statement that both would serve the purposes of having one of these in the first place. I’ve just had more time now to experiment and feel that one meets my wants/needs better than the other.

NOTE: I personally own both of these cages and bought them with my own income. At the time of this writing, my site is brand new and I do not have advertisers. All opinions here are my own and based on what I care about but I hope is of interest to you. Your mileage may vary.

UPDATE 2021-12-09

I continue to use the Peovi Carry Cage for my IC-705, and just acquired the Side KX polycarbonate cover made specifically for this product. See my review of it here.

a case for the mountain topper

The LnR Precision Mountain Topper 4B v2 is a small, yet robust CW-only transceiver that is packed with features.

It covers 80m, 40m, 30m, and 20m with great receive audio and a host of features packed into a small space.

Despite the fact that it is very well built, I tend to baby my investments and look for ways to protect them when taking them out of the house. As such, I started searching for a case that would fit this little transceiver and maybe 1-2 other small items.

I found the Amazon Basics Hard Travel Carrying Case for 5 inch GPS to be a perfect match. It completely encloses the MTR4B v2 in a firm EVA case with just a little give. There is a mesh pocket where I put my Powerpoles to barrel plug adapter.

It measures 6.69 x 1.96 x 5 inches and is very lightweight.

I added a small 1mm sheet of closed cell foam which I place inside against the controls and screen to give just a little bit more protection.

Using a stick to keep it open for your viewing pleasure

Because I power this radio off of a 3s Lipo battery (and you can power it off of a 9v smoke alarm battery as well), I also wanted something I could carry that in which would provide protection. You do not want to accidentally puncture one of these with your radio gear, so having something that can provide protection in a lightweight manner is essential.

With that in mind, I also use the Amazon Basics External Hard Drive Portable Carrying Case. Made of the same material as the case I use for the radio itself, it gives enough room for 1-2 of these Lipo batteries placed side-by-side as well as a pocket for the XT60 to Powerpole adapters that I made.

The battery case holds more than enough power for hours of radio playtime

Combined with a resonant dipole or two and my arborist throw-line, it is a lot of capability in a very tiny (and now well-protected) package.