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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Hardrock-50 HF+6M Solid State Amplifier Kit Help


Reviews Summary for Hardrock-50 HF+6M Solid State Amplifier Kit
Hardrock-50 HF+6M Solid State Amplifier Kit Reviews: 36 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $260.00
Description: Based on Jim Veatch's winning ARRL Home Brew Challenge II amplifier design, it's been improved and functionality has been expanded to include a new aluminum enclosure with built in heat sink, an LCD display, pre-soldered SMT components, computer control options, software upgradeable, easier to use connectors, and MORE. All software is open source and the unit hackable, including an accessible I2C header to add your own peripherals.

Kit includes 4 PCBs (3 without .5W driver) with all surface mount components professionally installed using a reflow process. Builder only needs to install through hole components; toroidal inductors, relays, transistors, connectors, etc. Also includes professionally machined case with integral heat-sink, all chassis mount components, interconnects and instruction/assembly manual. Supports auto band select (depending on transceiver) and can be driven with 0.5 watts.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.hobbypcb.com
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VA2SS Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2016 15:27 Send this review to a friend
Great product and Excellent support !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the kit AMP + ATU during Hamvention 2015. The building process was quite straight foward. The instruction is well written, and step by step process is also well explained.

I must admit that I had some problem when building the kit.... It was solely my fault... crappy eyes... :-) But I can say for sure that I received a promptly and excellent support from Jim. The communication is excellent !!!

So if you are interested in building this kit, but you are a bit worried, no doubt this kit is not very hard to assemble. And combined with the great support, it will be a success for sure.

The amp + atu works like a charm. With 1W of drive, I have more than 40W output. And with 2.5W of drive, I have over 50W output on all bands. I am getting even near 60W on some bands. I also made the cable to connect my FT-817ND. So now, when chaging band, the amp follow the radio. And when I hit the PTT, the amp keys also instantly. A perfect fit for all QRP radio. The modular integration RADIO + AMP + ATU is quite amazing !!!

I really enjoy the way that you can bypass the amp and use only the atu... the QRP mode. And finally, I can also use the kit acting as a power+swr meter.... so in this mode, the amp+atu is completely bypassed, the amp LCD display is acting as an external power+swr meter.

I must also mentioned that this kit is fully upgradable. The USB port let us upgrade with later firmware, but also control the amp with the need of a PC and a software. CAT commands are also well explained in the manual.

A nice kit that enhenced the experience of your QRP to QRO station! Excellent support !
 
KS4TL Rating: 5/5 Nov 8, 2015 06:25 Send this review to a friend
Nice kit, fantastic support  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I was a bit worried I went to assemble this kit - I haven't touched a soldering iron (except for antenna work) in about 30 years. I need not have worried.

All surface mount parts are pre-intalled for you. The directions are clear - not quite to the classic Heathkit standards, but close. PCB quality is first rate.

Best of all is the support from HobbyPCB. When I finished my amp, I went to turn it on - and nothing happened. In frustration, I sent it to Hobby PCB - they found my error (I'd trimmed a lead so close that I broke the solder pad connection), fixed it, and returned the working amp to me the NEXT DAY, with no charge save shipping. The best customer support I've ever encountered in ham radio.

And the amp itself does exactly what it's supposed to do. 3 watts in, 50 watts out, all bands, no issues.

If you have a QRP rig and a soldering iron, and want an amp, get this one.

N3JS (ex-KS4TL)
 
KI4SVM Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2015 18:34 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I first saw this amp, the first thing I thought was that it would make a nice amp for portable operations. I had been looking for a small amp to take on my Summits on the Air activations and the Hardrock-50 fit the bill perfectly. I was initially hesitant to buy it because it was a kit and my previous soldering projects had not been too successful. But Jim encouraged me to give it a shot, with the safety net of his support and an open offer to send the amp to him if I ever got in over my head, I figured why not.

I did order the pre-wound toroids, but I am proud to say that the rest of the work is mine! ;-) It was a great learning experience and a whole lot of fun. After finishing the amp, I immediately ordered the ATU and eagerly looked forward to melting some more solder. My only disappointment was that it went together far too quickly and my fun was over in just one sitting.

This amp and ATU has performed very well for me on many outings. It is built like a tank, light enough to throw in the backpack and not too thirsty on the batteries. Exactly what I was looking for!
 
KE4D Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2015 20:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I too crossed the wires in L5. Jim diagnosed that via email and then the amp tuned right up. No joy with the ATU. We went back and forth for a few days but the ATU was never recognized by the amp. No five volts at the ATU couldn't find the problem as we were out in our RV and I had minimal gear. Sent the entire unit to Jim. 10 days later I had it back, in perfect working order. A bad SMD compoment and bad 5 volt regulator. 6 days of that 10 was shipping. Great service and the amp os working well. I don't have the interface cable built yet, a project for when I get home from CO next week.
 
WF2V Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2015 12:21 Send this review to a friend
Great AMP, good value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Just finished the kit and amp is working great. Only issue was the firmware was incorrect and was causing no TX power and wrong SWR readings. Upgrade the firmware and works perfect now. be sure to make your switch wire longer than the 3 inches it says. also, be sure on/off switch does not short against anything.

Would like the ability to use it on MARS.
 
AD5HD Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2015 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Worth every cent  Time owned: more than 12 months
Easy to build, very easy to adjust. Works very well. Upped the bias to 500mA per FT to get the two-tone waveform to look perfect. Swapped out internal power cable for a 10ga version using 45A Anderson contacts and put a lytic across the Fastons on the board. Drop is about 80mV on xmit. Great on-air reports both by itself and as an exciter for an AL80B. Power and SWR display is pretty accurate compared against an LDG AT1000ProII external meter. Voltage display however reads about 400mV low for some reason, haven't looked into it. Paired with an Elecraft K2 but it helps to have some attenuation in the transmit path so the K2 can run at higher power for best linearity. Broke out the xmit path with RG316 to SMAs on the rear panel and put a 5W 7dB fixed attenuator in line with a 2W 0-10dB variable attenuator to make it easier to run the K2 at about 4-6W while being able to control AL80B output power with the variable attenuator without changing the tune and load settings.
 
W6THW Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2015 09:20 Send this review to a friend
Great service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had a problem with the COR (carrier operated relay)
Jim had me make a test and after the test he told
me to send the Hardrock 50 in. It took too days
for him to receive it. He fixed it that night and
sent it back the next day. Two days later i
received it back. It works great now. Now i would
call that good customer service.

Mike w6thw
 
W3CE Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2015 06:48 Send this review to a friend
More than impressed.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned a HR50 for several months now. I had been using a Tokyo Hy-Poser HL-45B along with an outboard tuner with my FT-817. I read the reviews in QST and on this site and decided to give it a try.
The big plus was that you could add an internal tuner. One unit would replace the two I owned.
Construction was super easy, and service and support is the best I have run into.
The display is full of information and is far more useful than the HL-45B's string of LEDs.
I put a 4:1 balun on the output and was able to tune my twin lead fed 80M dublet on all HF bands with ease. I highly recommend this to any QRP operator who wants a few extra S units on the other end. I just purchased an Elecraft KX3 and am anxious to hook it up to the amp.
 
K4DZQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2015 14:25 Send this review to a friend
Worth Every Penny  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I built this for my KX3. This amp was chosen after I did what I thought was a lot of research on this site as well as others. Built kits when I was younger and this was no harder than they were. Comes presoldered and aligned. Mostly plug and bolt. A minimum amount of bias adjustment needs to be made, but this should not be a problem for any General or higher class ham. The support you can expect is 2nd to none.

As an asset it can't be beat. It also gives you a foot up when calling CQ. I have mine linked to the KX3 to follow band selection. Real handy.
 
N3JON Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2015 19:17 Send this review to a friend
A great kit and a great amp.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Hard Rock 50 is a great amp. 50 watts out on 160 to 10 meters and a little less on 6 meters. It has automatic band selection for popular rigs which works great for my FT-817. A very attractive display lets you see the ban, voltage, SWR, temperature and PEP. The output transistors are almost indestructible. The amp is a first class quality piece of equipment.

Building the amp is easy for a mid-level experience kit builder. If you are not already wound toroids can be purchased separately. The documentation is thorough, the best I have ever seen. Support is fast, friendly, and helpful.

I have gotten good reports using it and 50 watts is helpful when QRP does not make it.

 
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