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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: 47 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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K1QN Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2017 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Like a Rock  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Putting it together was not a walk in the park, but it functions perfectly. The wire for the directional coupler is hard to strip. I left a 1/4" slack on all leads, and needed it on 1 of the 4 leads. The QSK board is printed with the three connectors on the wrong side.

That said, the thing is just perfect on the air. I've been building kits and hombrewing for over 50 years, and this is the first kit that worked perfectly, right out of the shop. No debugging, no problems to diagnose. Just amazing!

I'm using it with a Proficio which provided 5 watts input. I get 50+ watts out on all bands. (I don't run 6M.)

The only problem, which is hardly worth mentioning, is that I've had some EMC problems, especially on 40M. This was cured with a handfull of ferrite line chokes.

The support was fast, and right on target. It's like they were there in the shack.
 
K0INN Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2017 10:38 Send this review to a friend
What a nice amp.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
What a nice amp! 100% reliable. Robustly engineered and can tolerate most user errors. I've had it for about a year and it has not hiccuped once. I have QSK option but no ATU. 60 watts output for me almost all of the time.

It works with all my qrp rigs. I operate 99% CW so my comments speak to that. For those rigs not supporting PTT, you can use COR mode. It works just about as well as PTT for CW. With the great QSK on the KX3 and the QSK on the HR-50, the combination functions like a 50 watt transceiver.

I reversed a connection when putting it together. Not the problem of the instructions but my problem. In my excitement, I just got into too big of a hurry. I sent it in to Jim and he happily fixed and returned.

I've just used it working one of the QSO parties. With my KX3, QRP was not enough to make the contact. Flipped on the amp and "no problem". That is exactly why I bought it.
 
KC8HXO Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2017 16:59 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding piece of kit!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well engineered. Well supported. Works perfectly. FEW things in this hobby truly deserve a 5. This one does.
 
KC9OMS Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2017 17:59 Send this review to a friend
Great little amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This a great little HF power amp. I use an FT-817nd for portable work and this amp kicks it up a bit and adds a punch. The kit and instructions were very well done. The customer service was super. I was promised a working unit when I was done. I made several soldering mistakes. I returned the unit and in less than a week I had it back working great. The internal atu is well worth adding to the project. It tunes my DX-EE with ease. I would recommend this amp and atu for anyone with a qrp rig.
 
NE4XT Rating: 5/5 Feb 1, 2017 07:58 Send this review to a friend
Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the Hardrock 50 kit and am very pleased with it in every way. Everything that should be in the kit WAS in the kit. Directions were very easy to follow. Jim was extremely responsive via email. When I did run into a problem of my own doing, Jim quickly responded, I sent him the AMP he fixed my mistake free of charge (all within a weeks turnaround time).
I would highly recommend this AMP to anyone needing a very good 50 watt amp. I use mine with an ANAN 10 with no issues.
Excellent product and support.
 
KZ1X Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2016 12:36 Send this review to a friend
2 years and no problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I actually thought I reviewed this amp before, but didn't see my posting when I looked. Figured it's about time. I've had the amp (and the IPA stage) for a couple years, I think. Popped it together, upgraded the firmware, and in short order I was on the air. No issue, kit worked on first power up, and perfectly ever since. I have found it can take some thermal abuse with no ill effect, I also have more than once screwed up by forgetting to select the right band, and it handles my errors and 'funny' loads with ease. Mine needs to run a bit more input on 17 and 20 than, say, on 40 or 80, which is pretty typical, to get the 50+ output. Meter is surprisingly good. I run mine on 14.2V and have the bias cranked up a bit.
 
KK7BV Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2016 11:13 Send this review to a friend
Works great, even better support!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had not built a kit in over a decade, but "A working amplifier is included in the purchase price" gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, so I gave it a shot.
Unfortunately, I had to take them up on their tech support via the Forum on the HobbyPCB website and ultimately had to mail back to Jim for troubleshooting.
Turnaround time was immediate.

Functionally, the amplifier works just great!

Good product, good people, no worries.
 
AB3EN Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2016 03:36 Send this review to a friend
Good deal, great support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this for my Elecraft KX3. It fits my needs for mobile operation and integrates with the KX3 seamlessly. My friend who is a retired broadcast engineer and designer suggested I look at this kit. He comment was, after a look at the kit and talking with Jim that the design and execution was first rate. After putting the kit together I can attest to his recommendations but need to add that Jim is gracious and helpful almost to a fault. Due to complications from Chemo I had trouble wiring T1, a note to Jim and a fully wound and ready to be soldered T1 was on its way. Support is outstanding, he will not let you fail.
It is a super way to get 50 Watts out with 2-3 watts drive. Thanks Jim, great job.
 
KC2NYU Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2016 11:39 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Product  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am very pleased with the HardRock 50. I wanted an amp for my KX3 and didn't feel like paying the price for the Elecraft one, when I would only be using it for occasionally for portable ops. The points that sold me where, half the price and half the weight albeit half the power. For how I planned to use it, 50w (it will do more ~55-60) was more than ample. You can get it already built or as a kit. I did do the kit and also got the ATU kit.(ATU board mounts on the bottom of upper half of case, internal to the HR50 case. For me the kit build of both units was a good learning experience, in that it was the most difficult kit I had built to that point. You do have to wind a LOT of toroids- but if you pay attention to detail, it isn't hard. The customer service is "outstanding". Jim WA2EUJ, who originally designed the kit for an ARRL contest, responds very quickly for any questions about building or operation. If you need additional parts, they are sent no questions asked and that takes about a week coming form Florida.
The documentation: kit building manual and the operation manual are of Elecraft quality. The connectivity between the HR50 and the KX3 is very good in terms of band switching and PTT, but I have seen videos of folks using with other radios. I have used it in the field and learned that you need a battery with some amperage to run it. I am using four 3.4V LiPo RC cells, that last me about 3 hours. The small Li-Ion batteries that I use for the KX3 would not run the amp. The small black 12v batteries that come from UPS power supplies that many folks use, do just fine with the HR50. All in all a GREAT product with fantastic customer support. I highly recommend it.
Paul
kc2nyu
 
W9NUP Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2016 15:56 Send this review to a friend
LOVE IT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Works well with my Flex 1500. No assembly issues. Did have one defective component which Jim promptly replaced. Only negative is the front panel lettering is difficult to read looking at it directly. Still rates a "5" with me.
 
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