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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: 45 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.
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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.
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.
WO9B Rating: 5/5 Aug 5, 2016 08:11 Send this review to a friend
Another Fanboy Review!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
No sense in repeating what all the other reviews say. This is a great piece of equipment and very nice kit. And I have zero kit experience, yet was able to go from USPS to on the air in 3 days.

So why spend a the extra $100 over the eBay specials for a 50 W amp? Because this is the real deal. Absolutely you will get 50+ watts output. Absolutely you will get nice clean signal reports with an FCC registered product. Absolutely you will get a piece of gear that can handle operator/equipment failure and not fry on the spot. And finally, absolutely you will get a working amp that is SUPPORTED and SERVICABLE.

This is really good stuff. Oh and the price difference? It's cheaper to buy good once than cheap twice.


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 !
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