Hardrock 500 Amp

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by W9RTB, Apr 5, 2021.

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  1. W9RTB

    W9RTB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Anyone using this amp - Hardrock 500? Seems to fit what I need. Any feedback would be of help.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The combo is $1700.

    For $2400 you can buy an Elecraft KPA-500 kit which has a lot more features and also covers six meters...but the Hardrock kit can be driven with 5W so if you have only a 5W transmitter may be a better deal.
    K0UO, AK5B and K7JOE like this.
  3. K7JOE

    K7JOE Subscriber QRZ Page

    Expensive for what it is / what it does.

    I'd go with a used ALS-600 by ameritron and one of the LDG or MFJ higher powered auto tuners for about $1200 (used) The ALS600 is set up to be driven to full output by 100W PEP, but the swamping resistor can be removed and it can then work as a "low-drive" unit, ie, 5-10w input gives full output. This combo can be modified for full break-in and the power supply is a linear one, so is dead silent RF-wise. The tuner likely covers a much wider range of matching. The ameritron are well tested and not a fly-by-night operation and large enough that it is not totally dependent on the owner being available (alive) to service the equipment. YMMV...

    For the money, I hear the Mercury II/III is quite an amplifier too. Legal limit $2400 bucks.
    K0UO likes this.
  4. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have to buy RF deck from "various sources"? No name recognition? Where is it made? Where do you send it when it takes a dump? I'd pass. My KPA/KAT500 combo is the Timex of solid-state amplifiers. Spend a little more for known quality.
    KU3X, AK5B and WA3GWK like this.
  5. WA2EUJ

    WA2EUJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Hardrock-500 is a complete kit offered by HobbyPCB in Florida we have to separate the RF deck to make it legal to sell a 5W in 500W out amplifier.

    We also make the Hardrock-50 since 2014 more than 1200 units have been sold the reviews and customer service are the absolute best. Better reviews than a KXPA100 at less than 1/3 the price.
    The Hardrock-500 is new so we'll see what people think but don't worry about support, we're the best there is.

    You really can't compare the Hardrock-500 to the KPA500. If you want 500W from a KX2, KX3, IC705, Elad, FT-817 or Xeigu. The Hardrock-500 will get you there for $1700. The $2400 KPA500 won't.
    You'll need to buy a KXPA-100 at $1200 (or a Hardrock-50 for $300) for full output.

    The KAT500 is external and $300 more than the Hardrock-500's internal ATU.

    So the comparison looks like this: if you want your 5W radio to put out 500W with Elecraft it'll cost you over $4000 ($3300 if you get the Hardrock-50) and the 3 box package will weigh over 37 pounds
    not counting the power supply for the KXPA100/Hardrock-50 and the KX3 or other QRP radio.

    With HobbyPCB you get a one box solution for $2200 that weighs < 18 pounds and supplies the power for the KX3 so the whole station fits in one suitcase.
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually, I haven't found that to be an issue with the 20W Xiegu; just bypass the KPA-500 input attenuator and it will be driven to full output power with 20W, no issues. I'm surprised they didn't make that a standard feature, but maybe Part 97 prohibited that.
  7. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    So...5w in...

    500w out.

    That's 20 dB of amplification.

    I thought the FCC limit was 15 dB.

    Exactly how is this legal?
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's legal because you build it.

    What's being sold is not a complete amplifier: It's an amplifier enclosure with power supply, fans, heatsink, metering etc. and then a separate amplifier PCB kit you put together and then you assemble part 1 to part 2 to make an amplifier.

    So, it's basically homebrew at that point and can be sold.
  9. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Learn something new everyday - but still sounds like a "loophole" to me.
  10. WA9UAA

    WA9UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it's any consolation, amateurs in the US are allowed one such amplifier a year.
    KI4ZUQ likes this.

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