The Hard Rock 50 Amplifier

Hardrock-50  Linear Amplifier

  • Works on HF amateur 160m through 6m bands (except that HR-50 has no support for 60m unless the ATU is installed), with drive power and output power in a similar neighborhood. The drive power of both is well suited to the KX3/KX2/FT817/FT818/Icom703/Icom705
  • Automatic internal antenna tuner (ATU) available as an extra cost option.
  • Powered by 13.8VDC via Anderson Power Poles
  • Large finned heatsink on the top, with no fan.
  • FCC certified.
  • Output power 50W.
  • Amp is available in kit form with QSK and with no antenna tuner

Amp with relay switching
Amp with QSK diode switching
Amp with relay switching and ATU
Amp with QSK & ATU


  • With the HR-50, you use the radio power control to control the drive of the amp, and then you can read the output power using the amp’s display while transmitting. If you want to bypass the amp, you push a button on the amp.
  • The HR-50 has a data link that goes one direction only.
  • With the HR-50, one must select the band manually, or with certain supported trancievers (including KX3/KX2 and Yaesu FT-817), one may use a data cable to have the radio send data to the amplifier to automatically select the proper band.
  • The HR-50 has a “Carrier Operated Relay” (COR) mode, where it switches to transmit mode as soon as it detects RF power on the input, and then switches back to receive mode shortly (menu configurable delay) after the applied RF is no longer sensed. This allows interfacing with a tranceiver that does not provide a PTT signal to key the amp.
  • The HR-50 also can be placed in conventional PTT signal mode to switch between transmit and receive instead of the COR.
  • The HR-50’s ATU also includes a bandpass filter for the 60m band. The HR-50 amp without the ATU does not support 60m.
  • The HR-50 has reduced power on the 6m band compared with its power on the other bands.
  • The HR-50 can be bought without the QSK option, substituting a slower mechanical transmit/receive relay
  • The HR-50 kit assembly involves significant soldering and toroid winding, The soldering for the HR-50 is all through-hole; the boards come with surface mount devices pre-installed and soldered.
  • HR-50 has a lighted LCD alphanumeric text display.
  • Weighs 3 lbs
  • The HR-50 has an available extra-cost add-on for a preamplifier that allows it to be driven to full power with as little as 0.5W drive.
  • Firmware is open source and may be modified by the end user.


More information on the Hardrock-50 is available on the HobbyPCB website,



Comet HFJ-350M Portable Antenna Review- Make your Icom 705 Sing like a Cardinal

When Cardinals are near the QSOs are near. Remember I am not asking for money or Patreon support.

Why did you buy another antenna? You have too many antennas and you cant stop yourself can you John? NOPE I CANNOT I HAVE ANTENNA OCDD

I bought this antenna for 5 reasons:

  1. It’s the antenna of choice for the Icom-705/LC-192 QRP platform as it can be mounted on the side very easily.
  2. The M connector or PL-259 is easier to mount and more rigid on a Diamond CRM bracket.
  3. It handles 50 watts CW or 100 w PEP making it useful for the FT-891/897/857 type radios.
  4. 160m coil is a new item never seen before
  5. Includes 6m band useful for local repeaters and DX when the band is magic. I dont need to bring 2 antennas

I found the need for a counterpoise is mandatory and typically the length is going to be a bit shorter than normal. I used about 103 ft on 160m, about 52 ft on 80m and the 26 ft wire seemed ok on 20m. If you lengthen the whip the frequency goes down and if you roll in or out the counterpoise it can affect swr as well. Remember, the counterpoise must be elevated by a few feet to be effective. Signals seem to propagate in the direction of the counterpoise. I may call the actual antenna a loaded counterpoise and assume the counterpoise is the radiating element. Who cares its just works!

These things are compromise antennas so don’t expect to work Navassa or Swan island but they will allow you to make contacts. These antennas are for the patient hams.

I find that if you get close enough in SWR just hit TUNE and be done with it as the 160m antenna can change frequency by 10 khz by the whip being changed by a ½ inch or so.

I could hear hams on 1863 having a roundtable chat and no problems hearing the various nets on the other bands.

On 40m, the movement of an inch on the whip will change resonance by 50-60 khz. Again get close and hit TUNE and don’t bother running back and forth making adjustments if you mount this antenna on a camera tripod.

In fact, this is a way to mimic the ATA-120 by using a camera tripid and fashioning a little bracket to be all set up. If you choose that route then having 4-5 counterpoise wires (16 ft) fanned out with a tuner will suffice. I would tap the coil and adjust the whiop length and hit TUNE and go make QSO.

This antenna has some better wire allowing more power than the MFJ-1899T and the 18XX whips. This could be useful beyond a QRP rig.

You get invited to a friends cottage but are unsure of what is possible. Bring your 7300, this antenna, a dipole for 40m and have a go at it but put the PWR at 50%.

HFJ-350M Toy Shop Portable Antenna System

Comet Antenna HFJ-350M  The combination of the base coil with five taps and a plug wire along with the 10-section telescopic whip top section provides a lightweight antenna that is easy to use. The antenna UHF base includes a side terminal for your counterpoise connection. A 3.5 MHz and 1.8 Mhz coil section provides the additional band capability. Use on your UHF mount or adapter with a counterpoise wire and tuner for best results.

Comet Antenna HFJ-350M specs:
Frequency: 1.6 – 50 MHz (10 bands)
Max. Power: 75 W PEP SSB on 3.5 MHz; 100 W SSB PEP 7.0 – 50 MHz
Length: Min. 14.57 in. (370 mm), Max. 63.39 in. (1610 mm)
Weight: Approx. 0.55 lbs. (245 g)
Antenna Base Mount Type: UHF (PL-259 style) MP
NOTE: This antenna is not intended for mobile operation.
Antenna type Single type 1/4λ (* Grounding is required when using)

○ Jumper lead type frequency tap switching
○ 10-stage whip type antenna
○ Light weight about 245g

CCB-HFJ carry Case

Don’t lose your antenna bits in the field as you will cry when you get home.

The tripod mount is an effective way to get set up quickly at the park. The are various option sone can use to mount the antenna.

The Buddipole Mounting kit  will give you the inspiration you need to do this but just remember to use a feedthrough SO-239 connector in place of the stud mount.

Thanks to Richard. G3UGF for his innovation with a low cost M type antenna mount. Go take a look at what he is doing at

1296 Mhz or Bust – Never Stop Experimenting

I received my SG labs 1296 Transverter last week and had to find my Racal meter and waiting for a 1.2 Ghz slug for my Bird 43.

I also needed to get a patch cable fabricated and then of course i find a box of them that I had but they were to long anyways.

So I get a solid 1.8 watts out on FM and tuned it up for SSB with a 0.5 watt input coming form the FT-817.

SG labs includes a 2 element pcb yagi and I have a 3 element WA5VJB version and his Log periodic to try.

I made a vertical and a j-pole as well

See you on 1296 SSB or FM 1296.1  from Signal Hill FN03

The readings on the Racal and the Bird 43 were both 1.8


The ROBOTS are taking Over Ham radio

WSJT-Z – full auto mode

2019-09-09 Off  By DK5EW

Have you already heard of WSJT-Z?

This is a WSJT-X based clone with a modified user interface to the standard WSJT-X interface.


  • Modified user interface, including a larger Band Activity window
  • Extended filtering features
  • Auto CQ and auto responding

Quite nice is that you have all options in a main field at a glance and can minimize this by clicking on „mini“ on the main control panel.

But what stands out in particular with this clone is that there is a modification in the operation and now it comes: it is an „auto CQ“ possible that means that after executing a QSO’s just continue to call CQ. This can be additionally defined that too every station that is not in its own logbook is called automatically.

 I leave it to everyone whether he wants to use this feature or not. This clone WSJT-Z from SQ9FVE can be found at:



I dont like FT8 but I respect it and now I too can enjoy the special mode in a auto QSO fashion

This is perfect for the 6m Magic band

Enjoy more free time with your family and friends, using your Personalized digital modes software Robot to roam ham radio bands for you, working all callers in a fully automated fashion, in a tireless, 24/7/365 manner.

Collect new countries, states, zones, etc. , take advantage of sudden propagation openings when you’re not at your station, finish off that Grid hunt on 6m, and so many more to list!

Our newest digital mode Robot version is working flawlessly with the latest American-made software ver. 2.2.2 and even analyzes “broken”, “missed”, or “lost propagation” QSOs, in realtime, and decides to reset back to CQ, therefore avoiding unnecessary QRM !!!

Estimated max. performance for FT8 is 80 QSOs/hr & for FT4 is 160 QSOs/hr !!!

The Partrdige G3VFA Joystick Antenna – Its an Antenna on a stick

The Joystick is a Variable Frequency Antenna and requires a tuner to handle a longwire. The built in radio’s pruner will not work on all frequencies.

Its just tubing, a dowel and some wire

Plans were published in the QRP ARCI Quarterly club magazine.

Its basically a stick with a center loaded coil and a longwire element and a Tuner. I made mine so I could take it apart and transport it in the boot of my car for field ops or just use it in the garden. I use a rubber coated wire that is 32 ft long that doubles as a 1/4 on 40m or folded back can be used on 20m in a pinch

A couple of hours and you have an antenna to play with.

George sold a lot of these back in the 60s

Icom 705 Portable Radio and Bioenno Battery Run times

Icom 705 Runtime estimates using Bioenno

Using the published data and some intel from the JA team in Akhibara HQ I have done some preliminary analysis for  using my Bioenno Batteries

50/50 split on transmit time running 10 watts                              20/80 split

3 aH       4.5 hours                                                                         6 hours

4.5 aH   7 hours                                                                            9 hours

9 aH       14 hours                                                                         18 hours


Nice thing is they are light, offer a higher voltage than a heavy SLA and I can use a single charger for all of them. I have a 12aH battery but didnt bother but i can assume a 12 hours and 24 hours.

The 4.5 will be the ideal size