Comments from HRM users.

Source: Ham Radio Market

Hi Bob,

I love your candid reviews. I also love the excellent photographs. Tell me what kind of equipment do you for that and how is it set up? Thanks for your time.

73 Kevin, KC2X


Hello Kevin,

I have a cube light tent with hinged paper doors on the front. It is 32" wide by 24" tall and 30" deep, setup on a 6' wide folding office table. Table is raised by half cinder blocks under legs to bring things to working height. Continuous form computer paper covers top and three sides. Six slaved flash units are positioned about 18 inches above the top of the cube and controlled with switching so I can reduce from 540 WS to 270 WS or 135 WS.

An 11" x 11" cardboard sheet is centered on top to eliminate hot light spot in center so the light has to enter around the outside of the top and bounce from the sides to eliminate shadows. I open the doors, place subject in tent, heavy objects like amplifiers on pot plant roller stand, partially close doors with opening for camera and shoot lotsa pictures. I bought, and still use the first digital camera to offer facilities for studio flash. It was the Olympus C2020, 2.1 megapixel, with 3:1 zoom and f2.8 to f11.0 lens. Sometimes, especially when shooting amplifiers, I hand hold. Using a 13" video monitor for composition is a big help.

Other projects I have used the light tent for are here:>

Cost of the six flash units is about $350.00, but I only use them at half power, could get by fine with three. Cost of materials for the rest of the facility, including the table is about $75.00. The cube frame is 1/8" x 1" aluminum. Wood or PVC can also be used.

Thanks for using Ham Radio Market.

Best regards,
Ham Radio Market
Bob Hutchinson, N5CNN
713 467-0077


Source: Ham Radio Market



Just read the article about increasing the B+ on the Titan.

Bob you've done a good service here. Over on the AMPS reflector, there are various parties who claim repeatedly that the components in ham amps are just barely adequate for their job. Yet you have raised the B+ voltage by 1.25kV, which means the peak RF voltage on the tuning cap is higher by the same amount. You're using the OEM tuning cap, bandswitch, and bypass capacitors, and nothing blew up.

Another myth destroyed.

Thank you.

Cold-hearted Hanna



I have thoroughly enjoyed your reviews of linear amplifiers, including your tech-talk on linear amplifier design, that appear on I do indeed envy your knowledge and experience.

So, have you published any kind of rating system among those linears that you have reviewed. For example, how would you rate the Alpha 99 versus the QRO Technologies HF-2500DX? Or, how would you rate the ICOM solid-state linear (the PW1) compared to the Alpha 87A (which is comparable in feature though not itself solid-state).

I am in the process of buying and before I read your reviews, I was leaning towards the QRO 2500 DX but now I am not sure. For $700 more, the Alpha 99 looks good too. The $700 is not an issue for me in choosing between the two. Indeed, my buying plan is to decide on the $3000 or under category, the $3000 to $4000 category and then the $4000 or above category. And, right now, I am giving preference to the $3000 to $4000 category.

My transceiver is an ICOM 756 but before summer is over, I plan to get an ICOM 756 PRO II unless things radically change in that area.

Thanks for any time you take on my behalf. You know, you should write a book. It would be a good one.

Phil Hystad



Hello Bob,

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy(ed) your "Lighten Up" and "Not a Box" articles online. These two articles put into print some issues and ideas I had been considering for some time. They have given me the impetus to get on with building my own 5KVA box.  Unlike Rich Measures, AG6K, I do not believe that a "Plywood Box" has to be ugly! 

Thanks again.

Dave Riehl  AF5B

Dallas, TX

Hello Bob,

Just wanted to let you know I read your article on wattmeters and that my experiences are exactly like yours - cheap/inaccurate watt/swr meters lead to unbelievable waste of time and money.  

I'm ashamed that I spent a year trimming antennas based on swr readings from a Micronta meter.  

Finally sucked it up and bought a bird 43P and now I have the priceless piece of mind that I'm making decisions based on good data.  Especially helpful if you're screwing around with amps on ssb.

Moral to the story:  I agree - saving money on cheap wattmeters is dumb.




Hi Bob,

I am so convinced by your methodical and extremely helpful reviews (and because you appear to have bought the HF2000, judging by your top cover mods), I have decided to buy one.   I have gone for the HF2500, non-QSK.   I need the greater gain and input sensitivity.  Although I admit those big glowing glass tubes do something to me. . .   I am old enough to remember the old 813.   Oh, marvelous.

 I was considering the Acom, but when you told me they would not talk to you about one for review, no, no, I backed off.   I hope I am doing the right thing.   I live in the UK.   Hope to goodness it doesn't blow up, or anything.

 Keep up the good work.




Hi Bob,

 Nice review on the Alpha 99.  In fact all your reviews are extremely valuable tools to help make the right choice.  I especially appreciate the photos.   Must be a bother, but truly invaluable in helping me choose the right amp.

 I am in the UK.  Nothing like this built over here.   My Linear has 8 x 1n4007's in a voltage doubler with your favorite tubes, 3-500G's.   Unburstable tubes!   But I wish the power supply had a bit more meat.

Thanks again for those great reviews.   Please keep them coming.

 Best regards,

 Richard, GW3NCT.



Subject: Wattmeter article

It is hard to believe you had so much trouble buying product. I would have thought folks would have been reducing your price so you could get the product out!

Just shows how this country is going down.

After reading your comments, I am now thinking about selling/trading my Model 43 and getting the CD unit.

Thank you again, for another bit of information.

PS, as a result of your review, I enjoy an Alpha 99! Molly and Gordon at Alpha are fantastic folks. I got to meet both at Dayton this year.

Best Regards,

Ed Lang - KC4YLX



Hi Bob,

With no decent excuse for why it took me so long to find it, I visited for the first time today.  Found it very interesting.  I particularly enjoyed the product reviews.  Your writing style is a breath of fresh air, full of good info and much needed humor. 

 You had me laughing out loud with the reference to whimpy boys wallowing in low power mediocrity, the virtue of hams of presence and the relationship between big power as kids and big power now that we're old farts.  Certainly on the internet where it's possible to copy the whimps, there is a lot of amp-bashing.  I don't hear it on the air cuz I can't copy their signals.  The way you articulated on the topic did my heart good.   

 I was pleasantly surprised to note your review of the W2IHY Equalizer.  I left the marketing/advertising business a couple years ago but continue to work with Julius on his marketing communications since he's a cool guy and I believe in his products.  It felt nummy to see you quoting the web site copy I wrote for him.  He's got a killer processor about to hit the market later this year.  One of the things it has is a very low distortion Compressor/Limiter combination to harden up the audio waveform for a big boost in average power.  Having come to the conclusion that PEP is an illusion, I'm in favor of anything that can minimize those wasted peaks and still stay clean. 

 I think everyone who takes on a creative labor of love deserves recognition.  I'm recognizin' ... and thanking you for the excellent site!


 Mike W8MW

Michael Wingfield []