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Re: [Amps] Input relay for QSK amp

To: Bob Maser <>,
Subject: Re: [Amps] Input relay for QSK amp
From: Jim Garland <>
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2018 08:22:45 -0700
List-post: <>
Jim, You're right in principle, of course. The problem is that a well-designed amplifier relay circuit shouldn't depend on what transceiver is used. The amplifier itself should be immune to hot-switching in all situations.

Here's an extreme example. The Flex 6000 series transceivers have a menu-set delay time adjustable from 0 -1000 mSec, which is the time RF appears after the amp relay keying line is closed. The default setting for this delay is zero mSec, which means RF arrives at the amplifier at the exact same time the amp relay line is closed. A well-designed amp QSK circuit should ignore that RF and not key up the amplifier at all, until the Flex delay is adjusted to be long enough for the amp relays to accommodate it.

Similarly, if a key is closed, for example to allow tuning of the amplifier, and then the relay keying cable is accidentally pulled loose, then a proper QSK circuit will keep the amplifier on-line until the RF disappears, even though the relay cable is disconnected. Keeping the amplifier on-line so long as RF is present is a key requirement of a good QSK circuit

Furthermore, for high speed QSK CW operation, the amp has to be fast enough to transition from receive to transmit and back in a few mSec, all the time sequencing the relays properly to avoid hot switching. Doing that involves some circuit complexity that can't be avoided. So, yes, in principle all that's needed is to keep RF out of the amplifier until the amp is on-line and ready to receive it, and to hold the amp on-line until after the RF disappears. It's implementing that requirement for all possible situations that's the challenge. What on the surface seems simple, in practice actually involves a bit of circuit complexity in the QSK design.


Jim W8ZR

On 12/9/2018 7:08 AM, Bob Maser wrote:
I agree with everything you said.  The problem with some radios is they start sending' RF down the line at the same time they are giving the relays the energize signal.  I have built some big amplifiers in my day (don't forget the saying that in California too much power is just enough) and I always made sure that the output relay was quicker than the input/bias relay in fact I usually used open frame P&B for them and RJ2B on the output.  RJ1's just don't
instill confidence  HI.

On Sat, Dec 8, 2018 at 11:49 PM Jim < <>> wrote:

    Its actually very simple Jim.

    Don't send RF until the amplifier is ready. Not doing so, makes the
    relays hot switch. It matters not which one is energized before RF is
    sent. As long as they both are before RF is sent from the exciter.
    on dekey. RF MUST stop flowing from the exciter BEFORE the relays
    (either one of them) DE-energize.

    Jim W7RY

    On 12/8/2018 11:37 AM, MU 4CX250B wrote:
    > Bob,
    > Years ago, I bought a lifetime supply of RJ1As for my own projects,
    > and have tested roughly two dozen on my homebrew relay tester. The
    > RJ1As typically close in about 2msec, with the fastest closing I
    > measured at 1.2msec. Their opening time is typically about 500uSecs.
    > None of them show any contact bounce. Other vacuum relays, e.g.,
    > RJ1. GC1, etc., are more like you remember.
    > Here's a link to a 2015 QSK article I wrote for QST,
    > that goes into detail on amp relay timing issues, including the
    > crucial need to avoid hot-switching. Doing so is more
    complicated than
    > merely choosing a slow input relay, or slowing down the input relay
    > transistor driver with an RC circuit. Many purported "QSK" designs
    > ignore these other considerations.
    > 73,
    > Jim w8zr
    >   from my iPhone
    >> On Dec 7, 2018, at 8:16 PM, Bob Maser <
    <>> wrote:
    >> I must be old school.  The input relays need to be slower than
    the output
    >> relay.
    >> Seems to me that a RJ-1 takes 8ms to close and stop bouncing
    around. I have
    >> always
    >> used a P&B miniature open frame DPDT for that purpose.  The
    output of the
    >> amp needs
    >> to be closed before the input turns on.
    >> Bob
    >>> On Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 9:39 PM Jim <
    <>> wrote:
    >>> Those relays that Rich (and I ) used are mostly unavailable. I
    used to
    >>> buy them 100s at a time. No more of them can be had.
    >>> Most of what you find on eBay are seconds and most don't work.
    Or they
    >>> are re-labeled counterfeits.
    >>> Thanks
    >>> 73
    >>> Jim W7RY
    >>>> On 12/4/2018 4:03 PM, Alek Petkovic wrote:
    >>>> G'day Vic.
    >>>> The Matsushita/Panasonic relay that Rich Measures used in his QSK
    >>>> circuit, published at <>, is still
    available on Ebay. I bought
    >>>> 10 of them a couple of years ago
    >>>> Otherwise, Jim, W7RY, uses a small relay in his QSK kit. He
    laso deals
    >>>> on Ebay.
    >>>> 73, Alek.
    >>>> VK6APK
    >>>>> On 4/12/2018 6:21 PM, Victor Rosenthal 4X6GP wrote:
    >>>>> I'm trying to choose a relay to use as the input relay in a
    QSK amp.
    >>>>> I have been very satisfied with the Jennings RJ1-A as an output
    >>>>> relay. The input relay in this circuit needs to be DPDT, or
    I'd just
    >>>>> use two similar vacuum relays.
    >>>>> Here are my needs:
    >>>>> 1. DPDT.
    >>>>> 2. 12 or 24v coil.
    >>>>> 3. Operate/release time, including bounce <= 4 ms. Faster is
    >>>>> 4. Should carry 100w RF in 50 ohm system. Not expected to
    >>>>> live circuit.
    >>>>> 5. Must have low resistance for low-level signals (receive
    >>>>> 6. Must have long life >= (10 x 10**6 operations)
    >>>>> 7. Must not be insanely expensive, and available from Mouser
    or RS.
    >>>>> I found this relay:
    >>>>> But maybe there's a better choice? I'm overwhelmed by the
    number and
    >>>>> varieties of relays in the catalog.
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    >>> Amps mailing list
    >>> <>
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