Hmmmmm. Heathkit SB-220 & SB-200 amps

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KA5LQJ, May 18, 2012.

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  1. KA5LQJ

    KA5LQJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    T.G.I.F.! LOL!

    I don't remember if I've asked these questions or not, so please bear
    with me.

    (Prologue) I own a Heathkit SB-220 amplifier. I've never fired it up for
    a lack of a 240vac circuit in the house. The gentleman I got it from
    said it had all the Harbaugh modifications done to it, including the 10
    meter one (?)

    Question: How much power output can I expect to get out of it 75-10
    meters ssb? CW?

    (Prologue) I'm considering getting a Heathkit SB-200 and have it re-
    done as a 6 meter amplifier.

    Question: Should I decide to have this done, what about the cost of the
    conversion and how much max output can I expect?

    To get the SB-200, it would have to be shipped as I can no longer drive
    to pick it up and none are available locally, I believe. I'm thinking having
    it shipped via a trucking company, since most everyone wants to sell
    theirs to a "local" where they are. :(:rolleyes:

    Thanks for your time.

  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's "Harbach," and the SB-220 had ten meters to begin with. (The SB-221 didn't.)

    With a good 240V line, they normally produce about 1200W PEP SSB (in the "SSB" position) and about half that on CW (in the "CW" position). The CW-SSB switch changes the plate voltage.

    I don't know what the conversion should cost, as I wouldn't really want 572Bs on six meters. However I know people using them, so I guess it works. I'd imagine the output is down a dB or so from what the SB-200 does on 10m, which is maybe 450-500W PEP on six? I think Lou W1QJ does these conversions and might have some real data.
  3. K1ZJH

    K1ZJH Ham Member QRZ Page

    My SB-220 will do about 1100 watts output on CW, with an emphasis on keeping the grid current within spec. Maybe another few hundred
    more on SSB in the CW tune position. That's with 30 year old Eimac tubes installed.

    I believe Lou announced he was considering not doing SB-200 6-meter mods in the future. I'd think you'd be better off finding
    another SB-220 for the conversion.

  4. N3JBH

    N3JBH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I converted a SB 200 to 6 one time it worked for awhile but as i was told if was flaky and well i later just parted it out and gave up... But another SB 220/1 for a 6 meter convert. I think Lou stopped even messing with any 572-B tube amp's for 6 meter's
  5. KM1H

    KM1H Subscriber QRZ Page

    Many stopped doing SB-200 conversions when the Chinese 572B's took over because they have no idea how to deal with instability but there is really no reason not to use them on 6M when you know what you are doing.

    Ive been converting the SB-200 since about 1965 and the 220 since 1970 and have done hundreds of both that are as stable as a rock with any brand tubes. With 70-80W of drive the 200 will put out a clean 650-750W since it doesnt have to deal with all the lossy circuitry of the stock version.

    One way to cut down on shipping expense is to have the seller ship directly to me as is done often.
    PM me for more info.

  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Really? That's actually more power than my SB-200 produced when it was new, on the HF bands. I normally got about 600W from the SB-200 and thought that was okay. It's only 320W of total dissipation rating, and my rule of thumb was always you could produce 2x the dissipation for short duty cycle modes like SSB, a bit less on CW and a whole lot less on RTTY, AM, FM, or anything with a full duty cycle.:eek:
  7. W1QJ

    W1QJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The reason for me not dealing with the SB-200's is because it requires the same amount of time and effort to convert one of them as an SB-220 and the SB-220 makes a much better 6 meter amp with 2X the power output so for watts/dollar the SB-220 is a "no brainer" to convert over an SB-200. And with the price of an SB-200 today for the few extra bucks it cost to go with the SB-220 it is the best choice. If one doesn't care for the extra 2X the power for the difference in price I will still be glad to convert an SB-200 for you. Many people buy the units on EBAY or other places on line and have them sent direct to me for conversion to save a shipping cost. The Chinese tubes are not as reliable as the older USA made tubes but not so with the 3-500's. It just makes better sense to go with the 3-500's and the SB-220, it's all about making better sense.
  8. AG6K

    AG6K Ham Member QRZ Page

     With 140W drive the SB-220 has c. 11db gain on SSB and about 9.5 db gain on CW, I would not risk operating a SB-220 without a glitch-R in the HV+ plus glitch diodes across the meters and across the 0.82Ω grid-I meter shunt-R.
    SB-220s can be operated from a 20A 120VAC source provided that the ESR is quite low and the amplifier is tuned up with a tuning pulser.
  9. KM1H

    KM1H Subscriber QRZ Page


    The typical 200 has 40-20 as its best bands and at 100W drive most could do 700W +. Build one as a monobander for any HF band with a proper input and output and power goes up.

    Lou, thats not what Ive heard but whatever....I dont care. Since I can still find plenty of 200's for under $400 its a matter of economics for many customers plus they work fine on a 120V line.

    N5WVR likes this.
  10. W1QJ

    W1QJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Carl, not sure what you are referring to when you say "that's not what I heard". Do you mean the 572B tubes vs the 3-500 tubes? I just bought a matched quad of 572B tubes. One blew out 30 seconds after I turned the amp on. I've never had a bad Chinese 3-500 yet. Listen to the compalints on here, they are all mostly with bad Chinese 811/572B tubes, not 3-500's. Maybe you were not referring to that. I won't argue the fact that considering one's purse strings and only having a 120v line in the shack, the SB-200 could then be considered the economical choice. But with all my economic decisions I weigh cost vs value etc. For about $500.00 dollars i'd move up, many won't. I'd love to move up to a new transceiver but I can't go to the next level for $500.00 and get 2X the perfomance. I suppose I have to consider the direction that ham radio has moved. For example, my friend took over Tom Evan's antenna business after he died. He works just about 8 hours a day building G5RV antennas, he CAN'T keep up with the demand!! He supplies AES,HRO, Lentini, cheap ham, R&L, JKI and maybe others with his G5RV product. Always behind on orders. That is alot of G5RV antennas sold. Carl, do you use a G5RV? SO I suppose indeed we have to consider there is a message there. But I don't see the Stepp IR people offering a G5RV type antenna for those who can't afford their bread and butter antenna. It seems like with all ham equipment manufactuers they fall into a niche with who buys their products. Just coming back from Dayton I had the pleasure of meeting my old friend from New Jersey who moved to Orlando,FL. He got a part time job working at the Orlando AES. He told me when he saw certain customers come in the store he would head for the head (pun intended). The stories were just amazing. I also had the pleasure of meeting one of our regulars here, W8JX , John, we had a very nice conversation.
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