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I need information on amplifiers

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by K7OYZ, Oct 5, 2017.

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  1. K7OYZ

    K7OYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know nothing about amplifiers and would like some information. I can't now, nor probably ever will be able to afford a 3 or 4 thousand dollar amp so would need to look at alternatives. I have found an Ameritron AL-811 at a decent price. Is 600 watts enough to make a difference in transmitting? I was listening to someone from Italy the other day, but he couldn't read me. I would like to be able to reach some distant contacts. I have an Icom 7100 radio and an inverted V antenna made of wire that a fellow ham built and put up for me. I also have a 200 watt LDG tuner. Would I have to get a more powerful tuner as that would push the price up quite a bit? Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. NS8N

    NS8N Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Best bang for your buck IMO is the AL-80B, if you are going the new route. has a lot of great info on his website.
    K9ASE likes this.
  3. K7GQ

    K7GQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, you would need a higher power-rated tuner. Your best move would be to tune your antenna(s) such that no tuner was needed (VSWR 2:1 or less), thus saving you money.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An AL-80B is quite happy loading into an antenna system providing a 3:1 VSWR without any kind of tuner. The pi-L output network has a lot of tuning range and nothing is excessively stressed. It also uses a very forgiving tube (one 3-500Z is rated for substantially more power and higher dissipation than three or four 811As) that is comfortable and designed for glowing red (anode color).

    I'd look for an AL-80B in lieu of the AL-811 if possible.

    AL-80B also has a better metering system, including a built-in PEP wattmeter/SWR meter, which the AL-811 family does not have so to monitor output or matching you need "something" external to do that.

    ALS-600 and similar lower-cost SS amps may be desirable, but they will absolutely need an outboard (kilowatt rated) antenna tuner/matching unit unless your antenna systems are very well matched. Higher-priced SS amps have built-in automatic tuners but of course you pay for that in the amplifier price.
    WA7PRC likes this.
  5. AC8AC

    AC8AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I second the al80b recommendation sometimes you can find a nice al80a if your inclined to do some repairs and updates . there is not a lot that goes wrong with them . usually a meter shunt, plate supply capacitors some of the real early versions had a suspect transformer usually labeled al80 and not al80a . every al80a I have worked on had the b designed transformer . most hamfest ive been to someone was selling an al80a for around $550 sweet talk them into $475 then replace supply caps

    as far as tuners I would look at any of the 3kw mfj tuners or say a palstar at2k or at2kd .

    the als600 and like amplifiers are ok but you will need a near perfect match so they don't high swr trip constantly . if you qsy often or remote ss is the way to go but will need an auto tuner . this is a luxury you will need to pay for . I would buy a legal limit auto tuner for any power level over 300w just an opinion .

    im also a ham that cannot afford a $4k amplifier but repairing many amplifiers over the years ive found there are many amplifiers that are just great and are not expensive al80a is at the top of the list followed by an sb220 . the 3-500z is cheap and makes plenty of power and if taken care of can last 15-20 years . probably a hams best friend followed by the 3cx1500a7 but thats an advanced users tube
  6. N5DMC

    N5DMC Ham Member QRZ Page

    "I'd look for an AL-80B in lieu of the AL-811 if possible." Good advice. The AL-811 is a very difficult amp to service, and it will require a bunch of it. Remember a tube amp already has a tuner inside it for multiband operation. Good luck & good DX!

  7. AC0OB

    AC0OB Subscriber QRZ Page

    I will Thirded that.

    I have its predecessor, the AL-80A, and it will tune 160 meters up to 10 meters with plenty of power for most QSO's.

  8. KM1H

    KM1H Subscriber QRZ Page

    And there are also several one and two 3-500Z amps on the used market for the price of a new AL-811 POS which will barely survive at 400-450W considering that regular tuning is required for many owners.

    Even a SB-200 is far better if youre able to do a few PM updates and dont need 160.

    N5DMC likes this.
  9. WA1GFZ

    WA1GFZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Drake L4B is a kick ass amplifier and will out live anything made if treated properly.
    AL tube amplifiers are toys compared to the L4B vintage quality. Solid state is very nice but less forgiving. A solid state amplifier needs to look into a flat VSWR to transfer full power. They are no tune so easier to use. SB200 and SB220 OK if built properly and maintained.
    N5DMC likes this.
  10. W1XWX

    W1XWX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use an ALS600 that I bought used (about 5 years ago) from another ham for about $900 at the time. Works just fine as a no tune amp with my legal limit MFJ 986 tuner also bought used for about $200. 73

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