Mirage Amplifiers

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by N6MEJ, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member

    I am looking for a VHF or VHF/UHF amplifier that is reasonably priced. I am drawn to Mirage only because I have a twenty five year old two meter amplifier (B23) that still works like a champ. However, I realize that Mirage has been tainted by MFJ ownership and am concerned about the quality of anything coming out of there shop now. E-Ham net shows a clear decline in ratings over the last year or so…another indicator.


    How long has MFJ owned Mirage? I may look for a used amplifier that is pre-MFJ vintage.

    Any insights?

    Thanks
     
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber

    It's been many years.

    I'd be careful of the older Mirage amps -- not that they're not good, just that several models use transistors that are no longer available, so if you need to replace one that could be a problem.

    You might also give TE Systems a look.
     
  3. W6UV

    W6UV Premium Subscriber

  4. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber

    Ah, what the heck.............Remortgage the house & really be "loud and proud". :)

    VHF/UHF Amps





    Tom KCØW
     
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber

  6. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member

    Thanks for the response and the note of caution on older equipment. Yes, TE Systems is an option, but they are pricey. May be ill just look for some used TE stuff.
     
  7. K7WFM

    K7WFM Ham Member

    I have a RF Concepts 2m amp that is still going strong after 20+ years. I think they were bought out by Alpha amps if I'm not mistaken.
     
  8. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member

    Just a little more than I was looking for...but wow what a signal on 2 meter SSB!
     
  9. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member

  10. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member

    A very reasonable amp for 2m is an older Henry 1k I have 2 of them bought another 2 weeks ago. The price per watt is cheaper for them than anything and can usually be bought for $1-1200 for a 1000w cheap. Look at at a Mirage 300w it will do 350w with a increase in voltage mine does and it costs $700+.
     
  11. AE5DX

    AE5DX Premium Subscriber

    I'm using one of those cheapo RM Italy amps w/my Yaesu FT-726R. They work well together.
     
  12. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member

    Yes, I've looked at them briefly, it is hard to find good sources for review or purchase. I do hear negative reports of them spewing harmonics and other spurious noise of one kind or another, though they look well built from the little I've seen.
     
  13. N6MEJ

    N6MEJ Ham Member


    yeah, thanks. I am looking to work 2 meter weak signal SSB and am slowly equipping a station. I have the rig a yagi and a 30 watt amplifier but am looking for an amplifier in the 100-160 watt range. Anything over 250-300 watts will melt my antenna.someday yes, a kilowatt, better antenna, etc. right now I am just getting into this facet of the hobby and having a blast.
     
  14. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member

    For 2m weak signal work, nothing is more reliable, bulletproof, produces more power, is more linear and sounds way better on the air than a good old fashioned toooob amplifier.

    You just can't get that sort of thing from VHF bricks and just because they are advertised to work at 160 watts doesn't mean they will actually function that way without spewing harmonics all over the place. I have seen most of these so called "160 watt" bricks start spewing crap on a scope when pushed beyond 85-90 watts for that matter.

    To demonstrate my point, just listen to some of the contestors on any given VHF contest who are pushing these brick amps to the limit or even at perceived "conservative" power levels (even 125 watts is too much!) on VHF sometime to actually "hear" what I mean. They sound like utter distorted crap on every breath they make into the microphone and there's really no other way to describe it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  15. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber

    The Older Mirage amps work good and last a long time, As long as you don't abuse them.

    Many get blown from Operator error then, the Head up butt operator blames the Manufacture.

    Many times the defect is Jack Black Label not the Amp design.

    It is Hard to protect from stupid.
     
  16. W0AAT

    W0AAT Ham Member

    Mirage amps can run clean at rated power as long as they are not being overdriven with bad audio. Crappy signal in = crappy signal out. I used to run my B1016g at the 160 watt level and had good audio reports. Currently fixing a b5030g I picked up cheap. Goes into oscillation as soon as it is keyed and won't unkey.
     
  17. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber


    You can fix that problem many times by separating the Input and Output Coax Cable, 180 deg so the are not in parallel.

    And make sure the RF is not getting in to the Power Line.

    The relay will stick in them units also, after the contacts get pitted.

    You should put a smaller fuse than normal, until you find the problem. Sometimes the Fuse Holder melts and the finals cook before the fuse blows.
     
  18. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member

    There is nothing wrong with the new small 2m amps the 160w range I have them on and off quite a bit in fact have one on line now. It is for FM on a vertical and another on a 13B2 for FM both used for simplex and repeaters/D-Star the 13B2 is for weak signal simplex FM I have a very good mast mounted preamp on it also.

    If you want to do any weak signal work you do need a good mast mounted preamp one rated for 160w are not that high usually around $200 for a good used one.
     
  19. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber

    I will add a vote for TE systems. I believe they are as bulletproof as anything you might buy. Many years ago now, I had one for two meters that I abused quite a bit, running full power on FM for long periods of time. The TE was a 'backup' amp for me, so I didn't really care if I fried it. Indeed, I melted the solder out of my Diamond dualband vertical - which was a dumb thing to be using at that power level, anyway. Eventually, the TE amp stopped working. Quick examination showed that the fuse holder had melted due to excessive current! Putting in a new fuse holder solved the problem, and I went right back to abusing the amp again. It was still producing over 200W when I sold it.
     
  20. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber

    I think the TEs are a bit better designed and built than the Mirages; however they "both" have their weaknesses for sure. One of those weaknesses is the T-R relays. I wish they'd have used PIN diodes instead.

    I did modify my 2m TE amp to eliminate the preamp (who needs a preamp in the shack? -- silly feature), eliminate the RF sensed keying, and replace the T-R bypass switching with PIN diodes pretty heavily biased for "TX." The loss in the diodes is slightly higher than the relays, so the 160W rated amp which originally ran about 170W or so now runs about 150W output. However, now there's nothing to wear out and the diodes should last forever.

    Re how "clean" these amps are: IMO, none of them are. On FM it really doesn't matter as there's no IMD. On SSB, it really does matter. Getting "great audio reports" has absolutely nothing to do with IMD.

    My Mirage and TE SS amps are both "filthy" if run at full power on SSB. However, cranked back to about half power, they clean right up and are quite neighbor-friendly.

    If you have no neighbors on SSB and the strongest signals you deal with are S9 or below, it may not matter at all. The IMD becomes objectionable to listeners who are close by, where your signal is very strong. And of course, you can't "hear" IMD at all -- it doesn't add audible distortion, it just broadens the transmitted signal spectrum.
     
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