Operating an Ameritron AL-80B amp?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KD6WAG, Aug 1, 2008.

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  1. KD6WAG

    KD6WAG Guest

    I don't know squat about ham radio amps. It took me a while to study the art of antennas and I'm still learning every day!

    Now, I'd like to move on to amplifyers. Specifically the AL-80B made by ameritron.

    Is the instruction manual easily understood? I've purchased some amateur radio products before, only wishing that the instructions explained things better. (i.e. different types of tuners and analyzers etc...).

    I have no idea on how to operate the amplifyer. Is it easy to figure out, or should I seek the advice of someone that can literally show me in person how to operate it? I just don't want to blow the tube or damage my equipment.

    If I do decide to buy that amp, I have to be careful with it, due to its high price.

  2. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Ameritron AL80B is one of the better deals in an HF amplifier available today.

    And is a very simple, Easy to tune up and use amplifier. However I suggest you try to find a local "elmer" to help show you how to run a tube type amplifier. A 15 minute visit by an experienced ham who can show you how to peak up the load and tune, And general care and feeding of an amplifer would be worth a case of 807's to get that ham over!!!!
  3. K7UNZ

    K7UNZ Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have an AL-80B and like many things, the product is better than the manual.

    In my opinion, the manual overly explains a lot of things, which may be enough to scare off an inexperienced operator -- especially the 2-page discussion about the ALC operation. There's information there that nobody would need to know unless he was attempting to redesign the circuit.

    What HF rig do you intend to use it with? That's my first question. Can your antenna(s) handle a kilowatt? That's my second question!

    For someone who knows how to tune up a tube amplifier, this amp is one of the easiest to tune you'll find anywhere. Take me maybe five seconds, if I'm working slowly. Since the amp has a built-in Wattmeter (and it works fine), you don't even need an outboard meter at all. And the 3-500ZG tube used is very rugged, and will withstand some degree of operator error.

    Good choice.

  5. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's a good Steve, make sure your feedline (coax) can handle the power and that your SWR is no higher than about 1.2:1.

    It would also be a good idea to have a tuner that can handle 1500 watts or more.
  6. W0UZR

    W0UZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I want to get that amp some day. WIC said he has one of those, so he will know how to get it tuned. And amp is pretty much a must if you are restricted to wire antennas on 80 and 160. Some smart blank on 160 told me to come back when I have a signal. He could hear me plenty good, but I was sort of staticy. I wish my 922 amp drove my 2 3500 Zs as good as yours drives one........!
  7. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, that TL-922 is well known for being a slug. That's why they go for so much on Ebay. Probably one of the best 3-500 amps ever made along with the Drake L4B. Wish I had a 922 so I could have a weak signal too..:D
  8. KA0JON

    KA0JON Ham Member QRZ Page

    Operating an Ameritron AL-80B amp.

    I personally have the Ameritron AL-80A amp. Basically same as "B" model with mods. I bought the MFJ Dummy Load Cantenna and switch to it to tune up the amp. After a while you'll be able to rig you up some "short cuts" sheets for where to roughly set everything up even faster. I don't use the ALC on the amp. If you feed the amp with 50 watts on cw that's 500 watts output,
    and anything more is just over kill in my book.

    I then put the amp on standby and tune the antenna wether it be might Tennadyne T8 Log Perodic, my 18" diameter 40 meter cage , my 5ft diameter 80 meter cage or my Hygain AV-640 Vertical for lowest swr with my LDG AT-1000Pro Auto Tuner. and when it's below 1.3 : 1, I then flip the the amp on and I'm there.

    The 3-500Z has got to be the most forgiving tube I ever seen. I bought
    the amp used 6 yrs back and picked up a new spare 3-500Z and have never needed it. I run the amp on 220 volts, 85 watts cw is 850 cw out, you can't ask for more.

    I drive it with an Icom 718 with no problems.


  9. W5JO

    W5JO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do disagree with the statement that you do not need to use the ALC circuit. Do you realize even 50 watts out PEP can splatter? The ALC is designed to prevent splatter, use it. You have a variable voltage output on that amp so adjust it as the book says and keep you signal clean, unlike so many on the bands today.

    Tune that amp to max output then drive it with what you have. Nice amp. I have the AL 1200 and it loafs along.
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