A critique on the "Elecraft kpa500

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by NN6EE, Dec 12, 2016.

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  1. NN6EE

    NN6EE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Gentlemen !!!

    About (5) months ago I dumped my "Alpha 91b" for $2000, whereas we could of got about $2700, so obviously I wanted a QUICK-SALE!!! Since I'd had the K3 (upgraded to the "S" now) I wanted a way smaller S.S amp so we went for the "KPA500" to round out our "Elecraft station" including the P3 display & the KAT500 auto tuner. I can honestly say that knocking our RF output down a 1/2 notch was a great idea in that the AMP is now a part of a fully integrated system that's COMPLETELY TROUBLE FREE, and the system is what we older guys NEED for "IDIOT-PROOF" operation!!! Sure the RF out is 1/2 of what the ALPHA provided us but from the standpoint of it's AGE (17yrs old) that eventually the CAPS in the Alpha's supply would go SOUTH among other components that gawd knows else would FAIL!!! THE "ALPHA" weighed in @ about 90lbs as compared to the KPA which weighs in @ 27lbs, as well as the smaller demands upon my local power company concerning monthly COSTS, especially when your on a "FIXED INCOME" now!!! With our now (500w plus/minus) it's more than enough to either break thru "pileups" or have a decent chance of still working the "RARE ATNOs"!!! It's a stellar performer and I'd only wished that I'd made the change earlier!!!

    Jim-NN6EE :)
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    KU3X likes this.
  2. N6YFM

    N6YFM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I also purchased a KPA-500 amp 6 months ago. It is plain dang simple to use, and so automatic that you start
    to think you really just have a 500 watt transceiver. I love it.

  3. NN6EE

    NN6EE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    HEY NEIL!!! Did u hook urs up for 120VAC or like I did for 240VAC??? I'd chosen 240VAC because of the LOWER (AMPERAGE REQUIREMENT) !!! 6amp vs. 12amps !!! I'm asking you that because a number of years ago I'd bought a "Ameritron AL-811H" & I'D LEFT THE AMP @ 120VAC and we'd experience SOME DIMMING OF OUR HOUSE LIGHTS which was rather bothersome!!!
  4. N6YFM

    N6YFM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mine has always been running on 240 volts AC.
    No issue with lights.

  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I still like toooobs for my home station amps.

    Wide-range Pi-L gives you a built-in antenna tuner that can match lots of stuff without need for another one. And if lightning strikes, the odds of damaging a tube amp are very small. I don't mind the 5 seconds it takes to change bands and re-tune.

    But for portable expeditions and such, hands-down I'd want a good SS amp.
  6. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have home brew amps and they can easily put out 1500 watts 24 hours a day. BUT, my second radio in the shack is a TS480SAT and it's tied into my
    KPA500. I love that amp. I use it on a resonant multi band antenna, no tuner needed for where I operate, and the station is so nice to operate. So
    many hams that are casual operators think they need 1500 watts and they really don't. That jump from 100 watts to power levels of 500 to 800 watts
    is really all they need. Granted in contest conditions that 3 to 4 db can make a big difference, but for day to day use, 500 to 800 is plenty.
    I run mine on a dedicated 120 volt line which is wired with #12 wire and it is more than enough. I've used it for NPOTA and use the little Honda 2000
    watt generator. We ran between 500 and 550 watts and all worked great. No way am I letting that little amp out of my hands.

    Barry, KU3X
  7. NN6EE

    NN6EE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yah I agree entirely!!! Now some of the "ANTI - LOW POWER GUYS" would say to ME, why did you give up a "Big-Boy 91b" in favor of 1/2 KW amp? Considering the age/weight/& size of the "91b" WHY NOT? I've achieved almost all I've wanted to as concerns DXCC (308), and considering the cost of energy in today's world & being a retiree on a fixed income, I thought I'd begin to ECONOMIZE more, and NOT WANTING to have to resurrect/work on the OLD 91b anytime in the future we opted for the "solid-state BEAUTY" instead!!! THOUGH IT WAS really amazing how much VALUE the old "91b" had actually kept!!! So in essence the KPA500 was a new "FREEBIE"!!!
  8. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I run an amp @ 500 watts and work everything I can hear---which is less than I used to since I have downsized my antennas and as we all know the antennas make the station. Still, I can have fun, rag chew, work DX, and do a little contesting when I feel like it so all is good.
  9. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many DX operators in Northern IL are migrating to solid-state, and you see 3-500z and AL-1200 amplifiers (instant-on advantage for DX chasers) now on the used market.
    The future of Alpha Amplifiers has some owners sellng or trading ... concerned about declining value. The Alpha 91B has retained its value since Acom (Bulgaria) built most of those models for ETO Alpha ... and can be a secondary source for parts/service in the future.
  10. NN6EE

    NN6EE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When initially I openend up the "91b" to install the (HYPERSIL XFMR) looking at the INNER CIRCUITRY OF THE BULGARIAN AMP those guys did a fantastic job on making a very, very nice LAYOUT!!! Sure, to ALPHA specs, but again the quality of workmanship was well evident in the rig!!! But the latest KPA500 (AMERICAN) is un-adultrated BEAUTIFUL!!! But knowing full well the "91b" was on the DOWNWARD SLOPE we opted to pawn it off while had the chance!!!

    A VERY "POLITICALLY INCORRECT" According to our president...MERRY CHRISTMAS !!! :)

    And to all of our "Latino friends" FELIZ NAVIDAD Y FELIZ ANO NUEVO!!!

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