Amplifier: Seeking Recommendations

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KD2NOM, Aug 19, 2017.

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  1. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    As I sit here waiting for the thunderstorms to pass, I've started considering the next piece of gear that I would like to get for my shack, and I realized I don't really know much about amplifiers.

    I currently have a Yaesu FT-450D with a Carolina 40 Windom OFC antenna and a new Imax 2000 10meter vertical (for local rag chewing / digital contacts). I operate a lot of digital modes on the Windom and I also like to contest on SSB and PSK31.

    I'd like to get an amplifier to help me with DX-ing and contesting. The features I think I want are:

    - runs cool at full duty cycles (during digital modes)
    - connects to A/C as opposed to needing another DC power supply (if this is possible)
    - does NOT need to run full legal power

    I don't have a specific budget in mind yet as I'd like to hear your suggestions / ideas.

    Thank you in advanced for your thoughtful input.

    Mark - KD2NOM
  2. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want something solid state.
    If money is not an object look into the Elecraft amplifier.
    Otherwise there is Ameritron,
    ALS-600 is not bad or if you have the money the next step down from the eleicraft would be an ALS1306.
    But I would go with the Elecraft KPA-1500.
    I think that would lead to a better overall choice.
    WG7X likes this.
  3. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you Sue!

    What about older tube amplifiers like the HEATHKIT SB-200 or SB-201? These seem to be reasonably priced on the secondary market - but do they meet the other requirements I mentioned?

    Mark - KD2NOM
  4. VK4TI

    VK4TI Ham Member QRZ Page

    All boils down to needs and operating style , if you swap bands a lot or contest then a SS amp either ready made or kit-form should be ideal however if you are happy to tune when you swap bands then a tube amp would be suitable , something like a new Ameritron perhaps or for the budget conscious maybe an SB220 or even an FL2100z /b perhaps . Watch the sales and decide when you see the right toy , good luck
  5. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    With the 450, the als 600 would match up nicely. There has been a price increase on that model unfortunately. Another great would be the ameritron al 80 b. One can be had used for about $800. If taken care of, will last your lifetime.

    That's just the start. If money is not an issues, the sky is the limit on your options.
    KD2ACO likes this.
  6. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    They are reasonably priced however Caveat emptor, they can be a reasonably good choice. Do keep in mind that most all the SB-220s have been overhauled and quality of the work done may be an issue.
    I own a Heathkit SB-220, however I have put some money into it to make it a good and reliable amplifier.
    If you have the money buy new, you might be happier in the long run.
    I am not that fond of 811s and if I was going to get an Ameritron that was low cost and half legal power. I would get an AL-80.
    If you have the money why not go new.....
  7. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great reply's - I really appreciate them.

    BTW - money IS an issue :) I may not have stated that very clearly in my original post.
    AF6LJ likes this.
  8. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am not trying to discourage getting a Heathkit, Like I said I own one, as a matter of fact I own one working, one in a basked and I am rehabbing one for someone else.

    If you are going to get one...
    make sure that among other things it has been modified with a "soft key" circuit of some kind.
    It should have the filter caps replaced.
    That is the minimum...
  9. KD2NOM

    KD2NOM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KD2ACO and AF6LJ like this.
  10. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I second Brian KB4MNG's opinion on the AL-80B. Probably the best bang for the buck you can get on an amp that will just run well on any hf band.
    If my SB200 gives up (unlikely) or I want warc bands, that amp is on my Chopin Liszt.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017

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