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Good starter QRO setup?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KI1SPK, Nov 9, 2018.

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  1. KI1SPK

    KI1SPK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am thinking of getting a starter amp setup, and looking for any suggestions.

    I have an Icom 7300, remote LDG RT100 tuner, and an elevated 43' vertical wire. I have been enjoying some casual phone DX contacts, and liked talking to Japan, Caribbean, South America, Europe over the CQ WW weekend with 100W. (Too bad the bands aren't always that busy with DX!)

    I am thinking of going to 500-600W to be heard better over 20m and 40m. I want to stick to 120V wiring. I'm not looking for something with a lot of maintenance, as I'm kind of nervous about high voltage exposure and don't want to have to open up the box.

    Budget is an issue, as I would need a new tuner as well. Most solid state seems out of budget. Ideally, maybe KPA500 used, but more than I want to spend. Is AL-811 good choice? I've been reading a lot of things about Ameritron QC.

    Thanks!
     
  2. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    look at the Ameriton als-600 - that is what i use. I bought it originally with my 7300 and LDG ATS-600. It is super low maintenance and easy to use with 120v wiring.
     
  3. K0OKS

    K0OKS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The AL-80B is a little more power (will make little difference on the other end, though), but it also a solid performer, and can be had reasonably on the used market.
     
    WE4E and WA7PRC like this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For SS, if you look at the ALS-600 + LDG ATS-600 that combo "new" is about $2200.

    The Elecraft KPA500 + matching KAT500 tuner from Elecraft, that combo new is about $2900.

    For the $700 difference, I'd go with the Elecraft; however to find what one wants on the "used" market, and preferably a "local" deal so you can go check it out in person and not worry about shipping cost or shipping damage, might take a little time.

    An AL-811 is certainly much cheaper but I don't really consider that a "beginner" amplifier because it not only requires tuning, it requires quick tuning, which is very easily done by people who are very familiar with tuning up tube rigs. Seems many newbies burn them up pretty fast simply because they don't know how to tune them, and tune them quickly. For an experienced op, tuning an AL-811 from scratch to finish takes less than ten seconds. But that's when the operator knows exactly what he's doing.
     
    WA7PRC likes this.
  5. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree and as Steve points out given the antenna you have you will need an antenna tuner that will handle the output power of whatever amp you wind up with
     
  6. KW4GT

    KW4GT Ham Member QRZ Page


    Tuning these amps isn't difficult if you break it down into steps. Here's a guide from W8JI (who designed the 811 and 811H amps) that's easy to follow.

    https://www.w8ji.com/al811h_and_811_tuning_supplement.htm

    Each step can easily be done in a few seconds, then allow 15 seconds or so cool down between steps. After the first time tuning a particular band/antenna combination you can simply record your settings on a cheat sheet to give a good starting point for subsequent sessions, then simply preadjust the Load and Plate to those settings and do a quick touchup at full output which only takes a couple of seconds. I just got an 811H second hand and am very satisfied with it, especially since it's perfectly happy operating on 110 Volts.
     
  7. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Especially if you are not located in a major metro. Good "RF-quiet, lots of room for antennas" locations typically don't line up well with locations where "lots of good and services are locally available."
     
    W1TRY likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That may be true; but the OP is in Corpus Christi.

    511 hams listed there, 89 in his zip code of 78412. I'll bet there are amplifiers locally for sale.:)
     
  9. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    SS amps, especially Ameritron, are known for high maintenance and even have their own forum:eek:

    Carl
     

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