If you had 1600.00 to spend on an amp which would you pick

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KI5AAI, Aug 25, 2018.

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  1. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I know there is not a "best" amp out there. I am looking to getting an amp anywhere from 500 W and up. I have read all can so far about the pros and cons of solid state vs tubes. I am still torn on which way to go. I do mostly voice but might do digital later one. Currently, I have a Hustler 6bTV and IC-7300 for my setup and an MFJ-949 Versa Tuner. I think I would have to get a tuner since the MFJ-949 is only good for 300W and I have read actually less.

    So far I have looked at Ameritron ALS-500 M, AL-80B, AL-811.

    So, if you had 1600 to spend on a new amp (not used), which ones would you guys look at?
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  2. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    IMO it’s hard to beat the AL80B price vs performance. It’s a great little amp.
    K4FX, AF7XT, K9ASE and 2 others like this.
  3. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Something used with an 8877 so that If I ever needed a "New" tube, I could probably still find one as a medical pull...
    With the looming "Tarriff Wars", who knows how "Available" Chinese 572B's & 3-500Z's are going to be in the future.
    (Not counting all the reliability issues people keep reading about)
  4. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I go with tubes instead of SS I was planning on buying a backup set of tubes if ever needed. I figured get them now or hope they have them in the future.

    I like having spares around the house. I have a complete set of relays and spare parts for our central ac system (minus the motor) ;)

    I hate waiting for a repair guy to come when it is 105 degrees.
    K7SWT likes this.
  5. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tubes are more forgiving than SS....(And a lot easier to replace)
    Just a thought
    W4NNF likes this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Toooobs will hopefully be around a while, but AFAIK every new 811A, 572B and 3-500Z in the world today is made in China; the tariffs already had an impact on "price" but hopefully not on "availability."

    The Russian metal/ceramic tubes are an amazing deal and very good, but they seem to all be "surplus" and actually no longer manufactured; eventually that source could completely dry up.

    Eimac still makes 3CX1200s, 8877s etc. but they're very expensive.

    However...going SS does not assure any future availability, either! Lots of RF power transistors that were popular 20-30 years ago are "gone" today, and completely unobtainium.

    Tubes have a couple of advantages:

    Very unlikely to fail due to a lightning transient;
    If one does fail for whatever reason and you have a spare, you can probably change it in five minutes and be back on the air;
    Many are very robust so they can take a lot of abuse -- ratings are typically CCS type ratings, for running the rated power continuously 24/7 in broadcast service; as amateurs we don't do that, so they can last much longer;
    Most amateur tube amps have tunable output networks that can transfer full rated power into a wide range of loads, so you often won't need any kind of antenna tuner unless your mismatch is truly terrible.

    The AL-80B is a "best bang for the buck" product.
    K7MH, WA7PRC, K6CLS and 2 others like this.
  7. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I’d avoid an ALS 500 but an AL 811 can be a fine solution if you run low duty cycle modes (SSB), only need 500w PEP, and are careful about not frying the tubes while tuning it up.

    The AL 811 has been maligned here a bit, but I think unfairly. There have been a few that crossed my bench for repair and those problems were always about tuning them improperly or running carrier modes over what the amp can handle as a heat load.

    After repair, the owner would get a 5 minute tutorial with my dummy load and be on their way. :)
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
    NQ1B, W4NNF, WD4IGX and 1 other person like this.
  8. K5RCD

    K5RCD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good point that is seldom made and often overlooked.
    KI5AAI likes this.
  9. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Would getting the Ameritron Grid Overload Protectors GOP-100 be worth it?

    Ameritron grid overload protectors protect your amplifier's tube from excessive grid current. They feature a fast-acting electronic circuit that rapidly disables the amp if excessive grid current conditions occur. They're easy to install in your Ameritron amplifier.
  10. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I don’t see them as useful with the amps in discussion.
    KI5AAI likes this.

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