Older Amps that you would have in your shack today

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W5INC, Sep 12, 2018.

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  1. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like great advice. But how is one to learn what he is doing without eventually doing it? One has to start somewhere.
  2. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    You miss the point ... right now I could get this fixed if needed. In 5 years or so maybe not ... depending on whether the controller & protection parts have reached "end of life". This is the case with most electronic components these days. Especially co-processors and such. An amplifier such as a Heath SB-220 is actually one that is not dependent on control circuits, just basic supply and regulation. And its more than 40 years old. The amp could be made to work in a pinch. An Alpha 8410 could be rendered useless if any part in the controller fails and is no longer available over time. Dishtronix has no control over components, only service and assembly of current parts that are available. Very common these days are people with some transceivers only 10 years old are having this problem now. The Icom IC-781 and the IC-756PROIII are two that come to mind. In amplifiers I can't recall any specific ones right now, but I know a few fall into this situation
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  3. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Even Alpha (Dishtronix) says this: "Since we do completely manufacture our products in house, the service department is usually fully stocked with every component to repair your present production 9500, 8410 or 8406 amplifier in a timely manner. We have many parts to repair legacy amps, but hope you understand that many of the parts used for example in the 87A are no longer obtainable because some suppliers are out of business and microprocessors manufactured 30 years ago are completely obsolete. The electronics industry has shifted away from offering many parts in through hole versions since the surface mount assembly revolutionized the industry."

    So there is a life span for products currently manufactured, especially those that have used microprocessors, and that time period is much shorter than most people realize. This is why "analog" products like the SB-220 offer greater long-term value and reliability in this day and age.
    AD5HR likes this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    All the current-production Ameritron tube amps have no fancy control circuits; they do have some simple circuitry in the ALC and PEP wattmeter circuits and stuff, but it's all off-the-shelf diodes, transistors and op amps that have been around forever and will be around for a very long time. Everything is "common parts," and they're easy to work on should something fail; but almost all failures aren't even in those circuits -- they're easy stuff like T-R relays (off the shelf and cost a few dollars), tubes, filter caps and bleeders.

    They're all "modernized" versions of SB-200, SB-220, and similar old designs. The 3CX800A7 and 8877 amps have electronic timers to prevent driving them until they're warmed up, but even those are very simple.

    Other than the "811" amps which are pretty light-duty and use 80 year-old (design) tubes, all the "bigger" ones are robust, and unlike the Heath SB amps, the Ameritrons all cover 160 meters! (To me, this is the band where "the most power possible" helps a lot.)
    N4NYK and WG7X like this.
  5. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  6. W5INC

    W5INC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    100% correct. Anyone who buys a 87A amp today has to be out of their mind. Pin diodes that aren't available, pigeon holed propriety software and micro processors that aren't available anymore. A SB-220 is a far better long time buy, as you noted. The same thing goes for a Pro III, I wouldn't buy 1 no matter what the price was.
    AD5HR likes this.
  7. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another vote for the SB-200. Update it with the harbach mods / soft key and you're good to go. I've had mine years and it's only been off the bench once for repairs. Solid, reliable amp. I don't use mine much... mainly to jump in a pileup now and then... but it's nice to have when you need it. Tons of them out there.
  8. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I have to make certain graphic alterations of the person standing next to the WWI officer to conceal her identity but that can be done....
  10. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    That is true but high voltage can be fatal and one careless slip can cause death or serious physical injury.

    Steve, we worked on CW on 8/30 on 40 mtrs. Thanks for your QSL card! Did you receive mine??

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