RF Amplifier Tubes- whats left & affordable for a RF Amp

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by N8FVJ, May 4, 2019.

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  1. W1QJ

    W1QJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There were tens or hundreds of thousands of 8877/YU-158/YU-209/3CPX1500/YC 257 made by Eimac. Many still out there NOS in the box. You can find hams selling some of these NOS in the box fo r $500.00 You can still get Eimac 3CPX1500's for about 400-500 with a money back guarantee or a free replacement if you get a bad or poor one. These tubes easily have a 30 year or more shelf life. I would never pay $2000+ for a brand new date coded 8877. Chinese 8877 tubes are OK but I would prefer a used medical 3CPX1500 over a new Chinese tube. OTOH I am certain that the quality of run of the mill "brand with your name" 8877 from China is nowhere near as good as the pulse rated MKS 3CPX1500 medical pulls. MKS must have insisted on a certain quality and GOT IT. I have tested hundreds of 8877 tubes and a typical Eimac medical pull can last a ham many years of service. The the price of a new one you can buy 4 or 5 pulls with a MBG or replacement. You will be set for a lifetime with tubes. The RF deck would e an Al-1500.
    K4AGO, W1BR, K6LPM and 3 others like this.
  2. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your numbers for an 8877 are incorrect from what I saw.

    Below are the numbers I saw.


    PS You have to SEARCH the website to find that other 8877 tube.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    W2AI likes this.
  3. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    $900 will buy a new Thompson 3CPX1500. 6 week delivery as shown on ebay. My used AL811 with three new Cetron 572B was $700 and I got $90 for the old close to NOS RCA 811A tubes in it. 1/2 the power output of a 8877 amp, I will still likely make 95% of contacts with lower power. If I was a contester perhaps I would want a legal output amp, but there is always the legal output Heathkit SB-220.
    W2AI likes this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The $2095 per tube is for new Eimac tubes; Ameritron sells the imports for half the cost.

    AFAIK, "Machlett" is just a "brand name" and they all come from China, via Penta Labs here in Chatsworth, CA. Penta is about six blocks from my office and I've been there; they don't manufacture the tubes, but import them and have them private labeled, and "Machlett" is one of the private labels.

    They'll have them again, if they don't already have them again.
    AE0Q and W2AI like this.
  5. W2AI

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

    Thanks, Steve; I originally believed these Machlett tubes were manufactured and tested here in US. I just hope the tube I purchased will last a bit. :)

    I'm sure Penta Labs will get another lot of 8877s in from China. You might know the answer to this question--why does Ameritron want $2,095 for the Eimac tube?? Is it because of the Eimac name? The imports from China appear be much cheaper pricewise.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  6. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Thompson 3CPX1500 is US made by Richardson.
  7. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oops Thomson tubes, not Thompson.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Eimac invented the tube and still makes them in the U.S.

    Worst thing that ever happened (for hams using power tubes) occurred 23+ years ago, the Day the Earth Stood Still for Eimac; then, it got worse in 2007.
    So, Eimac is a mere shadow of what it once was.
    That was a gigantic plant; I had the opportunity to visit three times in the late 70s through late 80s. Wow, what a place. They were making thousands of 8877s a week back then. Not so now.:(
    W2AI likes this.
  9. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    WB2WIK -
    Eimac got out of the 'glass tube' business way back there. They have not made a 3-500 in this country in over 25 - 30 years.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I know.

    I was only discussing "8877s" since that's where the topic went.

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