Six used Affordable HF Amplifiers worth Considering

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by N8FVJ, May 19, 2019.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    A good amp for those using tube-type transceivers is the Swan MKII.

    Rugged, heavy duty, reliable, 80-10m only (no 160) but they last and last and last. But no tuned input, so more appropriate for tube type transceivers or hybrids. Its predecessor, the MKI, wasn't good. The MKII is way better.

    The Dentron Clipperton-L is also a good amp for use with tube or hybrid rigs; the very latest models (Clipperton QRO or whatever) evidently does have tuned input networks which should be suitable for use with SS rigs, but I've never had one of those.
  2. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would have included the Swan MKII in the list if it would have had a tuned input. Radio with antenna tuner would not be an issue, but many older transceivers are out there without antenna tuners.
  3. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    BTW- The Heathkit HL-2200 is a SB221 in a different enclosure. 80 t0 15 meters. The SB-221 is a newer SB-220 linear amplifier missing 10 meters due to the FCC new regulations. All have a pair of 3-500Z tubes and the 23lb HV transformer.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  4. AH7I

    AH7I Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tentec Herc 2. Solid state. 500W. QSK. Those same 8 x 2sc2789 would be comfortably running 1000+ W if it were a CB amp. MFJ rutes their amp with 4 of them at 500W. No problem with digital modes. It will work mobile, It has 160, it can be switched remotely. I see them under $1000 on the swap forums.
  5. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Which station is the cousin?
  6. W1QJ

    W1QJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW....You can get some good deals on 3cx800 based amps these days. TenTec 425's, Commander 2500's and Alpha 87a's. The tubes are the problem since they are too expensive to buy new and Chinese ones are OK but not near as good as Eimacs. Pulls are nearly gone but if you keep an eye open you will eventually find a decent used pair. The Alpha 87a insists on Eimacs so you may want to avid 87a's for a variety of reasons, however 425's and 2500's a fine amps.
  7. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can have more in the cost
    Cost of USED 3CX800 tubes can be more than an entire 3-500Z amp. The used 3CX800 may have low output thus losing your money. A 3-500Z single tube amp that has a weak tube sent your way is refreshed for $200 with a new high quality tube. I'll pass.
    NQ1B likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cost of NEW 3CPX800A7s is lower, pretty often.

    Same tube, pulse rated, probably hipots at a higher voltage.

    But most of the ceramic-metal tubes require a 2-min warmup. One that didn't was the 3CX1200 series (A7, D7,etc) -- it was instant-on like a 3-500Z but now is so crazy expensive they're just unaffordable.

    I'm not crazy about the 2-min warmup time, it's annoying.

    I have two 6m homebrew amps, one with an 8877 (killer tube) and one with a 4-1000A. Both designs were published in magazines, with articles written by me, in 1985 and 1986. I prefer the 4-1000A mostly for its "instant-on" capability. Band is open, could die in 60 seconds, you want something to use quickly.:)
  9. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Given that the OP likes 3-500Zs, I wonder why he didn't include the Kenwood TL-922 in his original list?

    In my opinion, they are a superbly engineered amp, and very reliable.

    I would also take issue about the Chinese 572Bs . . . in my experience they are just as good as the Cetron versions (and a perfect copy) - and I have always bought them direct from China.

    Roger G3YRO
  10. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have seen a few fires in the Kenwood TL-922. The amp was basically destroyed. Many have arcing ruining the hard to find band switch. My list of recommended HF amps do not have these issues. The Kenwood TL-922 is not recommended.
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

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