Which amp would you prefer?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by N8FVJ, Nov 11, 2019.

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  1. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rebuilt Heathkit SB-220 with Peter Dahl heavy duty transformer, new capacitor bank, soft start and healthy tubes- makes an easy 1200 watts PEP out with 100 watts in for $850. Or, modified AL-811 with new Cetron 572B, 2000 volt vs 1800 volts capacitors, soft start and load capacitor increased from 500 to 1100 volts stopping any arc-overs that can occur on this amp- makes 800 watts PEP out with 65 watts in for $700.

    The Heathkit SB-220 is 45 years old, the AL-811 is about 5 years old.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd choose the SB-220; however the AL-811 covers 160m and the 220 does not, and modifying one to add 160m is a pretty big project.

    So, if I wanted an amp for 160m, the AL-811 would likely be a better choice.
    WA7PRC likes this.
  3. VE2GCE

    VE2GCE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would go with the SB-220. It will last another 45 years easily.
    I do not think I can say the same for the AL-811.
    K9ASE likes this.
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Think of the choice in terms of automobiles:

    The SB-220 is a Cadillac and the AL-811 is a Yugo!

    Glen, K9STH
    W1BR, KN4CTD, K0UO and 2 others like this.
  5. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is what I am thinking. A Peter Dahl C core transformer in the SB-220 making 1.5 amps CCS on the HV is a brute. Two 3-500Z at 1.5KW is an easy load. I know 1500 watts out needs more drive than 100 watts, but my TS-950SD produces 150 watts or more than enough for full legal output.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anything with a 8877 is a excellent choice.

    A good antenna rates higher than a amplifier.
  7. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    8877 tube itself costs more than either amp.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Pretty much.

    Although the new Greenstone 8877s have a very good reputation and are $845/each, new with warranty: https://www.radiodan.com/Henry/misc/tubes.htm

    Not "too bad," although still almost 4x the price of a 3-500ZG (or twice the price of a pair of them).
    KA9JLM likes this.
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It only cost a little more to go first class. ;)

    Less wear and tear on the driver radio too.
  10. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    It works the bands I do and has some grunt.
    K9ASE likes this.

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