Which amplifier do I purchase: Ameritron AL 80B or ALS 600

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by VE3BXB, Jan 31, 2011.

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  1. VE3BXB

    VE3BXB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello everyone. I am really having a hard time to decide which HF amplifier to purchase. I am going to buy new. I understand the basic differences of the two amps in question. I know that I am comparing a tube amp to a solid state amp. I also know that there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these amps. If you had to make a decision as to which amp you were going to buy, which one would you choose? The AL 80B or the ALS 600? Please explain why you would choose either one.
    Thanks Bob VE3BXB
    My email address is rbesserer@yahoo.com
     
  2. VE3PP

    VE3PP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you should buy the SB-200 I have for sale ;) JK

    Both of those amps are good amps. I own an AL-80A, in fact this is my second one I have owned. With 35 watts drive it puts out 600 watts and will run that power all day if need be on SSB.

    It is rated for 1000 PEP but that is pushing it to the limit of course. Not a wise idea.

    Now if you want simplicity you buy the ALS-600. No tune, just change bands and go. Of course you know this as you have read the specs etc on both amps.

    I know one thing, the AL-80B with the single 3-500 tube should last you a lifetime if you do not overdrive the amp. It can also tolerate higher SWR's than the ALS-600 can.

    I do like the idea of a no tuner amp and the difference between 600 watts and 900 watts is not noticeable on the other end.

    For RTTY work, I would go with the AL-80B.

    For every day SSB work where you want 500 watts, simple and easy to operate amp then go with the ALS-600. I have heard them on the air. I have heard some guys who say they love them and others who are not 100% happy with them. I have never heard anyone complain about an AL-80A or AL-80B.

    Or look around and see if you can locate a good used amp. I realize that right now there are not many amps for sale in Ontario, but there are a few.

    Again a properly operated AL-80B should last you a lifetime. I know a guy who has had the same set of 3-500 tubes in a SB-220 since the late 70's.

    My preference would be the AL-80B or a good used AL-80A because I like the looks of that model better.

    Oh BTW, the AL-80A is so easy to tune, and I can tune it very quickly too. So changing bands is not that big of a deal. Plus maybe I am old fashioned but I like a tube amp.
     
  3. NO2A

    NO2A Ham Member QRZ Page

    Al 80B

    Hi Bob. I have the AL-80A version,bought it new in the 80`s. Its been great,works on all h.f. bands(includng w.a.r.c.) It`s easy to tune like VE3FMC pointed out. The fan is very quiet,you hardly know it`s on. Mine has the original Eimac tube it came with. I suppose the ALS-600 is fine,but i`m a tube guy. As long as they still make 3-500Z`s I`ll keep buying them. However this amp may outlive me! -Mike.
     
  4. PA5COR

    PA5COR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Heathkit SB-1000, here almost identical to the AL 80A, i would not have another one.
    After a tune up on every band i already know where to set the plate and load for each band, just a quick tune and i'm set.
    New RF parts 3-500ZG tube, it just keeps on working, mostly just 400-600 watts here, enough for me.
    It will outlast me i'm affraid...
     
  5. W0UZR

    W0UZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would take the AL 80 B.
    I guess the main reason is that I don't know how long the shelf life of the solid state is. The AL 80 B I'm pretty sure that it would last you the rest of your life. If you don't drive the bejeepers out of it that is.
     
  6. VE3PP

    VE3PP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    AL-80B 4
    ALS-600 0

    You could also look at the AL-811HX if you want a small desk top amp which will produce 600-700 watts PEP.

    $600 less than the AL-80BX if you are buying new. A friend of mine recently bought that amp and he is happy with his.

    As I said there is not a lot of difference between 600 and 1000 watts on the receiving end.

    You could also look around for the old reliable Heathkit SB-200. Easy to repair and mod. And reliable too.

     
  7. N5YCN

    N5YCN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bob, Get the "Flame-Thrower" AL-80B! You heard the difference between 500w and 1 Kw. Maybe not that big of a difference on your S-Meter but a louder, more solid signal from me to you. The AL-80B is a very forgiving amplifier, darn near bullet proof. Tim
     
  8. W0UZR

    W0UZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes. This is correct. There isn't too much noticable difference between 600 watts and 1000. Maybe the audio comes up some and that's about it. So that's why I run the 811 H, it's easier on the electric bill. But some day I will get the AL 80 B. I have been always a person that likes bigger and beefier things.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  9. VE3PP

    VE3PP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nothing wrong with the AL-811H or it's little brother the AL-811. I have heard a lot of those amps on the air.

    Cheap to retube too.
     
  10. KK7EL

    KK7EL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have had the ALS-600 for 10+ years now and like it a lot, sure is nice to instantly be QRO. Having said that, I have never used a tube amp, but I would imagine an AL-80B and a tuning "cheat sheet" would be good.
     
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