Which of these amps would be a good 1st amp?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KF5PAL, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. KA4UDX

    KA4UDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am on my 2nd TS-480SAT ... and I bought a used AL-811 (no longer have it now) and it worked great. I paid just over $300 something for it. You need an external tuner ... I had an MFJ roller inductor one. You make little charts for the settings of both the amp and the antenna tuner. For most of my common bands it all fit on a post it note. Band changes were quick ... you preset the tuner and the amp with your little chart ... and then touch it up by transmiting and tweaking the knobs a bit. The 811 tubes I got were blackened and not putting out full power. On one trip to Orlando I got 3 Svetlana 572b's. Then I got full power. I had to sell all my gear in 2012 due to family problems. I am starting back up again with just the TS-480SAT so far. SO I am also looking for an amp (again.)
  2. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you can get it cheaply enough it's a good deal, but you usually can find a decent working SB-200 in the $300-$450 range, and in my opinion it is a better amp...
  3. NY7N

    NY7N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not that I have a world of experience with amplifiers, but I agree on the SB-200. I've been really happy with my SB-201 so far (same thing, no 10m), and having the assembly manual I know that if anything goes wrong I can puzzle my way through it. It's simple, it tunes up fast and easy, and it puts out 400-500W without breaking a sweat.

    The fact that I got it in perfect working order from a friend for $100 made it that much sweeter. :eek:
  4. KD3NE

    KD3NE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm one of those who could use, maintain and repair an older amp, but I don't want to anymore.

    It used to be fun having to scrounge hamfests and the like for parts to fix older gear, when hamfests were big and all over the place. ( this is in itself a topic worthy of its own thread )

    I'm in the market for an amp, and I'd like it to be one that has parts readily available should the need arise.

    My two considerations, at this point are the Ameritron AL-80B and AL-82.

    I may have to move my shack, if I go with the AL-82 to get it closer to the power service it will need.

    I actually have a 240V outlet on the side of the house for use by welding machines. It's a 50 Amp service so good for any amp.

    Just need to make an extension to reach it, or use the extension I used for my welders.

    EDIT: Major consideration for me ----> Operation on 160 Meters !!!
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  5. K5AMH

    K5AMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A long extension cord will have a high voltage drop at high currents and still be safe to use. The key here is to keep the total resistance of the line wiring to a minimum to reduce the line voltage drop under a given load (10 amps. ?). Number 10 wire has a resistance of 1 milliohm per foot so for example a 50 ft, 10 gauge extension line will have only a 1 volt drop at 10 amps. load (2 x 50 x 10 x 0.001 = 1). Note also that the line voltage only dictates the current requirement, so a 120 VAC system would draw 20 amps and would have 2 Volt drop in the extension line described. This voltage drop is in addition to the voltage drop incurred under the same conditions at the line source. Also note that splices, plugs, switches and circuit breakers all add in their share of voltage drops.
  6. NZ9Y

    NZ9Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm set for amps right now, but I've thought of doing this..... Keep one at my cabin even when unheated in winter. Ok so varying humidity and extreme temperature changes can't be good for and amp, but I'm sick of hauling the thing.

    My tentative plan is to pick up the most beat up pile of an al-811 cheap, make sure it's working fairly well, stuff it with 572s and beat the crap out of it. When it dies, get another like it and after a few times, I should have enough of them up there to part them together for years. I could write "parts only, $100" in silver marker across the top of them so my widow would know what to do with them.

    Or maybe I'll just keep hauling my AL80B back and forth while my back can still do it. I wonder which would be cheaper in the long run?
  7. KD3NE

    KD3NE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why not store it properly at the cabin and keep it there?

    I know gun stores sell these things that you put in cabinets with guns for storage to minimize corrosion damage.

    Surely there has to be some way you could stow the amp in a sealed container with desiccant packs inside to keep humidity down to nothing.

    You might even be able to build a storage case out of so hard foam insulation.
  8. KB5UBI

    KB5UBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    AL-811 3 tube and don't push it would be a great 1st amp. An AL-80B, almost bullet proof and is probably the best bang for the buck.
  9. K5AMH

    K5AMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Must say I agree with the AL-80B choice. The one I just got was very well built and worked out of the box. The newer AL-80Bs have some nice improvements (filament arc protectors, LED meter lamps, etc.), and the unit is very quiet and resilient to operator errors and SWRs around 3:1. I'm getting 700-800 watts CW output on all bands and my audio reports are tops using the (fast) ALC system.
  10. K6LZX

    K6LZX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am considering, due to fiscally necessary compromise, a (new) 962D versatuner III combined with an (also new) AL811H (four tube) amp, driven with an FT897. The power supply for the FT is battery-in-float and the input to the amp would be stable 118 volt either "modified square wave" or, if necessary, sine-wave. (The sine-wave inverters cost quite a bit more...) Anyway the inverter inputs would also be a buffered battery-in-float.

    The station is off-grid/solar, and the powershack is a long enough run that there are substantial line voltage variations - hence the battery-in-float "buffering" and inverters.

    Soliciting salient comments, please. Such as - experience running similar amps on inverter power and...oh, whatever seems appropriate.

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