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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. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have the linear supply and it works very well. Some have stated problems with the SPS for the ALS-600.
    When you consider the space the power supply and amplifier occupy then the AL-80B is a good choice for a tube amplifier.
    There are somethings that a tube amplifier can do a SS unit usually can't. The tube amplifier can kill you. If you have to work inside it then make very certain you follow all the high voltage safety rules. Your life may depend on it.
    Now, the linear power supply used on the ALS-600 uses a choke input that helps regulate the voltage as well as filter the AC component. This is actually a very old design dating back to the 1920's perhaps earlier. It works very well and is easy to repair if anything ever goes wrong with it.
    The SPS is more complex and some folks do not want to even think about repairing it when they fail. They really aren't that hard but the component count is quite a bit higher than the linear supply. To me that equates to a greater likelihood of something failing.
    The linear supply also gives you another switch to play with. It switches between normal and RTTY operations. With the SPS you have to do that yourself with the drive power from the rig. Not that hard really but hey, it's another switch:rolleyes:!
    Hope this helps
    73
    Gary
     
  2. KF5PAL

    KF5PAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am really torn between these 2 (ALS-600 & AL-80B). A newer ALS-600 can also be tucked away and used with a very small remote unit, which could be handy on my tiny desktop. Handy enogh to drop from 1Kw TO 600W, I don't know. Some folks recommend the ARB-704 interface. Would this be required and/or beneficial for the ALS-600 or AL-80B? Current rig is a Kenwood TS-480SAT.
     
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    No, not at all.
     
  4. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Linear supplies also are very good at surviving the unexpected...
    Like the voltage spike generated when a field winding opens up on the XYL's vacuum or that roommate using your blender to make natcho sauce and found out the motor wasn't rated for that service and your test equipment got spiked HARD.
     
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The big fat 60 Hz transformer is a good transient slower-downer.
     
  6. KF5PAL

    KF5PAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alright then, slightly narrowed down to the ALS-600 w/ Linear supply and the AL-80B. I usually use "new design" equipment exclusively. The "Bleeding Edge" you could say. My nature pulls me to the SS amp...Then I pause and think back to the greatest audio amp I ever owned...a McIntosh MC-275 Mk V. Decisions, decisions...how I hate this one.
     
  7. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That and that big choke input filter.....
    But I don't see a switching supply being able to take very many of those hits.
    MOVs are sacrificial devices, the clip spikes for only a given number of times....
    When there is nothing left to do the job they are just as good as not being there, because they are open...

    They should put those MOVs on screw terminals and suggest they be replaced yearly, or at least every other year.
     
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Neither one is leading edge. The ALS-600 has been around for many years and uses transistors developed decades ago.

    But they're very different technologies, both of which are perfectly valid.

    If cost is an issue, I think the AL-80B has a lower "cost of ownership" than the ALS-600 does.

    If cost isn't an issue, I wouldn't be looking at either of these.:p
     
  9. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Having the capacity to remote the amplifier can be a plus when done correctly. The ARI-500 is needed to be able to accomplish this and there are some different wiring needs for a TS-480. They are fully documented in the ARI-500 manual.
    The use of an ARB-704 with a 480 is a waste of money. It's not necessary.
    If a more up to date unit is what you want and the cost is constrained to the range of the ALS-600 then it's a good choice. If you have the same power range but much more resource(money) then the KPA-500 is very good. There are some offered by Tokyo High Power that are very good. Stay away from RM Italy. Their specifications are beyond silly. Kenwood does not presently manufacture an amateur amplifier for HF. ICOM has some as does Yaesu.
    For the buck the Ameritron's are hard to beat. For units that'll auto-tune there are the Alpha amplifiers. Every one of these suggested units are much more expensive then any of the Ameritrons you have mentioned.
    I like the 600. It is good, stable, low noise (some folks don't think it is) and quick band changing.
    The problem will be that after the purchase you'll start to second guess your decision. It would be great if you could try both amplifiers in the environment they will be operated in. Push comes to shove more power out is a plus if you're finished with the antenna system.
    Have fun
    73
    Gary
     
  10. KF5PAL

    KF5PAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, after some additional reading, I question if the ALS-600 would be happy with my Hexbeam for 20-10 and my 4-BTV for 40 w/o an external tuner (read added costs). That being said, I tune up and down the bands like crazy and change bands often(read lots of retuning). This (in my opinion) is how I have managed to do as well as I have with what I have. All that searching increases my chances of being "in the right place at the right time". I worry that having to reune a tube amp, especially within the band, will get tiresome fast. What I REALLY want I cannot afford, so I have to live within my means. Which leads me to this one additional question: An AL-80B vs a lowly AL-811 w/ 572Bs. (The 572s used for better "noob-proofing", not output) Is the AL-80B still the better value?
     
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