I too was in much the same place a few weeks ago, and I went with the low cost option: AL-80B. Because I too needed to upgrade to a legal limit tuner and needed a dummy load and a couple other doodads.
Originally Posted by KC9TNH
I guess that when I look at the production numbers for most of these SS amps, I worry about overall build quality and future service - maybe not with the MFJ products - they seem to support stuff well, and their two SS amps are actually using the same RF deck from the looks of it. The 1200 watt unit uses two of them. But it seems like the speed at which the RF devices turnover makes long term production of any one device questionable - I suppose if we use the same units as used in commercial broadcast we stand a chance, but I bet those plug-in modules do not have matching components since they go into combiners that don't CARE.
OTOH, how long has the 3-500Z been in production? And it's sold enough that it is likely to be available for at least another 10 years or more.
And when I say that, I make NO judgement on the operational qualities and relative simpler operation that these high-end amps offer the owner. And I acknowldge that for the bucks one spends on say the Icom or Yaesu amps you get a lot of electronic protection standard.
All of this said, I'd love to see ARRL take something like the Alpha 9500 [or whatever their top line amp is now] and compare it head to head against the best of the high power SS amps. Particularly in the robustness issue - I think in amateur use, the ability of the amplifier to tolerate accidential abuse is pretty important. Perhaps throw in the AL-80 and maybe the AL-1500  amp in there as well - it would be interesting.
I'm pretty sure at some point, the SS amps will take over the market, but it's going to be a while yet - I think tubes in the lower price category will stay with us until the bitter end.
Lastly, in this windy nothing: I too would like to hear about actual operating experience with modern SS amps. What problems have you had? How well has the MFG responded to any problems you have had. Would you buy that product again if buying over?
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