There seems to be a void in the mobile amplifier market.
Ameritron ALS 500m seeems to be the only offering in the mobile market right now.
Not a void -- just the reality of the radio amateur consumer market. Amateur radio has never been a "cheap" hobby or consumer/appliance oriented,
BUT the capabilities and skills for DIY by the new amateur are far less than 40 years ago.
The Tokyo Hy-Power, SGC 500 Cube etc. are either discontinued or ridiculously priced.
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ... was a terrible loss of life and the resulting Fukushima nuclear disaster crippled Japan's electrical power generation.
This forced relocation of Japanese companies and residents in the Fukushima Prefecture as a result of a radioactive zone.
You may have noticed Yaesu prices on antenna rotators almost doubling in price since March 2011 ...
some of their production facilties and sub-contractors were in the Fukushima Prefecturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Prefecture
Yaesu operations and production had to be moved to other areas in Eastern Asia (Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China).
In addition, since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the major global currencies (except Swiss Franc) have dropped versus Japanese Yen.
Just for price comparisons, I emailed a CB amp trader and asked about costs.
His offering was a unit (yes - a dirty illegal one) with 4 2SC2879 transistors for $ 389. Ameritrons amp is $ 800 +.
APPLES and ORANGES.
Common comment from new radio amateurs and former CB operators .... for past decade ...
comparing a cheap car with NO transmission (one gear/speed) to a Chevy with a 5-speed transmission.
CB amplifiers are designed for ONE band (27 MHz).. to further reduce costs then they omit the Output Flitering that removes
the undesirable (dirty) harmonics of the primary (desired) frequency. Many are a Heat sink, case and the RF transistors on a PCB.
You would NEVER build an automobile like this ... but that does not stop Texas Star, Dave Made, RM Italy, etc. selling at a price point.Marketed like diet pills with meaningless slang terms to an anti-science/anti-technology audience: Swing, MoPower
The COST for amateur radio mobile HF amplifiers ($$) is largely associated with cleaning up the IMD of 12 VDC RF devices and
building the 6 to 8 band filtering (and its switching -- manual or electronic/manual) for reqeusted freqency agility and flexibility (market demand).
The RF power transistor manufacturers (Japan, US, Europe) have moved to 24/28 V (aviation/military); 50 V (telecom/broadcast)
and ~100V solid-state devices. The days of the 12 V RF Power device peaked in 1980s, and have a limited market today.Little new development is being performed at the 12 DC power input level for HF frequencies.
Surely a mobile amplifier can be designed type accepted for less than $800.
Does adequate filtering and design really add $ 400 more to the cost of an amp?
Maybe if someone could design a clean amp for $ 500-600. there would be less incentive for people to resort to buying dirty CB amps.
SHOW ME THE MONEY.
YES, IF the Mobile Amplifier was for one amateur band .... it solution is easier ....
but the product has a limited usefulness (daily/seasonal/solar cycle band changes) when the chosen HF band is not useful for communications.Additionally, even if you built an single band amplifier for the longer wavelength bands (80,40, 20) .....
the antenna has to be electrically longer .. which is a challenge (adding cost) for mobile operations.
The COST is due to the consumer's (radio amateur) desire to operate everywhere on HF ... that Flexibility and Agility
(QSY) has a price.
Except for the US military ... those requirements do not exist for any other commercial customer.
Your local AM/FM/TV broadcast owner/operator can optimze their station/operations (transmitter, antennas, towers) since they are on ONE frequency.
Like Gravity, Radio/RF (Electromagnetic Waves) follows the Laws of Physics.You can not be in denial of Nature's "Rules of the Game"