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Author Topic: Best Inexpensive Amplifier  (Read 8538 times)
WA8UEG
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Posts: 335




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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 04:46:47 PM »

That's Ok, Heck I'm 63 and have already finished my list to send up north.
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KW6LA
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 07:29:50 PM »

Ameritron AL-80B is the best bang for the buck out there. A dollar a watt is considered cheap !
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KB5UBI
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 07:49:48 PM »

I hate it when you introduce facts into the discussion.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2012, 02:45:42 AM »

Dont forget the venerable Drake L4B.

You can beef it up very easily. Just change the power supply capacitors and change the blower for an external big blower. If you want QRO just build a new external power supply. I would not bother.  It will do a 1kw  for 48 hours  with ham duty cycle. Just add 2 big muffin fans on the top of the cabinet and away you go.

The L4B is built like  a tank compared to the TL922 which is a flaky amplifier without upgrades, the parts are all marginal in the TL922. The Drakes RF deck is airy compared to the swiss watch engineering and cramming on the TL922. Lots of space to do things on the L4B's deck.

You can even put the L4B temporarily on 160 meters by just padding the load temporarily and using the 80 meter position. I have seen other hams use 2 X  3cx1200s in a L4B, this was done when 3cx1200's were cheap. This is an exercise in stupidity of course.

I will take a L4B over a  SB220 or TL922 any day. The only problem is the prices that the L4B is fetching is getting ridiculous.  I have a L4B deck on every ham band, all nine bands with a switch matrix. I dont need a solid state amp!

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N3QVB
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Posts: 81




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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2012, 04:03:15 AM »

Ameritron ALS-600 if you want a solid state amp.  It puts out up to 600 watts for $1600 (new).  If you don't want solid state then I agree that the AL-80B is the way to go.
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K4RVN
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Posts: 758




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« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2012, 07:21:01 AM »

The cheapest to buy new is an AL 811 for a tube amp . It has three 811A tubes. I have had one 3.5 years now still on the same tubes, no problems since new. Used they are less than 700 bucks depending on age. Some are around 450 to 500. Tubes are not expensive for this amp. I run about 450 to 500 watts most of the time. It would do more but that is pushing the tubes too hard for the claimed 600 watts out.
Still I agree that the most bang for the buck would be an AL 80B. It uses a single 3-500 tube and I run my older A model around 850 watts, sometimes more at times depending on frequency.  The Tube running at this power level lasts many years for me.
Unless you want to do or have done some repairs lay off the old 30 and 40 year old amps  in favor of one just a few years old or a new one is my advice to you. Also lay off the solid state amps until you gain more experience with antennas and operating skills. Good luck to you, and enjoy amateur radio.

Frank
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W8JX
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Posts: 5438




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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2012, 09:41:15 AM »

There is nothing wrong with old Heathkit SB200's. They still bring top dollar today and easy to repair and modify today. Better built than a 811 amp too. Using just two 572's they can make 600 watts+ pretty easy and for a very long time.
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KA5N
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Posts: 4380




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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2012, 10:01:23 AM »

An amp helps you to be heard.  A better antenna helps you to be heard AND helps you
hear them better as well.  So get the best antenna you can and then go for the amp.
You might be surprised that you don't need it.

Allen KA5N
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 898




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« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2012, 10:21:18 AM »

I just completely rebuilt a SB-220 from the ground up. Added QSK vacuum relays, full WARC coverage, and 160 meters... also vernier tuning for the plate tuning cap. All of the Harbach mods, EXCEPT the nichrome suppressor nonsense. Project ran close to 500 bucks, but the end result was well worth it. Its paired with my Omni VI and Paragon II.

Pete
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W6UV
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Posts: 536




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« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2012, 02:41:54 PM »

An amp helps you to be heard.  A better antenna helps you to be heard AND helps you
hear them better as well.  So get the best antenna you can and then go for the amp.
You might be surprised that you don't need it.

That is generally true, but not universally true. Take the case where you have a very low noise floor and the guy you're working has a high noise floor. An amp really helps in this case because although you might hear him very well with your low noise floor, he might not be able to hear you at all with his high floor. An amp can get your signal up above his noise floor.
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K4RVN
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Posts: 758




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« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2012, 03:38:52 PM »

John and Pete, keep in mind this young man is 10 years old. I have worked on amps before but would not suggest a 10 year old bright young man buy a 40 year old amp.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion however and mine is to go ahead and buy a newer amp
to gain experience with amps. I forgot to mention to make sure the amp would provide the warc band coverage. Also 200 Heathkits are OK if the builder did a good job, but it is a crapshoot when you buy one especially at 10 years old  for your first amp. Amp components wear out, change values, etc. as you know I'm sure. Also I would caution to use an interface between the solid state rig and some  old amps so as not to  perhaps see some smoke in the transceiver.
Congrats on the rebuild Pete, I have thought of rebuilding a 220 myself. I'm just too lazy
and my AL 80 does a great job even after 24 years this month from HRO.

Frank
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:50:04 PM by K4RVN » Logged
VK5DO
Member

Posts: 79




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« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2012, 07:50:46 PM »

......... also vernier tuning for the plate tuning cap.

Where'd you get the vernier and what one.  That's the most annoying thing about my 200.  It needs a vernier.

Ta.

Dene

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W8JI
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Posts: 9304


WWW

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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2012, 05:15:06 AM »

An amp helps you to be heard.  A better antenna helps you to be heard AND helps you
hear them better as well.  So get the best antenna you can and then go for the amp.
You might be surprised that you don't need it.

Allen KA5N

That statement is much too general to be accurate.
 
Receiving is all about the ratio of noise level to the level of desired signal, which is caused entirely by antenna pattern characteristics.

Transmitting is all about effective radiated power in a desired direction without regard to pattern.

The cheapest way to improve performance on lower bands, once you have a good basic antenna like a vertical or dipole,  is with an amplifier and a cheap receiving antenna.

73 Tom
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N6GND
Member

Posts: 331




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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2012, 11:06:37 PM »


Receiving is all about the ratio of noise level to the level of desired signal, which is caused entirely by antenna pattern characteristics.

Transmitting is all about effective radiated power in a desired direction without regard to pattern.

The cheapest way to improve performance on lower bands, once you have a good basic antenna like a vertical or dipole,  is with an amplifier and a cheap receiving antenna.

73 Tom


That's so well-put! And that's pretty much how I've come to think about my simple gear and my basic antennas and how they perform in my limited space in my urban environment.
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K4RVN
Member

Posts: 758




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« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2012, 07:08:30 AM »

How is a cheap receiving antenna defined? Just curious as I use the same antenna that I transmit on, but always willing to learn. I would still suggest an AL80B as first choice if money is available or an 811 Ameritron if budget is tight for a ten year old's first amp.

Also are you only speaking of 160 and 80 when you reference the lower bands? These
posts kinda remind me of the group of engineers that were asked to submit a design for a super horse. The result looked like a camel. Each has an opinion based on personal experience.

Frank
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 07:21:41 AM by K4RVN » Logged
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