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Author Topic: Best Inexpensive Amplifier  (Read 9760 times)
K3STX
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Posts: 1081




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« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2012, 07:46:00 AM »

A cheap receiving antenna for the low bands (160 and 80) would be a Beverage or a Pennant. They consist of wire, a single resistor, and a transformer. My Pennant (held up by tree limbs) BLOWS AWAY my inverted L on 160 and 80. Of course, if they cannot hear you that is a problem. That is why I spent $$$ for an AL-811 and love it.

paul
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KB5UBI
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2012, 08:14:38 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

Well stated.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2012, 09:07:59 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 think it always pays to have multiple antennas for any band if possible.  Receiving is all about signal to noise ratio, and not at all about signal strength.  Transmitting antennas will often provide wonderful signal strength, but "other" antennas may provide a better S/N, which is all that matters.

When there are high atmospheric noise levels I sometimes find I can copy a station better on 20 meters with 50' of hookup wire tossed out the window than I can with my beam at sixty feet.  S1 vs. S9+, but also S0 noise level vs. S9 noise level.  Obviously, "engineered" receiving antennas can be much better than random hookup wire. Wink
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KE6EE
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Posts: 458




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« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2012, 09:19:45 AM »

How is a cheap receiving antenna defined?

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.


For me a cheap receiving antenna is something I made which works well for me for less than about $100 in materials. This compared to an expensive antenna which is something mostly purchased which requires a tower and a rotator or preamplifiers and remote controls and multiple feedlines. It includes small loop antennas of various designs.

I include 40 in the lower bands. Using my dipole or vertical for receiving on 40 there's a high urban  noise floor (S6-7).

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K4RVN
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Posts: 812




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« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2012, 08:22:17 PM »

Thanks for all the explanations. I am moving to the antennas. I need to have one of these beverage  receiving antennas.

Frank
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2012, 12:17:41 PM »

Quote
Hello I am looking for an inexpensive HF amplifier that will put out 350-1500 watts.

I just want to say that if you go used, I
like the Ameritron AL-80A. It has been a workhorse
for me, and made it to 5R8 and back just fine.
It doesn't have soft start or some of the other
features of the AL80B, and it is bigger and
heavier than the 80B, but still a great amp
that can be found used at good prices.

Good luck with your purchase!
73, Ken AD6KA
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KT0DD
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Posts: 284




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« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2012, 11:58:38 AM »

Keep in mind the cost / quality of replacment tubes. I've decided on an Ameritron AL-80B with the 3-500ZG tube. Glass envelope tubes are mostly all made in China today, and the quality is much more questionable than when Eimac and Amperex made them. The 3-500ZG seems to have the best QC of the chinese tubes and even so, there have been higher reports of failure of new Chinese 3-500's than the Eimac / Amperex lines. Too bad Eimac / Amperex don't still make them.

W8JI has a good report on tubes on his website. He is not impressed with the 572B and the chinese ones seem like crap in the Eham reviews. Ameritron sells a 3-500ZG for around $30 less than a matched quad set of 572B's. 811A's from China are questionable as well.

Ceramic tubes are for the rich as they are extremely expensive to replace.

I figure 700-800 watts is plenty. Doubling that to 1500 watts only gains you about 3db and unless you're a big gun with a high gain antenna to take advantage of that measly extra 3db, it's not really worth it in my book to pay several thousands of dollars more.

Transistor amps are nice and convenient, but unless you are quite a technician, changing output transistors is a major chore and the amp usually has to be sent in for repair. I can change a tube myself, and a larger tube amp usually has enough room inside for me to do some repairs myself. Also, a tube amp will tolerate more abuse and higher SWR incidents which would french fry transistors in a solid state amp.

I agree with the posters on here that the AL-80B is the best bang for the buck amp, if you want one to keep for a long time and don't have the money to burn buying, trying and selling amps.

73, Todd - KT0DD
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9927




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« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2012, 12:29:52 PM »

I also agree the ameritron 811 or 811H is your cheepest way to go,  used sometimes for  $500 used. any one out there who has one for sale Cheap??.  Also an als 600 is a very convienent  solid state 600 watt amp thats easy to use. and my favorite amp is my very expensive alpha 87a which is a very nice amp which has everything automatic about it and it follows you around like a puppy, but is very very expensive.

I do agree with most of the folks, put your $$$ into a good antenna first, even a homebrew wire antenna or such, ask around in your local clubs if some one has a small beam or vertical you could have for free or cheap, and an antenna improvement works both on transmit and recieve.  good luck my friend and have fun,
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NO2A
Member

Posts: 846




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« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2012, 01:57:26 PM »

Quote
Hello I am looking for an inexpensive HF amplifier that will put out 350-1500 watts.

I just want to say that if you go used, I
like the Ameritron AL-80A. It has been a workhorse
for me, and made it to 5R8 and back just fine.
It doesn't have soft start or some of the other
features of the AL80B, and it is bigger and
heavier than the 80B, but still a great amp
that can be found used at good prices.

Good luck with your purchase!
73, Ken AD6KA

My AL-80A has factory installed soft start. I think there were 3 different versions of that amp. Is that right,Tom?
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VE3FMC
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Posts: 1006


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« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2012, 03:23:55 AM »

My AL-80A has the factory installed soft start, and so did the other one that I owned and sold before I bought this one.

I paid roughly $700 for mine, bought it from a guy I know who looked after an estate sale for the widow of a SK that he had known.

Good solid amp, easy to tune. You can run it on 110 V, that is how I am currently running mine. It will cruise along at 600-700 watts all day. I will run 220 into the shack this winter and change the amp over.

In between my AL-80A's I owned a mint SB-200 that had new tubes, and the Harbach mods. It was a good amp. Again easy to tune, and can be run off 110 volts. I'd be willing to be that this young ham has his shack in his bedroom, so running 220 V may not be possible. I also agree with the statement that you never know about the build quality of an old SB-200. But if the amp has made it this far in life you have to figure someone did the job right!

A friend of mine owns the ALS-600 and loves that little amp. He likes the no tune feature. He drives it so he has about 500 watts out and it works just fine for him.

AL-811's, another good amp for 110 V. As long as MFJ built it properly.

Christmas is coming, get your wish list wrote out and hand it to your parents! Grin
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KC4MOP
Member

Posts: 768




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« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2012, 04:25:51 AM »

Well in today's environment and higher prices, it would be difficult to buy a cheap receiving antenna. Unless all components were home brewed.
The K9AY loops, Flags and Magnetic loop receiving antennas usually run near $250.00 or more.
I did not mind buying the Pixel mag receiving loop antenna. I can rotate it and null out any noise or unwanted station pretty well. And the magnetic loop design automatically reduces the ELECTRICAL noise in the RF signal. Remember what we use to communicate with....electromagnetic waves!!!!
Now a beverage antenna is one of the simplest. You need hundreds of feet of space to achieve something effective, and a terminating resistor.....
But I think at this point we have been addressing ourselves, and have talked way over the head of the new Ham OP. The AL80A would be a nice Christmas present down the road..........but start off with a good antenna. A Dipole is very easy and effective. As long as you can get it on your property and as high as you can go. 30-40 feet high is a beginning.
No room for a long dipole than a vertical is better. Many Hams very happy with the multiband offerings.  Butternut seems to have a nice track record in the vertical antenna world.
Fred
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