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Author Topic: Any DX-ers Out There Have a KPA-500?  (Read 3880 times)
KY6R
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« on: November 05, 2012, 06:01:39 PM »

The reviews are great and I have no desire to run full legal limit. I have been using an Ameritron AL-811H for the past couple of years and its been fine, but I would love to have automatic band switching and solid state. Also lower profile would be nicer in the shack.

Plus - Elecraft is only 1 hour away.
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NU1O
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 07:54:30 PM »

When I was in the market for a new amplifier last summer I gave the KPA-500 some serious thought since I love my K3 (I did not own my P3 at the time but that's an excellent Elecraft product as well).  The KPA-500 seemed expensive for the output power and I already had a kW amplifier with my Heathkit SB-1000 and I did not want to go backwards in power.  I ultimately selected the Alpha 8410. No other linear amplifier company has a four year warranty (it is extra to extend the one year tube coverage) and the parts and customer service are simply the best. There are occasionally bargains to be had but normally you get what you pay for.

Even though you may live near the plant I don't think you can always expect to just drop off a product in need of repair and quickly pick it up if that's what you mean by being close to the plant.

Finally, at the present time I still prefer tube amplifiers.

In summary, I still think your AL-811H is still the better buy.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 08:01:58 PM by NU1O » Logged
KY6R
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 08:07:33 PM »

The entire K Line is awesome - but thanks for your input - that makes sense.
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W5RDW
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 08:11:37 PM »

I have had a KPA500 for over a year. No problems at all with it.

Just got a brand new Acom 1500. It is even better (a few more watts!). Probably will retire the KPA500 once I put the Acom thru its paces.
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Roger White W5RDW
Murphy, TX
Ham since 1961
NU1O
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 08:18:05 PM »

I have had a KPA500 for over a year. No problems at all with it.

Just got a brand new Acom 1500. It is even better (a few more watts!). Probably will retire the KPA500 once I put the Acom thru its paces.

Perhaps you and Rich could work out a deal once you switch to the Acom 1500. 

I'm very impressed by Acom as well as the Expert amps made in Italy but when my warranty is up in less than 3 years I think I will just upgrade to a newer Alpha. When it comes to amps I really feel there are Alphas and everything else is just in a different league.



73,

Chris/NU1O
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KH6DC
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 11:55:30 PM »

I sold my Tokyo Hy-Power HL1.2KFx 750w solid state amplifier for the KPA500 even though the THP was 750w vs the KPA500 500w PEP output.  The reasons being,
Lower input drive, 30-40w vs 75-90 with the THP
Smaller Footprint
Quieter fan
full auto band switching and 100% complete integration with my K3.  The THP was manual switch and sometimes I would even forget to switch bands.  Was considering an ACOM or Alpha because I do miss the glow and warmth of vacuum tubes.
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
K3TN
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 02:59:44 AM »

I've been using a KPA500 for over a year now, great amp. You pay a premium for it, over other 500w transistorized amps but for me the integration with the K3 has been worth it. Also takes up less room on the desk and if you ever want to travel with it, the lower weight is a huge benefit.

The only thing I don't like is the LED power and SWR scales - I much prefer the cross needle style meters of the AL-600 the KPA500 replaced. But the size decrease balanced that negative.

73 John K3TN
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John K3TN
KY6R
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 03:18:16 AM »

Thanks John and Delwyn,

Your thoughts both mirror what I have been thinking. I will probably keep the AL-811H - and use it with my "backup station", which is a Kenwood TS-590S.

This way if I really need 750 watts I could turn on the TS-590S station - and if 500 watts (or less) is all that is needed, then I can use the "K-Line".

At one time I had a Ten Tec Titan III. Very nice amp - but I sold it for three reasons:

1) Was going to be discontinued
2) Price of tubes went through the roof
3) I caused a really crazy neighbor to come running nervously into my backyard telling me I was interfering with his stereo system. In no way did I want to go try to put snap on ferrite beads on all of his cables in his stereo system - because with that guy - the only way to fix the problem was simply turn the power down.

That worked like a charm - I haven't had a complaint since I dropped the power down to 700 - 800 watts.
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AD9DX
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 04:56:09 AM »

I have a friend who has the entire K-line. It is really sweet to watch all of those pieces working together. If I had an Elecraft K3 I would probably go with the KPA500 otherwise, I would go with another solidly constructed amp in the power range you want. For the price, I would think there are a lot of other options out there that would work just as well.

The main drawback with the Elecraft is the price per watt.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
AD9DX
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 05:19:22 AM »


The only thing I don't like is the LED power and SWR scales - I much prefer the cross needle style meters of the AL-600 the KPA500 replaced. But the size decrease balanced that negative.

73 John K3TN

Even the Alpha 9500 uses the LED power and SWR scales.  I think the idea of them is great, but in practice, they suck.  I remember seeing the 9500 at Dayton.  The LEDs did not even look like they all lined up.  It kind of made me sick.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
KE8G
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 05:47:40 AM »

Personally, I think that anyone who owns a K3, should buy the KPA500!  It integrates so well with the radio, it's a no brainer. 

I NEVER have to worry now about over driving the amp, I never have to worry about the radio being on one band and the amp on another.  All pieces of equipment play very well together.

The last thing to get is the KAT500, auto-tuner to make the complete picture.

I also own a 811H, which does a very good job.  The watt/dollar ratio is much better with the 811H, but for overall ease of use, the KPA500 wins hands down every time.
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W5RDW
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 06:00:11 AM »

.....

I NEVER have to worry now about over driving the amp, I never have to worry about the radio being on one band and the amp on another.  All pieces of equipment play very well together.


I agree! This is the feature I really like....no controls to fiddle with except the on/off knob.

HOWEVER, it is nice having the Acom I just got on line last night. I could barley hear 8Q7EJ on CW LP this morning on 20M. I gave him a few calls using the Acom and got him!
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Roger White W5RDW
Murphy, TX
Ham since 1961
KE8G
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Posts: 151




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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 06:38:46 AM »

Just got a brand new Acom 1500. It is even better (a few more watts!). Probably will retire the KPA500 once I put the Acom thru its paces.
[/quote]

If you decide to get rid of the KPA500, let me know.  I can think of a good home for it!!
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NU1O
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 07:49:11 AM »

Personally, I think that anyone who owns a K3, should buy the KPA500!  It integrates so well with the radio, it's a no brainer.  


Aside from the fact it integrates well I can think of several very good reasons why a K3 owner would not want a KPA500.  If one is a serious DXer or is into contesting they generally want to squeeze out every last fraction of a decibel.  In that case the KPA500 just doesn't cut it at 500 Watts.  Were I to have bought a KPA500 I'd be almost 5 db down from my legal limit amplifier and that is a lot.

If Rich did not have a crazy neighbor I have a feeling he would be looking for a legal limit amplifier since he has done just about everything he can with antennas to squeeze out every last decibel and he previously owned a legal limit amplifier but had to stop using it due to the RFI problems.

As somebody else mentioned the KPA500 is very expensive when measured by $ per watt.  Also, many hams still prefer tubes for their power amplifiers.

You are entitled to your opinion but it is very broad opinion and the choice is not as simple as you make it out to be.  I do not think the fact it integrates well is sufficient to claim every K3 owner should add a KPA500.  I have just illustrated several valid reasons as to why a K3 owner would not want to add the KPA500.

Somebody commented on the LED meters on the Alpha. I like the look. I own an Alpha 8410 and my LEDs are all in a straight line.  I've replaced just about my whole station in the 2 years I've been back on the air but the final product I want to add is a very good Wattmeter.  I don't like the Bird 43 due to the small meter face and the need to switch slugs when there are big changes in power so I will probably go with an N8LP or Array Solutions Powermaster.  I currently have a Daiwa CN-801 and both my Palstar Dummy Load and the Palstar AT5K Transmatch have power meters included. They all read pretty much the same, but I would like to add a digital meter which is very accurate.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 08:11:16 AM by NU1O » Logged
W5RDW
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Posts: 251




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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2012, 08:04:04 AM »

If you decide to get rid of the KPA500, let me know.  I can think of a good home for it!!

OK!

I know I will miss the instant "Ready To Call" feature of a solid state amp. Occasionally, some DX stations wilt real fast once their whereabouts  are shown on the cluster! The warm up period of the Acom seems to be hours! And I have only used it less than a day!

I'll keep the KPA500 for a short time, but undoubtedly will sell it on down the line.
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Roger White W5RDW
Murphy, TX
Ham since 1961
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