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Author Topic: Any DX-ers Out There Have a KPA-500?  (Read 4509 times)
KY6R
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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2012, 08:09:47 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.  


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.


Absolutely. There is more to the story. I was very careful to look for a house in 2006 that had no CC&R's, HOA's or covenants against antennas. I also made sure there weren't any weird psycho town ordinances. When that crazy neighbor called the Town Engineers office to complain about my antenna, the engineer came to my house and left his card on my door.

I called the Town engineer and I mentioned everything I knew about the law and that my antennas were perfectly clear and free of any restrictions. I also sited a landmark case where a previous ham was sued but ultimately won to have his tower put up on his hilltop QTH.

Then I asked, so what is the issue - and the Town engineer said, none Mr. Holoch - you are perfectly legal.

Everything has been very quiet since 2006 or so, so I let sleeping dogs lie and try not to raise any eyebrows. Luckily, my neighborhood is heavily wooded and I even planted redwoods that now block the view from that same crazy neighbor. Those redwoods are already 18' tall - and right next to a creek bed down below my house and antenna.

One thing I do know - I MUST have a really good 1:1 choke at the feedpoint of any antenna - and I do.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 08:16:52 AM by KY6R » Logged
AJ8MH
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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2012, 10:46:22 AM »

I've been running a KPA-500 for a little over a month, and so far it's doing its job.  I assembled it myself and didn't have any issues with assembly.  It interfaces nicely with my FT-950 and MFJ-998 auto tuner.

The one issue I did have was resolved quickly.  The amp would follow the FT-950 band change, but the feature to switch from operate to standby, after a band change, didn't work.  Elecraft did find an issue with the software ( on a weekend! ) and sent me a new release in an email.

This is my first amp after 50 years in this game.  Yes, it's pricey, but my DX totals are to the level where competition for a rare new one is extreme and every little bit helps.  1.5KW would be better, but 500 watts seems to be a step up.

I thought a long time about the purchase and my final decision was base on Elecraft's reputation for engineering and customer service.

Too bad I can't rig these things up in series... Wink
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K9NW
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2012, 05:51:35 PM »

Purely anecdotal:  NH8S had four KPA-500s that ran continuously for 10 days with nary a hiccup.  That left enough of an impression that all of these amps were subsequently purchased by some of the ops.

One can examine their own goals and aspirations to decide if they want/need more watts from their home station.  But the K3/KPA-500 combo sure makes for a highly effective station for DXpeditioning....and you can fit it all in a Pelican case and still make the airline weight limit!
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W6GX
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2012, 10:46:42 PM »

At one point there was a rumor of a KPA800.  Will Elecraft offer a 1kw or 1.5kw model?  500w is great for a dxpedition but a bit short for effective dx'ing.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KY6R
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2012, 04:00:20 AM »

At one point there was a rumor of a KPA800.  Will Elecraft offer a 1kw or 1.5kw model?  500w is great for a dxpedition but a bit short for effective dx'ing.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

I've been running the AL-811H most of the time at 500 watts - maybe 600 watts. My antenna was an A3S, which (looking at the "Array of Light" book says that my A3S barely has any real forward gain - once you consider trap loss and very "compromise" element spacing.

Now - adding 7 dBd on 17 and 12 and 4 dBd on 20, 15 and 10M will easily make up for whatever I lack in power out from an amplifier.

But here is where putting the work in the antenna instead of the amplifier makes the most important difference:

The take off angle drops by almost 5 degrees for me on all paths - and from 17 - 10M and for the last ATNO's I need to get to HR #1. These are critical angles lower than 11 degrees - between 6 and 11 will open up a whole new layer of 10,000 mile DX where I was barely readable before.

Your QTH and full legal power and Skyhawk will still do better than what I have - if I remember right, you are on top of a hill with a high tower and a great antenna. For me - I will do a lot better than I did before - but you will most likely work the DX before I do - and you won't have to call nearly as much as I will in the pileups.

I'm Ok with that because now I know I will not only get Honor Roll - I will get #1 Honor Roll for sure (as long as I keep trying to squeeze 2 dBd more out of my antenna system each year).

My next antenna project will be a 3 element Bruce Array on 40M - which will give me 4.1 dBd over my vertical that has 64 buried radials and some loss.

On 160M I am a total piker - my K9AY loops are great for RX, but my 45' top hatted vertical is only about 50% efficient. On 80M I probably have just under 1 dBd loss. Otherwise - I will have increased my antenna performance by at least 4 dBd on all bands - except 30M - not sure where that stands.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 04:12:25 AM by KY6R » Logged
AF3Y
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« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2012, 06:38:40 AM »

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.

75-90w To feed the HL1.2Kfx?  To generate 500w?  Sounds like to me that something is not quite right. I have a THP HL2.5Kfx and it takes around 35-50w input to get 1200-1500 out.  I understand these are two different amps, but your 1.2Kfx sure does not seem very efficient. I had the HL1.5Kfx and upgraded to the 2.5Kfx. No problems with either. Full automatic band switching, etc.
And...... (ever wonder why the 2.5Kfx has the 2.5K name? hi
(a little in reserve is always nice Cool)

73, Gene AF3Y
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W6GX
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« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2012, 07:27:09 AM »

Does anyone know what the KPA500 will do with a max. input drive?  I'm curious to see the linearly of the amp. past the rated 500w.  Good SS amps. are conservatively rated and they have a lot of 'headroom' at the rated power.  Thus splatter and IMD are minimized.  This is a very important factor when selecting a SS amp.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W6GX
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2012, 09:35:16 AM »

Here's a review of the amp. by AD5X.  It says it will do more than 500w but it doesn't say by how much.

The RF autosense band change is a nice feature.

http://www.ad5x.com/images/Presentations/KPA500%20Review.pdf

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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IK0OZD
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2012, 09:50:58 AM »

sorry

« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 10:49:13 AM by IK0OZD » Logged
NU1O
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Posts: 2762




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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 08:01:26 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.  


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.


Absolutely. There is more to the story. I was very careful to look for a house in 2006 that had no CC&R's, HOA's or covenants against antennas. I also made sure there weren't any weird psycho town ordinances. When that crazy neighbor called the Town Engineers office to complain about my antenna, the engineer came to my house and left his card on my door.

I called the Town engineer and I mentioned everything I knew about the law and that my antennas were perfectly clear and free of any restrictions. I also sited a landmark case where a previous ham was sued but ultimately won to have his tower put up on his hilltop QTH.

Then I asked, so what is the issue - and the Town engineer said, none Mr. Holoch - you are perfectly legal.

Everything has been very quiet since 2006 or so, so I let sleeping dogs lie and try not to raise any eyebrows. Luckily, my neighborhood is heavily wooded and I even planted redwoods that now block the view from that same crazy neighbor. Those redwoods are already 18' tall - and right next to a creek bed down below my house and antenna.

One thing I do know - I MUST have a really good 1:1 choke at the feedpoint of any antenna - and I do.

Dear Rich,

I was going to send you a private Email about this matter about a month or so ago but I procrastinated and debated whether it should be sent to you privately or publicly since you made the offer in public.

I do want you to know I did seriously contemplate joining you as a co-pilot for the Auckland and Campbell expedition so your time spent writing the Email explaining the duties of a pilot or co-pilot was not wasted.

I decided not to become a co-pilot for two reasons:

Firstly, I have only been back on the air for about two years and I simply am not as familiar with propagation and general ham software as you are.  Were I to join you I would want to be an equal partner and not have to depend on you for propagation charts if some hams in my area asked me for a chart.

Secondly, as this case illustrates you are generally less confrontational than I am.  If I had a crazy neighbor complaining about RFI I would not have been so quick to retreat and avoid confrontation as you were.  My natural reaction would be to hold my ground.

When you told me in the Email the pilots would get a lot of demanding requests - no doubt many angry ones as the expedition nears the end and many still do not have ZL9HR in their logbook - and the proper response is to smile and write a nice reply. I just do not see that personality trait as being one that is compatible with my psyche.  Although I feel I am as dedicated and devoted to the interests of the hobby as you are, the last thing I want to do is get into an argument with somebody and embarrass the whole team.

The aforementioned reasons are why I ultimately decided against becoming a co-pilot.  I am also certain you can do the job for the whole country by yourself even though it might be preferable to have a pilot for each coast.

Good luck.  You are doing a wonderful job and I know you are having a lot of fun!

Sincerely,

Chris/NU1O
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KY6R
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2012, 08:28:52 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.  


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.


Absolutely. There is more to the story. I was very careful to look for a house in 2006 that had no CC&R's, HOA's or covenants against antennas. I also made sure there weren't any weird psycho town ordinances. When that crazy neighbor called the Town Engineers office to complain about my antenna, the engineer came to my house and left his card on my door.

I called the Town engineer and I mentioned everything I knew about the law and that my antennas were perfectly clear and free of any restrictions. I also sited a landmark case where a previous ham was sued but ultimately won to have his tower put up on his hilltop QTH.

Then I asked, so what is the issue - and the Town engineer said, none Mr. Holoch - you are perfectly legal.

Everything has been very quiet since 2006 or so, so I let sleeping dogs lie and try not to raise any eyebrows. Luckily, my neighborhood is heavily wooded and I even planted redwoods that now block the view from that same crazy neighbor. Those redwoods are already 18' tall - and right next to a creek bed down below my house and antenna.

One thing I do know - I MUST have a really good 1:1 choke at the feedpoint of any antenna - and I do.

Dear Rich,

I was going to send you a private Email about this matter about a month or so ago but I procrastinated and debated whether it should be sent to you privately or publicly since you made the offer in public.

I do want you to know I did seriously contemplate joining you as a co-pilot for the Auckland and Campbell expedition so your time spent writing the Email explaining the duties of a pilot or co-pilot was not wasted.

I decided not to become a co-pilot for two reasons:

Firstly, I have only been back on the air for about two years and I simply am not as familiar with propagation and general ham software as you are.  Were I to join you I would want to be an equal partner and not have to depend on you for propagation charts if some hams in my area asked me for a chart.

Secondly, as this case illustrates you are generally less confrontational than I am.  If I had a crazy neighbor complaining about RFI I would not have been so quick to retreat and avoid confrontation as you were.  My natural reaction would be to hold my ground.

When you told me in the Email the pilots would get a lot of demanding requests - no doubt many angry ones as the expedition nears the end and many still do not have ZL9HR in their logbook - and the proper response is to smile and write a nice reply. I just do not see that personality trait as being one that is compatible with my psyche.  Although I feel I am as dedicated and devoted to the interests of the hobby as you are, the last thing I want to do is get into an argument with somebody and embarrass the whole team.

The aforementioned reasons are why I ultimately decided against becoming a co-pilot.  I am also certain you can do the job for the whole country by yourself even though it might be preferable to have a pilot for each coast.

Good luck.  You are doing a wonderful job and I know you are having a lot of fun!

Sincerely,

Chris/NU1O

Thanks Chris. I appreciate your candid response, and its a really good discussion to share in this forum.

Since I graduated from University of PA at Lock Haven in 1981 I have worked in roles where I get shot at from all sides - mostly as a Database Administrator. I have been caught squarely in between Management and Developers - all who come knocking when systems run slow - or GASP - when something like what is going on with LOTW happens.

Then, for 7 years, I was my kids (both boys) soccer coach. WOW - I had parents mostly praise me - but a few fathers who literally screamed at me because I didn't put their little darling in the position that they thought they should have been in.

My way of dealing with the "noise" - is to communicate and try to offer something of value up front. I take the "kill them with kindness" approach. This is what I have done with the propagation charts posted on

http://ky6r.wordpress.com/

for ZL9HR.

The best part is that before I went ahead and did that - I made sure the team and especially Dave - K3EL know what my intentions were, and he and I agreed on my approach, and that it added value to the DX-pedition.

I did this for two reasons - one was to call out the black out periods because I knew that hams in NA would start asking why no low bands once things get heated up, and also - so I can respond to a support call / email and try to help everyone get their ATNO. I am ready to try to help a little pistol in Kennebuncport Maine with his dipole up 20' and 100 watts try to get his first ATNO. And yes - I may have to recommend they do something better antenna wise, or even go drive to their nearby club station and ask to use a station when that little pistol can't even hear the DX.

I'm hoping by being a DX elmer I make more friends than enemies. . . . . . and if some area is being underserved and needs special attention - I will make sure to let the team know.

I am so close to Honor Roll now that frankly, I know I will earn it by Heard Island - 2014, so I don't stress on it, and also - I can already feel how making Honor Roll will be as anti-climactic as say 8BDXCC is now. My binder of ATNO cards will always be way more "coveted" than any award. Every one of those has a story that I still remember after all these years.

Propagation and antenna futzing will outlive any award for me - and the learning is what will keep me fascinated and active in the hobby. I'm hoping being a pilot won't be brutal - because ZL9HR is the first time as a pilot for me. Clipperton and Heard follow that.

I offered one organizer to be a pilot for future DX-peditions and his response was "Why would you want to subject yourself to that?". I guess I will find out soon  . . . .  Grin
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 08:37:34 AM by KY6R » Logged
NU1O
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2012, 10:42:26 AM »



Then, for 7 years, I was my kids (both boys) soccer coach. WOW - I had parents mostly praise me - but a few fathers who literally screamed at me because I didn't put their little darling in the position that they thought they should have been in.


I really loved playing baseball and I still closely follow my Red Sox.  My brother and I would play from sunrise to sunset with the neighborhood kids and I always played on a team since I was about 5.  I had some wonderful coaches, one of whom was a customer at an uncle's "Gentleman's Club", and we became good friends when I was an adult.  He did not recognize me at first but I immediately went back to calling him "Coach" and I know he liked it.  We spent many a night watching the go-go dancers, drinking cocktails, and talking about baseball.  I was glad I got to become friends with him as an adult as he was my favorite coach.

I had often mentioned to him that I'd love to coach and he told me some of the same stories you had to deal with.  He spent a lot of his own money on the team which I did not know.  We had a $10 or $20 fee per player back in the late 60's and early 70's to join the league and he personally paid that for the players whose families couldn't or wouldn't pay it.  There were also ice cream treats after a big win and although my father and a few other dads chipped in or picked up the tab on occasion many of the parents did not even go to the games which was a real shame. There were also baseballs and broken bats which needed to be replaced.  Since this was a Catholic Church league they expected the coach to handle the financing w/o any help from the Church.  That left "Coach" with many of the bills but the kids never heard him complain once.  He was actually so happy coaching one would think he was being paid. He was a truck driver so he certainly wasn't loaded with money.

Well, with back problems going on 10 years and getting worse in the past few years it is a moot point since I would not be able to throw batting practice or hit groundball after groundball to the infielders and flyballs to the outfielders as he did.

We did not have the stringent rules they now do which limit how often a kid can pitch or that everybody must play in a game.  I pitched most every game and pitched during practice and those not good enough to make the starting team sat on the bench.  Sometimes my arm would feel like it was falling off but I never once complained and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!

I'm glad you got to experience that, Rich.  Despite the few angry parents I'm sure it was very rewarding.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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EI2GLB
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2012, 06:44:45 PM »

I'm a bit confused, your QRZ bio says you have a K3 and a KPA500

yet you are asking here should you buy one Huh?

have I missed something

Trevor
EI2GLB
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KY6R
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2012, 07:17:07 PM »

I'm a bit confused, your QRZ bio says you have a K3 and a KPA500

yet you are asking here should you buy one Huh?

have I missed something

Trevor
EI2GLB

I just put my order in for one. I read all of the responses and made my decision.

Next will be the P3 - but not right away.
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EI2GLB
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« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2012, 08:37:47 PM »

Best of luck with the new amp Rich, hope to work you some day,

73

Trevor
EI2GLB
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