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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-82 Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-82
Ameritron AL-82 Reviews: 50 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $2100.00
Description: 1.5 KW Output Linear Amplifier w/ 2 3-500 Tubes on 240V for US
Product is in production.
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W1AEX Rating: 5/5 Jun 18, 2013 12:54 Send this review to a friend
Most bang for your buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I picked up a third-hand fuse blower from e-bay 2 years ago as a "project" amp. The outside cabinet looked brand new but the date on the inside indicated it was roughly 10 years old.

After looking it over it was obvious that the bleeder string had opened and as a result the filter caps failed. The nice thing about this amp is that it's very easy to work on and since it's still in production, all the parts are available direct from Ameritron. I picked up the filter caps from Mouser because they had CDE 500vdc versions that made me more comfortable than the 450 vdc versions Ameritron uses. So... for 130 bucks I ordered all new filter caps, bleeder resistors, meter shunt resistors, and a replacement for the step-start power resistor. It took about an hour to repair and it was up and running.

I've used it heavily after fixing it and it has never complained on any band. It's a very capable workhorse that handles continuous duty modes without flinching. I use mine in AM linear service frequently and it easily handles 200 - 300 watts of carrier output with plenty of headroom for peaks. Mine has Chinese RF Parts tubes of undetermined age and they have behaved fine while easily producing full legal limit on any band. The forced air from the bottom, through the socket, and out the chimneys keeps the tubes happy. The big Peter Dahl plate transformer (same design in current production but made by a third party) is up to the task and the power supply sits at just under 3800 VDC while idling and drops to about 3600 under full load.

This is a well designed and trouble-free amp that can handle any mode at full legal limit. Replacement 3-500's are still reasonably priced and they should last a very long time if used regularly and within their specs.
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2013 10:48 Send this review to a friend
Still working great  Time owned: months
Remarks: After six months of daily use from 80 to 10M, I still say is a work horse although I want to share a small defect experience I had last weekend that I am sure will help some of you if you happen to have the same problem.
I was using it on 40M with little over a KW output without any problem but then decided to switch it to 20M knowing the band was opened already.Then when tried to tune it there was no power output with no dip neither on the final current when moving the PLATE capacitor,the tubes were tking current, there was 3500V on plate, grid current was taken as well, checked the swr the radio was seeing at the input tuned circuit and it was just 1.2 nevertheless no PO still, when switching to other bands like 15, 17 and 10M no power out neither, I started to be concerned of having to ship it to Ameritron for warranty repair but taking in count how heavy this amp is it would cost me over hundred bucks so I decided then to open it up and see If I could fix it.
After removing the many screws the cover have, found it was just a mechanical problem very easy to fix.
The rotation of the TUNE knob was not transmited to the variable capacitor shaft because the metal coupling between the two shafts was lose (Bad quality control?) and it was just a matter of fasten the two little allen screws in the coupling after aligning the knowb at zero with the cap at its maximun capacitance (all the way in), then cover it up, reinstalled all screws and tested. 1500W output in all bands from 160 to 10M with 80W input,fixed !! weather be quality control or not it don't matter, its easy to fix and it will save you some extra money that you surely can use to spend in other radio accesories.I am still a happy user.

HR2TBD Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2012 16:15 Send this review to a friend
5/5  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I actually have a Kenwood TL922A but a friend of mine asked me to help him out replacing a band selector switch broken on a Ameritron AL 82 so we replaced the switch and try this Horse at home
And comparing it to the 922 there is a difference
From US to China talking about power I excite my Kenwood TL922 with 110 watts out of my Kenwood TS850 and got 800 watts on CW I excited the Ameritron with 50 watts on the Kenwood TS 850 and
Got 1500 Watts on CW then talking in SSB exciting the Ameritron AL 82 with 110 Watts I got 2KW PEP
This is a great amplifier in my opinion, it has enough space to work inside and have a huge Power Supply 3800 Volts in stand by. You can hardly hear the fan, the meters are very bright, my only complaint is that if you want to open it you have to remove a real bunch of screws.
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2012 13:10 Send this review to a friend
A work horse  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I was searching for a new amp that be around maximun legal power read all reviews and specs of all over 1KW amps from Ameritron and put my eyes over the AL-1500 and the AL-1200 but when checked the prices of respective ceramic tubes on each one at RF Parts webside were so high my mind changed. So taking in count that a pair of 3-500ZG when needed to be replaced is going to be less than four hundred bucks, I decided to purchase this AL- 82, I have always trusted glass tubes for high power more than ceramic ones, its my opinion that they are more rugedized, maybe I am wrong but that is the way I feel.
Then the amp arrived from HRO in just 2 days and took a day off from work to receive the package and put it together. The process of mounting the Hypersil big transformer became little rough because the lack of proper extender to install the two nuts in the back against the metal wall, not having that tool made me having to use my hands and cut my skin but after all bleeding was not big deal considering the excitement of puting this big amp together and later on making it to work. Funny part is that the same thing the manual says not to let any hardware to fall within the chimmeys is what happened to me, darn! after have mounted tubes and everythng, I had to remove one of them and turn the whole amp down to let that socket come down,well finally amp was ready, plug it on my new 240V line that I had to run for it and let it firing tubes for a whole hour as I always do with new tubes.
Tuning it over a 2KW dummy load was smooth and easy.This amp is very efficient.With just 50W input from my K3 I see 1KW on the meter, with 80W I read 1500W and if open the K3 at maximum power that is 110W I see 1800W at the meter, WOW! I said, this amp will kick hard.
The difference of having maximun legal power today in crowded and noisy bands is day and night. Most of the time considering I have just dipoles as antennas its mission impossible to contact weak stations from Africa and Europe, after I have this amp for a month now, I have been able to work 25 new countries on 40 and 20M.
Without a doubt the performance of this work horse is not less than 65 to 70% .
The tubes work little warm, the cooling with the blower is excellent. My only complain in this amp is the loud noise the blower makes that is present behind my transmitted audio but I already ordered a noise gate box from W2IHY to fix that.
I recomend truly this amp to any one who wants a reliable powerful amp for less than $2400.
XE3ROQ Rating: 3/5 Aug 9, 2012 20:33 Send this review to a friend
No satisfied  Time owned: more than 12 months
When i bought operated ok, the amp is almost new almost one and half year, some day when i turned on, blow the fuses, after check all the capacitor are bad.
K0WA Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2011 11:42 Send this review to a friend
Sleeper Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my AL-82 used. The amp is a workhorse. It has not given me one lick of problems since I put it on the shack table. I like the 3-500s which do not cost an arm and a leg to buy. The output is great on all bands and the tuning is smooth on all bands. I run SSB, CW (main mode) and RTTY and it works and works and works. This amp is a great value and is a sleeper in the amp market.
N3TU Rating: 4/5 Oct 29, 2011 19:06 Send this review to a friend
Update Experience On New Amp  Time owned: months
On my previous post, I gave it a 5 and still have the amp about a month. Well, the small band switch knob fell off the front and could not find a allen wrench small enough. (I only use the amp on the weekends.) I didn't feel like running around to different places and look for one. So I went to the shelf and uncovered an old CB TRAM D201 tube set with nice big silver knob that you could use a small screw driver to tighten it to the shaft. Well, low and behold it actually looked better than the one the factory put on this new amp and matched the silver knobs that were on the plate and load. I even put a little red arrow on it like the other ones that came with the amp. The knob I used was bigger with a nice grip on the edges. Ameritron should take note of this and put on a bigger knob for a better feel. Now for 10 meter operation after I did the mod. Well, the tuning is real narrow especially if you have the antenna tuned to the band. It is touchy up on 10 meters. If I go up from 28.300 to 28.400 I have to tweak the plate and load to get the max out of the watt meter. Even with these minor problems, I still like the amp and works very well and getting good reports. 12 watts in will give me 400 out and 55 watts in will give me 1500 out unlike my Drake L4B which I had to drive it with 100 watts with new to get 1100 out and it also had two 3-500z's. I am having fun with this amp.
W6NFL Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2011 20:15 Send this review to a friend
Couldnt be Happier  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I love this amp. I like the idea of a pair of 3-500z over the single tube versions. 1500 watts and the 3-500z's are loafing..Plus tubes are relatively cheap. Amp has great cooling with its pressurized floor which forces air up through the tube's chimneys.
K2OWR Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2011 11:42 Send this review to a friend
KISS  Time owned: months
Keep It Simple Stupid....I have used LOTS of amplifiers thru the years, working them as hard as you can in serious contest duty. I can tell you from experience, the real expensive ones (name begins and ends with an A) will consistently let you down in a contest because some stupid $3 diode in the "protection" circuitry will fail. Who cares if if it's cheap to fix if you're in the middle of a contest and it quits....and they all do it!
The AL82 just keeps on pumping out the watts, contest after contest. I know how to tune and monitor an amplifier. Save your money and buy this one, and simply read the manual carefully!
N5VU Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2011 17:40 Send this review to a friend
Very Good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Okie dokie, if you look past my condition of an ampaholic, I hope you can see the real me. (That didn't make any sense at all. Too much RF I suppose.) My wife calls me an amplifier slut. Always trying a different amplifier. Well, I have found my soul mate in amplifiers.

What more could a person want. A reasonably price amplifier with reasonably priced tubes. Real tubes for real RF. Yep, the Ameritron AL-82. Over the years I have had Heathikit, Henry, Dentron, Yaesu, Ten Tec, more Heathkkit, various Ameritrons and others I'm sure I'm forgetting about.

Oh yeah, about the AL-82. It makes everything the book states that it will. Using 240 VAC, the power supply will deliver 3600 volts unloaded and the advertised 3300 volts under load. With 100 watts of drive, the Ip is 800 ma. Right where it should be for the 3-500Z. Ig behaves very well at about 240 ma. Above all, please keep in mide the limitations on a 3-500Z. Stay within those parameters and you will have an amplifier that lasts a long time.

The 3-500Z max Ep is 4000VDC, max. Ip of 400ma and and max Ig of 130 ma. For two tubes, with 4Kv and .8A you would get 3200 watts input. or about 2KW output. At 3300 VDC & 800 ma Ip, you get 2640 input and about 1700 watts output. So, with the AL82 this equates at about 85% of maximum on a pair of 3-500Z. Easy as she goes!

I did not find any loose nuts, bolts or screws. All was well with it when it arrived in three boxes. The RF deck in one box, the transformer in another and then the tubes in the third. Straight from HRO Deleware. Thanks guys!

The design is pretty straight forward, the bulk of the amplifier is built in direct support of the tubes. (Imagine that.) the left half is home to the power transformer, rectifiers (Full wave bridge) and filter caps. and the front right half home to the tank circuit and the back right quarter is the home of the two tubes (with chimmineys) and the blower.
The blower comes from the factory at medium speed. Fairly quite and ample air flow.

Front panel arrangement is easy to follow. The PLATE tuning is printed with the old familar Heathkit hash marks for bands. The load is numbered.

The left meter is a multimeter. HV, Ip, PO & ALC. The right meter is a dedicated Ig meter. As always, mind your grid currents for a clean signal.

Of course it has a very tight band switch. Good positive contact with each clunk.
It has 32 screws. After so much excitement of putting it together, 32 screws and all, I realize that I forgot to make the 10 meter modification. Crap! That will just have to wait for another day. At least before the ARRL 10 meter contest.

I went and visited both MFJ and Ameritron this summer. Even met Martin. And of course, Richard. The people are extremly nice there. Yes, sometimes they make mistakes. Consider this, they have a whole lot more going out the door than they did being returned. They make a LOT of stuff. AND! They ship overseas as well. Something you don't hear much about anymore. MADE IN THE USA.

I have been a ham since I was 16. I'm now 52 today. Ameritron has very good products. This is my 5th Ameritron. I have just been constantly upgrading to where I wanted to be. If you want to email me, send it to n5vu at yahoo dot com.
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