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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ten-Tec Centaur Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Centaur
Ten-Tec Centaur Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $749
Description: Full QSK 600W HF linear amplifier
Product is in production.
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KC2HTV Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2008 19:18 Send this review to a friend
Top Shelf  Time owned: more than 12 months
Running for 1 year now completely stock with an FT-1000MP driving it... Averages 600 plus on 220vac and around 450 on 120vac... Love the mini hurricane they call a fan... Absolutely the best $400.00 I have spent in sometime... After 2 Ameritrons I finally have an amp that is damn near bullet proof with a very mellow audio... I just became a Ten Tec fan... Just need an Omni C to drive it for effect but will probably end up with an old rig first to get the feel of their operation... 811's are inexpensive and have a very sweet audio... Highly recommend it if you can find one...
WA3OFR Rating: 4/5 Sep 15, 2007 17:52 Send this review to a friend
Expected more...maybe its just me?!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm a die hard TT fan, so when it came to boosting my Omni V, it was the Centaur or Centurion...(QSK or bust)..any other amp would be heresy!! After reading the reviews, settled on the Centaur for value ($600), power (110V) and modest tube cost. Mine was "mint" - but 811's blew up after the 10'th worries, I'd read the 572B's were the way to go anyway! Retubed ($170) and expected to be "loafing at 600W" like every other reviewer in eHam...but I struggle to get above 400W (using external meter). After a few months a cap on the plate board popped so off to TT for a "tune up". They replaced the caps, coils, tightened some loose connections and sent a data report that >500W achieved on all bands. ($215) They suspected a parasitic osc. is what took out the caps..and suggested that this amp prefers an 8' (or so) cable on the input. Hmmm.. c'mon TT... sounds like its conditionally stable ..not what I would have expected. Its still fussy - can barely get above 400W (even into a dummy load). After running 100W for 38 years ...400W is a big help, but mine isn't loafing like the others! The fan is annoying as advertise...especially pulling weak CW sigs out.. I will have to mod to top mounted muffin fans or slow it down otherwise I'll have a notch in my hearing!! I'd probably rate it a 3, but it got me BS7H before it exploded, and thats what I bought it to do, so I'll cut it a little slack!
N7WR Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2005 18:56 Send this review to a friend
XLNT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Haven't owned it long but I was fortunate to buy one in absolutely mint condition. Inside and out it looks like it just left the factory. Not a scratch on it. Has been re-tubed with 572B's. Easy 600 watts as promised. I do not find the fan noise objectionable. In fact, the way I have it placed on the operating desk I really don't hear it any more than I hear the occasional fan noise on the IC 706 MKII G. Nice size and adequate output for an amp that will run on 110 vac and loaf at 500 watts peaking, in some cases, at about 700.
KR3DX Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2005 19:23 Send this review to a friend
BOMB PROOF  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this amp 3 weeks ago from a local ham friend. A few years ago, one of the tubes shorted. I took a look at the amp for him, the primary line fuses were blown. I replaced the shorted tube and the fuses, the amp worked just fine, NO other damage. How many other amps could survive a flashover with nothing more than blown line fuses? (The tube was probably gassy, I don't know since I wasn't the op, hi) This is the tiger tank of small tube type amps. Big, beefy transformer. Buttery smooth vernier tuning. I have installed 3 Svetlana 572B tubes to replace the non-matched 811A tubes. I like the fan, maximum cooling is the way to go, in my opinion. I have run it several times on AM rag-chews, it gets warm, not hot. All of the components seem to be of good quality, and the construction and design are typical Ten-Tec excellence. Full QSK for CW ops too. I agree, it's a pity that tube availability problems caused Ten-Tec to stop making this amp, but they had no other choice. I think there is a market for a solid state amp in the 600 watt class, using FETs at 50V, that isn't Made From Junk! Less than $1500 with Ten-Tec quality would make it irresistable. Hey, down there in Sevierville, how about it? A solid state version of the Centaur would be a big seller. This is a GREAT amp, if you find one on the used market, get it!

73, Denny
K3CN Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2004 16:12 Send this review to a friend
Super Amp!!!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this fine amp for 2 years now and it performs great. As I run 110v, I usually limit power out to 500 Watts to improve tube life. I find that with the sun spot cycle as it is now this is a critical addition to the shack for working in bad band conditions. The amp tunes up easily and runs flawlessly for hours at a time during contests. It is a pleasure to use and I don't have a problem with fan noise as others have experienced. With QSK and great quality in construction this one fits my needs perfectly.
N7RST Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2003 13:49 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my amp for some time now. At 500-600 watts output, I find I can work anything that I want as compared to my 1KW amplifier. I don't think I have ever missed a contact, 160-10.

Very cleanly layed out unit, small foot print. Fan is a bit louder, but it cools which to me is more important.

I have 811's in mine and a set of matched Taylor 572's for the day I need to replace the 811's. So far, haven't had a glitch!

WD9CMD Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2003 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp-Noisy Fan  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased this amp to give my Omni V a little more punch on SSB during poor band conditions. It certainly fills the bill...after...1)Replacing/slowing down a very loud fan, and 2)Replacing the 811a's with 572b's.

This rig was obviously designed for a low competitive price point when TT designed it, as such, they used low cost 811's. These tubes are not rugged enough to run 600w out. To be successfull with them, you will need to keep the drive down to 75-80w and keep output around 450-500w. It will then likely survive you. With the 572b's the rig will reach its potential and long survive its owner. Mine loafs along at 600w using 220 supply. It can do more, but I elect not to push the components past this level.

As to the fan, TT placed a very high capacity fan in the rig to keep the underdesigned 811's cooler. So, if you want to get rid of the fan noise, you should strongly thing about switching to the 572b's. The TT service is unique in todays world. That alone gives my rating a boost.

I'm now running chinese 572b's with good success. If you can pick one of these up under $500, grab it!!
VE7NI Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2003 09:57 Send this review to a friend
Lucky to have one!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought one which was in great condition. I replaced the 811A tubes with 572B's and rewired for 240V operation. (I found that the pilot lights dimmed and 500W output was about all it would produce when wired for 120V; very little light dimming and easy 500W output when wired for 240V.)
The QSK operation is superb as I have an Omni 6+ transceiver to drive the Centaur amplifier. Easy to tune, looks great on the desk. The fan IS noisy but it faces away from my operating position. Lots of "room to spare" running 572B tubes and I'm looking forward to years of fine use with this amplifier!
PA0FRI Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2003 19:03 Send this review to a friend
Reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is unwise to obtain 600W output using the 811As and exceding the ratings of the tubes. You have to pay attention during tuning up and reduce the level of a speech processor. I have seen holes burned through 811A plates. Fit three 572Bs and the amp will survive its owner. The 572Bs can tolerate much more abuse and output power. The transformer is a very hefty 1kW type so I added an extra tuned input circuit. The output power is increased to 750-800W.
The noisy fan is replaced with a 70.000h 28VDC Papst fan of the same size and slowed to whisper quiet with internal 14VDC. With a thermal relay and a voltage quadrupler the fan automatically switch to 28VDC.
KQ4KK Rating: 4/5 Jul 2, 2003 13:34 Send this review to a friend
A Good amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one for 3 years. Worked good. Blown fuses were the only problem. The 811 replacement issue made me sell it. Noisy fan!
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