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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Alpha 89 Help


Reviews Summary for Alpha 89
Alpha 89 Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $3995.00
Description: The Ultimate Manually-Tuned Linear Amplifier
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.rkrdesignsllc.com
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WB5IRI Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2015 13:18 Send this review to a friend
15 years and still going!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I posted my first review of this amplifier in 2000, and I am still using it and still love it. Right now I am using it on boatanchor AM, driving it with 12 watts carrier on 75 meters for a full 375-watt carrier. Modulation peaks of 48 watts give 1500-watt peak output. It just loafs along at that level, never complains, and doesn't even get hot after long-winded, "buzzardly" transmissions on 3885. Alpha doesn't advertize "put a brick on the key and walk away" for nothing!

The trick to AM operation is to load the amp to a full 1500-watt output, then back the carrier on the exciter down until you get 375 watts output with no modulation. Then with 100% modulation, you should see 1500-watt peaks, the FCC's definition of legal limit output on AM.

Will it run more? Well, yes, indeed it will. But I think it should last forever at the legal limit, so why break the law, annoy other stations, and risk damaging the tubes for a couple dB?

This amp will run the legal limit on all modes forever -- it is a tank -- unlike many other linears that do fine on SSB but sag and start to fail when you ask them to do something that takes real grunt.

If you see one for sale, grab it. You won't be sorry.
 
W3RSW Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2015 09:19 Send this review to a friend
Very Robust Amplifier, the Epitome of 3cx800a7's utilization  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased my pre-owned ETO/Alpha model 89 as an Alpha reconditioned from Ham Radio Outlet in May, 2013. The Amplifier shipped directly from Alpha came in "as new" condition with new factory boxes for amp. and transformer. A complete Manual and schematic along with tables for my amps specific band settings, power in/out, etc. came with it, even spare fuses and extra cab. screws, etc. Suffice to say, I was very pleased.

Opening it up revealed a P.Dahl. 3.5 KVA transformer (labeled #3 in mine) along with 3cx800a7's with date codes that matched the 1997 amplifier build. The tubes performed up to spec., that is yielded 1.5 KW continuous output but required about 8 to 10 watts more drive per band than my newer set, anticipated for rotation.
The previous owner must have had a lot of fun in continuous contest operation, but these tubes just keep on truckin.' Grid drive never exceeds 30 to 40 ma., --simply phenomenal! I expect specified output to continue with my light usage, given the Eimac reputation. As some might say, it's been decently broken in.

To me, the 89 is just about the finest ETO/Alpha in that cabinet form, a rugged series using 3cx800a7's and incorporating the appropriate WARC bands. The veneer tune and load knobs front back-lit scales, 100 divisions each, computer grade filter capacitors, and extent and the quality of measurement, shutdown and limiting circuits all bespeak 'quality.'

The 89 is one of the last models without a central processor, but populated with TTL /RTL logic and other fairly easily found components. The "light show" is vintage Alpha, everything measured and shown virtually instantaneously. For a more "sedate" and average or peaking output, I use an LP-100A which agrees with the Alpha and really tells the story.

The build date of my 89 pretty much satisfies the wringing-out of the T/R diode problems others have experienced. I've had no problems (other that oiling the somewhat slow aux. rear fan) in my two years of ownership. As others have mentioned, the quietness of the fan and blower is astounding.

If you find an 89 for a reasonable price, you won't go wrong. There's a lot of info on the net for best operating practices, common repairs if required over many years, and what few modifications one might want to consider.
 
W5UDX Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2013 17:17 Send this review to a friend
The best  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had several amp over the years from a Cliperton L, Heath kit 220, Kenwood 922, Ameritron 80b, Ameritron 1500, Emtron dx3, Commander Mag 2500, and now using the Alpha 89 and through the years of playing audio on HF, I have to say the Alpha 89 is the best amp for playing audio. It has to be one of the best if not the best for low IMD out there. There is no bias circuit to clutter up the audio like most of the new amps out there. True, the tubes are not cheap to replace but they will prob last me a lifetime at 1500 watts out on ssb. The other nice thing about this 89 is the noise of the blower vs others I have owned. This amp is so quiet it's a pleasure to operate in a room where every little noise is picked through to minimize over the air background noise. The 89 uses pin diodes for keying the amp so there is zero noise from a relay. Just a complete pleasure to operate this amp from my station and hope to use for many years to come.
 
NA1A Rating: 5/5 Oct 13, 2013 20:43 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had several amps through the years including some Alphas. The 89 is top on my list. Brute power, quiet, very predictable and stable amp.
Highly recommended.
 
NK0F Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2013 08:37 Send this review to a friend
Used ALPHA  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased a used ALPHA 89. When it was delivered and I opened the box, I thought "They made a mistake and sent me a brand new one". No, it only looked like a new one inside and out. What a wonderful surprise.
 
F5OZF Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2013 02:32 Send this review to a friend
It's rock !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought 2nd hand this amplifier 3 years ago. I do not regret my purchase. It is really a rock, the quality of Eimac tubes has nothing common with the Russian tubes. I make SSB, CW, RTTY with more power than necessaries.If I exchange I remain faithful to the brand sure
 
NS9X Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2013 14:20 Send this review to a friend
A Cannon!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 2 Kenwood rigs, a TS-870 and a TS-950. I use the 870 about 98% of the time chasing CW DX. If I get impatient trying to put a station in the log, I fire up the 950 which is coupled to an Alpha 89. With this combination, that station is usually logged on the first attempt. What a Cannon! It's a fabulous piece of equipment.
 
K5YZS Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2013 07:33 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice Amp, but start up had problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the Alpha 89 since 1992. Initial problems were that the transformer box was opened in front of witnesses and it had a gouge in the side of the insulation material, BUT the shipping box was undamaged. It took several months (under the 4 year warranty and my filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau) get them to air freight a new transformer to me. Their original proposal for a fix was for me to put some silicone over the gouge. I wont repeat here what I said to my self. Then after a return to the factory for receive PIN diodes failure(possible lightning) and transmit PIN diodes upgrade to more robust parts that worked OK. At this same return to Alpha, I said that the amp would at times blow the 20 amps AC mains fuses that was diagnosed with a replacement set of 3CX800's I got from RF Parts when they were cheap. I told Alpha that I didnt want the original set of EIMAC 3CX800's, but they did nothing. The working amp gets a 5.
Alpha service at that time gets a 1.

73 Jim retired engineer k5yzs
 
K3USC Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2013 15:38 Send this review to a friend
Best I've owned in 50 years !  Time owned: more than 12 months
Like most of my gear I bought my 89 used with a spare pair of finals tossed into the deal ! I've been licensed since 1962 and this is my first Alpha but certainly not my first amp. I've had everything from a homebrew pair of 813's, Dentron Clipperton L, Kenwood TL-922, Henry 3K Premier, Ameritron AL-80B & AL-1500 , Icom PW-1, Heathkits SB-200, 220 & 1000 and probably a couple I forgot. Believe me this Alpha is the BEST- quiet, easy to tune, built like a tank and forgiving of the occasional operator error. More expensive than some-sure BUT you get what you pay for and great resale too.
2 thumbs up !
 
K3AC Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2013 12:31 Send this review to a friend
Excellent amp, never a problem  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned an Alpha 89 for about 10 years, using it mainly on 80/75M ragchewing, mostly on SSB. Also used it on 40-10M when conditions require more power. It never gave me any problems, and if I screwed up on the tuning or not having the correct switch settings, it would fault and then could be re-set. Never required any factory repairs. Very easy to set up to, since the heavy transformer was removable. Sadly I sold it when I moved to a condo, but if you have a chance to get one in good shape, buy it! You won't be sorry. It's an amp you can pass down to your offspring.
 
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