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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-1500 Help


Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-1500
Ameritron AL-1500 Reviews: 70 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $2845
Description: 3CX1500/8877 Tube Type Linear Amplifier
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.ameritron.com/products.php?prodid=AL-1500
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KE4AMQ Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2016 15:56 Send this review to a friend
the best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned every amp known to man from homebrews to alphas the ameritron al1500 is the best amp I every owned mine has the pd transformer and it is a tank it will outlast me for sure and legal limit is loafing.. run 1500 watts all day everyday don't miss a lick. the number one plus is you could call ameritron and speak with a tech...buy a alpha and open your wallet I had the 77sx and the dx and you couldn't give me one
 
N8WGM Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2015 18:05 Send this review to a friend
I'm an ampaholic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned quite a number of amplifiers. Ameritron (AL82, . AL1200, AL1500) , Dentron (Clipperton L) , Heathkit (SB220) and Alpha (76PA) and a few others.

I just got a new to me Ameritron AL1500.....the second one I've owned. The first one I had got hit by lightning and was totaled by the insurance company quite a number of years ago. So I went to Dentron and got a Clipperton L and pocketed the difference. While the Clipperton L was a great amp, I really did like my original AL1500.

So I found one local as I hate the idea of shipping amps as Fedex and UPS have in the past destroyed amps I either bought or sold.

The AL1500 is no Alpha....and that is OK as it is still being made and supported. Plus the 8877 tubes are still being used and made by Eimac and by Chinese manufacturers. The Chinese tubes are as good as the Eimacs I'm told by those who have used them. Plus they are about half the cost of new Eimacs.

The AL1500 I got had a few problems. The start up timer was off by about a minute. The 3cx1500a7 requires a 3 minute warm up to prevent tube damage. That was an easy fix with a 330 ohm resistor instead of the 680 ohm resistor on the start up board that was going bad. The other problem I had was the power supply caps...two of them....were out of spec and were causing shorting across the bleeder resistors. So a call to Ameritron got me a new set of power supply caps and resistors. Very easy fixes. The Ameritron AL1500 to get is the one with the Peter Dahl transformer. That is what I have and it is a brute.

This amp is very easy to tune despite what some have said. Follow the owners manual and make sure you put all that power into a low SWR antenna, preferably resonant, and enjoy easy QRO. Legal limit is easy with very low drive.

For the price, you cannot beat the Ameritron AL1500. It is no Rolls Royce but is is a high performance Chevy of amps and nobody at the other end will complain that it is not an Alpha or other high end amp.....plus it is still manufactured and supported by Ameritron. The 3cx1500A7 tube can be purchased new or as medical pulls. I got a 3CPX1500A7 which can be used and are usually a bit less expensive than the regular 3cx1500a7 tube. They are pulse rated and have a more stout build and can survive a bit better from mis-tuning or other mistakes.

If you can find one used, make sure it has the Peter Dahl transformer and check to make sure that the caps don't snap when turned on. The fix is easy but it will cost around $150 to get the parts from Ameritron.

I highly recommend this amp if you want to stay with tube type amplifiers. If you can find one with the Peter Dahl transformer for under $2500, there is no better value out there.
 
W9BR Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2015 16:19 Send this review to a friend
Great amp. Owned now for 8 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a used AL-1500 8 years ago. I have had great service out of it. I don't have to tell you about the power output as everyone else will tell you what a power house it is. I have everything updated in this amp except the blower mod for lower noise. I still think I will do that and looking for any good hints in addition to the rubber gasket!

I would HIGHLY advise anyone owning one of these AL-1500 amps to look at the timing circuit of their HV relay. Ameritron has it set from the factory (by a cap) somewhere around three mintues. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME. The EIMAC spec sheet calls for at least four minutes. I repeat, it should go at least FOUR MINUTES. I changed the timing cap and have set mine for 6 minutes. The 8877 better come up to full temp and all those little metal particles need to get off the tube components before you hit the HV!! Trust me as I have replaced the 8877 with a new Eimac on account of the poor timing.
 
W2JUQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2014 07:23 Send this review to a friend
AL-1500 AMP  Time owned: more than 12 months
HI WELL LET ME START OFF BY GIVING YOU THE BACK ROUND ON THIS AMP IT WAS MADE IN OHIO IN THE EARLY 80'S LONG BEFORE MFJ BOUGHT THEM I HAVE IT 3YEARS I AM ON THE AIR 2HR MAYBE 3HR A NITE OLNLY ON 40M.I LOAD AS PER SPECS 50 WATTS IN 1500 OUT.WHEN I GOT THE AMP I GOT A EXTRA TUBE WITH IT WOW GREAT.WELL A YEAR WENT BY AND BANG TIME FOR REPAIR NEW CAPPS ,RELAYS ECT AND OF COUSE ANOTHER TUBE THERE GOES THE EXTRA TUBE.SENT OUT FOR REPAIR.OK 2 YEARS LATER BANG AGAIN SAME PROBLEM DIFFERANT TEC ANOTHER TUBE.3RD YEAR BANG AGAIN WELL THIS TIME I HEARD ABOUT BILL N4ATS READ ALL HIS GLOWING REVEIWS WELL I CANT TELL YOU ALL THE REWIREING AND REPAIRING OF FAULTY REPARIRS HE HAD TO COPE WITH BEFORE HE FOUND THE PROBLEM THAT THE OTHERS NEVER SAW AND NOW THANKS TO BILL ALL IS WELL.THE THING THAT IMPRESSED ME WITH BILL WAS HOW A GUY WEIGHTING 140LG PICKED UP THAT 80LB AMP AND PUT IT IN MY TRUCK.
 
K0SF Rating: 4/5 Jan 3, 2014 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Solid full power HF amplifier  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Ameritron AL-1500 is a solid amplifier. It is able to provide 1.5 KW output on all bands. It reminds me of the Heathkit SB-220 in the sense that it is a good value, especially if purchased used.

There are a few issues with the AL-1500 that the user should check. I purchased a used and abused AL-1500 at low cost. I have since repaired it and brought it back to full electrical function. These issues may apply to your amplifier. In order of importance:

1.) 8877 warm-up circuit: My 8877 warm-up had accelerated to 140 seconds, well short of the 180 seconds recommended by Eimac or Taylor. My issue was a defective C9, 100 uF cap on the timer/overload board. I replaced the cap. Possibly related, my 8877 had low gain and I replaced it. I am unsure whether the under-spec warm-up time contributed to the poor tube condition or not, but I assume most users won't want to chance it.

2.) Welded-stuck contacts on RLY3: Except for T2's internal resistance, my HV transformer had no in-rush protection. I had two leaky diodes on the rectifier I needed to replace, I believe as a consequence of a lack of in-rush protection. Check and replace RLY3 if needed.

3.) Arced bandswitch contact. The AL-1500 (AL-1200, AL-82) bandswitch wipers use minimal material. I would prefer that these are heavier stock. The issue is that if the contact is poor (like one of mine), the contact will arc, and then melt away some of the material. Keep the contacts clean, and make sure they wipe properly as the bandswitch is turned. I have spoken to other hams that vigilently monitor the condition of their AL-82/1200/1500 bandswitches.

I prefer the QRO HF-2500DX or HF-3KDX because the workmanship is better, but the Ameritron AL-1500 is a solid performer.

Perhaps an advantage of the AL-1500 over the QRO is that it is very easy to take apart and clean, or prepare for shipping. If you move your amplifier frequently, you'll like this feature.
 
KC5WS Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2013 08:23 Send this review to a friend
Does the job well!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought used at a hamfest some years ago. It showed some fire / heat damage to the cover around the air inlet near transformer. Capacitor bank probably blew up sometime or another, but was replaced with full operation. I paid $1800, so I expected some wear / tear. I am a electronics technician, so I don't mind working on my amps. I have only had, one equalizing resistor open on the capacitor bank and one capacitor breakdown. I replaced the capacitor bank and it's power output is phenomenal,I love it! Ameritron / MFJ is ok in my experience and own several Ham products.
 
KE4COL Rating: 5/5 Oct 9, 2013 12:25 Send this review to a friend
Powerful and clean  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I almost didn't buy this amp because I had read so many times how hard they were to tune up. Don't believe it. Dip the plate, tune the the grid add a little extra load and increase power and repeat. Just like all the other amps I have owned. After a few days of operation you will be tuning the amp like you have had it all your life. I have owned a Kenwood TL-922 and an Ameritron AL-80A. Both of these were great amps, but NO WHERE NEAR the power of the AL-1500. One reason I went with the AL-1500 was the cooling system. Same as the AL-1200 and AL-82. I can run 1kw and the amp is just loafing, as well as running cool and under no stress at all. I have a Taylor and an Eimac tube. I can't tell any difference between the two. I have no problems with TVI, it seems to be a "cleaner" amp than the AL-80A. I do recommend adding the Bias Shutoff Board, its easy to install and will let the amp run much cooler as well as extending the tube life.
In conclusion, for the money you will not buy a better amp with this much power.
 
VA2AM Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2013 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Close to top line amplifier and not an option from Ameritron  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This will depend with what we want to compare its price visits top line we get what we pay for.To be fair cw & ssb at 1500 watts will do a fair job for many years at low swr. Now if we wanted to get closer to commercial level and top of the line I decided to improve each section and I wished Ameritron would offer HD version and the total cost is not that much like $200 maximum.
I modified each section, 500 v HV capacitor because they were at 100% duty and known for failing after few years at least there are 2x MOV ,,,, improved 80-160m filtering at filament and HV choke, safety cathode fuse in the event of a shorted grill cathode, blower speed switch, added PS fan, increased the HV diode gap with HV neutralisation resistor as heat dissipation, 24v PS, vacuum relays with key-in line with Ig safety limit, double HV input wiring size transformer & filament secondary, now HV drops <300 volts at 2 kw key down with a better IMD, filament soft start, capacitor RF filter for the bias zener, chimney to prevent hot air door knob capacitance shift, sealed blower fan air leak at 4x tube box corners, insulation material to reduce fan noise.
The RF section is well built at the exception of no chimney..!, band selector and load capacitor a little limited but seen it will monitor your Ig then it is impossible to flash over or arcing them if you did a mistake like the wrong antenna or high SWR. I fabricated a front cover dial reference plate 0-180 degrees as reference.
Again my goal was to increase the safety and tube life and a better heat dissipation only recommended for RTTY contest at 1.5kw limitation and long transmission. Now my radio and amplifier get a better -38 to -41 db IMD on all bands. Good cooling is the way to go.
If this was your first +1.5kw without smoking the parts, I agree for +4.5 score and 4.0 against HD version found on the market.
I am satisfy with my AL-1500 modifications similar to Marconi BH-30 commercial amplifier with almost similar HD circuit and head room.
 
N4WN Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2013 09:41 Send this review to a friend
A great Amp for the price  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased this amp after experience with less than full legal limit amps. I have owned several amps that boasted of full legal but fell short. This amp will carry full legal limit and then some.
It will coast at 1500 watts with 55 watts out of the exciter. If you crank it up to 100 watts you can see 2500 watts on a Power Master II. The fan speed has four settings that are changed very easily internally to obtain the desired cooling for your type of operating. It does take approximately 2.5 minutes to warm up the tube before transmitting; a small inconvenience for the performance of this amp. I was worried about the tuning but it is no trouble. I tune in 20 watt increments. If you do mess up, the safety feature will turn the amp off. It will not damage any components. (I have only had to this happen once when I had switched antennas to receive and forgot.)
Ameritron service is superior. You can talk to a live person on the phone that will talk you through issues. You can make an appointment (if you live close enough to drive) and they will repair while you wait.
It may be the last amp I purchase.
 
AE7KZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2012 20:41 Send this review to a friend
AE7KZ  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a very good amp for those wanting something that will provide key down 1500w output with 50w or less drive on most bands without breaking the bank. I bought this amp used with the Peter Dahl transformer, genuine Eimac tube, and brand new high voltage section for $2000 shipped.

I have not had a single issue with the amplifier despite nearly always running 1500w on SSB and many digital modes. This amp does require that you be more careful than most while tuning up, as the maximum grid current is VERY easy to exceed if you aren't watching what you are doing. Like others have said, it is not a "tune for max smoke" amplifier... it is a carefully tune for what you need amplifier.

That being said, max smoke into a dummy load tunes easily to nearly 2500w output with 100w drive. The amount of overhead this amp provides is really nice to have. I have never felt like I am pushing the amp hard at 1500w out, and I don't have to run my base rig hard to get legal limit either.

The bottom line is that this is probably the best bang for the buck available in a legal limit HF amplifier. It is extremely robust, doesn't break a sweat when running legal limit, and if you are careful with your tuning, the tube should last a lifetime. If I were going to buy another manual tune legal limit amplifier without spending a small fortune, this would still be my first choice. I have absolutely no buyers remorse after nearly two years of ownership.
 
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