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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-811 Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-811
Ameritron AL-811 Reviews: 155 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $650
Description: Uses three tough 811A transmitting tubes
Product is in production.
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KC7MF Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2014 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Works Just Fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this used but in good condition. Shortly after it arrived I lost one of the tubes. I am fairly sure the previous owner may not have been all that easy on them. I put in a new set from RF Parts and the amp worked perfectly.

I am not easy on this Amp. Though I don't push it much over 500 watts I do tend to move up and down 20 meters without touching it to retune. I am into an antenna that is good across the band. I don't recommend this to others of course.

I get good signal reports and good audio reports. The fan is noticeable but not that loud. I have had it almost 3 years and it has worked without a hitch. The standby/operate switch is a tad loose now but works fine.

So what is not to like? This amp is affordable, reliable and easy to operate. I don't like to compare it "for the price" because I would expect no more from a much more expensive amp. So get one. Busting pileups is fun. You can't go wrong and MFJ stands behind their stuff.
KF7VXA Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2014 21:05 Send this review to a friend
Great Value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've read many of the reviews. It seems some have trouble and others don't. Could be a QC issue, can't really say.
Mine has been great. From the first time I turned it on. It loads up fine, although I may add the capacitors for 80 meters. It loads, but could be better.
The thing is, when you price amps today, they cost an arm and a leg. The 811 is an amp most people can afford and 600 watts is just as good as 800 watts and in reality, not much less than 1K.
I happened upon some new RCA tubes and bought them for a good price, thinking that the amp might work better with some real quality tubes. I found absolutely no difference at all. They will most likely last for years, but no improvement in power or anything else.
If you get one without any problems, it's about the best deal going. If yours has a defect or poor workmanship, no doubt it's a disappointment, so get it fixed and you'll have a very good amp for the money. One that will make the difference when needed. I've had none of the problems some have had and think it's a tried and true design.
For under $700.00, new and delivered, I think it's a wonderful amp and would not hesitate to buy another.
Even with a problem or two, once fixed it's still far cheaper than you would pay for many other new amplifiers.
In my opinion, if I have to pay over four thousand dollars and up for an amp, I should get out of the hobby. I guess if you have a fat wallet all of the time it's no big deal, but 600 watts has been just fine for me. I really cannot think of a time that a full gallon would have got me a contact that could have been missed with 600 watts. I suppose there would be an exception to that, but very few.
I also get good clean signal reports. If you just go a little over peak power to where it just starts to drop off when adjusting it, you get a very good sounding signal. It's the guy who has to have every last watt the amp can put pot who is splattering.
It's a lot of amp for $700.00, especially when compared to one that costs 3 times more for 400 more watts. The guy at the other end hears very little difference, maybe a half of an S unit. Half an S unit, stop the presses, I got 1/2 of an S unit over and amp that is a third of the price. Lets get real.
N0MEU Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2014 09:26 Send this review to a friend
Good Amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first amp. Worked out of the issues other then the fan noise being louder then I expected. If I could, I would give it a 4.5 due to the fan noise.
W1UOY Rating: 4/5 Jan 25, 2014 04:06 Send this review to a friend
Cost vs Performance: high value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am amazed that this little amp does what it does for the cost. It is really hard to beat. Sure there are bigger better amps but the cost from DX Engineering and free shipping I got... hard to beat. It came with a scratched knob but DXE and Ameritron replaced promptly. My only complaint, and I would give "5" otherwise, is the loud fan. The fan noise (not air flow but metal cabinet rolling sound for lack of better explanation) is annoying. I bought headphones to cover my ears and it is still annoying. Other than that I would recommend buying this little amp.
W6LMJ Rating: 0/5 Jan 21, 2014 10:31 Send this review to a friend
Clatter at start - bad tube new 811  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Setting up a new station for a new ham who, in for a dime in for a dollar, decided to start with an antenna tuner and an amplifier. The amplifier, at HRO's recommendation was the AL-811. They had one in stock in Anaheim, but not the cable to connect it to the new ham's FT-857d. No problem, we committed to the drive to San Diego to pick up the cable from HRO there. Back up to San Bernadino and the fun begins. First, upon inspection all looks great. Tubes are well packed, seated and checked to ensure all is as it should be. The two fuses are installed. Before cabling the amp to the rig we decide on a brief smoke test.
That is when the clatter started. Clearly the muffin fan was bad. But we thought, well maybe some of the packing or something is impeding the blades of the fan. The amplifier case is again opened and an inspection of the amp occurs with particular attention to the fan.
There are no visible defects. With ultra caution we decide to power the amp with the case off.....
The clatter again starts immediately. Loud, incessant clatter, and I note the middle 811 tube is not lighting up. No comforting filament glow.
Thats it. This amp gets a zero. Next Saturday the new ham plans to drive 40 miles to the Anaheim HRO and return the amp. I suggested he ask them to replace it with an ample that that smoke test in his presence. So that he can know he has a good one.
I hope this experience does not cause him to give up on the idea of setting up an excellent ham station and being of service through ham radio.
Ameritron needs to do a better job at quality control. Most likely the briefest of a smoke test at their end would have caught both of these problems. If they do a test and a quality control inspect before shipping an amplifier it appears someone skipped this particular ample. Bad form Ameritron.
K5RCR Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2014 20:39 Send this review to a friend
5 years, 1 set of tubes, still going strong  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this AL811 new direct from Ameritron in 2008. Upon removing the cover, I found the amplifier to be well constructed, no funny solder joints, etc. I just recently changed tubes as the original 5 year old set was getting soft - output down to 300 watts at max [150 ma] grid current. I initially replaced the 811a's with Chinese 572b's direct from China...big mistake. They were a matched set alright...every damned one arced! Of course, this caused the fuses and the D16 meter diode to blow. Anyway, after replacing the fuses and the diode I put in 3 derated 572b's [Taylor 811H - rated for 1900V as opposed to 2700V] from RF Parts. While these tubes are still Chinese, at least RF Parts tests the buggers. The amp is back in the rack and works great - several Eastern European stations worked easily on 160 and 80 meters using 400 watts just a few minutes after putting the amp back in service. Great little amp. Easy to work on and even the "tough" tubes are cheap.
N4ALR Rating: 1/5 Dec 27, 2013 14:03 Send this review to a friend
failure of circutry  Time owned: more than 12 months
having used sb 200 and 220 amps, was accustomed to performance. this particular amp was touted as a good minimum performer. after ordering one upon arrival inspection was done inside and tubes installed. after letting it warm up for a couple hours started qso with 30 watts drive on lsb. everything seemed ok upon shutdown. when started up the next day upon start it blew the fuse and burned a trace on circuit board. after getting it back same thing happened again. fuse blown diode burned up on board ,also meter on front was sprung to far right, installed new circuit board, same thing happened again. installed new 572bs thinking it might help, did not. this amp is praised by many, but not by me. would not recommend this amp, even to new beginners. after all this time I question my judgement in buying this amp. you get what you pay for. this was a 900.00 dollar mistake that went to the trash man. would not recommend to my worst enemy
W7KNX Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2013 21:04 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Amp for the Price  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought mine used at a swap meet but even new the price is very reasonable for a 600W amp. It is well built, easy to tune and looks great in the shack. If you are looking for a 600W amp this is a great choice.
VK4VDX Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2013 09:37 Send this review to a friend
still great!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my Ameritron Amplifier for about 4 years, paid about $1500 AUD
When it played up I only had one choice, the internet, to find out what the problem is.
I had a clicking sound or pop. I found out that I had a bad Bleeder Resistor. I tested the resistors myself with a bonus gift,a test meter thanks Eddie. I have ordered 4 Bleeder resistors and 4Caps ( electrolytic capasitors ). I ended up replacing only the bad Resistor I ordered 4 but only got 3 from Ameritron and when you live that far away, of course I didn't get a sorry or an replacement.
It was an easy repair and I didnt change the caps ida.
The amp worked fine for about a year, than I had to replace another Bleeder Resistor and still didn't need caps.
and finally a year and a bit later the third Bleeder Resistor has gone bad and this time I needed to change the caps as well.
But I still have got one of the original Bleeder Resistors in the Amp. By the way it's an AL-811
and I saved myself some money by doing the repairs.
For me I give Ameritron Amps a 5 easy to work on,
and a great feeling when it is all repaired and working well.
I hope I will receive what I have ordered, 4 Backup Bleeder Resistors and 4 caps.

KC9MOS Rating: 2/5 Nov 14, 2013 10:38 Send this review to a friend
Stopped working after 3 month  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this amp from DX-Engineering and it worked fine for 3 month. All of a sudden it would not power on any more, no matter what I tried. I called Ameritron and was told to send it in, that was $30 via FEDEX. I got a ticket and was told by John: "Ok, we will keep an eye out for it and get it back as soon as possible." Today I received another message with a slightly different tune "We are a bit backed up, so it might be a couple weeks after we receive it before we can get to it." I will keep you updated about what's going to happen. Ben
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