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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: 167 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $650
Description: Uses three tough 811A transmitting tubes
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.ameritron.com/products.php?prodid=AL-811
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<— Page 11 of 17 —>

AA2SM Rating: 3/5 Aug 8, 2007 19:08 Send this review to a friend
Did Not Last Long  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Had the 811 for about six months now. The Grid Current Guage is not working. If I give it a few hard raps it might start up again. From what I understand, its a common problem.
 
KG7RS Rating: 3/5 Jul 29, 2007 14:36 Send this review to a friend
An MFJ By Any Other Name....  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi Folks,
This little amplifier has probably received fairly good reviews for a few good reasons. For one, it's the only thing commercially available in an inexpensive 500-watt amp. For another, it's easy to use and tune, is compact, runs from a 120-volt line and is not a bad looking product. One possible bonus is the fact that the tubes can and do withstand some moderately ham-fisted tuning episodes, and even when they finally give up, are inexpensive to replace. As far as my experience, that's where the praise ends. This is the second AL-811 I've owned. Upon opening the cabinet to remove the factory tube packing, I got to marvel at the quality construction. Yeah, right. All kidding aside, the construction quality of this amp is deplorable, at least with regard to lead forming and soldering. I buttoned it up and set to operate. It performed flawlessly on 20 meters. After recently purchasing a new antenna tuner, I was anxious to give it a go on the low bands. While tuning the amp on 80 meters, I noticed some intermittent symptoms with the load control. Disconnect everything and off to the bench. A careful inspection of the tank components quickly revealed the cause: the bottom end of the low-band tank coil was not soldered to the loading variable cap lug! It was pressed against it, but no solder. This was quickly repaired and other suspect connections were reflowed, or in some cases removed, properly installed and resoldered. Filament leads were originally butt-connected to the tube socket pins and one had a cold solder joint. Overall the soldering workmanship is the worst I've seen. The remainder of the mechanical assembly is reasonably good. The first AL-811 I purchased in 2001 exhibited fairly poor workmanship, not as bad as the current amp, and no operational problems. The current amp is operating fine after my cleanup. Yes, it's an inexpensive amp, but why should one need to work on a brand new product? The AL-811 fills a void for an inexpensive medium power amp of reasonably good design. I had to call several dealers to find one in stock. The factory is well behind schedule trying to meet demand. I have to wonder why a responsible company that cares about and understands quality principles has not stepped in to offer a competing product, even at a somewhat higher price? Palstar, are you listening? I have to believe if there was a quality alternative to (MFJ) Ameritron products, the company would either "get religion" or go out of business. I can in good conscience rate this product as "OK" based on the solid design and desireable concept, however it does nothing to promote the pride of "Made in USA". In my observation, MFJ and their holdings have earned the poor reviews they routinely receive.
73, John, KG7RS
 
DUBCROSS Rating: 4/5 Jul 8, 2007 06:18 Send this review to a friend
Nice Amplifier  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've had a bunch of amplifiers through the years and I'd have to say that my 811 is one of the best. It tunes easily and puts out over 500 with an input of only 40 watts!

At first I got worried because I had to turn my knob completely to 1 to achieve max output on the 75/80M band (the manual says don't go below 3) BUT when I contacted Ameritron the (very nice) gentleman told me that as long as grid current was increasing as I turned the knob counter clock wise all was well.

I use my 811 daily and have yet to experience any problems with it what so ever.

For the money and quality I give mine a BIG THUMBS UP!
 
KI4GJV Rating: 4/5 May 11, 2007 14:57 Send this review to a friend
Not really that complicated.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought mine new from AES (had to catch them when they had one). It arrived in good shape tubes were loose but they may have been shipped that way on purpose. Removed the interior packing checked every thing I could see and buttoned down the cover. I did consult a few guys who advised me on the tune up. But its not hard if you go step by step and watch your meter readings. Make sure to use a dummy load and have a tuner rated for at least 800 watts even with the 600 watt model. Make a check list of your tune up routine and use it. Amps need a little TLC and maintenance from time to time but this one is a tried and true design. I would have given this a 5 if the manual was a little better.
 
KE6K Rating: 4/5 Apr 27, 2007 21:03 Send this review to a friend
Very good for my use  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the amp used at HRO. It was in less than prime condition but worked. I have run it directly to a B&W BD-90 an it loads as well as my rig barefoot. I have also used it with the LDG AT-1000 Autotuner with good results. It has not lost power nor has it had SWR problems. When using the tuner, I first load the amp into a cantenna, then tune the tuner barefoot. When the amp is brought on line, it needs little if any tweaking.
 
KG6R Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2007 20:16 Send this review to a friend
It's Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a used AL-811 from ebay. It had a relay problem that was minor. I routinely put out 500 watts on all bands. This design is bullet proof.
The tuning up of this amplifier is a snap. The price is reasonable and if you ever need service, the ameritron folks are terrific.

73, Jim KG6R formerly KG6QHP
 
WA7VTD Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2007 14:04 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Cost/Benefit Ratio, Great Reliability  Time owned: more than 12 months
Picked up a MINT AL-811 at the SEA-PAC flea market, from an estate, over five years ago. The amp had been used less than 2 hours. Got it for $275! Over five years later, it is the ONLY amp I own that has NEVER failed. The only thing I don't like is that stock, it's no good for QSK CW. I am an antenna experimenter and have been rather hard on this amp; I have replaced the 811's only once. A tip: follow the advice in the manual about keeping the loading above "3."

It has always run straight from the 117 VAC mains in the shack. With brand new tubes and tuned for full output on 20M into a well-matched triband yagi (close to 700 watts), it threw the circuit breaker in the house's main breaker box. Since then, I rarely run it over 400 watts out on any band.

I recommend a very high quality, high-Q ATU if you operate 160M or the full band on 75/80. Tuning on those bands can be a bit diffcult with a mediocre impedance matching system betwen the amp and the feedline.

Also, eventually the dial lamps will go out. Ameritron promptly replaced them for free after the amp was over two years old, without my asking, when I emailed them for the part number! It makes more sense, though, to replace them with ultra-bright white LEDs.

In addition to the AL-811, I have the Icom PW-1 and Icom IC-4KL solid-state amps, and an old Swan 1200X. The PW-1 had one of its dual-final PA sections go out after less than 100 hours of use. The 4KL, which I got used and operated from 240VAC, worked like a champ for about 150 hours, when the power supply developed a fault. I won't go into the Swan 1200X...many hours spent modifying and upgrading it, only to have it fail for the second time after five hours on the air.

But the trusty AL-811, like a Timex, takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!

It is a bit soft on 10M and 30M, but those are two bands where full output isn't needed. If you can't make it with 250 watts on CW on 30M you aren't gonna make it with 600 (and besides, there IS a legal limit on 30M that is well below the amp's capability, don't forget!). When 10M is nicely open, the amp is needed only for the closer-in contacts and breaking pileups.

I have dedicated the AL-811 primarily to daily net usage these days, though it got quite a workout working DX on both SSB and CW before the solar cycle took a precipitous dip. I have checked the linearity of the amp on a scope and it is excellent. On CW, it does have a bit of a slow uptake, but not objectionable. This amp has made the difference between repeating my call 2 or 3 times, and being told "great signal," on the Noon Time Net on 7268.5 kHz each day.

The debate over the utility of replacing the 811s with 572Bs has been interesting (and colorful at times). I plan to give it a go. The 572Bs should be more robust and forgiving especially when the amp is not run to its full potential output. It's interesting to read that some have gotten 750+ watts after replacing with 572Bs, whereas others claim there is no output increase, only unneeded increase in plate dissipation capability. With varying power measurement devices, loads, etc. among the various reviewers, it's difficult to resolve the issue. I look forward to finding out what the result will be here.

In sum, I give the amp a "5" not so much on its own merits (which qualify it for a "4" or so), but by comparing it to other amps I have used and owned. (Soon I will be comparing it to an FL-2100B). Whether you get an AL-811 brand new, or used in good condition, it's hard to find a better value in such a robust, easy-to-use, and reliable ampifier.

- Kevin WA7VTD
Oregon City, Oregon

 
KB3Z Rating: 4/5 Jan 15, 2007 07:10 Send this review to a friend
Good Amp!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Seeing that this is my first amplifier, I'm not sure I can give it a great rating. Mistuned it the other day on 15 Meters and of course the Amp lost power. I consulted the manual, but Ameritron's manual is not very informative and doesn't have enough pictures to back up what limited information they have in their manual. I consult HRO and the man on the phone told me what to do. It was either a fuse or a tube blew. I replaced the fuse with a 15 amp, 250 Volt Ceramic Fuse and the amplifier came back to life. The safety features of the amp are fine, but the documentation needs some real tweaking.
 
W6NFL Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2007 09:27 Send this review to a friend
Best bang for the Buck  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
An very good amp that is a proven design. I eventually swapped out the 811a tubes for the more robust 572b tubes by Taylor. You wont get anymore output but you will get a ton of life out of them and can drive them harder so, in a way you can get a little more output from the amp i guess. I get 600+ watts out of this amp on most bands. Great amp in this price range.
 
EB3EPR Rating: 2/5 Jan 9, 2007 00:59 Send this review to a friend
No quality control pass  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received the amplifier new last week and install during weekend. First found high swr on the radio, check all and found the fail in the amplifier the wire between pl-259 and pcb was not soldering, then the wire between pi network in the output was also not solder in pcb. I am sure that this linear did not pass the quality control.
After this reparations the amplifier is working 500w with 50W input I am crossing my fingers, because I found 2 wire without soldering and can not check all the solderings, hope now all is ok.

Esteve EB3EPR
 
<— Page 11 of 17 —>


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