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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Commander HF-2500 Help


Reviews Summary for Commander HF-2500
Commander HF-2500 Reviews: 34 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $3995.
Description: Two high-power Eimac 3CX800A7 Ceramic-Metal Triodes
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.palstar.com
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W8NVC Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2014 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp A1  Time owned: months
Ive owned the Commander HF 2500 Magnum for 6 months..
Its like a huge appliance, its easy to tune.
with a 30 watt drive i get full legal limit.
with more drive into a "dummy load" i have seen
Lots more. Lots.... I use the LP 100A Digital Vector Watt meter.. When tuning Just keep an eye on the grid current.If you have a chance to get one, do it, because there the Cats Meow. So much headroom its by far the best amp i have owned. if you can find one...I have the 3cpx800a7s in mine and let me say that the pulse rated tubes are great and more responsive.. Also the grid protection works great, It wont let you key it if you have too much drive all at once, or forget to lower your drive. Always remember to let it cool down for a few mins before you power it off...Let the Blower cool those tubes before you shut her down....
I give The Commander Hf 2500 a 5.5 rating for being built like a tank, Easy operation, and with good operation practice it will last a lifetime..
This Is a Real Gem of and amplifier.
thanks, and 73" from W8NVC
 
VA3UT Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2013 11:56 Send this review to a friend
The best!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is the only amp that I use at the present time but have gone through a few amps before this; Ten-Tec Hercules II, Kenwood TL-922 and Ameritron AL-811H. I like the heavy and sturdy look of Commander and it works well every time. Mine is one of the earliest production and still has original set of tubes but still puts out around 2kW max. I drive with only 30W to get a clean 1.2kW. I don't go any higher as I don't think that extra power will make much difference.
It is very heavy but with reasons.
The fan noise seems loud but it is same for most amps. Just like many others, I am a happy and proud owner of Commander amp.
 
W1MSG Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2011 11:59 Send this review to a friend
Best Amp ever.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first and probably my last legal limit amp. I cant think of any reason to get rid of this monster. I have had it about 3 months, picked it up October 2011 used. Seller said it might have 10 hours on it at most, and I believe him. Tune it up for max smoke and she runs full legal limit all day with very little drive. The best thing is that Commanders will be back in production for 2012 at http://dedicatedrf.com ... If I ever do replace it a new Commander will take its place !!!
 
NL7FK Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2008 21:44 Send this review to a friend
I traded down, NOT!!!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I thought I would be trading down when I went from an Alpha 99 to the Commander 2500. Boy, was I mistaken. I thought the Alpha was a tank but the Commander is a tank on steroids! Can you say Quality with a capital Q?

It is not the prettiest thing in the shack. It does not have any fancy leds, small meters, or mamby pamby fancy writing on the front but if one is looking for nothing short of total brute force then this amp is it.

On 75 meters 27 - 30 watts into this baby produces a whopping 1500 watts out of commanding power with loads of headroom out of the two 3CPX800's. It is quiet and no clanking relays to contend with. Tuning is by the numbers and once learned it is a breeze to turn in a matter of seconds. The controls are smooth and a flip of the band switch proves that this is a REAL AMPLIFIER.

The quality of the internal components will shock you for an amplifier at this price point. I have owned numerous legal limit amps during my radio career and this gem stands head and shoulders above any of them.

This amp is a keeper. If you want to buy mine it can be purchased at my estate sale.....

 
WC4R Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2008 15:39 Send this review to a friend
A lifetime keeper  Time owned: more than 12 months
I can't add much to what other HF2000 owners have said. This is a top-of-the-line standard that amps are measured by.
I got mine from a SK in May 2004. He bought it from the original owner in Nov. 1997. The amp was built in April 1996.
Here it is over 12 years later and it still runs like new with the original Eimac tubes. Loafs along at 1500w with 40 watts drive.
I did return the amp to Pat three years ago for a bad relay. Pat was great to work with and the turnaround was fast.
Now Palstar owns Command Technologies and I hope they continue with the quality and value tradition that is expected from the Command name.
 
4Z5NU Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2008 03:14 Send this review to a friend
Like riding on the wild beast !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my HF2500 for little over 2 yrs. The model is original HF-2500 with two standard 3CX800A7. Purchased second hand with two spare tubes and in good visual and working condition. With My A4S and this PA finaly can achieve amazing DX performance in huge pile-up battles.
For Me this is very successful commercial amplifier. Build like a tank.
When tuning, I try never exceed 10mA of grid current, 700 mA plate current to get approx. 1kW avg. clean output power in to antenna.
This amp a true beast, so ride careful and enjoy.
Greetings, with regards,
73 from 4Z5NU, Dov.
http://www.qrz.com/4z5nu
http://ric.cqham.ru/bigphoto.php?c=4Z5NU
http://hamcall.net/call?callsign=4Z5NU
http://www.qrz.ru/callsign.phtml?callsign=4z5nu
 
K2MK Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2008 14:08 Send this review to a friend
Excellent craftsmanship with power to spare  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

The Command Technologies “Commander HF-2500” is a fine amplifier. But there are many high quality full legal limit amps available and making a purchase decision is not easy. The things that influenced me were:

“Had to be a tube amp and preferably ceramic tubes”
The eHam reviews for the solid-state Quadra, PW-1, and THPs are impressive but they are still sprinkled with the occasional comment of blown finals. I think tubes are more forgiving.

“Had to be made in the USA”
I wanted to be able to ship it back to the manufacturer at a reasonable cost if a failure occurred.

“QSK was not a prime consideration”
There is no available QSK option for this amp. I felt that I could live without it. You might feel differently.

“A built in antenna tuner and autotune capabilities were not requirements”
Both of my antennas are better than 2:1 SWR so a tuner was not required. And when I make a band change I don’t have to be transmitting milliseconds later. I don’t mind taking 5 to 10 seconds to change the amplifier settings for a new band.

“Had to be in a manageable weight range for this old timer”
The shipping weight is about 75 lbs total (in two boxes). And either the amplifier or the transformer on its own is easily lifted by one person. Once unpacked I would estimate the chassis at about 25-30 lbs and the transformer at about 35-40 lbs.

“Price had to be competitive”
The price was very competitive and Pat uses Eimac tubes instead of the Svetlana tubes used in the competition’s amplifiers. I felt I was getting better quality for less money.

“Lastly, it had to be new”
I have no luck with used equipment. I wanted a virgin amplifier that I could screw-up on my own and that would be protected with a full manufacturer’s warranty.

Contacting Pat Stein and ordering is a breeze. I called quite often and he always answered on the first or second ring. Sometimes he was in the car and had to call back which he did. The delivery schedule, however, is a moving target. These amplifiers are built to order, they are not sitting on a shelf. So be prepared to be patient or plan on ordering your amplifier elsewhere.

Shipment was perfect. Pat used DHL and the two boxes were extremely well packed and protected. Installation of the transformer and tubes is straight forward although you will need to slide the amplifier towards the end of your work bench or desk so that you can fit nuts and washers for the transformer on the underside of the chassis. Also you must remove both the top and bottom chassis covers for transformer installation. So you will need to flip the unit around both before and after the transformer is installed. Pat uses stainless steel socket head machine screws to hold the cabinet together. He sends along a small 5/64” allen wrench but it is much easier if you have a T-handle allen wrench. A 5/64” T-handle hex key is under a dollar from McMaster Carr. A small awl is useful to help line up the occasional stubborn hole.

Tune up is a breeze, however, I prefer to use the technique suggested by KK5DR. Pat’s technique described in the manual requires a bit more dexterity than I possess. KK5DR suggests dipping plate current with the tune control and peaking RF output with the load control. Then back off counterclockwise a bit on the load control (over-coupling). With the HF-2500 that yields a full 1500 watts output with a grid current of only 30 to 40 ma. I made an Excel chart with the tune and load settings and exciter output for each band (Pat provides filled-in and blank charts). Now when I change bands I just preset the tune and load controls (calibrated from 5 to 95 with 95 hash marks) and adjust my transceiver output power using my external power meter with the amp in standby. That takes about 2 seconds of a 20 to 40 watt carrier either to your antenna or to your dummy load. Then flip from standby to operate and go. There’s no need for any high power transmission until you’re ready to key the rig. No QRM. The process takes less than 10 seconds.

The amp is very clean. The insides are pristine. The outside is very clean, not flashy, just purely functional. There is a flip-down bail if you want to tip up the front panel. The band switch is labeled 160 through 10 with no indication for the WARC bands. Use the 15 meter position for 17 meters and the 10 meter position for 12 meters. The amplifier does not operate on 30 meters. Also, you will need an external wattmeter. The amplifier does not have its own power meter.

I e-mailed Pat for help with the ALC adjustment. Even at the minimum ALC setting it was limiting my FT-1000D to only 40 watts output. Pat had me add a parallel resistance between the center conductor and shield of the ALC cable which solved the problem. I think I ended up with a 10K resistor. But Pat will be the first to tell you that the high speed protective circuitry in the amplifier will protect your investment even if you don’t use ALC feedback. I e-mailed another time about a minor issue and received a quick phone call from Pat with a resolution.

I’ve had no problems with TVI. Just a little audio pick up on my wife’s computer speakers in the next room. Easily solved with a split ferrite bead on the speaker line.

I’m very happy with my purchase and would highly recommend the Commander HF-2500 to anybody looking for a tube type full legal limit amp. And of course you get 1500 watts out for only 30 to 40 watts in. And that includes RTTY.
 
W8SPM Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2008 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered my HF-2500 in January and got it a few days ago ! Very easy to tune and runs very quiet!
Pat Stein answered all my questions and spent a good bit of time with me on the phone during the process!
I feel like Commander Amps are the premier products on the market using Eimac tubes ! If you in the market for either a VHF-HF Amplifier Check these out and read the reviews on e-ham about the Commander Products and your decision will be very easy!

W8SPM-Sam Maze in WV
 
N1FLH Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2008 05:13 Send this review to a friend
great amp!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love the Amp but I just started having an issue with the warm up period. works fine on all bands but 80 mtrs. sometimes it takes twice as long for the green light to come on and other times I have to switch the band switch to 40 and the light will come on. has anyone have an idea what could be wrong? Iv already cleaned the band scitch.

Thanks
Marty
N1FLH
 
NJ1X Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2008 07:52 Send this review to a friend
12 + years and going great  Time owned: more than 12 months
After researching all the amplifiers on the market, I decided that the HF-2500 was my best choice. It is easy to operate and when there's a DX pileup in there, I don't have to "wait in line" for the DX station to come back to me.
 
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