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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron ALS-500M Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron ALS-500M
Ameritron ALS-500M Reviews: 47 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $799.00
Description: 500W Output Mobile Solid State Amplifier on 12VDC for US
Product is in production.
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K6AES Rating: 4/5 Feb 16, 2018 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Good, budget HF amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This amp really needs to be used with a tuner between it and the antenna. Otherwise you'll be down on power and/or subject to many O/L events. I use it with an Astron VS-70M and that's plenty for my use (SSB). Highest power out is 600+ peaks on portions of 75m. Average is solid 500w on 75/80, with 400w on 40m. (All watt readings with RTTY dead-carrier). I haven't tested max on all the bands. But this compares to about 1/3 the output I had without a tuner (LDG AT-600PROII) into a GAP Titan DX. I give it a '4' because I've only been using the rig as setup for about a week. If it continues like this it'll be a solid '5'.
N7AY Rating: 3/5 Aug 9, 2017 18:05 Send this review to a friend
Not Bad for a Dollar a Watt  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I picked up a used 500M recently with my eyes wide open. Thanks to all for prior reviews. So I'm fully aware of the limitations of this amp but it does have a bunch of drawbacks, many of which can be read about here in other reviews.

Just wanted to say why I purchased one anyway, despite its flaws. #1 It looks pretty good on a tight budget. Not too many amps available at $1/Watt. #2 Solid state - ease of use. #3 12V. Yes, it's intended as a mobile unit but I was looking for a reasonable amp that would run on the battery bank I run may emergency base system on. It does that very nicely. #4 Small footprint - doesn't take up a lot of room in the shack. #5 Light weight.
KS4OT Rating: 0/5 Jan 2, 2017 15:32 Send this review to a friend
This Amp is JUNK NO GOOD  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought this ALS-500M Amp from HRO when it arrived it was well packed that is the best part everything else is a nightmare ....first of all the power output was off on some of the bands ....

160 400 out
80 300 out
40 350 out
20 225 out
17 220 out
15 230 out
12 245 out
10 400 out

another problem was every time i would key amp at 13.8 volts no matter what power 5 watts in or 40 it would trip the load fault when i reduce the voltage to 12 volts it would trip but not as bad anything over 12 volts it wouldnt work ....

so i returned the amp the next day drove up to HRO to exchange and they did no problems when i got back home expecting the Amp to work same problem so called HRO to get a full refund and they gave it to me i tip my hat to the exchange process from HRO its the MFJ Amp that i wouldnt not recommend to anyone on this site all the bad reviews you see on this Amp on eham reviews and anywhere else belive them its all true dont waste your time or hard earned money on this Amp ... i havent had any problems out of my Ameritron Amp tube amps i have a al-82 and a 811h great Amps MFJ JUST DONT HAVE THE TECNOLOGY DOWN ON THE SOLID STATE AMPS .... so stay away from this Amp if you dont want to have a BIG HEADACHE ....go with a acom or a elecraft and you want go wrong just glad i didnt go over my 10 days from HRO and had to be aggravated with the warranty process with MFJ
WR0F Rating: 0/5 Oct 3, 2016 18:23 Send this review to a friend
Sent back a 2nd time DOA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
We own 2 als 500m before this one that work perfectly as well as a als 1306 and als 1300 .
Well we ordered a ALS 500MR August 2016 and it was dead on arrival. We received it back from service about 3 1/2 weeks later and it still had issues.
The problem is when its inline with 4 known good setups 2 mobile 2 in house we have using ameritron amps it makes the radio see the antenna way out of resonance 20-10 meters etc .
We sent it back this time asking for a replacement as we have yet to be able to use a new amp in almost 2 months . Still waiting to put it in our newest car .
KJ5MA Rating: 1/5 Sep 24, 2016 16:42 Send this review to a friend
Poor quality amp  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Ordered amp in Dec 2015 and waited 4 months for delivery. It was sick on arrival with output of only 200 watts. Sent back to Ameritron and they replaced the finals. It worked fine with occasional use over 3 months. Today, I used it to operate mobile on 40 and 20. I made 60 QSO's in the TXQP and now the output is down 25% from 400 watts on 40m to 300 watts. It looks like Ameritron uses poor quality parts. I will never buy another Ameritron amp.
W3XAF Rating: 0/5 Aug 21, 2016 13:00 Send this review to a friend
Terrible  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my ALS-500M from HRO in Woodbridge, VA. As soon as I got the amplifier home, I started drilling a hole from the passenger compartment of my Honda Civic Hybrid to the engine compartment. After breaking three hole saws, I finally broke through to the engine compartment and ran the ALS-500M 12-Volt wire bundle through a tube in the hole that I drilled to the car battery and chassis ground.
I then connected my ALS-500M to my Yaseu FT-857D Transceiver and my Tarheel 500-watt antenna.

After turning all my equipment on, the maximum power that I could get out of the ALS-500M was 210 Watts. My input power from my Yaseu FT-857D varied from 40 to 50 watts.

I immediately telephoned Ameitron Tech Support and they told me to ship the defective ALS-500M back to Ameritron for warranty repairs. After paying HRO $730 for my amplifier, I had to pay FEDEX $33.00 to ship the defective amp back to Ameritron.

Now, three weeks later, I still do not have my amplifier back and have been told by Ameritron Tech-Support personnel that my amplifier needs two new power-output transistors and Ameritron has none in stock??? Maybe by 2017 I will have my amplifier back. Now, you would think that Ameritron would have offered me a brand new ALS-500M to replace the defective amplifier that was sold to me by HRO. No. That never happened!!
WR0F Rating: 2/5 Aug 20, 2016 19:27 Send this review to a friend
DOA on new amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
We just purchased a new ALS-500MR 8/9/2016 for our new vehicle and it was Dead On Arrival .The amp inline would attenuate the receive . I had this same problem a few years back as we have 2 others of this amp in our other mobile setups.
We just sent it back directly to Ameritron at our expense where hopefully they will get it working .
This model works well when you get a good one which is why we bought the 3rd one. I did not want to have to switch amps in and out of mobile setups.
K7DAA Rating: 4/5 May 15, 2015 17:24 Send this review to a friend
Very good mobile amp for the price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one of the older ALS-500M units from a ham on QRZ's classified ads. The "older" designation means that the amp was not compatible with the remote control that plugs into the front of the amp with two RJ-45 connectors.

I intended to mount it in the trunk of my Camry, with an Optima Yellow Top battery sitting right next to it. The Optima battery was connected in parallel via #6 cable to the main battery in the engine compartment. That configuration ran very well for several years until my Camry was totaled in a rear-end crash on a Silicon Valley freeway. Thank goodness the ham gear survived it, though!

So, to be able to change bands from the driver's seat, I bought the modification kit from Ameritron that replaces the low-pass filter and antenna relay board with one that is switched via relays instead of the manual method directly from the bandswitch. The update kit also included a new remote control unit that I mounted on the Camry's dashboard.

Note that this mod kit eliminates the current meter on the front of the amp. Not really a big deal, since you won't be looking at it while it's in the trunk anyway. As others have noted, the current meter is very inaccurate, so there is not much of a loss of functionality.

After about 1 hour's work, I was ready to test out the new mod. I wired it up to a 75 amp AC power supply, and immediately smoke came out of the front of the amp! I found a burned resistor that is used to report relative current draw to the meter on the remote. Thinking I had wired something wrong, I carefully traced out all the new wiring, and after not finding any obvious problem, opened the remote to check it out.

It turns out that the remote was wired wrong AT THE FACTORY! It placed a dead short to ground across one side of the current measurement resistor, causing it to act like a fuse. After studying the schematic for the remote for a moment, I rewired the offending connection, and replaced the "fuse" resistor in the main unit. Everything worked fine then. It is obvious that MFJ never performed a QC or operational test after the remote was built. I design consumer-type RF products for a living, and was appalled at the poor quality control--but that's MFJ for you! Note that I still buy stuff from them, but I'm now in the habit of opening their things up first to do my own QC check since it's abundantly obvious that they certainly don't.

Anyway, if not for that incident, I would have given the product a rating of 5, because it has performed flawlessly in my car. I drove it with a Yaesu FT-857D remotely-mounted in one of the two DIN openings in my dash. I made a simple bracket for the head that fit flush in the opening, and it worked very well, taking up hardly any space.

For an antenna, I used a Lil' Tarheel 500H (for high power) screwdriver type. I highly recommend this antenna! I also designed a semi-automatic tuning box that sensed when I operated the dash switch to raise or lower the antenna, disconnecting the PTT signal to the amplifier, and grounding the brown wire at the Yaesu's power connector, forcing it to run 20 watts CW. Very handy and reliable system that allowed me to QSY and retune with one switch, even while in motion.

I never had any hiccups from the amp at all after installing the remote mod and cleaning up after MFJ's mess with the remote. I typically drove it with 40-50 watts PEP from the Yaesu, giving me a good 400-500 watts out of the amp. I could easily compete with non-mobile stations with beams and successfully break through pileups to get my DX contact. Very satisfying!
N5GGG Rating: 2/5 Feb 2, 2015 15:54 Send this review to a friend
Bad quality  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I received the amp, actually read the manual, and installed it using the matching Ameritron 80A switching power supply. After powering it up, I had no power. Ameritron authorized removing the top to look. The right negative power wire has a broken solder joint. I soldered it and used the amp for about one month. After that month, when I would talk, I would smell smoke. I traced it to the amp. The OTHER negative solder joint had broken (actually, it had been laying on the socket pin, since there was no trace of solder on the pin itself), and all power was being drawn through the second wire, actually welding the screw to the chassis standoff preventing removal. Once this was repaired, I went another month with no issues, when the relay started sticking when I would unkey, causing about a 60db attenuation to the transceiver. Tapping the top of the amp restored receive, and after several rapid cycles, this seemed to clear up. Then two weeks later, while talking into a perfect SWR antenna for less than two minutes, the SWR on the transceiver jumped from 1:1 to 15:1, the front panel power light went out on the amp, wattmeter showed 0 Watts out, and Ampmeter showed 0 amps draw on Xmit. Unplugged the amp and am in the process of sending it to Ameritron to be refurbished. I would hate the think how many problems I would have had if I actually tried using this amp in a vehicle.
N6MYA Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2014 12:54 Send this review to a friend
Works very well  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought the amplifier used and it was in excellent condition. I have the AD5X QSK parts but have not yet modded the unit. I have however gotten rid of the Jones type power plug on the back and have mounted a panel with appropriately rated binding posts and have removed the large loop of wiring that goes through the amp meter sensor. I also have the ALS-500M Remote Control that came with the package, but will be replacing it with a homebrew remote band sense unit that plugs into the back of the FTDX-1200 driver radio for "hands off" band switching.
I have to say that the amplifier has been problem free with no detectable factory defects and produces an excess of 500 watts.
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