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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-80B Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-80B
Ameritron AL-80B Reviews: 121 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1300
Description: Kilowatt output HF desktop linear
Product is in production.
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K2VI Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2002 09:42 Send this review to a friend
excellent after 7 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
i have two al 80b's and they work as they did back in 95.the only problem with one is the eimac 3-500z is gassing.when i talk on ssb with the lights out the tube has a purple haze near the glass.i dont use theese amps often and that's probably why it gassed.but i absolutly love the preformance of this amp.a+++
SM3LGO Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2002 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Supplement to earlier review  Time owned: more than 12 months
After "listening" to an AL80A at another QTH, I am now convinced that the AL80
amps do have problem with 50Hz AC operation: also this one produced
a "hum" that would not be tolerable to the ear for more than, say 20 minutes...
(see my previous review).

I tried to mechanically insulate the transformer of my own amp from its chassis
using plastic, seeing a (very) marginal improvment.

Still, the amp has worked without electrical (or other mechanical) problems
for 6 years now...
KB0NAZ Rating: 3/5 Jul 31, 2002 20:15 Send this review to a friend
OK  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got the AL-80B used on a trade.The first thing is the so called tuned input is a joke on this amp.To operate 15/17 meters I have to retune the coils in the back of the amp,there is no happy medium between the two bands unless you want to run the rig with about a 4:1.1 SWR!as a "happy medium" Can get either down to around 1.3-1.
10 meters will go no lower than around 2.2 so can only get about 500watts out there.I've read reviews about getting 1000+ watts out with 50 watts of drive?? OK I CAN'T GET 1000+ out with 125 watts drive.Maybe 700-800 watts pounding it.
The front panel ALC seems to have NO effect on output power that I can see
On the bright side the amp does tune up easily and the settings are very repeatable.I'll probably sell this amp.
KE4EKW Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2002 23:49 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Kilowatt Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently have two of the AL-80B amps (I have two full stations at different locations) and think the amp is tough to beat. While not producing full legal output, people at the other end will never notice the difference and it sells for a little over half of a full legal output amp. The only problem I have experienced was a bad Eimac 3-500Z (it, like many of Eimac's last 3-500Z tubes lost the vacuum seal even when brand new). Ameritron replaced the tube overnight with a new Amperex Graphite which has worked great for a few years now. I think the few extra hundred dollars over the AL-811H is definetly worth the money. You have a solid kilowatt output, a proven design for many years going back to the AL-80, SB-1000, ect.) much better circuitry with inrush protection, tube protection, better metering, a great ALC front panel adjustment, ect. and a simple one tube circuit power with less chance of parastic problems from multiple tubes and the resulting much more complex circuits with 3 or 4 tubes. The AL-80B is a compact, well made, time proven, tough amp assuring many years of flawless service from a proven performer - the 3-500Z.
K9KJM Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2002 02:38 Send this review to a friend
GREAT VALUE AMPLIFIER  Time owned: more than 12 months
The AL-80B is a great value amplifier. Bought mine used, With what the seller called a "soft" tube, so I planned to replace the tube, But the amplifier has worked so good, I have not yet had to replace the tube. Still does an easy 600 or so watts, for over a year!!! The only problem I have had is the meter bulbs (Which are special bulbs) burned out. I keep a written log of settings, and the AL80B returns every time! No on air tune-up required! And very easy to tune, once you figure out the manual.......
N1GMV Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2002 09:13 Send this review to a friend
Works great for me!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got my AL-80B it is about 3 days old now. I ordered new cause I didn't want to deal with any unknown problems but mainly because my XYL said I could!! :P

Right after I ordered the unit from the dealer I printed the manual from the Ameritron website and read it two or three times.

When the Amp arrived it was packaged nicely. There were absolutely no signs of damage on the outer box, Thank you UPS!! The unit was double boxed. I Hooked it up and saw 950 watts on 15mtrs and a KW out on 20mtrs with only 50watts drive power.

I have to be careful not to exceed a KW as I have the original TA-33 which is only rated at 1000 watts but typically roll back the ALC so my amp purrs at about 500-750 out.

Yes I love the Amp.

This is what you will notice when you get a Real amp!

People answer your cq!
How can they ignore such a great signal, you go from about an S5 or S6 to an S9 plus when you turn this puppy on and gives a nice rich sounding audio.

Suddenly it is you that are asking the other stations to repeat themselves. Yes those 25 watt stations with their ground mounted dipole will call you but don't feel bad telling them that their signal is poor :-).

Yes, one last thing. The neighbors will call you!!! I don't throw any TVI but apparently tend to bleed through on cheap amplified Computer speaker some K-Mart stereo systems etc. I do however work with my neighbor in attempts to resolve the issue with the full understanding that the problem is in their equipment. In all fairness and to keep things legal, I only run it when I need it.

The amp is very well made and is nice to buy one of the last American products made by Americans.

John, GMV
AA8YO Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2002 18:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent - No Problems!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my AL-80B almost 5 years ago. I have never had a single problem with my amplifier using it along with my Gap Titan DX on 10 - 80 meters.

Based on my own personal experience with it, I would definately recommend it to anyone looking for a moderately priced 1 Kw amp.

I'm not sure how the cheaper tube compares with the Eimac that came with mine however.....
W7KPQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2002 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Nice Amp - Easy to Use  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased AL80B about three years ago slightly used. Use it with Kenwood TS570D(G) and Icom 746. Works well. Easily puts out 800+ watts on CW and 1000 PEP on SSB. Particularly like the one 3-500Z tube. Use Ameritron ARB702 interface units with both Kenwood and Icom rigs. Easy to tune up as all I do is key transceiver in CW and tune amp for peak power out - it's a snap. Takes less than 3 seconds. When tuning amp you want to make sure to turn off the antenna tuner as transceiver will see a perfect 50 ohm input so no need to leave the ant. tuner engaged. If I want to run the transceiver barefoot simply turn xmt switch from opr to stby and push ant. tuner in for ant. match. It's that easy!
PT2HO Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2001 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Great amplifier  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this amplifier to replace an old YAESU FL2100Z and I assure that it delivers 1000w with ease. It also has a relative cheap tube compared to the ceramic ones.

I highly recommend it if you do not intend to use it at full power output during a contest.

73 Carlos PY4RO (also PY1CAS and PT2HO)
WB9WHE Rating: 4/5 Aug 16, 2001 14:01 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT AMP, SUB-PAR MANUAL  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is my third Ameritron Amp. Previous amps were AL-811 and AL-811H. I give the AL-811 and AL-811H ***EXCELLENT*** ratings. They were rugged and simple to tune.

The AL-80B is NOT simple to tune, at least not from the manual, which, in my opinion, is not logically organized. However, once you figure out the manual (by integrating instructions from multiple sections) the amp works great. Meets and exceeds all rated output specifications for me.

The dual cross-needle meters provide lots of useful information. My only beef is that the forward power meter on my mine is VERY "bouncy". Although it is a "peak reading" power output meter, it appears to read "peeks" in excess of the actual power output peaks as judged against both a recently factory re-alabrated Telewave 44 (a 5% meter) and my MFJ ATU (not that I expect much from MFJ - I don't - but these two meters typically agree).

The FRONT panel adjustable ALC is a very useful single knob for controlling output without de-tuning the amp. The REAR panel ALC limit control (that limits maximum drive) is an excellent idea. Although I typically only run it at 500-600 watts SSB, it runs suprisingly cool, probably because the tube is turned off between words. With the front panel ALC control, you can quickly go to MAX output to break a pile up, then dial down once you get through WITHOUT de-tuning.

Design and layout are also logical and well thought-out. The multiple winding adjustments on the HV power transformer make it possible to compensate for just about any line voltage between 100-250 volts, an EXCELLENT feature. I run mine on 240 to avoid 120 volt shack line voltage sag. The "step-start inrush current" protection is a great idea. It uses a relay switched resistor to limit current "inrush" to the tube when you turn the amp on. While I still hear the customary "thump", the manufacturer claims this feature extends tube life by limiting thermal shock caused by high initial current inrush. I like the idea....and it seems intuitively logical. Is it effective? I don't really know.

I would have liked to see a little "stiffer" power supply that incorporated more capacitance to keep the HV flatter during peak output. However, in all fairness, it still exceeds rated output.
I also think it could use a bigger ground lug. The one on the back is a tad small considering the power the amp is capable of producing. Finally, some by-pass caps on the incomming AC line would provide some cheap ($4) and fairly effective insurance against AC line radiated RFI. This would be a nice addition. (Martin F. Jue are you reading this??)

If the AL-80B is to be your first AMP, or you like to push things for maximum output, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you consider the OPTIONAL grid protection board for $45. It will protect the $250 tube from deadly grid current caused by operational changes or mistuning. If you like to push things hard, it is cheap insurance for an expensive tube.

Maby someday the AL-80C will be available with an automatic tuning feature like the Alpha.

Overall, I'm very happy with it and most likely, you will be also. But for the manual and the "bouncy meter" I would have given it a 4.8. As is, I give it a 4.4.

If anybody else has an overly "bouncy" forward power meter, please e mail me at
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