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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: 128 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1300
Description: Kilowatt output HF desktop linear
Product is in production.
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N4JA Rating: 2/5 Nov 26, 2011 10:15 Send this review to a friend
plate tuning cap arcs  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What is wrong with this amp is that you will get an amp that the plate tuning capacitor will arc. The problem lies with the supplier who sells the change-over relays to Ameritron.
You will assume that both sets of contacts would close at the same time. For the majority of these amps, this is true. But occasionally you will get the cange-over relay that the input side makes contact before the output side. This is what happens: The input side closes, makes contact and drives the amp into an open load before the output closes. This causes a millisecond arc of the plate tuning capacitor. If this happens enough times, the arc is sustained and the plate tuning capacitor is ruined. That is what happened to the one I just had. It lasted only 8 days. I sent it back. I once had an ALS 600 that would fault about every third transmission. I cured it's relay problem by slightly bending the output side of the relay so it would make contact before the input side. That cured the faulting problem.Most of these Al-80B's work properly. Since the change over relays are open framed, you can get to the relay contacts and by slightly and I mean SLIGHTLY bend the output relay contacts so the relay closes with the proper sequence. It is not a design or manufacturing problem with Ameritron. It is a problem caused by whoever supplies the the relays. I don't care whose amp you buy, you should make sure both sets of relay contacts close at the same time or are properly sequenced. I never had this problem with the AL 80A I owned more than 10 years ago. I assume the relays were of better quality. I also had this same problem with an AL-82.
WB6ANT Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2011 13:46 Send this review to a friend
Best value Amplifier  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
For the price, the AL-80B is hard to beat. The next move up, to the legal limit, is a big jump in cost for a relatively small performance gain. I am completely satisfied with the performance this amplifier provides. It is a solid design that has proven itself capable over many years. I don't operate much on the WARC bands, but using my rigs autotuner does allow full drive on 12 and 17 meters if I choose. I changed the internal jumpers and operate the AL-80B on 240-volts. It produces rated output on all bands. Hopefully, there is enough demand in the amateur market to keep China interested in producing the 3-500Z (and 811s / 572Bs) for many more years. For all of the bad ink that Ameritron amps seem to get, there sure are an awful lot of them operating on the ham bands, producing loud, clean signals when properly tuned and operated. 73, Jim
VE3BXB Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2011 09:54 Send this review to a friend
Best bang for the buck / Great Performance  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I just wish to say that this is my first amplifier that I have ever owned. I have only had it for about 4 months. I feel that I could not have purchased a better amp. For the price range of this amp, you can't go wrong. I do operate the amp on a 120 volt dedicated AC line with no problems. When transmitting into a dummy load the amp peaks out at 1.1kilwatt with no problems. It is very easy to tune as well for a manual tuner. The meters are nice and bright with the use of LED's
Under normal operation I typically operate between 600 to 800 watts in order to preserve the life of the tube
I can't say enough about the quality of this amp. I highly recommend this amp to anyone. The only other amp that I might have considered would be the AL 82 but there is a considerable difference in price.
Thanks for reading my posting VE3BXB
KT0NY Rating: 4/5 Apr 24, 2011 15:39 Send this review to a friend
Bang for the buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I guess after owning this amp for 7 years I've had enough time to form an opinion.

You won't find a much better watts-per-dollar deal. The amp is rugged, runs on 120V, and is easy to set up and tune. The 3-500ZG is an excellent choice: widely available, inexpensive, and hard to hurt.

What are the negatives?

The fan isn't rackety, but it is noticeable.

The tuned input has stumped some of the users on this forum. My solution is to use the autotuner on my K3. I set the amp up for max drive on 20 and 15; then when I want to use the amp on 30 or 17, I turn it to Operate and push the ATU button on the K3. This completely cures the off-resonance drive issue on the Warc bands.

The design relies on an ALC connection to the transceiver. ON4UN expresses his opinion of that in his book Low-Band DXing: "ALC is evil." For maximum linearity, it's better to leave the ALC disconnected, and set drive on a per-band basis such that the ALC needle never moves or just barely ticks up on occasion. This reduces maximum output somewhat, but produces a cleaner signal.

If you understand this amp's limitations and operate within them, it is an excellent, long-lived, rugged performer and a great value.

Tony KT0NY
K4ZNC Rating: 5/5 Apr 17, 2011 11:34 Send this review to a friend
Know what your're paying for before you buy it  Time owned: more than 12 months
This will be my third review of the AL80B that I purchased almost 10 years ago. I knew when I purchased the amp that the WARC bands slugs would have to be peaked for those bands, and I knew it when I purchased the amp. No false advertising from Ameritron!

The AL80B was my first purchase of brand new equipment (other equipment was used). Occasional carelessness in tuning on my part did not damage this unit; very durable and reliable.

I recently sent this unit back to to Ameritron to replace one of the meters; they replaced both menters and charged me for only the damaged meter. Nice work Ameritron!
KI5FJ Rating: 3/5 Apr 17, 2011 08:25 Send this review to a friend
OK, Input SWR Issues  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
21 Years ago I built the SB-1000 (AKA AL-80A).
Still in use. I purchased the AL-80BQ with
Factory Installed QSK & GOP.The input SWR is poor,not broad-banded enough.This is NOT a new issue. Ameritron should switch the input separately for each band and allow for Front Panel QSY adjustment.
My ICOM-756ProIII Internal ATU clips the beginning of each word when the Input SWR is HIGH. Ameritron states: DO NOT use internal ATUs, live with the SWR!?! I now use a manual ATU, MFJ-949E, tuned for some bands, between the rig and amp.The QSK is amazing.I operate 30 to 40 Watts Input, 160-10 Meters.
W7DME Rating: 3/5 Apr 1, 2011 09:36 Send this review to a friend
Some Disapointment  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I found out today, that if you want to use an Ameritron AL-572 or any of their amps on the WARC bands, you have to retune the input filters for each band. I guess I'm picky, but I feel that when someone advertises that their equipment will do something, that it should do so without having to go into the equipment and change the internal settings. Obviously, if you retune the input, then the normal bands don't work now. Other than that, the amp work good so far. I just feel they falsely advertised their product.
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2011 17:47 Send this review to a friend
Solid, simple, reliable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This single 3-500 amp is solid, simple, reliable, and easily repaired if necessary, usually due abuse. Won't belabor the point, but I'm on my second AL-80B, and both have functioned similarly.

This one I decided to put on 220V, which at my qth is measured at 243V. But, to get the nominal unloaded HV of 3100V, warmed up, I needed to use the tap settings for 230V. On transmit, see the predicted 400V drop on HV, down to 2700V. It is normal to see the HV rise by 50-100V after warm up.

Since I only run 100ma Ig and/or 400ma Ip max, for tube life, etc., only see about 700W key down from 65W input, with an indicated match on my IC-7000 of 1.3:1. Keep in mind that this will equate to higher PEP output on SSB, than 700W.

Other comment concurs with previous reviewer, except I seldom get on 15M, so simply set 15/17M slug to 17M min input SWR, and get good match to transceiver. Without getting theoretical, an auto tuner will not substitute if the input pad is not tuned correctly for the band in use. I've owned several Ameritron amps, and have never seen one that will input tune to same settings for 15/17M, or 20/30M, the latter not presenting a problem as can't exceed 200W PEP on 30M anyway.

All Ameritron amps have gone up in price. The older ones have value, but the potential need to replace filter caps, tube(s), relays, etc., should be considered on the older ones, especially where listed for about what they cost when new......Age of any Ameritron amp can be determined from the QC round lablels on PCBs or by calling Amertron with serial number of amp under consideration.

Ameritron tech support is great, and usually a call to them will resolve minor problems, especially where amp still has normal output.

KJ4YZF Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2011 07:21 Send this review to a friend
AL80B owner for 3 months  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased an AL80B from DX Engineering - and it was sent to my daughter who forwarded it to me in Colombia. If DX sent it directly I would have needed to pay an additional 30% tax since the free trade agreement hasn't been signed by the US - plus DX charges more for shipping international than my freight forwarder in Florida.

Initially, I couldn't get the amp to put out a kilowatt - I was getting like 820 watts PEP on 40. The problem was the voltage here was dropping from 121 to 111 when I was transmitting - so I needed to wire a direct line with copper 12G wires to the box and now I get a solid 1.05 kw on 40. Here in South America there really isn't any building code and it's not uncommon to use zip cord for electrical outlets, etc..

Initially I was using a LDG-1000Pro and it didn't work very well - I sent it back and have a PalStar AT2KD which works very well. With the AL80B and the DX-CC and IAC Double Bazooka on the side of a cliff I make 5-9 10 over contacts to the states frequently on 20 and 40 meters..

I do notice some problems on WARC bands - the input on the AL80B is tuned for 10/20/40/80 and going in-between sometimes causes a mismatch on the input side of the AL80B. I really wished the amp had better support for the WARC bands. It's possible to retune the amp but you can't have both - 17 and 20 meters for example.

I was told I might need a tuner on the input side to match the AL80B input - I tried the built in tuner on the 590 yesterday and the amp didn't put out more than a 100 watts AM (25 in) on the WARC bands..

The AL80B appears solid - the tube seems great - I'm very happy with the unit and the support from DX Engineering is EXCELLENT. I had many questions and they are great - 5 star.

73's from Medellin, Colombia..

Larry - KJ4YZF/HK (pending Colombian HK4 call)..
PHILIP_EX_KC7FWB Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2011 16:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent value  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I treated myself to this for my birthday (March, 2010). I have used it almost daily, mostly for 80m nets, but also on 40m and 20m.

My LP-100 power meter shows SSB peaks of ~1KW.

I originally tried to run it from 120v, but soon gave up on that, and ran a 240v outlet for it.

The instructions are understandable, once you understand them!

Very well made, works as advertised.
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