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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: 132 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1300
Description: Kilowatt output HF desktop linear
Product is in production.
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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.
WB5UAA Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2011 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp! Great Price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is the second AL-80B I've owned. The first one I bought back in 2000, installed the grid protection circuit in it and ran it on 110 volts. I rode it hard and put it up wet regularly (that's cowboy talk for beating on it mercilessly). I replaced the tube in it about every year and a half because I rode it so hard. Never really followed the tuning procedures and relied on the grid protection circuit, which I tripped regularly. It worked flawlessly, as far as I'm concerned. With a new tube, it always put out more than rated. After glowing the tube anode a little too bright a little too many times with sagging line voltage and plate voltage, the tube would go soft. No surprises there. I did this until about 2007. Sold it (practically gave it away at a hamfest) because I was tired of moving it every year, since I was in the Air Force and moving about every year back then.

Now I'm settled and wanted to go QRO again. This amp is still the best bang for the buck. Single, relatively cheap tube (no neutralizing), less than 3db down from max legal power, works on 110V (even better on 220V), and it's only a little over a dollar a watt. This time, I was nervous after reading some of these reviews. Kind of like rolling the dice when I decided to go ahead and buy another one. Since the first one was such a fine workhorse for me, and looking at the ratio of good/bad reviews in here, I figured the odds were in my favor.

This time, before applying power, I did everything right to run a dedicated 220 volt circuit to the ham shack (246 Volts at the outlet!), rewired it for 245, did the 10M mod, plugged it in and since I forgot to order the GOP-100 along with it, I read the instructions this time. Following the instructions carefully, (1st limit ALC to 100 ma, then 180 ma, then back off exciter, then adjust ALC for that power) it puts out full rated power 80 to 10 and there's no voltage sag this time. Soon I'll have a Versa Tuner 5, some ladder line, and almost 300 feet of wire and I'll have this amp on 160. I'm sure it'll work fine there. I have the GOP-100 in hand and the next time I have it on the bench, I'll install it. This time, I'm expecting to have this amp for the rest of my life. I'm mainly a CW operator, so when I go QRO, I tune it up for max, and then back it off to 500 watts. I figure this amp is going to last me the rest of my life. And I'm expecting the tube to last a bit longer this time since I finally figured out there's not much difference between 800 watts CW and 500 watts CW. I've had this one for 3 months now, and it's working flawlessly.

There are a couple of bad reviews in here. I suppose there are a few bad apples that get through Ameritron QC every once in a while. I bought an ALS-600 for my father a few years ago and it was a lemon. Two of the MRF-150s popped like firecrackers first time power was applied. Sent the whole thing back, got another one. It's been working flawlessly since then (about 5 years ago.) So, what I'm saying is, for those of you reading these reviews, don't be afraid to get a lemon. If you get a lemon, Ameritron will take care of you. The biggest hassle is mailing the lemon back to them.
N5GOD Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2011 15:09 Send this review to a friend
Best Bang For The Buck!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have not had my AL80B but a couple of months. I had looked at bigger amps and I had a AL811H which did a very good job. I bought my AL80B new from HRO I have has no problems with it at all. With a Force 12 C4XL 1KW is all I need. It is the only amp Ameritron makes with a 2 year warranty. It may not be a racehorse but I do believe it is a workhorse as I have had friends that has had this same amp with great results. I would highly recommend Ameritron Amps. I have been to the factory and Mike gave me a tour and I called asking questions about Ameritron Amps after touring and before buying this amp and he was very helpful. If I ever did have problems with it I know where to get it fixed just down the road at Starkville, MS!
K8BZ Rating: 4/5 Dec 15, 2010 09:38 Send this review to a friend
Good Amp. Bad Documentation  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the AL-80B over two years ago at a swap meet. The amp was like new in the original box. Re-wired it for 240v opeartion and did the 10 meter modification as described in the manual. The manual was not well written for these modifications but it was just adequate.

Used the Amp for a few months and a meter lamp burned out. Ameritron sent a replacement right away. Shipping cost more than the lamp. A few months later the amp had no output at all. Called Ameritron and described the problem and they were certain that the tube was bad and needed replaced. I browsed the web and found a well rated Chineese tube at a reasonable price and the amp worked fine after the tube was replaced.

Two years later I decided to order the QSK-5PC internal QSK board upgrade. The documentation for the QSK board installtion was very poor and in some instances was completely inadequate and you are left to guessing as to where some connections should be made. It required a few calls to Ameritron for clairification but the board is now installed and working properly.

I consider this amp very dependable and it performs well, although it is not top quality as far as construction and the manuals are only fair, at best. The technical support staff at Ameritron have been very helpful and have been able to correctly dientify the problems I have had very quickly. If you are considering this amp and want to work QSK, I suggest you buy it with the QSK board installed and don't try to install it yourself folling the supplied instructions.
W0JIG Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2010 15:51 Send this review to a friend
Nice little amp/G5RV  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the AL-80B after I zapped the band switch on my AL-572 when I forgot to reduce the exciter from 100W and did not have it tuned correct. I have to say the AL-80B is more forgiven if you make a mistake. I have used the amp for the last three months without a bit of trouble and get great feedback. I get over 1k with about 90W of drive on 80 meters and 120V - I have not tested it on other bands yet but I think it will do fine. Also for the price it's hard to beat. So far so good. Joe W0JIG
VO1GWK Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2010 17:36 Send this review to a friend
AL-80BX  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I recently purchased a new Ameritron AL-80BX and it's a great amp. Like any amp, if you run it with a high VSWR and or are exciting it with too much drive you will have problems with it, that's only common sense unless one don't know the difference. All you have to do is look at the 3-500Z tube, if it's running bright red you're driving it too hard and or it's not loaded correctly. Run the amp so the tube is running a nice dull red color with x amount of power, high or low, and it will last for years without any problems.
KB3OJM Rating: 4/5 May 14, 2010 12:32 Send this review to a friend
Nice AMP  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I read all the reviews, looked at all the specs and even called Ameritron before buying this Amp. I picked up the AL-80B from HRO, I am running it on 120volts normal house hold current but on it's own line. I had a few problems with tuning and could not get the amp to hit 1K, 15-17 meters would feed back high SWRs and shut down half the power. Called Ameritron f tech support and they felt it might be a bad resister. after several days of trying to get the tng to work I decided to take it back to HRO in Delaware. Chuck at hro was very helpful and offered to check the amp out to see if it was a bad amp or just needed to be tuned. After hooking it up to an icom 7700 we still could not get the amp to tune on 15-17 meters. Half the store was trying to figure this out. they found a paper from Ameritron showing that 2 jumpers had to be cut in order to get the swrs down and make 15 and 17 meters work. This is not in the instructions that come with the amp. it does need to be added. Once the jumpers were cut the amp gave me 1k on 20-80 meters 650 - 900 watts on 15 and 17. 160 was not tested.
been using the amp now for about 3 weeks with out any problems, very easy to tune with about 70 watts drive. the cross needle meters add a nice plus for tuning. I am happy with the product and the support from ameriton is also very good. I would give this amp a 5 but with a key part of the instructions missing and dragging the amp around getting it fixed I'll leave it at a 4. I would recommend this amp. You can’t beat the quality for the price.
TURBOBOB Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2010 13:59 Send this review to a friend
Good Value - Good Quality  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my AL-80B for just over 12 months. It arrived well packed and with no issues. The component quality is better than I would have expected given some of the Ameritron reviews on this site. The amp is very easy to tune using my Elecraft K3 to drive it and I have not needed to hook up the ALC. Note that Elecraft does not recommend using an ALC.

Mine is wired for 240 volts and puts out about rated power on SSB on all bands through 10 meters with 85 watts drive. I like the “cross needle” meters and the power output indication matches the output noted on my Palstar AT2K tuner. I had to retune the 15/17 input so that I could get my K3 to drive the amp on 17 meters without rolling back due to high SWR on 17. I could have used the internal antenna tuner on the K3 however, I like the simplicity of not having to mess with it during tuning.

If you haven’t looked at amplifier tube prices lately you may not appreciate the single 3-500Z triode as the power tube. It is a very tolerant tube during tuning and its replacement price is not in the stratosphere. Overall I am very happy with this amp and I consider it a good vale.

K9FHY - Bob
W5CRY Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2010 05:27 Send this review to a friend
Good Value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased this amp from Ebay at half the price of a new unit. Upon receipt, I opened the unit to install the tube and look for anything out of order. Finding a burnt resistor in the 12 VDC Aux Output line which was easily replaced.

The amp was rewired for 220 VAC operation and has been in service at my QTH for six months.

Operation during this period has shown the unit to be quiet in operation, reliable, easy to tune following the recommended process in the owners manual. Normally driven by an Icom Pro-3 the output is close to the advertised specifications.

I would rate the AL-80B as good value for the dollar spent, especially if you find a good previously owned unit.

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