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

Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-80A
Ameritron AL-80A Reviews: 50 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $1399
Description: Ameritron AL-80a 1KW Output, 160-15, 10 possible with mod.
run a single 3-500z, 850 watts CW, 1000 watts SSB.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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VY1JA Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2017 13:40 Send this review to a friend
Greast in Camada for Contests   Time owned: more than 12 months
The station at VY1JA is opertated remotely by YCCCN contest group and has been there for many. For many months now we have been only using the AL-80A and if you worked VY1AAA, XO1A, CF1AAA, or VY1JA this amp is what helped make you hear us. We have found that Martin F Jue and his staff provided excellent service the one time it was needed and the amp ended up better than new as a reslut. This amp has been in service in the Yukon for many years and just keeps plugging away. I strongly recommend this amp for anyone who contests.

OE4VIE Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2017 11:20 Send this review to a friend
Still a good choice!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had my AL-80A for about 6 months. I bought it second hand and it performed flawlessly ever since. I have not experienced any problems or issues. In my AL-80A I am using an swiss BBC (ABB) T510-1 tube with graphite anode which give me easily an Kilowatt if needed. I renewed the parasistic suppressor with a F1BXL hairpin design, which you can buy on ebay. I had a few 2x 3-500z amplifiers in the past but was always looking for a single tube linear like this one. If you can get one for a good price, take it!
W2ZR Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2017 14:06 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, it finally happened. After 27 years, my trusty little amp has developed a small glitch. There seems to be something slipping such that turning the PLATE knob doesn't always turn the capacitor. Other than that, it's operated flawlessly.
W8NIC Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2017 03:34 Send this review to a friend
VERY CONSISTENT !!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this amp 5 yrs now but only used occasionally. Always see 1k with 90 watts drive, cooling system is excellent and fan noise in non-existent.
Very good amp for the money.
KJ4EOZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2016 04:47 Send this review to a friend
Almost legal limit   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A good ham buddy passed away and left me all his gear and one thing was a AL80A and wow what a amp .
Using my LP100A meter and my Yaseu meter shows the same . 80 meters full drive 1200 watts . Other bands 1100 watts +/- I run it most of the time with 65 watts 850 +/- out . and run super cool . Can't even hear it run . Tunes fast and easy . I was going to sell it guy had money in his hand to buy it from me but playing with it for a day or 2 and I told him I was keeping it lol .
KC9OET Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2016 12:51 Send this review to a friend
great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought a used al-80a amp and sent it to ameritron and had the tech,fix everything that was wrong with it,and now it works flawless those amps are work horses with 50-watts drive I get 700-watts out I replaced the power triode with the 3-500zg it is easy to tune,and has a wisper quite fan,and with 3100-votes on the plate it is more than enough for the triode,most amps using 2-3-500z,s don,t have that much plate voltage so if you want a great amp get the al-80a you can,t go wrong
KR3DX Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2015 13:03 Send this review to a friend
ALL gear should be this good  Time owned: more than 12 months
The following are my personal observations and opinions. I bought my AL-80A new, in 1987. It was made in Ohio, before the Ameritron name was acquired by MFJ. The workmanship is flawless, it has good solder joints, and all mechanical connections are tight. One of the grain-of-wheat lamps that illuminate the meters burned out after a couple of months, I replaced all the lamps with LEDs, and they have been working fine since then. The only problem that I had was with the original Eimac tube. I was unlucky enough to get a tube from the bad batch that had a defective anode plate to cap weld, and it developed a tilt of the anode. Of course, this was not Ameritron's fault. By this time, Eimac had ceased production of glass tubes, so I bought an Amperex tube that was made in France. (I try to avoid buying anything made in China, it's ALL junk, in my opinion) I have used this amp for countless SSB ragchews, many of them lasting for an hour or longer. Most of this operation has been on 20M and 40M, with occasional use on the higher bands. I have used it during the PA-QSO Party, which requires constant cycling from transmit to receive. I have occasionally applied drive to it with the bandswitch in the wrong position. I have NEVER had any problem with this amp. It has always functioned flawlessly. About once a year, I remove the cover and vacuum the inside of the amp, and wipe down the tube envelope and HV anode areas with a lint-free cloth. This is the only maintenance that it has required in over 28 years. It's been a great amp, I would buy it again, without hesitation.

Denny KR3DX
N8VIL Rating: 5/5 Jan 31, 2015 22:11 Send this review to a friend
Great amplifier with updates  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased this amplifier not working for $200.00. Most of my gear is purchased not working and I enjoy restoring to better than new condition. I replaced the terrible "step start" relay with the Harbach stepstart board. The new boards come with mounting holes at each corner. Mounted it to the inside rear cabinet with 1/4 X 3/4 hex standoffs and #6 screws. This board gives a nice 1/4 second start up sequence. Plate voltage ramps up to 1700 volts then 1/4 second later 3000 volts. Also replaced plate choke, current design from Ameritron, and RFP 3-500ZG tube. Added a 3 LED warm white strip to the top of each meter for meter lights. I find that 240 volts is a better way to power the amplifier. Less current on the AC line to the outlet and also the internal AC wiring in the amplifier. The wiring in the amplifier is a little thin for my taste and is also a little easier on the power switch and stepstart relay contacts.
I get about 800 watts CW during tune up with 75-80 drive. Signal reports have been great and I am very pleased with this amp. I spent about $250 in parts (stepstart board - plate choke - new tube) to bring this amplifier to its former glory.
I also sanded the top cover, primed and painted. It was all scratched up. I used an etching primer from Duplicolor to prime and Rusteloem makes a nice fine textured satin black paint that duplicates the original finish. You cant tell that it has been repainted. Anyways 5 star rating with me and I had to brag a bit about my latest restoration project
K1FBI Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2013 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Amazing  Time owned: more than 12 months
Decades later there is still full output from the original tube. My AL-80B was always light on the power and the AL-80A looks so much nicer. Maybe I should rate this a 4 because it's not a brand new top of the line, mega-dollar Alpha; just a $600 bargain that works great. (Hams, gotta luv 'em)
WA4DMV Rating: 4/5 May 21, 2013 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Bargain!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought an AL-80A a couple of months ago from another ham who was installing a higher power amp. Previously, this amp was in use daily. As far as he knew, the only mods were the 10M OEM mod and an add-on slow-start module.

Got the amp home and immediately started melting coax, as I was too anxious to get it on the air and tuned it with key down. Mah bad! The other dumb thing I did was "ass-ume" that a current balun rated at 300W would be able to handle "a little more". It didn't. Melted a piece of #14 wire inside it. Oh, and with the open balun, I had about a ton of reflected power, which my FT-920 didn't like. Smoke was seen and later I determined that the modulator was fried.

So I went out and bought an FT-DX3000D, as the local repair guy was backed up for a long while and who can go without an HF rig? I replaced the balun with one rated 5KW to make that end idiot (me) proof. I tuned it up and voila! I found that I was getting about 750 watts on 20M. I knew why I couldn't get more. The amp was wired for 120V when I got it, and I had plugged it into a shared 15A circuit. But then again, I was anxious to get the damn thing on the air, so who cares if the house burns down? With key down, the plate voltage would drop from 3100 to 2500 and the few remaining incandescent lights in the room would dim. That would need to be rectified, no pun intended.

I installed a new 60A service for the second-story bedroom I have converted to a ham shack, and I installed an L6-20 outlet. Followed Ameritron's simple conversion instructions -- changing two jumpers on a barrier strip -- five-minute job (all that's happening here is that two separate primary windings which were used in parallel for 120V are connected in series for 240V). I removed the soft-start circuit, as I doubted that it would function with the amp wired for 240, and besides, the designer of this amp has stated that the only reason for the soft-start was to reduce inrush current load on the power switch -- and wouldn't really help or hurt anything else. Buttoned 'er up and got a hernia lifting 'er back into position.

Fired 'er up. First problem: blown fuse. I pulled the fuses and found that the previous owner had installed a 7A 250V fuse on one side of the line and a 15A 32V fuse on the other. Ameritron's specs call for 10A 250V on both sides. Obviously, it was the 7A fuse that blew. My parts bin was no help, so off to the local surplus emporium, where I got what I thought was 2 10A fuses, but in actuality, one was a 9/10A. So, anxious to operate guy that I am, I installed the 10A along with the 15A. (Yeah, I know.)

Powered it up and my first observation was that the key-down drop in plate voltage was minuscule. Yes! Tuned up (using keyer) and found that I can get about 900 watts out while limiting grid current to the recommended 200ma. This is on 20M with about 60W drive. I haven't spent a lot of time with it on other bands.

Clearly, the 3-500Z had been replaced sometime along the way, as the tube bore the RF Parts label -- a private-labeled tube manufactured in the dreaded China. RF Parts sells them for $190, whereas the Amperex tube (made currently in France) goes for $330.

I heard that WARC bands were an issue with this amp, but I had no trouble on 17, even when I was dimming the lights with each pronounced syllable. Speaking of lights, three out of four incandescent meter lamps were burned out. It was obvious that these were added at some point in the amp's long life, as they were taped to the top of the meter cases. I ordered some LED replacements from MFJ, wired them up, and it looks like a new amp! (You do have to glue them to the meter housing, but a drop of hot glue works quite well.)

I gave the old boat anchor a four rating because it isn't a modern, solid-state amp with automatic tuning and band switching. Otherwise, I say buy one if you get a chance. I paid $650 for mine. If you get one without a manual, MFJ/Ameritron has a PDF of the manual on-line. Also, their tech support is responsive to questions about the AL-80A. That's great support for a product this long in the tooth.

I hope you find my narrative reviews engaging. I am, after all, a ham.
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