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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-84 Help


Reviews Summary for Ameritron AL-84
Ameritron AL-84 Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $300-400 used
Description: 1.8-22mhz Linear Amplifier
100w in, 400w min out
4x 6MJ6
120v or 240v
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.ameritron.com
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SA3AYF Rating: 4/5 Oct 1, 2017 09:31 Send this review to a friend
Forgiving and reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
Wrote my last review in 2012 an feel I have to write an update on it after five years.
Tuning the WARC-bands is a breeze AND the amp has 160m (!)
In ham radio, the firs S-unit or in reality 400W makes the biggest difference. To go another S-unit would mean 1600W which is illegal anywhere in my knowledge. And it is wonderfully small and lightweight though rugged as a tank.
Also, they usually go very cheap, 100USD or thereabouts.
So, why not a 5 and only a 4 ?

Well:
1. the tubes are getting scarce. And whatever you do, do NOT use the American original tubes unless you´re in to flash-overs and the white smoke built into most components.
2. Age, caps in PSU WILL need replacement after a certain age to be able to deliver the juice for those peaks.

Please consider these alterations:
Change to European EL519 tubes (or PL519 which are at sal currently on eBay at 5-10 USD a pice if you search for them) or their Russian equivalent. All are much sturdier and will even slightly increase you output power !
Maybi the Russion TI7B would be the best bet ? Haven´t tried that but similar amps like the Dentron 1000 seems to be easily changed, and they are very similar in construction.
Those tubes are also very easily obtained AND cheap (great combo!).
Also, incorporate adjustable bias (5 components are all you need).
Most of all, incorporate a HV fuse in the anode supply.
Info on all upgrades can be found on the homepage of SM0O or be derived from the homepage of PA0FRI.

The amp is a true workhorse and will bust piles like a $2000 amp any day.
Find one ? Buy it IF you have know-how to make the modifications mentioned and you have a portable tank of an amp !
 
K7JOE Rating: 3/5 Dec 27, 2016 19:54 Send this review to a friend
Cheap amp not good...good amp not cheap...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Simple to operate. 400W output with 100W input. I tried it because it was cheap. I flipped it quick to get a proper amp. On a cost-per watt basis, I wouldn't pay more than $200 for one of these in good cosmetic and electrical shape with good working tubes installed.

Note: The 6MJ6 and substitute sweep tubes have become quite expensive, plan on $100-$150 to re-tube the amp, depending which brand of tube you go with....and these are not nearly as rugged as a true RF tube.


By comparison, 811 based amp (Ameritron, Collins) or a 572B based amp (Ameritron, Yaesu, Heathkit) will give way better life and performance bang for the buck vs sweep tube type amps. Cost per watt, you're going to be much less expensive with an amp using different tubes. An SB-200, for example, goes for about the same price, for double the RF output AND uses real RF tubes that will outlast the sweep tubes by thousands of hours of operation.

Hams with radio roots in CB radio seem to love these amps. I dunno why.

This amp is not at all recommended for CW or RTTY/Digital use. Can't handle it. Even on SSB you're barely getting 6dB of gain (which is maybe an S-unit on a good day).

For SSB, they are acceptable but there is a need to know how to tune them properly (ie, dont tune for Maximum Smoke - always advance the loading setting, thereby reducing capacitance and power output to ensure a linear signal with minimal IMD).


 
KD8NBW Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2016 07:36 Send this review to a friend
excellent amp despite haters  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought from a swap not knowing if it really worked...with help from N8XG learned how to tune up....unit works great! Get unsolicited quality reports on QSO's...I would say the reports on this site are correct...and on another eham site, only 4 haters with nothing good to say....I have had it for over 2 years and aside from forgetting to switch to the proper band and smoking a tube, have not had any problems,it is easy to tune, very quiet (don't even know its on by sound) fan, and low power usage. 6mj6 used, around $80 for 4, seem to be made better than the original tubes....
 
KE5QFQ Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2015 11:29 Send this review to a friend
Great little amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
Needed a inexpensive amplifier for my portable station used when snowbirding. Bought a used AL-84 and new tubes 2 years ago and have no problems. I can get 350 watts with no problems with signal or audio. I met one of my ham friends at a tail gate and he had just purchased a AL-84 to use for the same purpose as I use mine. He let me know the other day that he is very pleased with his purchase. Only drawback is the tubes run about $50.00 each when you can find them and it needs 4 of them.
 
VA2DV Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2014 15:19 Send this review to a friend
Quiet and dependable  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am on my second AL-84. I sell the first one to try
out a solid state model but the IMD was just too high for my taste. I was able to found a mint AL-84 form a gentleman in Nova Scotia. Even have NOS 6MJ6's fitted inside. Well, it works just fine as my first one. 400w keydown or around 500w on voice peaks on SSB. It take around 5-6 second to tune so no worries for the light sweep tubes. Regarding the tubes, I was able to secure more than 3 complete set of replacement tubes for around 100$ so it's not a desesperate case if you own an amp with similar devices. Overall I am very happy with this old one. Small, quiet and easy on the wallet.
 
VA2DV Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2013 07:25 Send this review to a friend
Small and easy to use  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Despite the bad comments about sweep tubes I took the plunge and got this amp for a fair price with a spare set of valves.I was surprised by the small size and the simplicity of use.I get a solid 400-500w depending on the band with 60w drive.I find it easier to tune than a AL-811H I had a few years ago.
For a casual operator like I am at the moment, the AL-84 gives me the little extra I need for almost half the price of anything else on the used market.
As for the tubes, I've found many replacemenst for around 15$ each so it's not more expensive than most amplifiers to re-tube it.Very happy with mine.
 
SA3AYF Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2012 02:57 Send this review to a friend
Great little amp !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got my amp cheap on eBay and had no expectations to be honest, but the amp is a fantastic piece of equipment.

It gives me the extra make or break S-unit in any pile and it sounds really good on air according to the reports I have received.

Living in an apartement with only a vertical antenna on the balcony, this is the perfect amp to spice your signal up without the neighbours gathering outside your door with tar and feathers!

I am very happy :-)
 
AA1PR Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2012 19:34 Send this review to a friend
miss mine  Time owned: more than 12 months
this was my 1st HF amp ever. you have to be quick in your tuning & leave enough rest time in between tuning though.
I miss mine as it was the right size to place on a desk unlike the AL811 now, this al84 was truly a desktop amp
most will complain about the sweep tubes, be careful & they will last
600 watts is 600watts w/o breaking the bank
 
N0UY Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2012 05:15 Send this review to a friend
AWESOME and then some  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I read these reviews several years ago and was impressed by most responses. I recently put an ad online for selling a Gonset 2 meter amp and stated I would be interested in a trade for an AL-84 or similar. One responder had an AL-84 for sale. Cheap. ($150) I bought it sight unseen. When it arrived I was amazed on how good of condition it was in. Looked almost brand new. It works flawlessly and is one of the easiest amps to tune I have ever used. I was so impressed with this little champ that I sent the fellow some additional funds because he sold it to me way too cheap. Great piece of gear. I am totally satisfied with this well made amp.
 
WZ7E Rating: 5/5 Mar 29, 2011 21:50 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
The AL84 is a great choice where limited space and modest budget is a concern. These amps are simple, easy to use, quiet, and reliable. The sweep tube finals are still commonly available. The ten meter mod is a snap. No sputters, burns, or unstable operation in my experience.
 
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