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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | SPE Expert 1K-FA Help


Reviews Summary for SPE Expert 1K-FA
SPE  Expert 1K-FA Reviews: 77 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $4200 USD
Description: 1 KW Solid State Fully Automatic Linear Amplifier HF and 50Mhz

Product is in production.
More info: http://www.expertampsusa.com
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OZ6GH Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2013 07:24 Send this review to a friend
Good fully protected amplifier  Time owned: more than 12 months
I will not repeat what other has written about the amplifier. It is a good robust design, I will think it is impossible to destroy.
But you have to be aware that it do not cover the 60m amateur band, neither on standby or in operation. If you want to work this band, you have to turn off the amplifier completely and use a separate antenna tuner. And it seems SPE have no intention in adding this band in the firmware. If you have no plans in using the 60m band, I can recommend this amplifier as it is a very good product, but if you want to work all HF bands, probably you should think of another amplifier.
 
Z81B Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2013 12:49 Send this review to a friend
Highly recommended  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Voltage from my power generator fluctuates quite a lot. The room temperature at my shack occasionally exceeds 40 Celsius. In a few months, I blew off an IC-7000 (damaged above repairs), a laptop (damaged above repairs) and a tube power amplifier. The SPE 1K-FA does not seem to suffer these conditions.

My unit was affected by "sticking relays" (it is my understanding that newer versions are not affected) and SPE promptly provided me with support. After-sale service is good.

Connect CAT + ALC + PTT and just forget about the amplifier. It is like using a high-power transceiver (1 - 1.2 KW on HF, 700Watt on 6 meters) with built-in antenna tuner. Impressive.

Having enjoyed how solid, easy and fast the SPE 1K-FA is, I can't enjoy using manual-tuning tube amplifiers anymore. I am glad I bought a SPE 1K-FA.

Z81B, Massimo
 
ON4XA Rating: 5/5 Nov 8, 2013 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my amp by XBS TELECOM in Belgium 2 monthes ago, I must say that I am 100% satisfied, Mister Serge, the boss of XBS came himself at home to configure and explain me all about the linear.

I use the Amp with my Kenwood TS-2000, TS-480SAT and sometimes also with my good old TS-570DG . 1K-FA is really easy to programm and very easy to work, it's fully automatic. .
Amp is giving his full power (1 Kw) with 20 watts input on all bands. Sometime also 1,2Kw on some bands. I need to reduce the power, because it's the limit for my MA5B antenna.

I worked some great countries in big pile ups, China, Cambodia, Antartica, New Caledonia, etc.. with real goods reports.
.
This Expert 1K-FA came in place of my Acom 1000 and RM HLA 300V and I do not regret that decision.

Pity it's not directly working from 1,6->30MHz

Communication with SPE Italy is super great.

Great amplifier.

Vy 73.

Xavier ON4XA
 
OZ1DXI Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2013 20:58 Send this review to a friend
Highly recommended  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I'm not a full blown DX'er but an average Ham using all HF bands incl 60m but excl 160m
Running mainly psk-31 and some ssb on a B-square T2FD 37 meter long (122') and a Spiderbeam plus a 4 elm quad on 6m
The SPE was purchased at mwe.dk and are connected to an Icom ic-7600, a dream combination - giving well over 1200 watt on all hf-bands and > 800 watt on 6m
The SPE is just plug n' play with the 7600 and HRD - taking less than a blink of an eye, from operating 10m to a "Spot" on, let's say 40m
One amazing toy with so many features in such a small package.
Highly recommended
 
K6TTD Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2013 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Design, Smooth Operation & Reasonably Priced  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am not a QRO operator, but I have a pretty modest antenna setup (a 2 element STEPPIR @ 30') because I live on a small city lot with no back yard, and my "shack" is also VERY cramped. I wanted to have a couple of extra dB in reserve for pileups when the conditions get rough. I had owned an AL-811, and it performed very well, but it was far too massive for my current shack. I wanted a small, self contained solid state amp that could produce up to about 800 watts PEP. The SPE Expert 1K has more than met my needs. after a quick read-through of the manual, set up was fast and straightforward. It produces the power I need, includes its own auto-tuner so band switching is a breeze. I am the original owner, and have been using it now for over three years without a problem. It has been a flawless performer, and was, IMHO, very reasonably priced for what you get. You can't go wrong with this one.
 
IZ2XMK Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2013 05:09 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding design greath product  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am typically using just 200w Max and absolutely not a QRO guy but wanted to get an amplifier because I believe for a complete and well settled ham station to have the option to increase the power (in emergency cases)must be possible.
This product is compact and providing in an extremely straightforward and efficient way high quality power. You will have no problems with valves heating time or manual tuning; just switch it on and auto-tune...will take fraction of seconds ..You will se by Yourself. I am very satisfied and considering I am using it not so frequently I simply needed an equipment able to provide very high quality power on the spot. In addition this "guy" is very clever and will not allow mistakes. Until now I have to report just positive aspects and no problems at all. Based on my experience so far I recommend this product.
 
AK6ZZ Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2013 06:55 Send this review to a friend
First impressions - awesomely epic so stoked!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Big things sometimes come in little packages and that describes in my eyes the SPE 1K. My newest edition to the shack, the, SPE 1K, is amazing.

It is now partnering with my microham microkeyer 2 integrating many functions like antenna selection per band, tuned and memorized by the terrific autotuner, and web based controls for all major functions great I am suspecting for remote ops which is in progress.

For me it is a great amplifer putting out 1K on HF amd 600W on 6m, it also doubles as a great programmable antenna switch for up to four antennas, and its autotuner remembers ranges of frequencies within band and optimizes match for all my antennas to close to 1:1. With the microkeyer 2 controlling my Steppir and the SPE 1K connected through the ICOM CI-V port of the microkeyer everything runs seamlessly with my K3 and HRD. IT IS AN UN FRIGGING BELIEVABLE setup and is so awesome. I can hardly believe I don't need to use my LDG 1000AT anymore on 40m and stopping and tuning the LDG 1000AT in from CW portion to SSB part of the band is a thing of the past, and the autotuner does a good job expanding my range on 80m, beauty!!!!

My next step is to integrate this amp with my TS480HX and remoterig bypassing the microkeyer to run my remote station. The beauty is that this amplifier is smart enough to have two different transceivers connected to it and memorizes specific settings based on that radio. Way epic! Programming it is a breeze but do yourself a favor and read the manual ten times through before connecting and using. Highly recommend this product. Blows away my old faithful Quadra in terms of shack integration capability and remote management.

Keith
AK6ZZ (formerly AG6AZ)
 
W3DCB Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2013 15:03 Send this review to a friend
Great product!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have enjoyed this linear for several years now. Only one criticism: Speed for RS-232 interface & interface to radio limited to 9600. I would have liked to run/control my radios with at least 19600 or faster. The RS-232 interface and software is great for remote operation. Otherwise, no other criticism.
 
ON7HLU Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2013 09:20 Send this review to a friend
need a compact HF amp for your shack - this is it!   Time owned: more than 12 months
i have only to say it is great amp , im so happy with it
 
ON4VP Rating: 2/5 Jan 10, 2013 20:46 Send this review to a friend
After two, needs help.  Time owned: more than 12 months
During the past three years I owned two 1K-FA's. The first one that I've got was 24 months old and after a while started suffering from sticking relays.

Some reading in yahoo groups and forums learned me that over a hundred owners suffered the same issues. The problem got worse when full break in cw was used. The switching time was to fast on the relays and the burned in.

Repairs were in order and after the relays were changed I sold the amp. I still got the Acom1000 to keep me going.

The second 1K-FA I got mid 2012. This was the latest rev3 version. Even after my bad experience with the first 1K-FA I still liked the solid state idea and the benefits like the built in tuner and 4 outputs plus 2 inputs.

But also the second amplifier started having troubles. After a few weeks I noticed that the reflected power on the 20 meter band was getting to high. Even on a dummy load and perfectly matched antennas I got a reflected power over 120 watts when applying 600 watts. SWR was 1:1

I got in touch with both the dealer and the factory in Italy. First I like to express my gratitude to hamshop.nl. This dealer really helped out wherever he could. His service was great. I ended up sending the amplifier back to Italy where it stayed for over 4 weeks.

It was sent back to me with a simple note that there was no problem found and I had to check my antenna system. The amp at that time was even under warranty. I ended up selling the amp again telling that the 20 meter in ssb was no problem but under full load could go into protection.

After both experiences I lost my faith in both the product and the factory, not in the dealer. Over more than a decade I had two Acom 1000 amplifiers and while owning the second Expert I got myself a brand new Acom2000a.

I never should have gone the solid state road and stick with my Acom's. I never part with my Acom2000a. This is the best amp ever built and nothing even comes close to it. I should have known from the start after having two Acom's 1000.

SPE Italy stated that I had problems in my antennas and/or transmission lines. I replied that even on a dummy load the test came out negative and my Acom2000a was working just fine on the same system putting out more than twice the amount of power. But they kept telling me that nothing was wrong with the amplifier.

Fact: the next owner ran into the same problems and also sent it back. SPE should reflect on that!

Personally after owning two Experts these are my findings regardless of the problems I had:

1/ Small and lightweight are a bonus.
2/ Design is not up to full power all the time.
3/ Running it at 1/2 power is imho the best way.
4/ Noise levels are high once heats start building up.
5/ Loud relays, why not using silent vacuum relays.
6/ Company's attitude is not that great.

So far I've been in contact with 1K-FA owners and operators that suffered from blown finals, displays that turned blank, relays that stick and REV power that's to high. These, to me, are flaws in the design. On top of that I was left in the cold while my amp was still under warranty, something that closed the door for me.

The few nice things, to me, don't add up against all the negative things. After being a SPE user for almost 3 years I don't think I ever get another Expert in my shack. I'll stick to my beloved Acom's !

All things considered, I think 2 out of 5 seems pretty fair. The design needs help, the company need to reflect on how to threat customers under warranty. Others will not agree, I can understand. But I can no longer recommend the product.
 
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