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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Heathkit SB-220/SB-221 Help


Reviews Summary for Heathkit SB-220/SB-221
Heathkit SB-220/SB-221 Reviews: 64 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $350.00 - 550.00
Description: a 2kw pep input amp uses 2 3-500Zs
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.vcnet.com/measures/
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You can write your own review of the Heathkit SB-220/SB-221.

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WB8YQJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2011 20:03 Send this review to a friend
STILL VIABLE in 2011  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The SB221 is the later model SB220 offered only without 10 meters due to FCC restrictions. However there was a conversion kit for 10m available from HEATH. If you dont have an SB221, here are the bullet points. The filter capacitors by now are ready to be replaced with Harbach's offering. On a weak 100V AC line (like mine) voltage drops can limit your output to 500 watts even with good tubes. The stock amp keying circuit can ruin your modern solid state radio, get the Harbach "soft key". The amp itself is a gem, but is built very very lightly. This makes it easy to service on a tabletop, it's compact, etc. but it is mostly a thin aluminum cabinet and chassis bolted to a big honking heavy transformer in the middle. Even if the transformer is removed (as mine was) to UPS ship, the main unit can be damaged - the bandswitch is ceramic and that will crack in a heartbeat if the (band select) knob is not removed before packing. New front panels and knobs are available for SB221, the panels are black or original. I never considered for an instant buying a new "mighty fine" amp even though their service would seem beneficial and the price is in the ballpark of what you would pay for a 30 year old SB221. Having this classic amp inspires confidence, it's fun to use, and with all the third party products available for it, I've never looked back.
 
W4MCX Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2011 10:19 Send this review to a friend
the one and only  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had it 3 years. puts out 600w with unknown date of tubes and 120v hookup...runs 2400v w/600ma, so I guess my efficiency is down..it was demolished when I found it and had a blast rebuilding it to original specs...always wish I had more and new tubes, so don't heave em'....contact me...only other amp to consider is AL-811a for the cheaper tubes it uses...
 
W3NA Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2010 17:14 Send this review to a friend
An Icon  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my 1977 vintage SB-220 for 12 or 15 years. With my modest antennas, my SB-220 has been my secret weapon for earning 5BDXCC and DXCC Honor Roll. I bought it used at the old Hosstraders NH Hamfest, discovered a cracked band switch and super glued it back together. Eventually I replaced the noisy fan with Harbach's replacement. I bought a new Capacitor Pack, but never got around to replacing the original. I have cleaned the antenna rely contacts a couple times. Still puts out about 900 W CW with tubes that may even be the originals. I have mis-tuned, over-driven, fed into wrong antennas, into no antenna, driven on the wrong bands, many times over the years, and made practically every other mistake possible using an amplifier at least once. The ham I bought it from used it for contesting. Even with all that history, my SB-220 has never let me down. I purchased a younger "Legal Limit" amplifier, thinking I would sell my SB-220, but so far I have not been able to let it go. The folks at Heath hit a home run with the SB-220 line of amplifiers. They were a bargain in the day, and an even better bargain now.
 
K5DBX Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2010 06:36 Send this review to a friend
Timeless Amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked one up off of eBay, and since it was this amps 30th anniversary, I stripped it down and did a ground up rebuild. These are timeless for their purpose, and continue to be one of those classics that can be redone to support almost any need.

Come by and see this one @ www.k5dbx.com
 
N4RSS Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2010 10:04 Send this review to a friend
Works great and is cheap  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Paid $675 for refurbished with all the mods except soft key, painted black, looks great. First tube amp-easy to tune. Running on dedicated 220v.

Output on carrier through the antenna:

Band Input Output Antenna SWR
80m 94w 1310 1.9
40 106 1432 1.6
20 98 1220 1.4
17 95 1270 1.3
15 90 1234 2.9
10 86 820 1.4

Using IC-7600 tuner to tune the input. Input tune on the amp needs work on 10m. Powermaster readings in NET. Array Solutions 80m OCF @ 45 ft.
 
IZ1OSP Rating: 5/5 Jan 31, 2010 09:51 Send this review to a friend
Very strong ampli  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's a very strong ampli, 1000w out no problem. In the next month 2 ham friend change to my 220 any component (30 year of attivity) and it's as new! Very easy to use and no problem with regulations. For the price of this objet buy it!
 
K4FX Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2009 19:22 Send this review to a friend
FB Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got this SB-220 from the original builder for about 500 bucks, it had the original Eimacs from 1974 and was still making good power! I have since re-capped it, re-tubed it, added a glitch resistor to the B+ line, replaced the rectifier diodes, added step-start and replaced the fan. It has been in daily use since 2005 without a hiccup, contesting for entire weekends, running rtty contests at 400-500 watts, phone and cw contests at over 1KW no problems. It is a very dependable piece of gear, and regardless of any future amp purchases, this one ain't for sale! For what I have invested, it's probably the best bargain in the shack!!
 
W7KOL Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2009 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Still The Best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my SB-220 from my uncle who built it in the mid 70's. I have two other Ameritron amps but This one beats them all.
I can run 1,400 Watts out on 75 and 40 meters if I want on SSB but I mostly run it in CW and 900 watts out. No one knows the diffrence anyway,
This Amp is so easy to tune and so simply put together and with two 3-500 Z tubes, it runs really cool.
Wish they would have kept building amps simple like this one.
 
KH6VP Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2009 07:43 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely great amp!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this SB-220 from a ham living in the Ottawa, Canada area who decided to move back to the UK.

As I live in Luxembourg (am also LX1QF), I removed the tubes and transformer, packed them in my luggage (the xformer, main unit and tubes in different suitcases - tubes were in hand luggage) and after removing the countless TSA tapes (for those that don't travel much, the TSA hand checks all luggage arriving or leaving the US) re-installed them at the QTH. Also cleaned it inside out. Will remove the capacitors and install new ones (I have 450V/400uF capacitors that are 1/4 of the original size) at some point in the future.

Worked staight off.

Great workmanship and whoever built it did a great job.

The only mod is a switch to keep in standby, without having to cycle the power supply every time.

It was a great use of C$400 (yes, that's how much I paid).

If you can find one, get it fast. Tubes should be with no discolorations and power should be 1500W on 20m (seen with a bird meter).

All in all a great piece of simple engineering.
 
K3RAP Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2009 10:00 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp - Super Value - a Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got a SB-220 years ago from a friend. It has the following mods from Harbach Electronics: RM-220 Replacement Rectifier/Metering Board,PS-220 Parasitic Suppressor Kit,FM-220 Replacement Fan & Motor (moves a lot of air quietly, runs real cool); FB-220 Replacement Filter Capacitor Block, SK-220 Soft-Key,SS-221 Soft-Start. With all of this, it's like a new amp at less than half the price. This baby just hums along. It runs abt 1300 watts PEP on ssb and about 1 KW on CW, and it'll do it all day long. Power is a bit less on 10M and 12M. Yes, it loads up nice on 17M (15M position)and 12M (10M position), but you may need the rigs tuner in line. It's a real work horse. It lacks 160M and a QSK vacuum relay, but other than that, it's everything you could want in an amp. It doesn't have a standby switch, but with the 3-500zg tubes (no warm-up time) it's not really needed. In my opinion, if you want to run QRO, and don't care about 160M, this is the best bargain in ham radio. They were built from kits, so construction quality can vary. The assembly manuals, which include schematics, are readily available. The stuff from Harbach also comes with good instructions and schematics, so if you know how to solder, there's almost nothing you couldn't recover from.
 
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