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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Alpha 8410 Help


Reviews Summary for Alpha 8410
Alpha 8410 Reviews: 119 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $5395
Description: The Alpha 8410 utilizes an enhanced version of the bombproof RF deck, found in the Alpha 99 and Alpha 8100. On the 8410ís control board youíll find a microprocessor that allows us to normalize amplification performance, calibrate the power and gain metering for each specific band, and increase reliability and durability. All of these functions aggregate into a single greater benefit for the user, ease of tuning. The 8410 comes standard with USB and serial ports for remote monitoring and performance data logging. The power supply stack found in the 8410 has been designed for maximum durability and reliability, while allowing for extremely easy voltage tap changes.

This amplifer is handcrafted, designed, and built in Boulder, Colorado, USA, comes with a 4-year warranty.

Tubes: 2x 4CX1000A Tetrodes
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.rkrdesignsllc.com
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WA4HHG Rating: 4/5 Apr 3, 2016 18:58 Send this review to a friend
On OK amplifier but not an "ETO Alpha"  Time owned: more than 12 months
Nope, its not a bad product at all but not in the same league as "ETO Alpha's." I owned an unmodified 86 for nearly 25 years and it never failed or even burped. But when its 3CX800's became nearly impossible to find, I decided to "upgrade" to an 8410. After all, it used the same 4CX1000 tetrode as my Collins 30S-1 for which I have spares. The 8410 is by no means a "bad" amplifier and its quality is head and shoulders above most new product on today's market. Its pair of 4CX1000's and huge power supply loaf along at 100% output and produce a full 1.5KW out with about 30 watts (depending on the band) input but I'm not a fan of the "dynamic tube biasing" and miss the ETO, foolproof tuning aid on the '86. The fan "growls" on its lowest setting and is a bit on the annoying side. The vernier reduction for the "Tune" and "Load" adjustments are missing but looking top down at the 86 and 8410, you'd be hard pressed to see any differences.

Ages of both and tube availability being equal, given the choice, I'd give the nod to the "ETO Alpha."
 
AB4D Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2016 16:23 Send this review to a friend
Great Quality Ampliifier  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently had the opportunity to acquire a used Alpha 8410 that was still under warranty, after recently selling my Alpha 9500. However, it had some known issues that required repair/update. I became intimately familiar with the 8410, to make the repairs.

Construction of the amplifier, as expected is excellent. Operationally, it works very well. Tuning is smooth and consistent. Keying of the amplifier is nearly silent thanks to the vacuum relay. Notably, it's one of the few amps on the market that has an individual band tap for each HF amateur band. It's that attention to detail, which separates Alpha from other manufactures in this class, such as Acom, OM Power, and QRO.

Nevertheless, from my research, I found there are some known issues that can occur with this amplifier. The 8410 I purchased had several of them. When received, it exhibited an unusually high input SWR, and lower than expected output. I performed the necessary repairs to the input circuit, cathode circuit, and upgraded the metering resistors as well.

The previous issues were corrected, but afterwards output was still only around 1250 watts out, indicative the tubes (4CX-1000) had gone soft. I question whether the Chinese 4CX-1000 are as good as Eimac tubes, which seem to last forever. IMO a pair of these should have lasted for a much longer time.

Subsequently, they were replaced with a new matched pair of 4CX-1500b's. Output was then observed to be capable of 2600+ watts. I only used the amplifier for a short period of time in my station. Although the 8410 is great, I quickly found I missed the automatic tuning of the Alpha 9500 I previously owned. Therefore, I sold the 8410.

I believe the Alpha 8410 is one of the finest manual tune amplifier's available. It certainly would have stayed in my station, if I had not wanted to return to a automatic tune type amplifier.


 
W4VDW Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2015 06:48 Send this review to a friend
BUY ONE OF THESE!  Time owned: more than 12 months
After one year of use, it is perfect, except one MINOR personal peav:

If you run outboard microphones (Groove Tubes, Sterling) with outboard mic preamps, others will hear the inner fan over the air if it kicks on high air output mode, even with a cardioid mic setting. This is also based on where I placed the amplifier in the shack (in reach to quickly change bands).

I bought the extra rear case cooling fan, mounted it inside, and did some sound isolation of the inside squirrel cage fan. I added switching to turn off the squirrel cage inner fan when I want.

This amplifier is THE PERFECT lifetime investment if you make the commitment to stay in the hobby for life - you need to own one!

Buy the rear case fan when you purchase the amp.

Very respectfully,
Buck
W4VDW/YI9VDW
 
W4ID Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2015 18:55 Send this review to a friend
Four years and stiil impressed  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my Alpha 8410 October 2010. I have always been extremely happy with the Alpha and would never be without one after having used this 8410. After over four years of excellent performance, on January 18, 2015 I noticed I was having problems getting 1500 watts regardless of my input power. Normally I always got 1500 for about 35 watts in except on 10 meters which only takes 20-25 watts to drive.
I emailed Alpha with a description of my problem. Glenn AE0Q,replied to my email the same day with a couple of suggestions of what to check. In about 30 minutes I had the cover off and with his suggestions had located the problem. I had to replace the cathode resistors and the two 100 ohm 50 watt resistors on the input. This amp likes the input to be less than 50 watts and a few times by mistake over the years I keyed with 100 watts by mistake. I feel I am the reason for the parts failing and I am a lot more careful in remembering to watch my input closer. I normally just change the bandswitch and preset the TUNE and LOAD control and it is ready and so you can make fast band changes. Now I always check the input power before keying. It took about $30.00 in parts and a few days for the mail to get them here and now the 8410 is as good as new with 35 watts in giving me full power. I am very pleased with the quick response and help in getting my 8410 back to normal quickly. I have owned many other brands of amplifiers and none are built as well as Alpha. I still think Alpha is the best and actually bought another one for my other transceiver. I am still very happy with my decision to buy Alpha.


 
N5FW Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2015 21:13 Send this review to a friend
A Great amp!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, it has been a year and some months since I bought the Alpha 8410. Expensive, but worth every dollar. It just keeps chugging along (even with several "goofs" from the operator) ;)
Since installing the amp, I now have upped my country total almost 220 countries from this QTH (in most cases the Alpha made all the difference between logging them and just being lost in the pileup!) If you are looking for a legal limit amp, do yourself a favor and seriously consider an Alpha. I am sure glad I did.
 
K3MD Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2015 09:07 Send this review to a friend
Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I always wanted a brand-new Rolls Royce. Now I have one!!
 
K2MK Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2015 08:21 Send this review to a friend
A beautifully engineered workhorse  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Iíve had my 8410 for 6 months and am very happy with it in every respect. Iíll try to provide information that I havenít seen in some of the other reviews.

The amp is beautifully double packaged for shipment. I had what looked like a fork lift hole in one box but there was no damage to the internal box. The factory shipped Federal Express and you can set up a specific delivery time on the Fed Ex website for a small fee. One person can easily mount the transformer. Follow the available video tips on how to do it. The calibration sheet is inside of the amplifier. You wonít find it with the manual.

The website photos show a newer style internal blower but the manual supplied with my 8410 and the manual currently posted on the web site still show the previous blower. I mention this first because it looks completely different and second because there are two screws on the bottom of the chassis that need to be removed. They are labeled as blower shipping screws and when they are removed the blower free floats on plastic mounts. The documentation doesnít mention these screws.

I purchased the external fan kit and it was factory installed. Rather than use the word loud Iíll just suggest that the amp with both the internal and external fans is not particularly quiet. The plus side of this is that when contest operating CW or SSB youíll probably never hear the internal fan speed increase above low speed. Things could differ without the external fan.

The companion PC program works well for the curious among us. I wanted to see what the temperature did during continuous contest RTTY activity. The Fahrenheit display is useful but I found that the raw telemetry data appears to be in Celsius. When the raw data indicates that the temp is 35 degrees C the fan will jump to medium speed. When the temp reaches 40 degrees C the fan will flip to high speed and I never saw the temp go any higher. I call that a rock solid thermal design. I donít know what would happen without the external fan.

The safety circuitry seems very intuitive and sensitive. Every bonehead move I have made resulted in an instantaneous ďstandbyĒ fault with no noticeable power transmitted. I call that fast. On one occasion when I hit the amp with too much input power the amp turned itself off.

With my previous triode legal limit amp I would be very careful of grid current as I would QSY up and down the band. This is a non issue with the 8410. I have never seen the green or red grid current LEDs light even briefly. However, my previous amp seemed a little more wideband in being able to still provide 1500 watts a considerable distance from where I tuned it up. When preparing my tuning chart for the 8410 it took a couple more re-adjustments on 160, 80, and 10 meters than did my previous amp. I probably could have covered those bands with fewer adjustments but then I might only be transmitting 1000 or 1100 watts.

The power output LEDs are adequate if you are happy with 100 watt increments. I prefer to use a digital external wattmeter. I suppose the PC program could be used for this purpose if you have space available on your monitor.

I am very comfortable recommending this amplifier to anyone looking for a really heavy duty amplifier.
 
K5RU Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2014 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Excellent amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought it new about two years ago, excellent amp and easy to tune, smooth and lots of power, no problems, thanks Alpha for nice well built product.
 
NW3Y Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2014 07:48 Send this review to a friend
Super piece of equipment  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought the Alpha 8410 after feeling it was time to upgrade from my 30 yr old Alpha 86, which still is working fine after many years of contesting. The 8410 is a horse in so many ways! It appears very well designed and built. It will perform as described in the book if not better. I've only worked one contest with it so far (IARU) and it performed well. I have not heard the cooling fan go past its medium speed. If it lasts like my Alpha 86 did, this will be the last amp I will ever need.
 
KB3Z Rating: 3/5 Jun 24, 2014 05:00 Send this review to a friend
Worked Fine Until The Warranty Expired.  Time owned: more than 12 months
When my 8410 worked it was a real workhorse. But it seems that after the warranty expired that's when all the troubles began. I would email the problems to Alpha/RFConcepts and Glenn would respond in a timely basis. But, no matter what repairs were being done to the amplifier, it never really solved the issues regarding increased drive to get 1500 watts. RFConcepts determined that it was not a problem with the tubes. After a period of time, I could only get 1300 watts at best. Alpha/RFConcepts service is good, but the price to send the amplifier plus labor, parts and tech fees is rather expensive. It would be nice if they had a service portal here on the east coast! I did sell the amplifier and purchased another well known amplifier. I did learn one thing, that customer service/reasonable prices is key to success today in the amateur radio hobby today.
 
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