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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Elecraft KPA-500 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft KPA-500
Elecraft KPA-500 Reviews: 75 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $1999.95 Kit Form
Description: KPA-500 Solid State Amplifier 160-10M Plus 6M, Auto Band
Switching via RF sense or cable connection.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Elecraft KPA-500.

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K1QF Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2015 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Not much to add to the many positive comments about this wonderful amp. This is the first time I have operated with anything more than 100 watts, and now I wonder why I waited so long! Mine is paired with an ICOM 7600, and it matches up perfectly. Starting to hear many "great audio" reports. I bought mine factory built along with the KAT-500. Highly recommended - right size, light weight, dead silent QSK, and well protected. As others have noted it is also exceptionally quiet, with the fan seldom stepping up to higher speeds.
KU4NY Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2015 09:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Amp - Lots of features  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my KPA500 in December, 2014. This is the first amplifier I've had in my sporadic 47 year ham radio career, so I can't compare it based on experience with other amps. I chose this amp based on much research and reading. I wanted the simplicity of no tuning and did not feel the need for power greater than 500 - 600 watts. After looking at Acom and Ameritron, I chose the KPA500 based on overall features and the Elecraft reputation for quality and performance. Yes, the price is higher than many other amps. But, at age 72, I didn't mind paying more to get the features offered by the KPA500, considering it will most likely last me the duration. I'm a firm believer in getting what you pay for (in most cases). Besides, there are amps costing twice as much and more.

I ordered the amp over the phone from Elecraft and had all my questions answered in detail, and was offered useful suggestions on setting it up.

After 2 months of operating the KPA500 with my TS-590S, I'm convinced this is the right amp for me. It is extremely simple to use. And it's taking my DX activity to a new level.

In no particular order, here are the main highlights I like about the KPA500:

* Solid state. No tuning
* Instant-on operation
* Absolutely dead-quiet QSK (full break in)
* Compact size. Same dimensions as K3. Slightly bigger than my TS-590S. Weighs 26 lbs
* Built in linear power supply
* Automatic band-switching when RF is sensed (and, when used with a K3, the KPA500 follows band changes on the K3, and vice versa). If desired, a non-K3 rig may be connected to have it switch bands on the KPA500, but I don't do this since band-switching is done by RF sensing.
* Excellent self protection circuitry actuates instantly.
* I am receiving very good, unsolicited audio reports.
* Functional digital metering in addition to the excellent LED displays.
* Very high quality in appearance and feel.
* Assembling the kit was really enjoyable. Took less than 6 leisurely hours. The assembly manual was extremely detailed, almost idiot proof.
* Minimal drive needed for full power output: 18 - 25 watts on the higher frequencies, 25 - 35 on lower frequencies.
* Operates on 12 and 10 meters with no optional accessory, or modification.
* 6 speed cooling fan does not begin running until the temp reaches 50C (122F), so the amp is silent much of the time.
* Operates on 6 meters.
* Cannot be modified to operate on 11 meters (sorry CBers!).

After assembling and using the KPA500, I now understand why there are so many loyal Elecraft fans.

Like others have said, having the KPA500 is like having a 500 watt transceiver.
KU4NY Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2015 09:26 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Amp - Lots of Features  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In my previous review, I forgot to mention another nice feature of this amp. It has 6 fan speeds. The 1st is the lowest speed and only comes on when the temp reaches around 50 degrees C (122F). The higher fan speeds kick in as the temp increases. So, much of the time the amp is completely silent.
WT8L Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2014 14:43 Send this review to a friend
Its a keeper...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was deciding between the Acom 600s and the KPA500. Functionally they're equivalent, so it came down to buying American or Bulgarian... No contest.

The kit went together with just a minor mechanical alignment issue that was easy to realign. The 4 to 5 hour time frame for assembly is accurate and doesn't require any special knowledge or tools.

This is of course microprocessor controlled, so there really isn't anything the operator is allowed to do that would damage the amp! It protects itself quite well, so once you set the menu items to suit your needs, it's a hands off amp...
K9TWO Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2014 22:50 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: months

Now use the Elecraft KPA500 with my Elecraft P3 and my LDG1000PROII and my Ten Tec Eagle as my main station. I will post a picture soon on This is a fool proof great amp, well worth the money. Easily produces 500 watts with about 25 watts from my Eagle. Puts out over 200 watts with my Argo VI, can't beat that. All plug and play.

Received the amp the other day and got it running tonight. Read the manual first a couple of times than filed it away. Nothing complicated at all. Put the fuses in connected it to my FTDX-3000 set the power level, tested the unit at low power and then increased it to about 25 watts which gives me about 500 watts out on 40 meters. Use the LDG 1000 PROII tuner with it which I love. No tuning, never heard the fan come at all except on power down. This amp is very well built and works flawlessly. I never considered any other brands because I knew being an Elecraft product it would be the best. Yes others are cheaper but I would not have bought an Ameritron solid state amp under any condition. I do have an Ameritron 811 amp which works fine but I wanted a QSK amp which required no tuning and I know would be reliable. I tore down the Ameritron amp when first purchased, check all solder joints, wiring etc. seemed well built but still added a glitch resistor and a higher current negative rail diode.
I guess I am getting a little lazy and love the LDG tuner and the Elecraft amp. All buttons are intuttitive and work perfect.
The power ?output agreed with my Byrd 43 watt meter and my Ldg tuner meter. I use the large optional meter with the LDG-1000 PROII tuner which I am glad I bought because it sure makes things easier. BTW, I also replaced all the 811 amp tubes with RCA 811A tubes. The KPG-500 looks great with my Elecraft P-3 band scope which is much better than the scope on my FTDX3000 or my Icom 7600. Those built in rig scopes are a joke. No plans on buying a K-3 because I really don't think you can beat my FTDX-3000. Down conversion receivers are no doubt the quietest. I have several rigs to compared it to. I will say however, that my Yaesu FT-101E or my Collins 75S-1 are hard to beat for low noise floors. I mostly listen so a low noise floor is very important to me. My final words are, I love the KPA-500 amp and the P-3 scope. Also love the built in power supply, especially it's not one of those noise making switching supplies. Just bought a backup Yaesu linear supply the other day as a back-up. The Elecraft engineers really knew what they were doing with the linear supply. Unfortunately, most people that use a switching supply have no idea what's causing noise issues because they have nothing to compare to. I am sure I have ruffled some feathers here but switching power supplies are noisy period. If you,want to suffer using them, that's your right.

Can't find a negative thing to say about this amp. Mine was factory built, I have built about every Heathkit on the market and still do a lot of home brewing amps so was not in the mood to built another amp. I have at least three here now I have built. Love this amp with the no tuning and no band switches to change. Also thrilled it does not work on the CB bands.

73 Don Ferrill K9TWO since 1959
N7RC Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2014 10:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent with no delay  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Have never had more than 100w in my ham experience. Fell in love with this amp when at Visalia - and finally found a deal that couldn't pass up. Ordered a cable from W4AIN to fit between my FT-950 and the amp - giving me what I feel is a higher power transceiver. Set the drive at the proper levels for each band - and find that if I just leave the setting at lowest level needed - 15w /10m - I can nearly change bands and there you go - a higher transceiver. How much easier can you get ! And it fits right in with my station set up - making operation nice and tidy.
Have been told that it is kind'a high priced f- but what would you pay for a transceiver capable of 500w ?
This is a fun machine.

de N7RC

NT5Q Rating: 5/5 Jul 16, 2014 10:59 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the KPA500 for over a year now and would not trade it for any other. It went together easily in about 4 hours (I really took my time) and worked seamlessly since then. I use it with the K3 and KAT500 and the total integration between the tuner and rig makes operating easy. It is definitely worth the money.
WB4HUC Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2014 17:59 Send this review to a friend
Seamless operation with my rig and software  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm using the KPA500 with my Ten Tec OMNI VII.

I've used it on SSB and CW and it has operated perfectly in both modes with no problems.

The radio and amplifier are operated under the control of the N4PY software. It's so seamless it's like having a 500W transceiver.

I have nothing but good things to say about it.
VA3MW Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2014 19:11 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my KPA500 to replace my SGC500 as I wanted to run 6M at my remote base.

If you know how to use a screwdriver, then I would recommend getting the kit. The instructions are very well written which is normal for Elecraft.

My amp will be used in a remote base 100% of its time. In my initial testing, I ran into a few issues, but the simple answer is to run your RS232 port to the amp at 38400 (don't change the default). If you do this, you won't have an issue with remote power on/off. Thanks to the Elecraft developers for jumping right in on my dialogue to help me debug this very quickly.

I love its size and ease of operation. I use it with a TS480 and I have only run it with a PTT lead (no ALC or Rig RS232). I keep an eye on the health of the amp with the Remote Utility. I am also running mine with 120AC and I have not seen a voltage sag at all.

An excellent choice. (I only give out 5's if it is worth it).
K2MK Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2014 11:22 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely Terrific  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I do have one regret. Why did I wait so long to purchase a KPA500? I have a big amp which I donít see myself selling any time soon but I do expect to be using it less and less. The KPA500 is so transparent that it is truly as if I were operating a 500 to 600 watt transceiver.

Iíve been using it a lot lately chasing the W1AW/n portable operations. What a pleasure to jump between bands and modes as the spots appear on the cluster. No warm up, no tune up and super quiet QSK.

This is a really easy and fun kit to build. I highly recommend the kit version. I also really like the additional benefit of using it with a K3. When the KPA500 is in operate mode the K3 power levels are as I set them on each band to achieve full output on the KPA500. When the KPA500 is in standby mode (or off) the K3 power levels are as I set them to achieve full output on my big amplifier.

Regardless of what rig you own, you will be extremely happy with a KPA500.
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