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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: 93 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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NT9E Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2018 20:35 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I needed an amp I could run on 110VAC and let me run 500-600W on 160-6. I bought mine as a kit in 2015 and finally put it together in the fall of 2016. This amp will not disappoint. My previous amp used 2, 3500Z's but my new shack location did not have 220VAC available. I was worried this amp might "sag" on 110VAC when I needed it to perform and I was not disappointed. I also use the KAT500 ATU with my Icom 7600. What a great combination!
G4AON Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2017 01:38 Send this review to a friend
5 year plus, still working fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
My KPA500 dates from Dec 2011, I've had one minor failure due to a design or manufacturing error (U8 on control board wrong type of op amp - ALC failure) and as a precaution I updated the low pass filter board with the E85607 rework kit (replacement of BU931T Darlington for the FET at Q5 and cap in 12m LPF).

Email support from Elecraft has been exceptional, the amp has passed the 5 year mark and is in use most days with no issues.
W8RMV Rating: 3/5 Sep 15, 2017 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Updated Review  Time owned: more than 12 months
My original review had it a 5, two years ago. But I had to reduce it to a 3 after Q5 on the TR board quit working (High input SWR & faulting on Tx). Elecraft was quick to repair it, but it still cost me $250 to get it repaired. Others have had this same failure. One online article said Elecraft has switched to a high voltage darlington pair from an FET. I can't confirm this as the guy I dealt with would only say "parts fail". And why Elecraft couldn't help me diagnose this over the phone I don't know?? I would have gladly bought Q5 & installed it myself, as I had the amp all apart already and I was making some checks. I was also told that I had nothing to do with the failure. I sold a working cheaper 600W amp to buy this premium unit only to have it fail in way too short of time.
KE4WY Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2017 04:55 Send this review to a friend
Perfect  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's been perfect. Never an issue. I highly recommend it for someone who wants a 500-600 watt amp.
W2RS Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2017 10:36 Send this review to a friend
Not cheap, but worth the price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my KPA-500 for about two years. When it arrived, I noticed a problem with T/R switching, so I returned it to Elecraft for warranty service. The problem turned out to be a missing resistor (!) in the switching circuit. They fixed that, returned the amp promptly, and it's worked flawlessly ever since. Score one for Elecraft's service, and one ding for their manufacturing quality control.

I use the amp with an Orion II and a KX3/KXPA100 combo. It puts out a clean 600 watts with 30-40 watts drive, on 160 through 6 meters. As previous reviewers have said, it's a bit fussy about SWR, but if you run it into an SWR below 2:1, it's just like having a 600-watt transceiver. You can't even tell it's there, except for the power output. For wire antennas with higher SWR, I run the amp into an LDG AT-1000 Pro II tuner, with no problems. It even works with a barefoot KX3, putting out 150-200 watts depending on the band.

It's not the cheapest 600-watt amp on the market, but after 50+ years experience with a variety of amps, I consider it well worth the price.
KC4LRR Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2017 05:52 Send this review to a friend
KPA500 and KAT500  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got the KPA500 and KAT500 as kits. Build was straight forward and not difficult at all. My KPA500 is running on 220V.

The amp is quiet and small. I get 500Watts out with about 30Watts drive. The relays in the tuner are a bit loud but it works well. I like the amp relay feature in the KAT500 that will not key the amp if the SWR is high.

I have them paired with an Icom IC-7600 via the AH-4 port using an LDG 6 ft cable from Universal-Radio. The three pieces of equipment work great together. Both tuner and amp follow the radio from band to band via RF. Depending on what turner options you pick in the IC-7600 menu the tuner can be operated manually or automatically start on PTT.

I read lots of reviews (and even emailed some of the reviewers) before pulling the trigger. Top quality like the other Elecraft equipment I own. I have not played with the control software yet.

They will replace an Ameritron AL-80B and Palstar AT2K for my "Retirement Station".

KQ4KK Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2016 13:52 Send this review to a friend
A Great FLEX AMP  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I upgraded to the KPA500 from a ICOM PW1 that was troublesome.

Works seamlessly with a FLEX 6300 and a ICOM 7300. Use it at home with the 6300, take it to the Middle School club we support to use on the 7300.

Students have no problems with it and the 7300. Auto tuning is instantaneous and do something stupid, it fault immediately. Easy to reset.

Easy cable from the 7300 to the AMP. And the new software that supports USB on the 6300 makes that easy also.
W0XXX Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2016 23:02 Send this review to a friend
Solid!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I own two of these, and they are amazing machines.

My plan was to reduce my footprint and go with smaller rigs with auto tune amps. Even though I enjoy unboxing a brand new rig, I bought both of my KPA500 amps second hand from the original owners. In both cases, the original owners were going for higher power. Both owners retained the original boxes, manuals and even included the original purchase orders from Elecraft. A win for me on several levels.

I've owned Alphas, Ameritrons, Dentrons, and Kenwood amps. All fine machines but the KPA500 makes band changes and tuning incredibly fast and easy, and it works on 120v (don't have 220v in the shack).

The idea behind the second amp was to keep it in a road kit to use while travelling. At present, I run a Kenwood TS-590SG at home, and an Icom IC-7300 in the road kit. I might give up the TS-590SG and go with another IC-7300 for synergy purposes.

The KPA500 is a tough little box, I've faulted it a bunch of times, but I cant kill it.

Well done Elecraft!
WA1SEO Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2016 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Easy to use...for an 11 year old  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I sold my Ameritron ALS-600 after owning it for 12 trouble free years and got all of my money back. My 11 year old got her ticket and I wanted something easier for her to use by herself so I picked up a used KPA-500. It takes up significantly less space than the 600, is much quieter, requires no band selection (using it with an ICOM 7200) and requires less drive. WE like it very much and hope it gives us the kind of service the ALS-600 did.
N9GUU Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2016 21:31 Send this review to a friend
SUPERIOR AMPLIFIER!!!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my KPA500 kit at Dayton this year. Although it was a "kit" the bulk of the assembly was assembling the cassis and the cabinet. The only issue (and a minor one at that) was the identification of the various tiny flathead screws. Assembly took about 5 hours - plugged it in and it's on the air! I'm using the amplifier with my ICOM IC-7600 and I couldn't be happier - the amplifier follows the 7600 around the bands just as advertised and like others have said "it's like having a 500 watt transceiver" The KPA500 is totally silent when not in use and very quiet when the fan kicks in. I have owned an ALS-600 and I can tell you that there is no comparison between the two. The KPA500 is replacing my AL-811H. I'm sorry to see the old girl go but the KPA500 is just a superior piece of equipment. My advice to anyone THINKING about buying one of these - stop thinking and buy it - you will not be sorry you did!
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