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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: 96 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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K4FX Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2018 11:13 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned a lot of amps over 40 years of hamming. But this little KPA-500 is by far the most impressive of the lot. First I can't see how they got a solid 500w amp in a package this small. It makes no noise. I mostly listen for DX, I work someone and look for more. I have not had a chance to contest with it, but in my regular DX'ing mode, I have yet to get the fan to turn on. The PIN diodes used for T/R switching are silent. The only way I know the amp is on is by looking at the LED's or the PC app for output. The amp makes no noise. Coupled with the KAT-500 you just key it up and talk or hit the paddle. It is a wonderful addition to anyone's shack. If you are in the market for a 500-600w amp, pay the extra money for Elecraft. It is well worth it!
GARICE10601 Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2018 06:58 Send this review to a friend
Pride and Quality!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased the KPA500 and KAT500 and couldn't be more delighted.

Worked great the first time and has really helped my rag chewing on bands that are uncooperative at best.

Obvious pride and quality is the basis of these products. You will not go wrong in purchasing them.

A solid 500 watts is all you need!
W9DJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2018 12:20 Send this review to a friend
5 Year Update  Time owned: more than 12 months
After 5 years of operation, I still love this amp. I built it from a kit, which was really easy and took maybe 6 hours. I use it mostly in remote mode, or when I am doing a lot of band hopping. I have it paired with a Ten Tec Omni VII and the KAT500 antenna tuner. It just does the job. Period. No muss, no fuss. As my original review described, I had an early RF deck failure. Other than that, the only other issues have been when I went back in to change the HV secondary tap to a higher voltage to compensate for lower line voltage periods which would drop the PA voltage too low, and on another occasion the amp refused to key on 20 meters. Reinstalling the firmware fixed that. A true keeper.
AC1DR Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2018 07:19 Send this review to a friend
High Quality & Reliable  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have owned and operated daily a new KPA500 for four months. The amplifier performs as specified and easily puts out 500 Watts. For normal SSB phone operation, the fan rarely turns on, or I can't hear it.
The amplifier's "self protection" circuits operate correctly and effectively. The KPA500 is a high quality and reliable linear amplifier.
K5WG Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2018 13:38 Send this review to a friend
A great little amp!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine used in 2013. Works just as it should. Have never had a problem with it. Just wish it had a built-in automatic antenna tuner.
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.
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