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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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N4QT Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2016 16:08 Send this review to a friend
Well designed amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just sold my ALS 600 solid state amp and replaced it with a new Elecraft KPA 500 amp. No longer have to switch bands manually,no separate power supply,built like a tank. Reminds me of my long gone Alpha 87a in miniature . It almost disappears next to my Yaesu FTdx5000mp. 500 or 600 watts I have found to be all I need to work any DXpedition. Also keeps my neighbors happy. No more RF interference problems. Just a great little amp with a big punch.
KD8TUT Rating: 4/5 Jan 4, 2016 15:43 Send this review to a friend
Great purchase...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Disclaimer: I'm a fairly new ham and do not have 20 years experience with these technologies.

Purchased this just over 6 months ago, and integrated it with my Apache ANAN 100D, and a KAT500 tuner. This is the first HF station I've ever built.

Did a lot of research before purchase. Chose Elecraft outboard gear based on reputation and specifications.


When I first received the amp I needed a clarification regarding a PTT connection spec. They quickly provided the information which was needed, they were cheerful, and they answered a few other questions a newer ham might have without a hassle. Came away from the experience feeling good about the purchase.

The second issue I had was user error (related to the KAT500), and I mistakenly contacted support for help. They sent me some detailed testing procedures which I did, and determined that my problem was user error. They helped me out anyway.


My expectations were met by the product. In short: it has performed perfectly in my shack. I've got no plans on "upgrading". I'd say I'm satisfied.


It gets a 4 because they should have used a quieter fan. It can get louder than it needs to be. Once the unit is out of warranty, I'll replace the fan with a high cfm low db fan.


Strongly recommended.
AE5X Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2015 07:49 Send this review to a friend
KPA-500 for a non-Elecraft rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
To spend money on this amp required being able to justify is use on more than one rig. I have a K3 but recently purchased a Flex 6300 and wanted an amp that would be easier to operate with them than my AL-80BQ.

I ordered the kit version of this amp and had it assembled in a bit over 5 hours. My one and only nitpick is a small one - use fewer flat-head screw sizes! Assembly was easy and free of ambiguity - it was everything you've heard Elecraft kits to be in terms of documentation, packaging and now operation. Money well spent. And it takes up far less space on my desk than the 3-500Z amp and produces almost as much power with far less heat.

So far I have not used the amp with my K3 since the Flex is still new and I can't pull myself away from it. The amp works with the Flex as if it were made for it. QSK is seamless, band switching is instant and I'm getting full power out with 27 to 35 watts depending on band.

Yep, I love it.
K7ZOV Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2015 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Total intergration   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the KPA500 and KAT500 hooked to my K3 for about 4 yrs now. What you have is a total radio in 3 boxes (four if you count the P3 panadptor). Just tune and talk. The K3 communicates with the KPA500 and the KAT500 so smoothly that it is like having it all in same box. What Elecraft has created in the K3 K-Line is almost magic. A RX that is nothing short of outstanding. A TX that is super clean. A PA and ATU that requires just being tuned on and let it do it's thing. One awesome package
WA6KYR Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2015 17:40 Send this review to a friend
It works and is simple to use  Time owned: more than 12 months
The other day a ham mentioned how he does not use his tube amp that much. Too much trouble to tune up he said. He asked how was the Elecraft amp and auto tuner to use. I told him all you have to do is turn it on and a few seconds later it is ready to use. The band, the tuning, the power, the antenna selection is all automatic and follows the K3 transceiver as you change frequencies during receive. That is just too easy. I like this amp a lot.
HL5FEE Rating: 5/5 May 15, 2015 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Very nice service  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased a KPA500 & KAT500 at last year for my ANAN 100D.These units were great and easy to use.
But a problem occurred in the my KPA500 in last April.I asked for warranty repair by email.
They replyed to me at once and I was impressed with their spirit of service.
Now I feel that South Korea and the United States does not far locations.
In particular, I would like to compliment Craig/W6WL.
He is someone who has really true professionalism.
I became a fan of Elecrat.

W0ELH Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2015 09:24 Send this review to a friend
KPA 500, Great amp  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I run a ICOM 7600. Purchased a KPA-500 and a KAT-500. All are great units. I was having a problem getting the amp to follow the 7600 when I changed bands. With an email to Elecraft and a reply from Howard (the same day!) the problem on my end was corrected. Now I have an integrated solution. It's like having a 500 watt transceiver.
Thanks Howard and Elecraft.
73, Garry W0ELH
K5FAB Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2015 10:56 Send this review to a friend
One Terrific Amplifier  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Did not realize how well nice and well-designed this amplifier was until I sent it back to Elecraft for repair and bought an ALS-600 to use in the meanwhile. It is only one third the size of the ALS-600 when you combine the power supply and amplifier.

What is nice about the KPA500 is when it is not doing any real work, it is perfectly quiet. The fan only kicks in when it is needed. With the other arrangement, there is a fan in the amplifier and power supply always on. Was spoiled by the quiet of the KPA500. I have to keep powering the ALS-600 off when not actually in a QSO where the amplifier is needed. With the KPA500, it is always there and ready with no noise penalty for having it on for extended periods of time. Solid state switching matches my exciters so there is no relay noise on transmit. Having been in the electronics industry, I tend not to like to power cycle components in my station, except to disconnect the power and antennas when storms are in the area.

Changing the voltage input is as easy as removing and reversing the fuse block. There is never a need to open the cabinet. In spite of the failure on the 80 meter bandpass capacitor, I would buy another one in a heartbeat. Elecraft handled the repair in a timely manner. In retrospect, probably should have ordered another one if I was in such a panic about being without an amplifier. Using it with the KAT500 and that has been a plus as they work together as a unit.
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.
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