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Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ameritron AL-80B Help

Show all reviews of the Ameritron AL-80B

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KS4TL  Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2014 06:19  Send this review to a friend!
Perhaps the best "starter" amp available  Time owned: more than 12 months
I picked mine up second-hand and have been using it for just short of a year. BTW, I recommend going used - you can find a good one for less than $900. At this price, it is an extraordinary bargain - at MSRP, not so much.

The pros of this amp are simple: it just works, reliably and without fuss. Tuning is straightforward - much easier than the manual makes it sound. (Check out W8JI's website for hints.) Mine has tolerated the usual newbie goofs (driver on wrong band, wrong antenna, etc.) with no harm done. I'm running it on a dedicated 120 V 20 amp circuit, and can get 700-800 watts out on most bands. A 240 V line would no doubt give a bit more.

Having had some reason to be skeptical of the quality of MFJ-assoicated gear in the past, I opened the (de-energized!) amp up and took a peek inside. Neat and clean component layout, good solder joints - no quality complaints here.

I'd strongly recommend a AL-80B over the 811 amps for a first amp. Much more forgiving of operating mistakes, and fewer issues with the tubes - the Chinese manufacturers seem to have licked the quality issues with 3-500Z production, I gather the 811 is a different story.

There are a few comparatively minor cons. At least on my unit, the silkscreened band markings don't quite line up with the bandswitch position. Doesn't affect function at all, but just enough out of register to be esthetically annoying.

Speaking of esthetics, the cosmetics of these amps seem to be based on 1950's era industrial design. It's as though the designer was looking at some WWII mil-surplus gear and said "I like that look, except that it's just too pretty..."

But while the AL-80B may look ugly, it works beautifully! 
Product is in production.
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