eHam Forums => Amplifiers => Topic started by: K9RBH on December 04, 2012, 04:45:45 AM

Title: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: K9RBH on December 04, 2012, 04:45:45 AM
I'm looking at both of these as a first amp, to be driven by a TS-590.  I see good points  with each unit.  I like the tune-free operation of the 600. The 80b gets good reviews.  Any thoughts?  I'm limited to 120 volt power.


Rick KC9WI

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: N4RSS on December 04, 2012, 07:06:11 AM
Well, the ALS-600 is sensitive to VSWR so you will need a tuner if it's above 1.5.  Power supply will shut down if too much voltage drop in the supply line (trips on excessive current trying to compensate), so make sure nothing else loads the 120 line

80B I doubt would need a tuner unless VSWR above 3 to 1.  It also has more headroom than the '600, BTW.

It's probably not clear cut either way, especially since it's weighing "convenience" factors in the '600 against more objective factors, which in summary comes down to personal preference.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: W8GP on December 04, 2012, 09:27:15 AM
If you like to band-hop a lot, or have a multiband antenna that requires a tuner anyway, then you will probably appreciate the convience of the '600.It will also be very quiet in standby.If you have resonant antennas and don't use a tuner, the '80B is a more forgiving unit with a noticable increase in power over the '600. Also, once you find the settings for each band and antenna, it really doesn't take that long to re-tune for band changes. I've used a Heathkit SB-1000 (AL-80A clone) for 25 years and aside from a noisy fan it has been a great amp. That said, if I were to upgrade my amp. I would go with a solid state amp. with a built-in tuner capable of at least 1KW out, but now your talking about three times the cost of either of the other units. For the money, either of them is a good choice.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: W8JX on December 04, 2012, 09:37:18 AM
A:L80B is a better deal. It has more headroom for modulation peaks and will handle high duty cycles at 600+ watts than AL600 will at just 600 watts. Tube units will use a little less power over all due to greater efficiency too.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: KH6AQ on December 04, 2012, 10:00:41 AM
I have an ALS-600 and I've had several tube amps. I change bands often during regular DXing and during contesting and prefer the ALS-600 for this. And my amp has been trouble free. It will run full power into a 1.8:1 VSWR before tripping off.

Having said that if I didn't QSY as often I would get the AL-80B. It runs 2 dB more power and will handle higher a VSWR. And there is the benefit of watching the 3-500Z anode glow!

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: N6AJR on December 04, 2012, 11:25:35 AM
The als600 is solid state, and the al 80 is tube type.  the als 600 will tune instantly on changing bands, by just changing the band switch. the AL 80 needs to be re-tuned  every time you change bands and often while  working a band in S & P mode.

I have and have had both and currently run an Alpha 87 a on my main rig.  it is a tube amp, but does full automatic tuning and band switching, it follows you around like a puppy. But you can get an als 600 on the used market for somewhere around a grand or less, same for the al 80, but the Alpha 87 a will run you about $5000 used and 7500 or 8000 new.  expensive, but worth it as it will be the last amp you ever buy.

In your case I would start with the als 600.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: W8JX on December 04, 2012, 12:51:33 PM
Personally I d not think tuning is a big deal.  Been a ham for well over 40 years now and I can remember having to tune rig too. I do not jump bands often but I do have load and tune controls on amp marked for different bands and it is easy to change and amp is not fussy. I do not really feel like I am playing radio unless I am tuning amp.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: N4ATS on December 04, 2012, 02:26:01 PM
Look into a Yaesu FL-7000 , they are built like a tank and really DO put out 600 watts with no stress. There are quite a few around and you can read up about them here  Also they are a little less money and look way better according to many of the owners.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: VE3PP on December 04, 2012, 04:51:34 PM
I run an AL-80A on a dedicated 120 volt line and it will put out close to 1000 watts PEP on 80 and 40. A bit less on the higher bands.

Unlike those who feel a tuner is not required with a 3:1 SWR running into a tube amp I do not do that. I have a Palstar tuner inline. Rarely do I need it when I run the amp but once in awhile I need it if I venture down below 3.700.

As far as tuning goes, the AL-80A is a piece of cake to tune. I have a chart typed up with the band settings for the plate and load positions. I can change bands, put the plate/load to the settings and then I just need to fine tune the amp which takes a few seconds. So I would not worry about the no tune feature of the ALS-600 when comparing it to the AL-80B.

As others have said, more headroom with the AL-80B. You could cruise along at 700 watts all day with that amp and it will barely get warm.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: W7AIT on December 04, 2012, 07:49:00 PM
Suggest you buy a Elecraft KPA-500.  I went the ALS-600 route and after the THIRD factory return and 1 year of heart ache, returns, shipping stuff back, got my money back.  It was a pizza amplifier.

No problems with the KPA500 and worth every cent.  Works well on 120 also.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: KV2T on December 15, 2012, 05:28:46 PM
My vote is for the AL80B, I have used the same combo for six months and the 590 works real well, the 80B is less than 3db from the full 1500 w amps, runs cool plus a PiL on 160/75 and I believe 40mtrs as well. I know the AL600 is no tune but it doesn't take allot to tune the 80B up plus on most bands it will produce at least 300 to 400w more out per band. If no tune is your game then the al600 would be the lowest price SS amp. Another amp to look at used which would be no tune would be a used Alpha 374A but they are hard to find plus you would have to tune it on 160 or 10mtrs, used they run around the same price as the AL80B new. One thing I find with the AL80B is its real clean, zero problems with TVI at two qth's I have used it at.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: W7KKK on December 19, 2012, 10:01:05 AM
I would prefer the AL-80 by far.
Simple design and the tube will last for years of you don't abuse it.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: N4BBQ on December 23, 2012, 03:48:38 AM
Another vote here for the AL-80B.

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: K0CWO on December 23, 2012, 07:24:29 AM
I have owned both the ALS-600 and AL-80B.  I bought the ALS-600 with the switching power supply and with a flat SWR and running 400 watts output with ALC connected and properly adjusted the amp would switch off into the load default mode more often than not.  I exchanged the switcher for an analog supply and the amplifier worked properly after that.  The ALS-600 was somewhat anemic (even using 240v) in that it strained to produce rated output power on some bands.  In retrospect I was "somewhat" satisfied with the amp.

The AL-80B was the second amplifier I have owned.  I sold it for a bigger amp and was sorry shortly after it left the shack.  When I had a chance to pick up a bargain AL-80A, I jumped on it.  The AL-80A & B are great amplifiers.  They are forgiving, quiet, easy to tune, and easy to work on if needed.  The 22 year old AL-80A easily produces 1KW SSB fed with 120v.  It is my favorite amplifier when it comes to "bang for the buck".  Chinese 3-500's have been similar to Eimac 3-500's and reliable for me so far.

Merry Christmas,


Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: N7WR on December 23, 2012, 12:24:21 PM
I have owned and used both.  Sold the 600 and kept the 80B. The 600 is very sensitive to SWR and will fault if it gets anywhere close to 2:1 whereas the 80B will keep on ticking.  Solid State Amps are convenient IF you don't have to constantly use an antenna tuner to keep them happy.  Exception is the SPE Expert amp line.  They are solid state with a built in tuner that is very effective.  I had the use of one for a year and if I could afford one it would be my one and only amp forever.   

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: KT0DD on December 24, 2012, 04:43:04 AM
I just made the same comparison and went with the AL-80B. I had an ALS-600 and it worked good when I sold it, but I found a steal on an unopened brand new AL-80B for $1100. and jumped on it.

The ALS-600 is convenient, however unless you are good with a soldering iron, changing finals in an SS amp requires sending it in to someone. I like the fact that I can change a tube easily by myself, and the AL-80B has enough room inside for me to perform basic repairs if needed.

It isn't too much more of a pain to band hop with a tube amp. I just tune up on 2 or 3 different segments on each band and make a list of my settings on the amp and tuner. I find that the settings on the AL-80B and my Ten Tec 238C tuner are very repeatable.

It may cost me an extra 10-15 seconds to change all my settings, but if a DX contact disappears in 15 seconds, chances are I wouldn't have gotten the contact anyway.

73, Todd - KT0DD

Title: RE: ameritron als-600 vs 80b
Post by: WU2M on January 22, 2013, 09:57:55 AM
AL 80B all the way. I had one and sold it for a bigger amp. The 80B is still working and has been trouble free except that the new owner had to clean the relay contacts one time. Not a bad track record in my book. I don't have any first hand knowledge of how the als-600 works but I know of a couple of guys that are on two meters that sent theirs back because they lost output power.