eHam

eHam Forums => Amplifiers => Topic started by: KG9SF on July 27, 2014, 01:23:44 PM



Title: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KG9SF on July 27, 2014, 01:23:44 PM
This really isn't meant to be an ornery or sarcastic post.

I'm a bit confused at the number of "tube snobs" that haunt this (and other) forums.

Okay, time to get specific:
Eimac has evolved into an iconic name that inspires feelings of awe and wonder in the minds of many hams.  Is there a reason for this phenomenon?  In a word, YES.
Eimac has a reputation steeped in product quality.  Just as Rolls Royce used to be.  Eimac can be proud of what it's done.

But does that somehow infer that "if it's not Eimac it must be junk"?
Maybe.  But I don't think so.

Someone recently wrote (this is not a direct quote) that if Russian tubes were any good their makers would publish data sheets with 10,000 different test results. 

Well, folks, Russian "ad men" aren't as advanced as we are.  The Russian consumer mindset is not finely attuned to Western-style marketing.

What entities were Eimac's prime customer? Industry, Medicine, Broadcasting, Military and Amateur.
How about Svetlana's prime customer?  The Soviet military.

The point is, Svetlana did not need a team of 35 engineers to invent new specification parameters.  They didn't need 500 ad men to write jingles about how their tubes were the world's best.

Someone mentioned IMD products.  Within reason, who cares?  There's a "whack job" character who posts here often and writes of almost nothing except IMD.  The FCC doesn't even give a rat's butt about IMD.

What about those ugly NOS Russian tubes? Who'd want to use those?  Well, every tube ever made reaches the consumer as NOS.  the term "fresh" should apply to dairy and meat, and possibly paint jobs.  But again, someone wrote here recently about his finals being made in 1948 and still putting out full power.

Even Alpha ships it's 9500 with a Chinese 8877.  But the tube snobs can order one with an Eimac for only $600 additional.

I hope no one is offended by my little rant.  Like I said, it wasn't meant to be ornery.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K0ZN on July 27, 2014, 01:57:16 PM
I am going to assume your post is sincere and not just a Troll job to get something going on here....or your are not just bored and have a lot of extra time on your hands, etc.

Think about it:  You could make the exact same statements about coax, microphones, headsets, tuners, amplifiers, power tools, cars, insulated coolers, tires, guns, or about almost any other manufactured product.

Are hams who chose to use expensive Andrews Heliax, or some high dollar double shielded Belden coax instead of Chinese "RG-8 type" coax, "Coax Snobs" ?

For any number of reasons, various people are more attracted to quality than others. If you were to run an exhaustive study of transmitting tubes by
brand, across the spectrum, I would be very, very surprised if you did not find more manufacturing quality in Eimac tubes and a lower MTBF than
Svetlana or Chinese product.

I don't know how old you are, but I get the impression you were not around at the height of the USSR and/or saw some of the incredible junk.....civilian
and military....that the county produced at the time. This doesn't mean it did not "work", but that does not go into precision of function, long term reliability, etc.
Do you REALLY think that Chinese production tubes are the equal to Eimac across the product lines? Keep in mind that PRICE is a HUGE driver of component
selection in the ham radio market. Do you REALLY think that Chinese business ethics and Quality Control are equal to those of a reputable American tech company??
"Good enough" or "adequate" is usually acceptable in ham equipment. This is a HOBBY...... and that is fine in most situations.....but many people, particularly those who are
knowledgeable in an area often are motivated for something above "average" or better than "acceptable". .......so don't really understand why you call the personal opinions of a few individuals "tube snobbery"?  What are your "technical social status" thoughts on CW keys?!....or microphones?

FYI:  After the foregoing low level defense of Eimac, please note I don't meet your definition of Tube Snob:  My amp has Russian 4CX800A7's in it because of COST in order to meet a price point in the market place at the time it was built.   I would bet a very large sum of money that if prices were equal, it would have had Eimac's......
and I would rather have had Eimac's in it had I been give a choice......Hmmm?  I guess I am a Tube Snob !

73,  K0ZN


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: NO2A on July 27, 2014, 02:42:37 PM
Like K0ZN said,it`s about tube availability at the time of manufacture,not just price. It has nothing to do with snobbery. It has to do with how well the tube was built to begin with. 8877 and 3-500Z are much heavier duty tubes than the 811/572 tubes. Apparently they are better made too,because all the complaints I keep hearing are about the 811/572. Many of them being shipped from China have shorts,resulting in an arc in a brand new tube. Thanks to our wonderful politicians for screwing us into buying everything from China.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: N0NZG on July 27, 2014, 03:23:39 PM
Yes, my 1948 RCA , JAN branded 813 finals in the home brew junk box amp I am running now are still making 1200 watts out on 40 meters.  ( Not sure but I think JAN is Joint Army Navy mill spec) Someone else might know if this is correct.
80—1kw
40-1200 watts
20—1kw
15-1200
10--- you got to be kidding me. These tubes have way to much output capacitance for that.

Now keep in mind that this is pushing a pair of 813 tubes way past there published design specs. This kind of service is downright abusive, but speaks to the quality of the tubes made in yesteryear. Also direct heated throated tungsten filament tubes are known for being able to handle huge overloads. I have been using them this way almost nightly for 3 years with no problems. I got a batch of 14 tubes and 4 of them were still good and the rest were gassy or had cathode to grid shorts. I don’t expect to get 10 years out of them, but they will probably last until I can build a GS35B based amplifier or maybe even one with a set of RF parts Chinese 3-500z tubes.  Made in china tubes are just good enough that they don’t have to trash to many tubes in the production process to meet the minimum spec for the model they are building. As of a year ago, RF parts will not sell an imported 813 tube because the reject rate is so high and the quality control is so poor.  These tubes from china are made is a batch of several thousand at a time and tested some go to the trash and some are rebranded with whatever the customer wants stamped on them. Russian tubes “were” made just good enough that they passed a minimum spec and hopefully you didn’t get sent to the gulag.  In china the motivation is profit at the cost of quality and in Russia of the cold war era the motivation was fear .  Eimac made a quality product ( or at least tried to) and the expectation was that the end user was willing to pay for that quality They traded on their brand.  As a hobby consumer I am happy to pay $250 to get a GS35B shipped to my door with the expectation that if I get 10 years of service out of it I will feel I got my monies worth. I look at it as a compromise between good enough performance and not having so much invested in it that I am afraid to use my amp for fear I will do something stupid and blow it up. I am sure I am not the only person in the world that has tried to tune up his amp on 20 meters with the band switch still in the 80 meter position. ------ I am not a tube snob.-------    Ok, so I rambled on in a few different directions, the point is if you “need” and will pay the price for and Eimac tube them by all means that is what you should get. IF you are a poor smock like me that cobbles stuff together to get an education and save a few bucks in the process then you are well served with the less expensive option. The guy on the other end can’t tell the difference as it is fairly easy to get just about any tube, rather it is a set of sweep tubes or a 4cx20000f7 and build and operate an amplifier that doesn’t cause spectrum pollution. 


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: N0NZG on July 27, 2014, 03:31:14 PM
http://www.qrz.com/db/N0NZG

Here is a link to my QRZ page were you can see my cobbled together ugly junk box amplifier. I wanted to learn more about RF circuits and amplifiers so I made this a test bed to try different ideas and designs. 
I am not very proud of it, but hey it works.
73, Jeremy


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: N8CBX on July 27, 2014, 03:45:09 PM
Someone recently wrote (this is not a direct quote) that if Russian tubes were any good their makers would publish data sheets with 10,000 different test results. 
Well, I would have responded saying that we have ham build Russian tube amps, why can't hams evaluate & characterize IMD spectra and linearity? Show me some data.
Jan N8CBX


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W1QJ on July 27, 2014, 05:16:46 PM
To satisfy the FCC all the amp manufacturer has to do is make the output rating of the amp meet the minimum IMD level acceptable.  Once the ham exceeds that specified output level, the IMD goes to hell in a hand basket.  BTW  some of the later Eimac 3-500 tubes made in the early 90's to the end of their reign in about 1996 aren't very good.  Let them sit for any length of time and they get so gassy they are no longer any good.  As time grew on EImac's quality of 3-500's went down.  For the most part the EImac tubes (especially the ceramic external anode) tubes a still very good.  There were some years where the 8877 tubes were troublesome.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K6AER on July 27, 2014, 11:04:28 PM
I have been building, repairing  and certifying amplifiers for over 40 years and I never see an Eimac tube being used in new units let alone used amplifiers. If there isan Eimac snobs out there they don't use amplifiers.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KD8MJR on July 28, 2014, 02:14:43 AM
Tube Snobs that's funny!
Why would anyone really care about this?
Obviously some tube companies are going to be better than others and they will of course charge more. That's how it is with any product. If I buy the better product and mention that it's better does that make me a Snob? If that's the case the world is full of snobs, I might be considered a Scotch slob since I won't buy the cheap stuff ;D


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W3RSW on July 28, 2014, 07:42:04 AM
...and then there is the audio market.
I have four Gold Lion Mullard KT88's in my Citation II that are worth more than I am, even slightly used.   ;D

That notwithstanding I have Nation Union 813's in AM Rf service that were built in the year of my birth for US WWII military service and also modern Eimac's of the 8873/4/5 family and the 3cx800/1500 family.  Good stuff. 


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KB2FCV on July 28, 2014, 08:30:22 AM
I see plenty of amps out there running Eimac, plenty run Russian tubes and plenty run Chinese tubes... you can't tell the difference on the receiving end. Run whatever makes you happy :)

One of my amps has chinese 572b in it.. and another has an eimac 8877... both work just fine and dandy..


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: PA1ZP on July 28, 2014, 10:25:54 AM
Hi KG9SF

Here in Europe a lot of Russian tubes are available and also Dutch, French British and German Czech Chinese tubes etc.
And we do not have troubles in getting the specs for these tubes.
Lots of Russian tubes are based on EU and US designs , and some of these tubes are even stronger and better build as the original designs from the EU or US.

We also have a lot of surplus CCCP army stuf on our flee matkets and hamfests.
These Russians build very well build and designed vacuum capasitors ceramic caps and roller inductors, etc.

Look at these amps that are build with lots of different tubes, the roller inductor he uses in this 40KW PEP amp is Russian build, I use a similar one in my 5 KW PEP tuner.
http://www.dc9dz.de/en/tsunami40k.html
I only think that 40 KW PEP is a bit over LL hihi.
 
Also other European countries made wonderfull vacuum tubes that are great in quality.
We can buy Russian tubes for 1 KW anode dissipation or even more for about a 100 Euro's a piece.

Nothing wrong with other vacuum tubes , you just have to know what type to use.
A simple google for the specs will do just fine, just use the Cyrilic characters for the search GI7B is ГИ7Б  etc.
Anode is АНОДЕ

73 Jos


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: ZL4IV on August 08, 2014, 01:48:18 AM
In my shack I have my 3 favorite amps. One German made with Tubes from USA, two Australian amps, one with Chinese tubes and the other with Russian tubes. All three amps make me smile, don't annoy other band users. Don't care where the tubes are made. Biggest problem is not the tube origin but the LID using it.

ZL4IV
 


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KB4QAA on August 08, 2014, 06:39:45 PM
"Tube snobs"?   

I sure havent' seen them here or on QRZed.

Quote
The point is, Svetlana did not need a team of 35 engineers to invent new specification parameters.  They didn't need 500 ad men to write jingles about how their tubes were the world's best.
Yeah sure. It's amazing how motivated engineers can get when you execute a few of them, and threaten the rest with The Gulag!


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W3RSW on August 09, 2014, 06:13:21 AM
Much Soviet stuff from National radios, to cars to atom devices ("gadgets") were perfect or as perfect as possible copies of Western technology that materials, motivation and manufacturing methods would allow in a police state having spying agencies as one of the largest of bureaucratic organs.  Klaus Fuchs was feeding original nuc. Device plans back to USSR from the US as fast as they hit the drawing boards...  Or faster since he was on the design team.

Fascinating reading for those who haven't yet read (I'll bet a many on this board already have):

Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and his sequel, "Dark Sun,"  the hydrogen bomb counterpart, Simon and Schuster, N.Y., London, 1986, etc.

I killed an entire beach week at Nags Head one summer reading the first, ignoring family and beach, absorbing and reflecting on most of it

What a book ! --A compendium of European and scientific history, Jewish diaspora, persecution,  intrigue of politics, nuclear physics ( history, theoretical and applied), brilliant insights in early nuclear research, key players, infrastructure development, nuclear device technology, espionage,  ultimate use and moral implications.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K0RS on August 20, 2014, 11:17:45 PM
I know I, for one, am sure glad Eimac got rid of those 500 ad men writing jingles.  It would drive me crazy, especially around Xmas time when you couldn't seem to get away from them.

"Eimac tubes, Eimac tubes, they're the ones to be had!
Don't use Russian tubes, they'll make you sad!
And Chinese tubes are most assuredly bad!"

Now I can't seem to get the lyrics out of my head...almost worse than the Chia Pet thing.  Or the Clapper.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: ZENKI on August 21, 2014, 06:49:58 AM
Now hams want to call technical ignorance "tube snobbery"  All of sudden for reasons of wanting to be cheap we turn a blind eye to the fact that many of these cheap tubes
were meant for Class C and Radar pulse service and not meant for linear service use.

Its easy being a  ignoramus by burying your head in the sand and saying all is  good and these tubes  are good because they are cheap. Going on to say that hams that dont use tubes are  snobs is a ridiculous contention.  Maybe some hams forget that  we require linear amplifiers for SSB, not non-linear cheap class C tubes  with poor IMD performance  for SSB operation. Since most hams operate on SSB we can ignore the requirements of CW linears.

If you live in Europe and hear the crud on a band like 40 meters,  anger is the first thing that comes to mind when operating next door to these hams who only considered the price of their tubes rather than how clean their signal is  that these cheap  tubes are producing. I suppose this is no different to the ignorant hams who use garbage class C CB amplifiers on the ham bands on SSB because they think they being smart by being cheap.   Technical ignorance is not a defense nor can bending the truth for convenience change the fact that  many hams are doing the wrong thing.

The majority  of hams who use  good tubes like 3-500's, 3cx800's and 8877s and the many good linear SSB tubes are not really snobs, they just hams  who  are considerate of other users of the ham bands and have a greater technical understanding of the issue. I supposed the next argument we will be having is  that hams are snobs for not using cheap CB class C amplifiers on the ham bands and we should  ignore the technical requirements just  so that the dummies can own a amplifier regardless of what they do to the band. I suppose the technical stupidity of this kind of technical stupidity can be seen and heard on the CB band  24/7. Why would anyone  want to degrade the ham service to this level when its good affordable clean linear tubes like 3-500's are readily available?

I dont buy this argument and will stick with linear tubes meant for SSB linear service regardless of where they are made. Its simply a technical requirement thats called doing the right thing. Its not about being a arrogant snob.  There are numerous SDR receivers around the world, listen to the crud that these tubes produce, you can hear and the see the damage "cheapness" produces  on the waterfall  QED!


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KG9SF on August 21, 2014, 01:02:12 PM
Zenki, you use a lot of words but you don't say anything.

Are you telling us that you look at the spec sheets for a GU74B and somehow think it was designed for class C nonlinear use? Forgive me, but you must be nuts. l suppose that everyone on this forum knows already that your prime focus is on IMD products.  We've heard you ramble on and on about that.

But to characterize 4CX800As as cheap, nonlinear, class C radar tubes is just laughable.

Oh, and I'd go easy on using "ignorant" very often when referring to others and trying to pawn off crud as knowledge like your last post.



Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: N9AOP on August 21, 2014, 02:02:56 PM
One thing I noticed is that Alpha will sell an 8877 in either Eimac or Chinese flavor.  The Eimac is twice the price but the
Eimac is guaranteed for only one year while the Chinese one is for two years.  Is there some cryptic message in this?
Art, N9AOP


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W3RSW on August 22, 2014, 07:50:30 AM
Eimac has stood by a one year guarantee for many years.  It is to catch an errant tube or even batch that somehow slipped through the cracks. "That assembler, that tool or that thorium supplier is now longer with us.."  ;D .  However the vast majority of Eimac tubes last for the commercial 24/7 usage period, say 8k to 10k hours, of hard riding and for many years in amateur service provided operating limits are followed in amplifiers of good design.

In past years CPI Eimac has even stood by good tubes that commonly went bad because of bad amp design and even worse, uninformed amateur operating practice, e.g., the 8875's in Dentrons.  A few dollars worth of components and an idiot shutdown or two potentially would have saved the discontinuance of a darn good tube.  8873's, 4's, 5's and 7's were never comparatively cheap tubes even back when the design was new and shiny if one wants to use that argument for the lack of decent amp design in those days.

************

Not to many years have yet transpired for Chinese tubes so we'll see. They do seem to be getting somewhat better.  A little searching about various Chinese factories, failure of certain Chinese tube types more than others and early build problems of Chinese tubes should answer your question.

It looks like one reputable outfit, RF Concepts/"Alpha" has decided to capitalize on the need for reasonably priced Chinese tubes along with double testing, etc, but again, ...we'll see.
They may saturate the market so another boom/ bust cycle may occur.

The market (you) can simply decide if you think the price difference is worth taking the gamble; either the Chinese tubes are good enough to match the warranty ( at the end  of which the bulk of the run doesn't run out of emission from under thoriation, etc,? ) vs. Eimac's perceived gouging but with proven reliability.

It may very well be that medical Eimac pulls with no or slightly reduced emission have far more value than newly made Chinese tubes.  Time will tell.

Of course shipping will also weed out the better manufactured tubes before you even get them.
 ;D. I could go on and on but will only be repeating numerous threads.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K6AER on August 22, 2014, 08:22:30 AM
I am curious. Which triode or tetrode chinise tube in the 800-1500 watt range is designed for class C only? I went looking and did not find any. Possibly Wouxun is coming up with one for their little FM HT’s.

In that all linear tubes can be biased for class “C” including the 8877, maybe I missed the “CLASS C OPERATION ONLY” on the side of the heatsink fins. The Balance between class A (highly linear but inefficient) and class AB (less linear but more efficient) has always been just that, a balance.

Do hams want a highly efficient amplifier and are willing to pay a bit of IMD penalty for less fan noise and heat or do we want the best IMD possible only to have the amplifier putting out 1500 watts of heat even when the driver is off but the amplifier is keyed.

To a larger question how much IMD is bad? 20 dB better than the driver, 30 dB better than the driver? What will be buried in the noise floor with a dipole, will not a 4 element beam at 100 feet. At this point big station hams have to run larger amplifiers for more head room and a cleaner signal. All the IMD performance is lost if the amplifier is over driven.

At this time I would like to see schematics of these phantom class “C” HF amplifiers.

I know this is a hot topic for some hams that don’t or can’t get on the air but just once I would like to see a real technical design article with their test results for all to see.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: N3QE on August 22, 2014, 09:31:22 AM
It looks like one reputable outfit, RF Concepts/"Alpha" has decided to capitalize on the need for reasonably priced Chinese tubes along with double testing, etc, but again, ...we'll see.
They may saturate the market so another boom/ bust cycle may occur.

There are several reputable places that are known for being able to effectively screen out the bad Chinese tubes (I suspect they also cajole the manufacturer to not send them the crap.) I strongly recommend both RF Parts and Ameritron for these tubes.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KX2T on August 22, 2014, 10:44:31 AM
Well I think this post was used to flush out ZENKI  and it did, here is a guy who uses NO CALL SIGN which makes me laugh, knows everything that needs to be known about anything radio at least in his own mind, and also comments about how companies should re build most all of there radio's and who has never worked in manufacturing at least to what I have seen him post. Its a joke but tubes from our good ole famous Eimac are going to the way side as far as the ham market is concerned, many years ago when Eimac brought out the 8877 they used the ham market to promote these tubes, they didn't cost an arm and a leg and then something happened, companies started building MRI's and boy these tube and there larger brotherin were being use much more than than the ham market used them plus they could charge a hell of allot more money to the medical market so the ham's got the shaft. Were an 8877 went for $300 to $400 then it went up to $800 then over $1K plus range and the medical market pays these prices and the tubes were labeled Eimac/Varian now. The amateur market is soo small compared to the medical field and maybe we got used in the beginning as to stroke the fire of many tube that Eimac brought out that are used in many other market not just ours. The Chinese tube if you get a handle with the companies over there can be made to better standard but you gotta work with then and this takes time. The Russian tube that are NOS Svetlana tube will deplete there supply and believe me when Svetlana starts up there production again they will cost as much as the Eimac tubes. As far as IMD well when you run your mic gain at the ALC peaks or over on your meter don't expect whatever tube you have in your amp to be clean if your overdriving your radio's PA, use less ALC range, maybe 2/3rds and maybe a slight bit more with your processing if you think you need it. IMD starts in most cases with what's driving your amp then if your exciter is overdriven then the amp will produce those nasty IMD's.
Jim


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KD0REQ on August 22, 2014, 12:57:23 PM
you think the Russian tube vendors will restart big bottles, eh?  I rather suspect if you get out of the business for some time, you are going to be knocking your head against the fall for at least half as long.  the important part of the production cycle, once it's been shooed out the door, the workers, isn't coming back.

I don't think so.  instead of needing 500 watts to talk tank to base, they're going to be using satellite radios, just like us.  if they need a few land stations retubed, I suspect Russia will buy a half-year of Chinese production tubes as cheaper and faster, and then figure out a new way.  maybe 10,000 MRF150s in parallel...

I strongly suspect that once the market dwindles, nobody else is coming in to try and satisfy a boutique market in sorta-power tubes.  heck, shortwave worldwide is going away, too, and there goes the reason for the 30KW filament-burners.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KD8MJR on August 22, 2014, 12:59:17 PM
Not to many years have yet transpired for Chinese tubes so we'll see. They do seem to be getting somewhat better.  A little searching about various Chinese factories, failure of certain Chinese tube types more than others and early build problems of Chinese tubes should answer your question.

I don't know a lot about tubes but I do know a fair bit about how the Chinese industrial sector works.   So let me give you some advice and suggest that you throw out any trend charts or thoughts that you may have that show that it's better in August 2014 than it was in Aug 2010 so it will be even better in 2015.

 Nope the Chinese don't work that way, it may be better in 2015 or it may be worst than the day they started up!   Chinese companies have Zero built in Pride, they operate solely on profits.  If it makes sense to cut corners next year and make the tubes less reliable to increase profits they will do it without hesitation.   It's only under the lash of a foreign investor demanding certain standards that a Chinese Manufacturer will make products of a consistently high standards.

This is not racism talking, this is what I have seen with my own eyes and have had to deal with for years.
When you see huge investors like Apple say no more over working people or using child Labor and they get ignored and have to go down there and personally do the monitoring, you know how bad it is.   When you see independent Chinese companies dump toxic chemicals into baby formula just so they can pass the protein standards test at the bureau of standards, you get a pretty good idea of what your dealing with.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W8JX on August 22, 2014, 01:23:19 PM
Not to many years have yet transpired for Chinese tubes so we'll see. They do seem to be getting somewhat better.  A little searching about various Chinese factories, failure of certain Chinese tube types more than others and early build problems of Chinese tubes should answer your question.

I don't know a lot about tubes but I do know a fair bit about how the Chinese industrial sector works.   So let me give you some advice and suggest that you throw out any trend charts or thoughts that you may have that show that it's better in August 2014 than it was in Aug 2010 so it will be even better in 2015.

 Nope the Chinese don't work that way, it may be better in 2015 or it may be worst than the day they started up!   Chinese companies have Zero built in Pride, they operate solely on profits.  If it makes sense to cut corners next year and make the tubes less reliable to increase profits they will do it without hesitation.   It's only under the lash of a foreign investor demanding certain standards that a Chinese Manufacturer will make products of a consistently high standards.

This is not racism talking, this is what I have seen with my own eyes and have had to deal with for years.
When you see huge investors like Apple say no more over working people or using child Labor and they get ignored and have to go down there and personally do the monitoring, you know how bad it is.   When you see independent Chinese companies dump toxic chemicals into baby formula just so they can pass the protein standards test at the bureau of standards, you get a pretty good idea of what your dealing with.

Many are quick to attack Chinese on tubes yet they offer no viable alternative. They should be darn glad that Chinese or Russians even make the tubes in question because without them there would be no options. Even if tubes have a 30% or greater failure rate that is still 70% good and 70% good tube is far better than 100% of no tubes. Simple math. There is no reason for China to spend a lot of money perfecting obsolete technology with a very limited market. If you look around your house pretty much everything short of food comes from or was made in part or whole in China. Complaining will not change a thing. Get over it.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KD8MJR on August 22, 2014, 01:44:02 PM
My point has nothing to do with that.  All I am saying is that unlike most companies that will typically improve or at least maintain the quality of a device as time passes.  The Chinese on a whole are totally unpredictable, they have no long term out look on quality or pride in the product like you find with German, Japanese, American and Korean companies.  


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W8JX on August 22, 2014, 01:53:07 PM
My point has nothing to do with that.  All I am saying is that unlike most companies that will typically improve or at least maintain the quality of a device as time passes.  The Chinese on a whole are totally unpredictable, they have no long term out look on quality or pride in the product like you find with German, Japanese, American and Korean companies.  

There is no profit in refining a obsolete product for a very limited market. We have to work with what we have. As far as "German" quality, Pfaff a old german company that makes sewing machines acquired Huskvarna Viking sewing machines built in Sweden like finely jeweled watches on their top end models. Pfaff promptly sold off all old machines and moved production of them to China. Morale is Germany cuts corners and has been building VW's in Mexico for some time too.  


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KD0REQ on August 22, 2014, 03:17:16 PM
the repairmen who lost their Husqvarna ticket, who got a look at the Chinese machines before new management decided they can outsource their sales and service as well, found the difference right away.  the guy my wife had servicing her machines went to work at the gas company.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W8JX on August 22, 2014, 03:24:33 PM
the repairmen who lost their Husqvarna ticket, who got a look at the Chinese machines before new management decided they can outsource their sales and service as well, found the difference right away.  the guy my wife had servicing her machines went to work at the gas company.

Such a sad fate for a once fine brand.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K2GWK on August 22, 2014, 05:43:04 PM
My point has nothing to do with that.  All I am saying is that unlike most companies that will typically improve or at least maintain the quality of a device as time passes.  The Chinese on a whole are totally unpredictable, they have no long term out look on quality or pride in the product like you find with German, Japanese, American and Korean companies.  

There is no profit in refining a obsolete product for a very limited market. We have to work with what we have. As far as "German" quality, Pfaff a old german company that makes sewing machines acquired Huskvarna Viking sewing machines built in Sweden like finely jeweled watches on their top end models. Pfaff promptly sold off all old machines and moved production of them to China. Morale is Germany cuts corners and has been building VW's in Mexico for some time too.  

Only a fool would make the assertion that all German Companies cut corners. I am an Account manager for Rohde & Schwarz who is headquartered in Munich. We make some of the finest RF and Microwave Test Equipment in the world and it is all manufactured in Germany. We are know for our quality.

You should also note that Volkswagen operates 106 production plants in 19 European countries and a further eight countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, 572,800 employees worldwide produce some 39,350 vehicles which are sold in 153 countries. It seems to me they are doing something right and not cutting corners.

You really shouldn't shoot your mouth off until you know all the facts. You make yourself look like a jackass.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W8JX on August 22, 2014, 08:06:47 PM
My point has nothing to do with that.  All I am saying is that unlike most companies that will typically improve or at least maintain the quality of a device as time passes.  The Chinese on a whole are totally unpredictable, they have no long term out look on quality or pride in the product like you find with German, Japanese, American and Korean companies.  

There is no profit in refining a obsolete product for a very limited market. We have to work with what we have. As far as "German" quality, Pfaff a old german company that makes sewing machines acquired Huskvarna Viking sewing machines built in Sweden like finely jeweled watches on their top end models. Pfaff promptly sold off all old machines and moved production of them to China. Morale is Germany cuts corners and has been building VW's in Mexico for some time too.  

Only a fool would make the assertion that all German Companies cut corners. I am an Account manager for Rohde & Schwarz who is headquartered in Munich. We make some of the finest RF and Microwave Test Equipment in the world and it is all manufactured in Germany. We are know for our quality.

You should also note that Volkswagen operates 106 production plants in 19 European countries and a further eight countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, 572,800 employees worldwide produce some 39,350 vehicles which are sold in 153 countries. It seems to me they are doing something right and not cutting corners.

You really shouldn't shoot your mouth off until you know all the facts. You make yourself look like a jackass.

Look in the mirror if you want to see a fool loosing his cool. They build in Mexico to save money just like GM. VW has lost a lot with car feel here in last 15 years. They are going for cheap mass market now and they used a low tech dated engine for base Jetta for years. BTW Toyota is a bigger employer and they cut corners too. Do not even preach that they are not cutting corners.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W3DBB on August 23, 2014, 05:03:08 AM
I have a 1987 Mercedes with 200,000 miles. Keeping it running right entails not cutting corners on replacement parts. This sometimes requires a little bit of research. Some of the German companies that made the original parts have converted themselves into charitable foundations. This may have happened due to tax policy in DL. These companies have farmed out the parts manufacturing operations to other countries. It's interesting. If I run across NOS parts, they're made in Germany or if they're the age of my car, made in West Germany. But a correct Bosch ignition coil of more recent vintage is made in Slovenia. A set of correct Bosch spark plug wires with the 1K resistors built into the spark plug connectors, recently acquired, is made in Spain. The Bosch spark plugs are a variant made specifically for my car's engine and haven't been made for a long time. Finding a set of these is interesting, as I recently found out.

Even though some of these parts are not strictly original it's refreshing to find merchandise not made by slave labor. So far, so good.

As for VW I think they still suffer from brand identity. Their postwar cars were cheap cars, well-constructed for what they were but there really wasn't much to them. A proclivity to rusty floorpans. Cold in the winter and warm in the summer. A magnesium alloy engine block prone to cracking especially as the number of thermal cycles increased. An oil filter that was nothing more than a filter screen. 3000 miles between oil changes was an absolute maximum. And then there were frequent valve lash adjustments and yearly ignition point maintenance. I owned a 1972 Super Beetle up until c. 2006. Rusty strut towers, rusty floorpan, rusty body. Pennsylvania is tough on any car.

They've come a long way but its tough to get excited about a car with a German name designed in San Diego and built in Mexico.

It's my car snobbery. And replacement parts snobbery. I shop and buy what I think will have the highest benefit to cost ratio. Chinese 811A and 572B tubes are questionable at best but relatively-speaking, they're inexpensive. The 811A's have so many corners cut, they are only as rugged as sweep tubes now. The 572B's should have been a whole lot better but they've had so many problems. I think the Chinese are hosing us, but many of their operations exist at the behest of U.S. corporations that terminated domestic manufacturing to save money. It's all about quarterly results. The Germans seem to have a little different twist on this, but they're a sovereign nation operating under a different set of laws.

It's my vacuum tube snobbery manifesting itself again. Yeah, that's what it is. Funny thing is my snob/consumerism doesn't affect my amateur radio equipment purchases, which have dwindled to just about nothing. The stuff I own is just about all junk now. Reverse- ham radio snobbery.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: G3RZP on August 23, 2014, 06:59:13 AM
>It's all about quarterly results.<

W3DBB, you have hit the nail firmly on the head. Wall Street and the bankers are not interested in long term performance - just the last three months. I suspect that is because too many of them have never been near industry but came out of college with an MBA (which in many cases means 'Much Bigger A*****e) and figure turnover and profit like Walmart should happen everywhere. Left to people with that viewpoint, the long term view needed to build the US railroads just would not have happened - or the Pennsylvania oil fields, although they paid back somewhat faster than today's oil fields.

It's fair to say that nobody ever went bankrupt in the long term, and the short term needs watching, but these days, there is far too much 'short termism' in US industry, and it's spreading over here too.



Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K8AXW on August 23, 2014, 07:54:54 AM
Peter, to solidify what you say..... just try to get anything electrical or electronic repaired in this day and age! 


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K2GWK on August 23, 2014, 09:33:07 AM
My point has nothing to do with that.  All I am saying is that unlike most companies that will typically improve or at least maintain the quality of a device as time passes.  The Chinese on a whole are totally unpredictable, they have no long term out look on quality or pride in the product like you find with German, Japanese, American and Korean companies.  

There is no profit in refining a obsolete product for a very limited market. We have to work with what we have. As far as "German" quality, Pfaff a old german company that makes sewing machines acquired Huskvarna Viking sewing machines built in Sweden like finely jeweled watches on their top end models. Pfaff promptly sold off all old machines and moved production of them to China. Morale is Germany cuts corners and has been building VW's in Mexico for some time too.  

Only a fool would make the assertion that all German Companies cut corners. I am an Account manager for Rohde & Schwarz who is headquartered in Munich. We make some of the finest RF and Microwave Test Equipment in the world and it is all manufactured in Germany. We are know for our quality.

You should also note that Volkswagen operates 106 production plants in 19 European countries and a further eight countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, 572,800 employees worldwide produce some 39,350 vehicles which are sold in 153 countries. It seems to me they are doing something right and not cutting corners.

You really shouldn't shoot your mouth off until you know all the facts. You make yourself look like a jackass.

Look in the mirror if you want to see a fool loosing his cool. They build in Mexico to save money just like GM. VW has lost a lot with car feel here in last 15 years. They are going for cheap mass market now and they used a low tech dated engine for base Jetta for years. BTW Toyota is a bigger employer and they cut corners too. Do not even preach that they are not cutting corners.

Man, I have no idea how you can stand posting to all of us when you are such an authority on anything and everything. Looking at your posts you know everything there is to know and you are never ever wrong or make a mistake. It is such a shame that the most intelligent person in the world in your own mind is one of the most despised on this forum. I guess being so smart leaves no room for being humble. Such a pity.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KK4RSV on August 23, 2014, 10:22:53 AM
THIS HORSE IS DEAD!! ;D


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: W6EM on August 23, 2014, 07:07:31 PM
In 1997, a Fremont, CA neighbor of mine, who had a sole-source contract to supply Acer with ribbon cables told me why he was building a factor in Shanghai.  Never mind that he was ethic Taiwanese.  In Taiwan, he paid employees $1500/month.  In CA, $3000/month.  But, in Shanghai, $150/month for a 6.5 day work week!!

I used to lay awake nights worried about America’s future.  Finally had to get some rest and began to think the only way was going to be Chinese inflation and the high cost of transportation (and the widely-known practice of payola to get goods out of China).  And, now that the Chinese standard of living and labor costs there have rallied, US companies are repatriating.

Eitel and McCullough’s tubes may indeed have better grade materials and wider performance tolerances.  However, there still is no question that making something in San Carlos, CA is more expensive than Shanghai, but that may eventually change some more in our favor.  CPII, who now owns Eimac, could make them at lower cost in the Southeastern US, but perhaps the processes are automated to the extent that labor costs aren’t that important.  Although, I suspect other cost elements such as the facility, property, income taxes, utilities and material costs are likely way more in San Carlos than they would be here in central Alabama.  Not sure about corporate income taxes for the state, but personal rates in CA are about 10%.  Personal rates in AL are about half that.

So, CA is a very expensive place to live and do business and is part of the reason for the Eimac premium.

73.

 


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KX2T on August 23, 2014, 07:45:19 PM
Sorry but I don't buy that, Eimac/CPI has contracts with the medical industry to fill orders and they pay top dollar, the only thing for that industry is the QC is at closer tolerances. Even the broadcast industry which most are going to solid state and only need the huge tubes for really big power have started to use the imports tubes. The medical side's newer machines are starting to go SS but there are tons of machine in use that many hospitals are still using that use tubes and CPI will gladly sell them tubes at there inflated prices. I know ham's don't wanna here this but the marketplace for the tubes we use is very small.
Jim


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: K6AER on August 25, 2014, 07:55:05 AM
With the exception of X-Ray tubes, RF power tubes have not been used in the medical industry for over 15 years.  All RF applications in medicine have been solid state for a long time. There are no more medicals pulls. Not here or in other countries.  Cheap high power tubes are a thing of the past.

The application of 500 to 2500 watts tubes is almost exclusive to the amateur radio market. All the amateur radio amplifiers being manufactured and repaired is barely a two week production run. 

AM Radio stations us class E solid state transmitters. The amplifier blocks are about 5 KW and are hot swappable. Some FM stations use high power tubes but they tend to be in the 10 KW or higher region.

This brings us down to the future of amateur radio amplifiers. We as a product user base, do not command enough market to ensure our own parts survivability. Each and every amplifier design is based on what is available to the commercial RF market. Our designs are piggybacked on what components are available in the market or being used in a military application.  This holds true for solid state designs as well.

Hams have a habit of using gear for 30 years but think nothing of buying a new car every 5 years.  We are funny creatures. Thank god the Chinese think there is a market for tubes.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KH6DC on August 25, 2014, 06:29:42 PM
It's called globalization.

My 1993 Toyota 4x4 p/u 22RE 4 cyl truck was made in Japan and I am the original owner who did my own repairs and maintenance.  I still found some Fram, A/C Delco and Bosch parts orginally installed back then .  My 2014 Toyota Tacoma says assembled in Baja California, Mexico from 60% Japanese, 39% USA pars and 1% other.  Actually the label says 60% Japanese, 40% USA and 1 % other which makes it over 100%.

I had both Svetlana and Chinese made 811As on an amp I sold and they both worked well.  The orginal 811As were chinese made and worked fine, just the anode cap rusted and fell off after 16 years of ownership.  I replaced them with Svetlana 572Bs and they're built like a tank.  I just wished they came back into the tube business.

Globalization means finding ways to reduce costs in manufacturing and the stock holder demands it.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KX2T on August 27, 2014, 06:34:42 PM
I don't know about the west coast but I have two friends who work for Phillips Medical and yes the newer machines are solid state but they both have said there's a whole lot of machines out there in Hospitals or Medical labs that still use the good ole tubes. To a less of extent you don't find the smaller tubes any more like 3CPX800's but many of the still running machines use a pair of 3CPX1500 for the head and 3CPX5000's for the body. There will be a time soon were most of the tubes will be phased out but they seem to think that's gonna take at least 5 years. The cost of Eimac tube's are just outa sight for most ham's but the Chinese seem to be doing ok with the ole 8877 but for some reason will not try designing any of the Russian tubes yet.


Title: RE: Amp Tube Snobbery
Post by: KK5DR on September 06, 2014, 04:06:39 PM
EIMAC only here. If you got that, you got great power tubes.

Matt KK5DR (All EIMAC, all the time)