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Author Topic: 20 Amp shack  (Read 44082 times)
NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« on: November 26, 2014, 05:29:57 PM »

I have only 20 amps in the shack. I would like  the best bang for buck on an amp.

I have 13-15 amps to run the amp.

I operate cw so it needs to do full qsk and prefer auto band switching. Qsk is a must. Have a elecraft kat500 tuner.

What is out there and how close to a full gallon can I get?

Greg kc8iir
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 05:31:48 PM »

120 or 240v?
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 05:40:46 PM »

120v, that is the problem


Greg
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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 05:50:27 PM »

I would say the most bang for buck would be a AL 80B. Unlike a AL811H, it is a REAL 800 watt amp that can do 800+ all day long on CW and SSB QSO's. Please remember that there is just under 3db difference between 800 watts and legal limit. If you cannot work them with 800, 1500 is not likely to make much difference. 
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KH6AQ
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 06:16:21 PM »

The Elecraft KPA500 has QSK and automatic band sensing and switching. It draws 1 kW from the AC line and outputs 500 watts of RF.
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KM3F
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Posts: 909




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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 10:34:39 PM »

Of consideration is the 120 AC feed.
Is the feed line at least #12 wire for the min. voltage drop?
Is the outlet rated for 20 amps rather than the common 15 amp outlet?
You need these basic building blocks to ensure the station will run the best it can.
Another thing that sometimes could be an issue is what side of the 240 service is your circuit is connected to.
Normally as circuit breakers are added on one side, they alternate phases as they are added. This still does not always guarantee load balance until it's check out.
For example if one AC phase is heavily loaded with to many appliances that have electric motors, you will see at times the reaction on station equipment when one starts.
This is called load balancing to the best degree is can be done by logic and noting what's being fed.
An Amprobe current  meter tells a lot about what can go on in these circumstances.
Just some extra to frustrate you more but it's important to know about.
.
I have a 20 amp dedicated shack at 240 volts where all is powered from the same circuit but split to both phases off separate outlets both sides and 240 to the amp on it's own outlet.
Before any gets excited about this, the current drawn at anytime never even gets close to 20 amps. The breaker has never tripped.
The system has a master switch to power everything down when not in uses.
No blinking lights no power drop, nothing. Work very nice with all proper rated hardware.
Good luck.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 10:44:06 PM by KM3F » Logged
NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 02:51:45 AM »

When I built the house, I paid for a dedicated 20 amp circuit. Instead they ran the whole room on a dedicated circuit. 20 amp 12 g wire.
House is 2 years old.

I was going to convert the 20amp to 240v at some point, now the whole room would be 240v. Almost everything in the room will run on 240. Also considered that approach.

Greg
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W1VT
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 03:22:49 AM »

The cheapest approach to QSK may be a solid state amp with the AD5X QSK mod--assuming you don't blow something up.  Roll Eyes

QSK typically isn't cheap.  If you do a lot of contesting relays wear out.  You also have to be very careful not to hot switch them. 

Zack W1VT

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NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2014, 04:21:15 AM »

Does any one here have experience with the acom 600s?

Greg
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KH6AQ
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 05:15:20 AM »

When I upgraded to a 1200 watt amp I had an electrician run 240 VAC to a new outlet in the room. It cost $300.
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NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2014, 05:24:00 AM »

My house is complicated. If you look at my qrz page, you can see back of it.


Greg
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W1VT
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2014, 05:52:55 AM »

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=79826.0
The radio can be an important factor as well, according to this discussion, when adding a QSK amp.

Zack W1VT
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N3QE
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Posts: 5587




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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2014, 06:14:43 AM »

Not so sure you need QSK or even auto band switching. Just my opinions. I do a lot of CW and sure as heck like QSK when barefoot but it is hardly a necessity. Get rid of these luxuries, and best bang for the buck will be an 811A based amp, commonly available used for $400 or so (maybe a little more for e.g. an AL-811H). An AL-80B is also in your power budget assuming you don't have a lot of accessories in the shack.

But if you take into account your QSK and auto band switching desires - then just get a KPA500. It uses 12A fuses when run on 120V and will be drawing several amps under that at full tilt.

If the full gallon and a half is a real requirement, it is likely that without running any new wires, you can convert your shack outlet circuit completely over to 240V, but you'd have to get an electrician to help you with the new breaker. Many but not all ham/computer equipment will accomodate 240V just fine. Still, no need to tear into walls to run new wires.
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NI8R
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Posts: 323




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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2014, 07:00:32 AM »

I have an 811 currently, it will make 500watts, the problem comes from the relay closes about 500ms after the rig lets off 300ms later.
The qsk is not the problem. I can do with out. The relay hold over is enough to make me miss the 1st few letters of a call,  not a problem till  its a weak and rare dx, then I qrz only to miss it again.
The power is not a big deal, I have a 400watt rig that is plenty , but also enjoy the Anan 100d sdr rig which I use the amp.

Currently run a hex beam and a 43ft vertical. antennas not the issue. 5-600 watts is plenty.


Greg kc8iir
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N3QE
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2014, 07:15:48 AM »

I have an 811 currently, it will make 500watts, the problem comes from the relay closes about 500ms after the rig lets off 300ms later.
The qsk is not the problem. I can do with out. The relay hold over is enough to make me miss the 1st few letters of a call,  not a problem till  its a weak and rare dx, then I qrz only to miss it again.
The power is not a big deal, I have a 400watt rig that is plenty , but also enjoy the Anan 100d sdr rig which I use the amp.

The 811 amp is not setting your relay timing to 300ms/500ms. Your keyer and/or rig are setting your relay timing. If you've made the mistake of buying an "amp interface" that can be introducing unnecessary delays too.

I agree 500ms hang time is just insanely long in the contesting world :-).

On most modern rigs using the built-in keyer, the details of amp keying can be set using menu options inside the rig.

I am heavy duty into CW contesting and there is a big advantage to using a "smart" external keyer or computer-based keyer that has near zero relay "tail time" at end of a transmission but smart enough to know to keep the amp keyed during intercharacter spaces "hang time". I don't think rig-based keyers are smart enough to do that (how can they? they don't know what the final dit or dah is until some timer has run).

But your current 500ms hang time is just insanely long. Maybe a novice going at 5WPM would use that kind of relay hang time.

Most contesting-oriented setups have individual parameters for intercharacter "hang time" vs end-of-message "tail time".

My optimal setup is N1MM driving a K1EL winkeyer with the PTT output from the winkeyer keying the amp but not the rig, but there are other ways to do this without a keyer and just driving straight from computer serial or parallel port.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 07:20:11 AM by N3QE » Logged
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