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Author Topic: AL-811 Amplifiers Suck  (Read 80349 times)
VK3BL
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« on: September 22, 2016, 05:49:35 AM »

One thing I've noticed on this forum is that there seems to be a lack of threads catering to people who wish to post endlessly about how AL-811 Amplifiers suck.  So much so, that they feel the need to offer this opinion whenever someone even mentions the model, even when doing so is completely off topic!

As such, I've decided to create this thread to cater to this under serviced group; those who feel the need to wax lyrical endlessly about the suckage of AL-811s are now free to do so.

My hope is, that by allowing said under serviced people to 'get it out of their system', AL-811 owners will once again feel free to ask for help - or even mention they own such a piece of equipment - on these forums.

So to all those that desire, please tell us how much AL-811 Amplifiers suck.  Please tell us how stupid and incompetent people are for owning them, or thinking about owning them, or having owned them, or having once dreamed that a friend's baby sister owned one. 

That's right, THIS THREAD is your opportunity to let it all out.  Its your chance to finally confess that the reason you hate AL-811 amplifiers is because a chinese tube died in the middle of a contest, or just after Dom showed up in P5.  Maybe its because you dropped $10k on an Alpha that is in the shop more than it is the shack, who knows - it doesn't matter.

Now, to every normal, helpful, courteous Ham: please be sure to let the people who post here know how much you respect them.  Let them know how helpful they are being.  Let them know you admire the way they embody the Ham spirit and its ethos.  But most of all, let them know how you instantly recognize how smart, good looking and successful they obviously are.  Gods among men, etc.

Oh, and if anyone dares offer their negative opinions of AL-811 Amplifiers in your thread, please do redirect them here!

In the interests of full disclosure, VK3BL once owned an AL-811 Amplifier.  He chewed up two sets of tubes in a 6 month period, whilst his friend with an Alpha 87A didn't so much as wear out a single tube.  That said, VK3BL put over 1000 hours of constant carrier on those tubes, whereas his friend with the Alpha probably used it for less than 10 hours.  This was mainly because the Alpha owner was scared to use his amp lest one of the Eimac 3CX800A7s perished.  After all, a single Eimac 3CX800A7 costs twice as much as a brand new AL-811 Amplifier, and the Alpha 87A needs TWO!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 06:07:54 AM by VK3BL » Logged

J.D. Mitchell BA  - VK3BL / XU7AGA - https://www.youtube.com/ratemyradio - Honesty & Integrity
N4UM
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2016, 06:23:28 AM »

Should I buy an AL-811 to back up my KPA-500?
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K6AER
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2016, 07:53:47 AM »

It it OK to use a AL-811to drive the big amp?
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WY7CHY
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2016, 08:18:08 AM »

Yes, it makes absolutely no sense to me, why a person would spend $900-$1000 (New) or $600-$650 (Used) for this amp, (AL-811H) when they could spend another $500-$600 more for an amp that gets them 200 more watts out. (AL-80b). What are people thinking.
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
Cheyenne, Wyoming
K8AXW
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2016, 09:02:59 AM »

CHY: 
Quote
Yes, it makes absolutely no sense to me, why a person would spend $900-$1000 (New) or $600-$650 (Used) for this amp, (AL-811H) when they could spend another $500-$600 more for an amp that gets them 200 more watts out. (AL-80b). What are people thinking.

Very simple.  The reason is $500-$600 more for just 200w.....which in the scheme of things isn't worth it.  Many people can't afford the additional 5-$600 more!  Actually, from what I've learned down through the decades, most hams HAVE to go with what they can afford because of other financial obligations.  Like family.

I wanted an amp in the worst way but simply couldn't afford one.....actually, I could afford it if I didn't buy clothes and good food and make payments on a decent house for my family. 

So I built one.  It took 3 years to accumulate parts, 1 year to build it (once again spending every moment available to me working overtime for the family).  But I build a fantastic 1500w amp for around $600, spread over a 3 year period.

People buy what they can afford or can justify for a hobbyeven if it means buying a pizza sheet which they hope and pray stays together.

As for those who do buy a pizza sheet, they should know this from the beginning, if they done the proper research.  Then if they do buy it and it PROVES itself to be a pizza sheet, then they need to shut their mouth and fix the damn thing.  If the tubes crap out, back off on the power output...do whatever needs to be done to keep it going.....because after all you can't afford any better and you DID buy it even though it got poor reviews.  From that point on KEEP YOU MOUTH SHUT AND STOP BITCHING!  Especially on a specialty created forum just so you have a place to whine and bitch.

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VK3BL
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 09:34:20 AM »

Yes, it makes absolutely no sense to me, why a person would spend $900-$1000 (New) or $600-$650 (Used) for this amp, (AL-811H) when they could spend another $500-$600 more for an amp that gets them 200 more watts out. (AL-80b). What are people thinking.

You have no idea, obviously.

The AL-811 was worse than drug and gambling addiction combined.  When it worked, the peaks were unimaginable; 900-1000 watts when I hit it with the '2 pill pre-amp'*.  The DX just rolled in... But the lows, like replacing tubes every week....  The house was just littered with used 811As...

It was a desperate and dirty time - I had to sell the house to keep up with my tube addiction, and ended up homeless with just an amp, honda generator and a cb radio.  Luckily, I got into a program and finally kicked the 811A habit.  I am now on methadone 3-500ZG maintenance.  Unfortunately, its a suppository.

Looking back on it, I can't decide whether or not it was a good thing that 811As were cheap and readily available; during the addiction I never suffered DX withdrawal even when a set of tubes only lasted a day - I could always score another set.  I can't imagine what things would have turned out like if it was a 3CX800A7 addiction - I probably would have had to sell heroin to the babies of celebrities to support the habit.  Anyway, those days are behind me.

I just want everyone to know things will get better, if you get help, listen to those around you, and swear off girly tubes for life.  I've started apologizing to all of those I dropped carriers on* in the depths of my insanity and depravity.  I have yet to make peace with the fact I once made animal noises on CB*. The hardest part so far has been telling my family I'm B+, 3500 volts, and will be on anti-solid state medication for life.

* To be clear, this is fictitious, and I did not do any this.  Except for the tube addiction, that part is real, but luckily not too serious.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 10:16:19 AM by VK3BL » Logged

J.D. Mitchell BA  - VK3BL / XU7AGA - https://www.youtube.com/ratemyradio - Honesty & Integrity
N9AOP
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 09:58:21 AM »

Why would anyone buy an 811 and then complain when they could have spent a few thousand more and get the likes of Acom or OM Power and have a real amp that they would not complain about.  At one time some people bought a YUGO to go cheap and after a bit complained a lot.
Art
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 10:25:35 AM »

Yes, it makes absolutely no sense to me, why a person would spend $900-$1000 (New) or $600-$650 (Used) for this amp, (AL-811H) when they could spend another $500-$600 more for an amp that gets them 200 more watts out. (AL-80b). What are people thinking.

This is mis-leading because contrary to Ameritron rating the 811H IS NOT a 800 watt amp. It is a 600 watt amp at best as anymore is playing Russian roulette and exceeding tube ratings big time. Many are naive though and take Ameritron ratings at face value. Some fail to understand that while while the AL80 is "only" rated 850+ watts, it has TWICE the transformer mass and well over twice the CONTINUOUS rated dissipation as 4ea 811 tubes. Now which is really a 800 watts amp dah... You will get much better audio and linearity out of a AL80 at 800 watts and more than remotely possible with 811's because the single 3-500 is not being pushed past ratings for 800 watts.

Yes some do not like my AL 811 comments but I call a pig a pig and I am not going to BS someone into using any amp at power levels beyond what it can safely handle without exceeding tube ratings. Peckers mentioned in another thread is a cheap bandaid for a poorly designed amp.

One more thing lets talk more about "linearity". A Amp is "linear" when it produces a flat boost across modulated signal. This means like 10 watts in 100 out and 30 watts in and 300 out and 60 in is 600 out as audio level varies with modulation. This is a true linear amp in operation and provides best voice quality. Many push their 811 amps (and some AL80's) as hard as possible to squeak out that last watt and through linearity out the window while stressing tubes and are motivated only by watt meter and not signal quality. Many talk the talk on how to use amps but do not how to walk the walk with one so to speak...
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N6YFM
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 11:23:25 AM »

Yes, it makes absolutely no sense to me, why a person would spend $900-$1000 (New) or $600-$650 (Used) for this amp, (AL-811H) when they could spend another $500-$600 more for an amp that gets them 200 more watts out. (AL-80b). What are people thinking.

* PLEASE* Don't accuse people of thinking.

Research (as well as political campaigns) has shown that;

Approx 5% of people think.
Another 15% would like to think they know how to think.
But according to our research, the rest would rather die than think.

Anyone that willingly purchases (Not under threat of harm) an 811 Amplifier
obviously did not do any research on the web, and simply shopped price.
Else, they simply must enjoy self-abuse.

That said, a non-working 811 amp, if given to me, would be just about
the right size to use as a foot-rest with my workshop stool.

Cheers,

Neal
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 11:29:18 PM by N6YFM » Logged
WY7CHY
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2016, 02:23:16 PM »

Hee Hee. I can see this thread can get very confusing for a noob reading it. Just for clarification, I am a fan of the AL-811H amp. My negative comments are with sarcasm.

And for our #1 AL-811 fan, W8JX, lets clarify a couple things.
1. The AL-811H is rated at 600 watts continuous and 800 watts PEP.
2. I can get 600 watts out RTTY mode, with just shy of 600ma plate current and 170ma grid current. At 1450 volts plate voltage
3. Based on those numbers, and 600 watts out, that means only about 270 watts needs to be dissipated. WHICH MEANS, that at worse case scenario, the tubes, (Which 811a are rated at 65w dissipation), are BARELY going above their rated amount.
4. And I CAN with those settings, read approximately 770-800 watts peak. And no, it isn't being stressed.

Of course, I am not saying every 811H amp and every set of tubes can do this. I am using Russian G-811 tubes; NOS; military QC specs. Maybe the chinese tubes aren't as good. To be honest, I've only tested these readings with the G-811 tubes and a set of 4 572b tubes. (Which I can get the 600w conti and 800w Peak with a about the same current.
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Born Wild - Raised Proud: 73
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VK3BL
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 03:33:11 PM »

Hee Hee. I can see this thread can get very confusing for a noob reading it. Just for clarification, I am a fan of the AL-811H amp. My negative comments are with sarcasm.

Confusing for a noob?  Heh, I have no idea who is serious or not, and I started this thread! Tongue
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J.D. Mitchell BA  - VK3BL / XU7AGA - https://www.youtube.com/ratemyradio - Honesty & Integrity
ZL1BBW
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 03:38:52 PM »

It it OK to use a AL-811to drive the big amp?

I visited a big VK signal about 35 years ago and he was using a SB220 to drive his final.

Saw it with my own eyes so know its true.

Think he is a silent key now.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KD8MJR
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2016, 07:11:31 PM »

For the price the AL-811 is not a bad 500 watt amp for those on a budget and want something with a warranty.

73
Rob
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“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
KK4YDR
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 07:25:32 PM »

I tend to use my AL-811 to drive my 32 pill Skeletor CB Amplifier which is in turn driving 8KW into my AL-800H to legal limit of 1500 watts. I find that the AL-811 makes a wonderful signal for driving an AM signal conversion into a triple sideband copedent grease coated ultra-heterodyne rectifier. I also have a second crappy AL-811 I use to amplify free HDTV signals to my Television, but in lieu of blowing these cheap tubes all the time, I only feed a 490 watt CW signal into the HDTV cable port on the plasma TV.

The AL-811 is an awful amplifer and all it is good for is pumping 600 watts into an AL-811H for another 200 watts more output. Its a fine driver amp but nothing compared to the 200 watt bonus you get with the H model that cost nearly double the price of the measly 600 watt driver amp.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 07:31:11 PM by KK4YDR » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 07:30:27 PM »

BL:  Thank you for the "junkie" take on the 811 amp.  It gave me the much needed laugh for the day.  Very good.
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