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Author Topic: Amps...Are they a MUST for HF ???  (Read 20210 times)
N8YX
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Posts: 1365




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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2018, 10:24:10 AM »

My HW-8s, TS-130V, TS-660 and other QRP rigs I've used over the years would disagree with the "gotta have an amp!" mindset, but when using them you DEFINITELY gotta have an antenna. And as others have pointed out: If the sunspot numbers are in the toilet, good luck working anywhere. That is when you QRO.

SB-200 and clones are a good and cheap set of boots. I like my IC-2KLs and Herc-IIs for when medium (500w) power will do the job but on occasion I wish I had 220v run in the shack for a real amp. Wink
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N9AOP
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Posts: 1167




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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2018, 10:57:19 AM »

Loud is good.
Art
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N8CBX
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Posts: 564




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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2018, 01:06:06 PM »

Yes, amps are a must because it makes it easier for the other guy to listen and......they are so much fun to build.
Jan N8CBX
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Dayton Ohio - The Birthplace of Aviation
K8AXW
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Posts: 7038




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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2018, 08:31:43 PM »

CBX brings up an interesting point!  BUILDING an amp is a hoot!! 

Of all the gear I've built and the thousands of dollars I spent on various brands of kits, the "built from scratch" 1400w amp I put together provided more fun and pleasure than all the other things put together! I've been building gear for 62 years.
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
KM1H
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Posts: 5269




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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2018, 07:52:35 AM »

Quote
An old hot rod builder I used to know said it best.  "When everything else fails, ya gotta revert to brute force and ignorance!"

He was talking about hot rods.  I am referring to signals.

To summarize:

Antenna first

Power second

There is no substitute for cubic inches and brute force torque which can be transferred to the Tesla tearing ass on the drag strip. Supercharged engines can be compared to stacked yagis.

Carl
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N8YX
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Posts: 1365




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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2018, 08:01:46 AM »

Supercharged engines can be compared to stacked yagis.
Spend some time in the pits tearing one down between heats and you'll long for a simpler way of doing things, unless a sponsor is paying you and your crew to wrench.  Wink
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KM1H
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Posts: 5269




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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2018, 03:38:26 PM »

Quote
Quote from: KM1H on Today at 10:52:35 AM
Supercharged engines can be compared to stacked yagis.
Spend some time in the pits tearing one down between heats and you'll long for a simpler way of doing things, unless a sponsor is paying you and your crew to wrench.


I started in the pits at the 1/5 mile oval in Freeport NY in the mid 50's until I was given a chance to drive in the Novice class and steadily improved.

Did some pit work in the drags at USN shore assignments and ran my own until I got a Massachusetts Pontiac dealer sponsorship for my 64 GTO. After a winter of serious improvements I came within .1 second of the national record in B/FX after final tuning after towing out to Royal Pontiac. That was the only year that GTO used the scrawny Tempest body which gained 500 Lbs in 65.
I also had a cousin who was a mover with Tasca Ford who gave lots of time and help with the fine points of driving.

In later years I built a 31A Altered for nostalgia racing with a blown Ford Y block and drove a 26T coupe with a blown flathead that also saw some strip time. Those are sold and gone and Im contented with my summer whale, a 68 Impala ragtop SS 396 just as a driver or annoying some SUV with lots of horses out of little displacement with not enough torque to make it go.

Carl
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HFCRUSR
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Posts: 358




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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2018, 04:10:49 PM »

Quote
Quote from: KM1H on Today at 10:52:35 AM
Supercharged engines can be compared to stacked yagis.
Spend some time in the pits tearing one down between heats and you'll long for a simpler way of doing things, unless a sponsor is paying you and your crew to wrench.


I started in the pits at the 1/5 mile oval in Freeport NY in the mid 50's until I was given a chance to drive in the Novice class and steadily improved.

Did some pit work in the drags at USN shore assignments and ran my own until I got a Massachusetts Pontiac dealer sponsorship for my 64 GTO. After a winter of serious improvements I came within .1 second of the national record in B/FX after final tuning after towing out to Royal Pontiac. That was the only year that GTO used the scrawny Tempest body which gained 500 Lbs in 65.
I also had a cousin who was a mover with Tasca Ford who gave lots of time and help with the fine points of driving.

In later years I built a 31A Altered for nostalgia racing with a blown Ford Y block and drove a 26T coupe with a blown flathead that also saw some strip time. Those are sold and gone and Im contented with my summer whale, a 68 Impala ragtop SS 396 just as a driver or annoying some SUV with lots of horses out of little displacement with not enough torque to make it go.

Carl
Is your Impala an auto? If not forgive the mistake. But,
yours: 4125lbs, 6.5Litre v8 320hp, 410tq (unless you have something hotter in there) 0-60 in 8.2secs.
mine: ('16 Lexus RX350) 3.5Litre v6 4222lbs, 295hp, 265tq- 0-60 in 7 flat.
Gearing, direct injection and 8-speed auto I guess Tongue
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 04:13:17 PM by HFCRUSR » Logged

Not a ham, but an avid hobbyist in HF world. All things, short of transmit happen in this shack.
KM1H
Member

Posts: 5269




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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2018, 06:33:13 PM »

Quote
Is your Impala an auto? If not forgive the mistake. But,
yours: 4125lbs, 6.5Litre v8 320hp, 410tq (unless you have something hotter in there) 0-60 in 8.2secs.
mine: ('16 Lexus RX350) 3.5Litre v6 4222lbs, 295hp, 265tq- 0-60 in 7 flat.
Gearing, direct injection and 8-speed auto I guess Tongue

Unfortunately it has a 3 speed TH-400 which doesnt do well from a standing start altho the torque curve is decent as expected for a Big Block.
Dyno tests over the decades of a stock L78 engine show it was underrated due to insurance and federal crap. A realistic 425 hp and 440 tq has been quoted for years
It was built in SC, modified in car crazy NC by the dealer.

I changed the rear end gears to 3.08's from 3.31's, both posi, as they were getting noisy and I wanted the longer legs for extended Interstate cruising such as NH to FL and NC.

Zero to 60 times are OK for the stop light racers, I was more interested in the 50-60 to higher ranges where barn door front end SUV's tried to show off....and lost. I didnt push things past 90 or so as I already made my point and didnt have a couple of OD gears available. Big Blocks dont like it much past 6000 rpm.
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W1QJ
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Posts: 2966




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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2018, 06:42:39 AM »

Oh yes, a school  buddy of mine had a 1968 Impala SS-396 rag top.  Kinda like a Mulsane Blue with pure white interior with a bench seat and a Hurst 4 speed.  What a sweet car that was.  I had a 69 SS/RS Camaro SS-396 coupe. at that time.  Prior to that a 1967 LeMans with a rag top.  Later hoisted out the 326 and dropped in a 400 cu in from a Grand Prix.  I dragged raced it but always got my doors blown off at the track when the 340 Dusters and Darts showed up.  It was fun though.  When they were not there I could usually win against a big Galaxie with a 390.  On the way back fro Dayton the other day TWO DODGE DEMONS passed me.  They must have been going to a Demon Rally maybe.  If you don't know what a Dodge Demon is look it up.
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AA4HA
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Posts: 2630




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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2018, 08:23:04 AM »

My answer is "no", you do not need an amplifier to be successful in contesting or when holding normal QSO's.

You could spend 1/3 of the money on a better antenna and feedline and often accomplish more than an amplifier. A good antenna helps you on receiving as well as transmitting while an amplifier that is coupled to a lousy antenna just makes it possible for someone else to hear you, not the other way around.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KA5ROW
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Posts: 579


WWW

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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2018, 12:28:33 PM »

It does help a lot, but you do not half to one.

160, 80, & 6 Meters it is a must have item. 40 Meters nice to have but not 100% necessary. 20 threw 10 no not needed except in a pile up.

You should be able to find a good used amp for $600.00 there are a lot of Heathkit and Ameritron amps around. The first 600 watts is the most important.
The Heathkits are at the point that the P/S should be totally rebuilt, this would be true for any amp over 20 years old. With that said look for an Ameritron.
The AL-80 B would be a great choice, $750 to $850. The AL-80-A not so much. the AL-80B has had a lot of improvements over the AL-80A. In the used market there is less that $100 difference between the two. Open the amp you should see a round sticker inspected by xx and a month & year. That will tell you a lot. More than 15 years replace the caps just to have peace of mind. The Ameritron AL 811-H Is Ok but there are some tube issues as the Red Chinese have trouble making a 811A. 
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K4RVN
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Posts: 261




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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2018, 01:25:43 PM »

So my goal is not to stand above in a pileup! But just to be heard clearly on a one on one conversation and reach to those in better levels when conditions are not perfect on the bands.
I mostly like 40m, 20m and 10m.
So, my question is " to Amp or Not to Amp?"



This was your goal as posted. This is my answer!

You need an amp for your goal. I would suggest a used AL 80B or a new one with the 3-500 tube. You will enjoy the hobby more and quicker with an amp and others will hear you. You already hear some that cannot hear you so receiving is not your largest problem. You need people to hear you and be able to carry on a decent conversation. If you have the space, then improve your antenna as time goes by. Don't get an old amp that needs rebuilding, get one that works with new parts available is my advice. Just my opinion from my experience of many years in the hobby. Others may differ and rightly so in their views.

Frank
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:28:27 PM by K4RVN » Logged
K6AER
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Posts: 5726




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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2018, 06:09:06 PM »

Frank,

Well said.
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N8AUC
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Posts: 622




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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2018, 06:25:53 PM »

An amp could be nice to have.

But I believe the answer to your question is "no".

I've been a ham for 40 years.
And I've never had the need to own or operate an external RF power amplifier.
If the radio does 100 watts, then that's my maximum power.
More often than not, I don't need that much. Especially running CW where I'm usually at 25-30w.

I get a big thrill making contacts with my FT-817 QRP rig. That is a load of fun to me.

73 de N8AUC
Eric

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