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Author Topic: Make Mine Pretty  (Read 5339 times)
AC2Q
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Posts: 390




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« on: July 30, 2007, 12:15:16 PM »

OK: I think the Collins 30L-1 is one of the best damn LOOKING amplifiers I have ever seen, and of course it works VERY well. Same for the Heath SB-200 and 220

Ameritron's = Butt Ugly
Later Heaths = Butt Ugly
Most Alpha's = Butt Ugly


With AESTHETICS as one of the Criteria, who else makes a Good Looking Amplifier?

If your response starts with "It may be ugly, but...."

Then you need to learn to read, as that isn't the question.
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N6PSE
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 12:58:17 PM »

I like the looks of the new Alpha 9500, although I might have aligned the led bar graphs to start/stop at the same point. I like the digital power output display. It looks more modern than most amps. The Acom 2000A looks nice. Plain box with a nice little display unit. Great for people that need to put their amp in a remote spot.

I got to look at most of the QRO amps at Dayton this year. The Tokyo High Power 1.5KW amp is attractive. What is really impressive is what is on the inside of some of the big and beefy AMPS like the Emtron 4K! Those are some amps.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 03:13:52 PM »

Beauty's in the eye of the beholder.

I never liked the way the 30L-1 looked, and I've owned three of them over the years.  Crackle gray finish is old and military looking to me, and I always thought that a meter normally not "zeroed" is weird.  Never really liked the industrial design of the Heath SB units either.  They are Spartan but functional, and that's about the best I can say of their appearance.

OTOH, the older Alphas (374-76-78-etc) are gorgeous.  Huge meters that actually change illumination when going from standby to operate; fancy German Shadow switches which change color when you press them; low profile and very quiet designs.  I love they way they look...

WB2WIK/6
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KE3WD
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 07:08:58 PM »

Well, eye of the beholder and all that jazz, but many designers hold 1959 as the year in which form and function peaked in the design of many things.  

Yes, I know the introduction year for the 30-L1 was 1961, BUT, the KWM-2, which is where the basic styling came from, came out in the magic year of 1959.  

Had a great book on the subject of 1959 designs, with pix, descriptions, etc. and some student abscounded with it.  Had the '59 Corvette, the classic toaster design, planes, buildings, clocks, all sorts of stuff -- and the KWM-2 in it.  

Heathkit made a killing when they introduced the SB line back in the early 60s -- a downright tribute to the Collins KWM-2 styling, often called the "poor man's Collins".  I know it was all I wanted for Christmas, man.  Got it, built it, loved it.  For its day.  It is long gone now, but I do have a KWM2-A and a 30L-1 meatball series that my kids will have to sell.  

Design today is forced by manufacturing technique, which is forced by consumer demanding the lowest possible price.  Don't think that's a knock, today's kids will fondly remember the shape of things that are made now some day.  

Something bad happened when the engineering schools started recommending design school for the flunkouts...

Okay, that's another rant.


.
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 07:36:25 PM »

My SB-220 and SB-1000 look mighty fine to me.... especially when I look at the power meter just cranking out those watts, day after day, year after year.

I don't matter what it looks like.

My KW is the same as yours.
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WW5AA
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 06:38:07 AM »

Since I care more if something works or not and the electrical design, my AL-572, AL-80B, and AL-811H are things of beauty. Still have the KWM-2 and 30L for fun, but use the Pro-III and AL-572 for serious work.

73, de Lindy
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KA5N
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 10:21:08 AM »

Let's see, how does the quote go:  "A thing of joy is a beauty forever"?
Allen
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 02:57:11 PM »

>RE: Make Mine Pretty  Reply  
by KE3WD on July 30, 2007  Mail this to a friend!  
Design today is forced by manufacturing technique, which is forced by consumer demanding the lowest possible price.<

::I don't really think so.  Industrial design -- the way things look and feel -- doesn't have much to do with electronic design, or even cost.  Some GREAT modern IDs cost virtually nothing to manufacture, or at least no more than products having crappy IDs.

Part of the industrial designer's goals are to create great looking products that make people happy but aren't any more expensive to manufacture than ugly boxes.  Apple Computer pulls this off well with most of their products, for a well-known example.  

A problem with "ham gear" is that a lot of it is produced by companies who employ no industrial designers at all.  But sometimes happy accidents do occur.  I love the look of the low profile Alpha amps of the 70s and 80s, for example; they took a rectangular box and jazzed it up with cool stuff to take your mind off the fact that it's a rectangular box.

WB2WIK/6
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KE3WD
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 04:45:59 PM »

I dunno, having had to work with a few design consultant sevices over the years.  

When the EEs are making better sounding -- and better looking -- suggestions, something's haywire somewhere.

A really good design consulting firm can be worth their pay and then some, though, so there have not been all unhappy experiences or anything like that.  


Of course, that doesn't apply to every single manufacturer out there.  


And then there's that eye of the beholder thang...



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N3JBH
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2007, 02:59:43 PM »

Henry Radio. now that was one fine looking  series of amp's inside and out. kind of like a swedish gal in bikini, simple yet very pleasing to the eye.
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K4FX
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2007, 06:51:22 AM »

I agree with WB2WIK, I always thought the 30L1's were ugly as sin.

I agree the Heaths won't win a beauty contest, but my 1200 watts for 500 bucks makes her big green face bearable, and you'd never know how ugly she is on the other end of the QSO.  

I think all the Alpha's, old and new, are beautiful, and the Ameritron's would never be thrown outta my shack either, well maybe the 811 amp and the 572B deal, but the 3CX1200 and the 8877 I would love to have! They all do look the same, but they are not that bad.

K4FX
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K6AER
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2007, 08:14:04 PM »

The 30L1's are ugly as sin. As well as most of the gear from that era.

New Alphas, AComs and Emtrons, Quadra and PW1, Tokyo High Power look very nice as well as the older Alphas from the 76 on up. The larger amplifiers get a bit boxy when you get into the super power category but the power determines the size.  I would say the Alpha 9500 takes the beauty prize.
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K6AER
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2007, 08:16:43 PM »

QRO was at Dayton this year?Huh Where were they?
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N6PSE
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2007, 09:17:40 AM »

Mike, when I posted about QRO, I meant the big and beefy variety of AMP, not the manufacturer.

My Alpha 9500 just arrived, and indeed, it is a very attractive amp.
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WB6MMJ
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2007, 10:40:17 PM »

I think the two I made look good. But that`s my opinion.
    The key, I think, is not letting the amplifier turn out the way it just turns out but to make it turn out the way you want it to be. Collins did that and so did others.
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