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Author Topic: Opinions Requested  (Read 11619 times)

Posts: 0

« on: June 26, 2003, 06:46:29 PM »

       I am having much difficulty deciding on what amp would be best for me.  I live in an apartment with a vertical antenna just outside my livingroom window.  My radio is an ICOM Ic-718.  I borrowed a friends Ameritron AL-811 (600w) amp last weekend and got fairly good reports on a net from 5 states with 300w - 400w on 40m.  I was ready to order an Ameritron AL-811H (800), for $749.95 + free shipping, when I ran across a gentlemen selling his 4 month old Ameritron AL-80B for $800 + $60 shipping.  I contacted him and he told me the amp has about 4 hours use since he is on the road a lot.  He also has installed a Grid Protection Board option.  I have seen photos of this amp and it is in new condition.  He would ship it to me in the original cartons Ham Radio Outlet shipped it to him in with original reciepts and Ameritron will transfer the warranty to me.  I verified this with Ameritron.  Sounds like a killer deal but .....  All I required was a max of 400w to be heard.  The AL-80B is a 1000w amp. Other than the wattage the price difference between the two deals is $100.  I know the AL-80B is a $1200 amp.  Is the AL-80B so much better I would be a fool to pass on it?
The reason I was given that the AL-80B was being sold after 4 months was the seller wants a mobile amp since he is in the car more than home.

Comments please .....  


Posts: 20

« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2003, 09:39:06 PM »

I run a 718 with a AL-811.Good reports and no problems so far.50 watts of drive gives me 500 out on 20 meters.It runs on 120VAC with no problem.SWR is the same with the amp in or out.I used a W2ENY interface to key it.Tune this setup with an external SWR/WATT meter.It is also an Ameritron AWM-30.Easy to tune and fun to use.Hope this helps.

           J PATRICK KG4VBR

Posts: 221

« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2003, 07:29:54 AM »

I'd go with the AL-80B.  The 3-500Z tube is hard to beat and is very durable.  You'll get more power out and I believe the resale value will always be very good.  They are a very popular amplifier.

I don't know that much about how much they cost.  Ask around.

Posts: 21837

« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2003, 01:43:03 PM »

I'd go with the AL80B also, but not so sure about $800 + shipping for a used one, even if it's only 4 days old.  The AL80B doesn't need any extra circuitry or accessories, and in my opinion the grid-protection feature, if it adds even $1 in cost, is $1 wasted.  The IC718 with the ALC line connected to the AL80B will never be able to overdrive the amplifier; and, if you wish to run only 400W output or whatever, the front-panel ALC control on the AL80B will allow you to set that threshold in about two seconds.

The 3-500ZG tube is an excellent and far more modern tube than the 811A (which dates back to WW2), and having just "one," rather than three or four, means no worries about matching, neutralizing, etc.

I'd look for a "local" deal which involves no shipping, and the AL80B is so ubiquitous they are available for sale *everywhere.*  No reason to get one shipped, and I see them locally here for $600-$700 all the time.  

The problem with "shipping" any amplifier is that damage is likely.  The AL80B is shipped from the factory in ONE-TIME, NON-REUSABLE packaging -- that is a certainty.  I would *never* re-use that packaging, it's thin-walled corrugated and uses styrofoam...this is absolutely considered "single use" packaging by anybody in the packaging industry.  Also, when shipped from the factory, the tube is not installed, but shipped in a separate carton -- this is very important; if the amp is shipped with the tube installed, likelihood of damage to the tube is very high.

Get a local one.


Posts: 1003

« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2003, 02:15:06 PM »

That is very interestin' about the one time
shippin' carton.  Do they send it to
dealer with a spare carton or does the dealer do
the second ship in the same carton and pray?

Inquirin' minds wanna know!

73 de Ronnie

Posts: 21837

« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2003, 05:49:31 PM »

If the dealer re-ships Ameritron (and some other!) products in the original packing, he had better pray.

I purchased my AL80B at the local HRO store, and carried it out with me, so it wasn't re-shipped.  But the original packaging was quite crumbled from the initial shipment, and the amplifier inside had slight damage -- not enough to make me bring it back (fixed it, which was easier to do than driving back to the store), but a small annoyance that could have been much worse.  (In my case, the left-hand panel meter had been pushed all the way inside the amp, breaking one of the mounting brackets.  I glued it back together and it's been working fine since.)

No way that packaging would have withstood another shipment, to anywhere.

Reusable packaging is usually certified ISTA 1A...1H depending upon its weight, and the packaging itself is labeled "reusable."  It's normally double or triple-wall, with high density cut foam or equivalent -- not styrofoam or Instapak, which is for single-time use.

The majority of products I've seen that come from Japan (Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom) are supplied in reusable
packaging -- although not all are.

Interestingly, computer monitors, which can be both heavy and fragile (if they're the CRT type), are often supplied in *single use* packaging, which would never withstand a second shipment -- and that includes the Sony Trinitron 19" monitor I have, which was supplied with a $7000 SGI workstation.  The packaging was single-wall with styrofoam, and was pretty much trashed when I got it.  Thankfully, the monitor worked!


Posts: 6

« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2003, 11:09:51 AM »

WA4MJF asks:

>That is very interestin' about the one time
>shippin' carton. Do they send it to
>the dealer with a spare carton or does the dealer do
>the second ship in the same carton and pray?

The dealer does a drop-ship from Ameritron, and never has to touch the box.  This is common practice.  About half the time, the customer is not informed and it turns out to be an annoyance.  Occasionally, problems occur.  That's one reason a local pick-up is really nice, and a really good reason to frequently patronize your local radio dealer who actually stocks what he sells.

If I had a quarter for every minute I'd spent (i.e. $15 an hour) adjusting mistakes or accidentsI've incurred via mail-order, I'd have a hamshack fulla Collins gear.


Posts: 175

« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2003, 05:01:06 PM »

Get the AL80! You need less power? Just run less drive! Although AL811 amps are nice you cant beat the single tube AL80 for a good rugged workhorse amp that will give you a KW when you need it and only costs about $110 to retube it. And unless you totally beat the tube to death, a 3-500z will last you 20 years with proper usage! This amp will give you more power if you need it, and it wont be straining like the 811`s do even at moderate power levels. 811`s are great tubes, but you have to pound on them to get the power out, they just have relativly low plate dissipation, so you have to honk them a little to get the juice. A 3-500z will coast along at 500 watts ALL day and night 24-7 and never crack a sweat. Why run 4 tubes to do the job one can do easier? Sure, 4 811`s can do a KW, but so can 1 3-500z! Cost is a tad less for 4 811`s then for a single 500z, but you shouldnt need to replace them anyway if you run your amp properly. At least not for many years, barring any unforseen circumstances like circuit failure or accidents etc. Nobody I have ever known with the AL 80 was ever disappointed in the amp either, its a great desktop KW.
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