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Author Topic: New Pricing on Alpha Amplifiers  (Read 23848 times)

Posts: 114

« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2008, 05:30:33 AM »

I agree with Tom on the economics of it all.  I would like to be optimistic, but the dollar is tanking pretty bad.

I've been in the market to buy a new amp...or even a used one ... and the amps are going I feel very high.  I saw a L7 go for 1600 on Ebay.  Then, a week later one went for 900.  If you want to retube an amp, I cannot afford the 3cx800A7 tubes.  The only tube that is reasonable is the 3-500Z, but then there is a quality issue.  Once the Chinese stop making them, then there will be some issues there as well.

We are gonna pay the piper....and it is gonna hurt.

Lee - K0WA

Posts: 26

« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2008, 05:43:51 AM »

I agree with WB2WIK

Posts: 9748


« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2008, 10:49:00 AM »

Since I'm at the design end of things I see what is happening in cost long before it hits the consumer.

The sky isn't falling, but the dollar sure is.

Since we have very little domestic manufacturing the price we pay for parts is directly tied to the value of the dollar overseas. The cushion in that is the inventory and time lag as raw parts are processed.

What is made here, like Eimac tubes, will go way up because it is an energy intense manufacturing process. It consumes huge amounts of hydrocarbons in the manufacturing process as well as raw materials like metals that largely come from offshore.

We are about to have a serious problem with the cost of everything because the dollar has dropped to about half of what it was just a few years ago. That means, like it or not, most things are going to cost twice as much in the near future.

73 Tom

Posts: 179

« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2008, 10:54:36 AM »

Hi All:

I have been waiting for the Elecraft KPA-1500 release for over a year now. In mid 2007 they expected the price to come in at the $5,500.00 range fully loaded, if I recall correctly. At first I found this hard to swallow, but then I compared the advertised features with the some of the other manufactures (Tokyo Hy-Power, ACOM and SBE), and found it to be a deal.

As a contester, this unit if ever released, would be ideal as it claims to offer, full SO2R capability, Built-in ATU, and CAT capability. This would allow me to retire both of my Ten Tec 425's in exchange for one unit. While the RF deck of the Titan is almost "bullet proof" the power supplies are starting to show their age, and are not the easiest to work on.

In October I called Elecraft to check on the status of the KPA-1500, and was told that the anticipated launch date would be around Christmas time. After the New Year, I called again, and was told that it would be released within the next twelve months. I am hoping it will be released at Dayton, and if not, I may have to look elsewhere.


Rich, AJ3G

Posts: 2358

« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2008, 01:11:21 PM »

W8JI stated The sky isn't falling, but the dollar sure is. Since we have very little domestic manufacturing the price we pay for parts is directly tied to the value of the dollar overseas. The cushion in that is the inventory and time lag as raw parts are processed.


Tom you are so right here... And the folks that laugh and made comments like the Sky is falling and laughing about it will never beleive it till it has happended and it is to late !!! What is even worse is until some very radical changes happen in the way the goverment is run it will not get better.

I pray this world never breaks out in to a large scale war that would involve us such as world war 2. If it does you all can bet we be speaking Mandarin.
Wake up America Wake up now !!!

Posts: 124

« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2008, 02:33:32 PM »

N3JBH said "I pray this world never breaks out in to a large scale war that would involve us such as world war 2. If it does you all can bet we be speaking Mandarin."

We have largely changed from being a "producer" to being a "consumer" and consumers are vulnerable to being cut off from their suppliers.

I pray that it doesn't happen, but some cataclysmic event may be required to wake us up and remind people that we are not being supported by some sort of world-wide-welfare system.  Our country is one entity among many on earth and if we don't use good fiscal/military/economic judgement and take care of ourselves, we can "go out of business" just like any other poorly run entity can.  Nobody else is going to take care of us.  They'll just divide up our stuff when it's all over.

Tom is right.  We need to wake up.  And the longer we wait, the worse the waking up process is going to be.

Oh, well...


Posts: 5639

« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2008, 04:01:32 PM »

<<  And the folks that laugh and made comments like the Sky is falling and laughing about it will never beleive it till it has happended and it is to late !!! >>

Nobody's laughing, Jeff, so don't presume to think that I am. There needs to be an element of sanity in the midst of all the hand-wringing and finger-pointing.

This country has gone through much worse than this and survived and it will continue to survive. The US dollar has gone up and down many times over the past 50+ years and it will do so again. To think that somehow that our economic is on the verge of collapse IS laughable.

What I was actually referring to, though, was all the crying about the increase in prices for the Alpha products. Geez, if you don't like the price, don't buy the amp. Alpha isn't the only amp makes in existence.


Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.

Posts: 9748


« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2008, 06:24:44 PM »

The dollar has gone back up after being down when:

1.) We had our own energy

2.) We had our own manufacturing

3.) We fed our own people with our own food

4.) We employed only US citizens or people with proper permits that paid into our tax system

What actually has happened is we have been living off the wealth we built up from being a manufacturing nation and things that were exported. For the last 30 years we have shifted at an accelerated rate into strictly a consumer nation. We buy most of what we use offshore, which means dollars flow out more than in.

The laws of supply and demand are now kicking in, and the rest of the world has too many dollars or too many dollar IOU's. It will be interesting to see what makes the value of our currency go back up this cycle when we have nothing left to offer. Before we could export things and feed ourselves and the rest of the world. We could sell ourselves products that we made.

I'm not sure what we can do now, but I'd sure like to know. What do you suppose will make the dollar go back up this time?

73 Tom


Posts: 3746

« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2008, 03:15:12 PM »


yes, the dollar goes up and down, has recovered
over the past 50 years.

However, the National Debt has risen over the last
50 years.

Our tax base has been reduced due to job elimination,
either by technology or by sending the machines and then the jobs overseas.

US exported many goods, today we export ideas that get turned into goods
that get sold back to the US and the world.

73 james

Posts: 445


« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2008, 09:51:12 AM »

A thread on the Yahoo Alpha 9500 reflector indicates that someone had spoken to Molly, W0MOM at Alpha about the price increases. Apparently, the new pricing is directly related to rising cost of copper, as the transformer has risen in price about 10%, as well as the weak dollar driving up costs when purchasing other components from overseas suppliers.

I've heard a few grumblings from some that work in the retail side about price increases coming soon from other major manufactures of ham gear. Not suprising since it was reported today that the dollar is trading at an all time low against the Euro. I don't keep up with the daily ups and downs of the market, but I suppose the dollar probably is not doing that well in the Asian markets either.



Posts: 1897

« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2008, 02:30:03 PM »

Euro per dollar: 2 yrs ago 0.808, 1 yr ago: 0.734, today: 0.625 (USD -23% in 2 years)

Japanese Yen per US dollar: 2 yrs ago 117, 1 yr ago: 119, today: 103 (USD -12% in 2 years)

Chinese Yuan per US dollar: 2 yrs ago 8.02, 1 yr ago: 7.73, today: 7.00 (USD -13% in 2 years)

Malaysian Ringgit per US dollar: 2 years ago 3.65, 1 yr ago 3.42, today 3.14 (USD -14% in 2 years)

So far east currencies seem not to have risen against the USD as much as the Euro, but they've risen.

Also, prices of materials such as copper, aluminum, iron, etc., as well crude oil & it's products derivitives: energy, plastics, petrochemicals, etc.) have risen against multiple currencies due in part to increasing demand.

Posts: 129

« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2008, 03:21:19 PM »

Since this thread really seems to be on the topic of the devaluation of the dollar and what's happening to the U.S. economy I'll throw my 2¢ in...

Isn't a falling dollar what the U.S. needs at this juncture? Yes, prices on import will rise as well as domestic goods because of energy prices. But - wouldn't this make U.S. exports more attractive? Perhaps even foster retention and even attraction of more manufacturing?

A weak dollar also makes U.S. debt less attractive. While this could cause inflation to sky rocket it should also cause the government to stop deficit spending.

Why does the euro keep gaining on the dollar? The U.S. still has many more natural resources (including energy) and I'm not aware of any European manufacturing power houses...

Posts: 9748


« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2008, 03:24:02 PM »

In order to have US Exports look more favorable, we must have something to sell.

In the 50's and 60's and even up to the 80's, we had things to sell. We no longer have things to sell.

This is why the problem is different and very scarey this time. We have nothing to offer.

Imagine each country is a household with a budget, bank account, and resources in each family. Up until the 70's we had family members making things to sell to our neighbors and that we consumed in our own family. Then we started to get lazy, plus we started to buy our energy from our neighbors.

Now we have exported all the wealth we had to our neighbors plus to continue buying when we ran out of cash we continued by borrowing money from them.  We are in a fight and are borrowing that money from what used to be one of our worse enemies.

It will be interesting to see how a country without any manufacturing and that is no longer a surplus food producer and that has a huge debt against our currency recovers this time.

This is what we get for living and thinking in the short term and for swallowing that world market bullcrap. Check our lifespan, education, and resources (include the national debt) against other countries.

The Europeans were smart enough to form a closed trade alliance with nations that had comparable wealth and resources. What did we do, and what do our leaders want to do now? Anyone ever hear of a water tank refilling when it is connected to one that is even much emptier?

73 Tom



Posts: 69

« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2008, 06:19:44 PM »

The dollar's woes are the direct result of our trade and federal budget policies.  The "tax cuts" were never matched by spending cuts.  As a result, we have run federal budget deficits almost constantly over the last 30 years.  The resulting ballooning national debt was financed by sending dollars overseas via our trade deficit.  Foreign nations, particularly China, used these trade dollars to buy US Treasury debt instruments.  

Finally this bubble had to burst, and the collapsing dollar is one result.  It is a shame that the "tax cuts" gave ultimate control of our national economy over to foreign interests.  Most of us will be paying far more for these "tax cuts" in the form of inflation and energy costs than we ever saved on our federal income taxes.

But as for the Alpha amplifier, I think the days are numbered for vacuum tube amplifiers.  I suspect all solid state amps will be all that you can find ten years from now.  Transmitting tubes are getting scarce and expensive.

Posts: 5689

« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2008, 11:08:00 AM »

Given that solid state high power amplifiers have been with us for over 25 years I would say the demise of the tube amplifier any time soon or for that matter in 10-15 years is premature.
Here is why:

•   Tubes are forgiving.
•   They produce a lot of power much cheaper than solid state.
•   They don’t burn out in the blink of an eye.
•   They take up a much smaller foot print than transistor amplifier.
•   The IMD on tube amplifiers is much cheaper for a given wattage for the tube handles wattage excursions gracefully.
•   Pounds for watts are much lower with tube amplifiers.
•   You don’t need a bank of low pass filters with a tube amplifier.
•   If you blow a tube you can replace it. When transistors go they must be unsoldered and sometimes the whole PCB has to be replaced.

Most of the cost increases in amplifiers are directly related to labor overhead and to tube increases. Copper pricing increases only add about 20% to the transformers. Most price increases in transformers are labor cost. Tubes have doubled in the last year in pricing. Below are typical pricing on popular ceramic tubes

3CX1200 are $1200
8877 are $1000
3CX800A7’s are $670
4CX800A7 are what ever you can pay to find them.

I twenty years their will still be hams using old SB200 and 220’s. Providing the spectrum has not been auctioned off.
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