Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

donate to eham
   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ameritron ALS-600 vs. Tokyo HL-550FX  (Read 46352 times)
W2FGU
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2011, 04:04:37 AM »

Many thanks for all the great replies/recommendations and shared experiences. The reason I'm using an Icom 706 right now is because I've had a 45+ year hiatus from the hobby (started when I was in high-school) and didn't know if I wanted to spend the money to get back into it so I started out light. With the little DX activity I've had with the 706, I'm again hooked and will pursue procuring a K3 based on all the great reviews I've read about. I was unaware the Elecraft was developing the KPA 500 and will definately explore this option also . . . I'm now retired so am not in a hurry to outfit a relatively high-priced shack so will take my time . . .

Again thanks for all the suggestions and I will keep reading all the comments as received . . . peteD de W2FGU
Logged
KH6AQ
Member

Posts: 7776




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2011, 11:36:41 AM »

The pair of VRF2933 transistors in the KPA-500 is about equivalent to the four MRF-150 transistors in the ALS-600; same combined thermal resistance and similar current rating. So, the Elecraft offers no additional silicon margin. But being that the ALS-600 has enough silicon to the do job so does the KPA-500. And if these two amps have enough silicon margin so does the ALS-1300.

With a street price of $2000 the KPA-500 is in the range of the ALS-1300 at $2400. Both run QSK, have the same amount of silicon per watt, have a plethora of protection circuits, and variable speed cooling. The KPA-500 has a microprocessor and lots of (useless?) metering functions. The KPA-500 does 6 meters and the ALS-1300 does not. The KPA-500 runs 600 watts (is it rated for 500 or 600?) while the ALS-1300 runs 1200 watts and is rated for 1200 watts CW and SSB.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 11:39:22 AM by WX7G » Logged
N6TV
Member

Posts: 4


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2011, 04:00:58 PM »

With a street price of $2000 the KPA-500 is in the range of the ALS-1300 at $2400. Both run QSK, have the same amount of silicon per watt, have a plethora of protection circuits, and variable speed cooling. The KPA-500 has a microprocessor and lots of (useless?) metering functions. The KPA-500 does 6 meters and the ALS-1300 does not. The KPA-500 runs 600 watts (is it rated for 500 or 600?) while the ALS-1300 runs 1200 watts and is rated for 1200 watts CW and SSB.

I'm not sure how to define "rated."  The KPA500 can do 500W key down for hours and 600W for CW / SSB on 125 VAC.  The difference between 500W and 600W is 0.8 dB.

Note that the ALS-1300 does not change bands automatically like the KPA500 unless you add the ARI-500 Auto Band Switch (adds $120) and you have a rig with a band data jack.  The KPA500 uses fast RF sensing and switching, so no band data jack connection is required, just a rig with no power spikes.

Furthermore, the ALS-1300 does not do silent high speed QSK like the KPA500 unless you add the QSK-5 T/R Switch (adds another $400).  Per the ALS-1300 manual:

Quote
Due to mechanic relays and relay noise, Ameritron still recommends the Ameritron QSK-5 T/R Switch for QSK operation. The QSK-5 uses Pin Diodes that switch much faster and quieter than relays.

So yes for $2,920, the ALS-1300 + ARI-500 + QSK-5 can come close to offering what the KPA500 does at $2,000, plus double the output power, but that's three boxes to interconnect vs. just one box for the KPA500, and you really need to run the ALS-1300 on a 230 VAC line to get that full output.  I should note that I'm quoting the expected KPA500 kit price; no official pricing for either kit or factory assembled KPA500 has been announced.
Logged

73,
Bob, N6TV
W3LK
Member

Posts: 5639




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2011, 05:06:45 PM »

I have no horse in this race, but it doesn't seem quite right to compare a "projected" price for a as-yet-to-be-introduced kit to the established price for an in-production factory-built amp.

Logged

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
WE1X
Member

Posts: 555




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2011, 04:37:52 AM »

I'd say THP shot themselves in the foot by publishing the “THP Tip Sheet” rev A.  Not a good thing to show customers, especially for those customers desiring a bullet proof, easy to use, no tune amp.

Let me get this correct. A manufacturer goes out of its way to produce a tip sheet including information regarding what conditions may cause its unit to fault and this is "shooting themselves in the foot"?  I for one give THP tremendous credit not only for providing such information, but doing so in a manner whereby a prospective buyer can get all the data before making that purchase. I wager that 99% of us wish other vendors would do the same.

Yes, THP amps can be "finicky" when it comes to (a) stray RF in the shack and (b) wrong voltage levels. I don't see that as a problem. If your amp is tripping due to RF in the shack I suspect you would want to know about it and address it. As for voltage levels, THP amps include any number of voltage taps allowing you to best configure the amp for your particular electrical service --- providing you with an amp having better performance and greater reliability. In no way does any of this compromise THP amps as bullet proof and easy to use no tune amps.

Harry WE1X
Logged
KD8MJR
Member

Posts: 5533




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2011, 04:11:33 PM »

Let me go back to my first Statement.
Comparing a Tokyo Hy-power to Ameritron SS Amp is like Comparing a Top of the line Mercedes Benz to a Ford Focus.   If your budget is just enough to get you a Ford Focus then go for it, both the Benz and the Ford will get you from Point A to B but that's where the similarities end.

 Only people who have not owned a Tokyo Hy-Power will say all sorts of Negative things, anybody who has owned one knows that the Quality Level of this Amp is off the scale, I have used Ameritrons, Kenwoods, Icoms, Acoms and others, and while some of the other brands are very good, they just don't make it to that same Mark as the THP
Logged

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
K7JQ
Member

Posts: 1270




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2011, 05:41:52 AM »

I had an ALS-600 for 3 years, sold it, and now have had a THP HL-1.5Kfx for 3-1/2 years. Neither one has given me an ounce of problems. Living in an antenna restricted community, I have no way of improving my antenna system (ground-mounted screwdriver), so the only way to improve my signal was to go high power. Going from 100 to the 450-500 watts with the ALS-600 (600 watts is wishful thinking at 120V primary) made quite a difference, especially with those "marginal" QSO's. When I saw the THP amps at Dayton in 2007, I was blown away by their quality and craftsmanship. Also the prospect of adding another 500 watts above the ALS-600's capability was intriguing. In my opinion, after 3-1/2 years, the THP's extra power (I run this at 240V) has improved my signal over the ALS-600's "marginal" QSO's, a pile-up buster.

As far as quality and craftsmanship between Ameritron and THP...no contest. Look inside both and the difference is laughable. However, there is quite a price difference between the ALS-600 and the THP 600-750 watt amps (1.1 and 1.2 models). As I mentioned before, I never had a problem with the ALS-600, so depending on your budget restraints, the Ameritron isn't a bad option, if you get a good one. Comparing the higher power amps, the THP Hl-1.5Kfx vs Ameritron ALS-1300, for the $600 difference in price, the THP is a way better value, even though it's a couple of hundred watts less output (dB difference in signal strength is negligible). The THP has built-in power supply, QSK, band change tracking with the xcvr, 10/12 meters, and 6 meters at 650 watts. In addition, THP customer support is second to none.

   
Logged
KH6AQ
Member

Posts: 7776




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2011, 12:01:45 PM »

The THP HL-1.5Kfx is $3500 at HRO and runs 900 W CW. That's $3.89 a watt.

The ALS-1300 is $2400 at HRO and runs 1200 W CW. That's $2.00 a watt.

With the THP you pay $1100 more for 3/4 the power.

It seems to me that an amp should be an extension of the rig. Turn it on and it runs -no tuning or fooling around to make it work. Both of these amps do that (the ALS-1300 with the $120 ARI-500 interface). What difference can a station at the other end tell between these two amps? Just that the ALS-1300 is louder.


Logged
W5WSS
Member

Posts: 2283




Ignore
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2011, 12:42:38 PM »

The THP amp that I use is the HL-450b mobile version for hill topping. IMD compliance with 12v dc is a challenge but THP has accomplished an FCC approval. Very clean and as I stated in a review the value of their amplifiers rise with reliable use over time and is more evident beyond a casual look. I use their wire and ring terminals, fuses etc connected to my Optima Yellow Top automotive battery and output power is well within their specifications. In my opinion THP is the better choice for external amplifiers. 73
Logged
KD8MJR
Member

Posts: 5533




Ignore
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2011, 05:22:59 PM »

Oh you can get 1200 watts out of the 1.5KFX Grin I don't recommend it, just like I don't Recommend you try to get 1200W out of the ALS-1300.
Both Amps have PA units that can do 1200 Watts, the Difference is that if the THP hits into a problem it will fault out, the ALS-1300 seems to just blow out the finals or PS.  Both Amps should be run at 1KW and in that scenario the THP will be a much more robust Amp.
 
BTW it's not a 900 Watt you should be using for the THP in your comparison
but 1KW.


The THP HL-1.5Kfx is $3500 at HRO and runs 900 W CW. That's $3.89 a watt.

The ALS-1300 is $2400 at HRO and runs 1200 W CW. That's $2.00 a watt.

With the THP you pay $1100 more for 3/4 the power.

Logged

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
KH6AQ
Member

Posts: 7776




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2011, 09:51:56 PM »

Although intuitively it appears that reducing ALS-1300 output power from 1200 watts to 1000 watts to would cool things off it does not. MOSFET power dissipation remains essentially the same. 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 11:08:39 PM by WX7G » Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 13268




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2011, 06:00:09 AM »

Although intuitively it appears that reducing ALS-1300 output power from 1200 watts to 1000 watts to would cool things off it does not. MOSFET power dissipation remains essentially the same. 

This may be true but it should reduce total collector current and peak junction temperatures a bit.
Logged

--------------------------------------
Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KH6AQ
Member

Posts: 7776




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2011, 07:36:06 AM »

Reducing power from 1200 to 1000 watt reduces drain current by 8%. But it is die temperature that kills these MOSFETs and die temp is not significantly reduced by reducing power from 1200 to 1000 watts. The voltage drop across the MOSFETs increases at reduced current (reduced power) thereby keeping MOSFET dissipation about the same.

To maintain the same efficiency at 1000 watts the +50 VDC supply can be set to +46 VDC, or the output transformer ratio can be changed, or the load impedance can be increased.

The MFJ-907 ($65) variable RF Transformer could be used for this. Adjust the impedance above 50 ohms until the amp can just make 1000 watts as it begins to saturate. Now the efficiency is maximized and MOSFET dissipation is truely reduced.

The other way to look at cooling off the transistors is to ask "how do I maximize transistor temperature?" To do that connect a 25 ohm load (within the 2:1 VSWR allowed) and run 1200 watts or less if that is what the amp will output. Driving 25 ohms the transistor current is maximum and the voltage drop across the transistors is maximum.

Running the ALS-1300 CW mode (50% duty) at 1200 watts into a 50 ohm load should bring total dissipation to 600 watts. Do this into a 25 ohm load and the total dissipation is 1100 watts. Is this how these things get broken?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 02:23:39 PM by WX7G » Logged
K7JQ
Member

Posts: 1270




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2011, 09:16:16 AM »

WX7G....THP HL-1.5Kfx vs Ameritron ALS-1300. You've got a point regarding the "dollar-per-watt" comparision for budget considerations...I was going by Ameritrons' MSRP at $2,900, didn't know HRO was discounting it at $2,400. However, the difference of 300 watts at that power plateau being "louder" at the received end? Maybe 1 dB (1/6 of an S-unit)...not really a material difference. The decision to buy one over the other obviously is a personal one. Again, do you want high power on 6 meters, built-in power supply, 10/12 meters, band tracking with the xcvr, high speed QSK (the last three are options on the ALS-1300). Major difference in construction and craftsmanship, but you're right...the person listening to you won't be able to tell the difference. A watt is a watt, no matter what it's coming from, assuming the IMD characteristics are the same :>)
Logged
AD5X
Member

Posts: 1622




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2011, 09:56:35 AM »

Well, I've had an ALS-600 for four years.  It's been used and abused (not intentionally) and no problems whatsoever.  Tough to beat regarding power and features for the price for a solid-state amplifier.  I've built-in relay-based QSK switching, low current amp-key interface, and LED meter lighting (now standard).  Again - good price for its capability, and it has been rugged for me.  However, I've really wanted 6-meter capability (6-meters is oine of my favorite bands).

Enter the Elecraft KPA500.  I've been (fortunate for me) picked as one of the KPA500 field testers, and I have one of these amps now.  Absolutely quiet QSK switching (uses PIN diodes), easily makes 500 watts on all bands with less than 30 watts drive, and very efficient (draws 9 amps typical at 120VAC).  And the RF-sensed auto band switching is really nice - even selects the right band when in standby.  Not sure when when they'll be offered for sale (FCC certification expected soon), but definately a solid-state amp to consider waiting for - in my opinion.

Will I sell my ALS-600?  Nope - It'll always make a great back-up amp for me. 

Phil - AD5X
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!