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: Ameritrons as kits?  (Read 13086 times)
AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2243




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2011, 11:09:11 PM »

Quote
as far as liability goes, there are many things out there
that have warning labels that tell you to keep your hands
out of there, chipper shredders, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc.
Agreed.
But do they ship out as kits? Several big boxes with
nothing but parts and an assembly manual? No.   Sure, "some assembly
required"...attaching the handle or putting on the wheels.
But not assembling or installing the motor/engine, gears, gear box,
chipping blades, etc. No, not building it from a box of parts.

Quote
there will always be accidents when people do not follow the
warnings and use common sense.
Agreed.
And there always have been those so injured & killed.
But there was a time when courts did not hear those cases, and
juries did not rule in favor of those who were forewarned yet were
still injured by their own idiocy, lack of common sense or sobriety.
But times have changed.
Logged
KA5N
Member

Posts: 4380




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 03:45:54 AM »

This thread is an exercise in futility.  Selling kits doesn't match Ameritron's nor MFJ's business model.  So no matter how nostalgic we might be for the era of kits, it is unrealistic to imagine that what is written here will make the slightest difference.
The only company who has a business model of selling kits (and has made a go of it) is Elecraft.  The efforts of this team of highly qualified people who have produced outstanding equipment is hardly typical of kitting of old.  Also Elecraft is tending away from parts placement and soldering by the customer to the mechanical assembly of modules.  This trend is probably primarly due to the low level of technical ability of today's newer hams.  Just read
eHam's forums and you will see what I mean.
Give it up!  You can't force Ameritron to sell kits.
Allen
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 15065




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 05:13:49 AM »

I submit that Electraft's trend towards "mechanical assembly" kits is primarily due to the increasing density of surface mounted parts (which is easily handled by machine assembly) and the test equipment required to do an accurate alignment of more complex radios. Modern radios are much more complex than the Heathkits of old.

Actually, I think Elecraft has hit on an excellent idea. Let the production assembly equipment handle what it does best - assemble PC boards. Let lab techs with expensive test equipment handle the module alignment. Let the user do the manual labor intensive stuff - the mechanical assembly.
Logged

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
N2EY
Member

Posts: 5093




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2011, 06:04:46 AM »

There are actually several companies that have made a go of selling kits - just look around the QRP world. Lots of them besides Elecraft. But they are almost all small companies making stuff you can't really hurt yourself with. A high power tube amp is different.

Heathkit, Johnson, Eico and others of the era depended on the fact that, in those days, a considerable part of the price of electronics was the hand-assembly time. Johnson sold the same rigs both factory-wired and as kits; look up the old ads and see the price difference. Remember that in those days $100 was a pretty good weekly income - before taxes. When automated assembly and PC boards reduced that price differential, and the rigs got more complex, the savings went away.

The old-time kit companies also benefited from WW2 surplus (particularly Heathkit in the 1950s) and from quantity buying power.

Remember too that there were some rigs and rig modules made by those companies that were not offered as kits. The Johnson Pacemaker was only available wired. The Heath SB series kits came with the LMO and bandpass filter preassembled and aligned. The Heath RX-1 Mohawk receiver came with the entire front end module prewired and aligned, all you did was bolt it in and connect a few wires. 

You might think that an HF tube amp, being mostly hand-assembled, would be a natural to be a kit. But nowadays the price of an amp is dominated by the cost of the parts. Particularly the special parts that aren't pennies apiece - tube, power transformer, variable cap, bandswitches, meters, RF chokes & coils. Look up the prices of the parts in an AL-80 if you buy them all new, it's not a small amount because those parts aren't mass produced.

If somebody wants to sell a tube amp as a kit, all they need to do is to copy the design of the Heath SB-1000 and make a few changes. What they will probably discover along the way is that it costs a lot more than they expected to produce such a kit.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 08:23:36 AM by N2EY » Logged
AE5X
Member

Posts: 1464




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2011, 06:52:03 AM »

KA5N:
This thread is an exercise in futility. 

he said, while perpetuating it.

John AE5X

Logged

K8AXW
Member

Posts: 7042




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2011, 09:00:51 AM »

Too bad MFJ doesn't hire some old retirees that are hams for QC.  The old guys work cheap and need something to do.  It would be a win-win situation!
Logged

A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
AE5X
Member

Posts: 1464




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2011, 02:12:58 PM »

I just called Ameritron to ask when I could expect my amp as I'm going on vacation soon and might need to make arrangments with a neighbor. He said there's a 2-month backlog on the AL80B. They must be selling them by the truckload.
Logged

WD8T
Member

Posts: 259




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2011, 03:56:27 PM »

As the proud owner of an AL-811H, the same thought crossed my mind.  There isn't anything in that box that I couldn't build with the tools, dexterity and experience that I already posses.

Last year (2010) at Dayton, I approached the Ameritron/MFJ people with the same idea.  As it turns out, neither you nor I are the first ones to think of this.   According to Ameritron, "kitting" something as basic as the AL-811/H would no be pay for a number of seemingly valid reasons.
1.  Cost of "proof builds" and manual preparation versus the expected sales volume
2.  The tech support problems associated with a wide variation in workmanship levels
3.  Product liability resulting from death/injury to the inexperienced/incompetent builder.

IMHO
It would have been great fun and emotionally rewarding to assemble my AL-811H. 
Forty years ago, if you got killed or injured building your SB-200, it was your own damn fault.  Today, even in spite of warnings and cautions, such an incident could put Ameritron/MFJ out of business

A real pity
73
WB2EOD   



Greedy attorneys are the reason soooo, sooo many things are no longer possible or probable in our lives. Amplifier kits are just one of those things.  We are a litigious society and greedy lawyers are the cause or; are they the result?
Logged
KA5N
Member

Posts: 4380




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2011, 06:15:50 PM »

I just called Ameritron to ask when I could expect my amp as I'm going on vacation soon and might need to make arrangments with a neighbor. He said there's a 2-month backlog on the AL80B. They must be selling them by the truckload.

I checked on line and HRO has them in stock for  $ 1329.95  and save over $100 over the
cost from Ameritron direct.Probably in stock at other dealers for a cost  saving.
You might be able to cancel the order and place an order with a stocking dealer and save money and get your amp quicker.  Often you can get free shipping from dealers.
It pays to check around before signing on the dotted line.
Good Luck
Allen
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 06:20:34 PM by KA5N » Logged
AE5X
Member

Posts: 1464




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2011, 07:10:00 PM »

I ordered from R & L and saved quite a bit over HRO. Unfortunately, it still has to be built by Ameritron because I want the built-in QSK module - a "special order" they call it.
Logged

KE4DRN
Member

Posts: 3746




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2011, 07:46:57 PM »

hi

by selling a finshed amp, MFJ controls the
supply and with two months worth of backorders,
the demand is there along with the profit.

enjoy your new amp!

73 james

Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 13268




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2011, 08:02:18 PM »

I ordered from R & L and saved quite a bit over HRO. Unfortunately, it still has to be built by Ameritron because I want the built-in QSK module - a "special order" they call it.

I have seen inside amps and talked to tech at hamvention and the QSK option is a real easy item to add and does not require custom build. (I asked them about it again only a few days ago at show too) It is a simple internal add on that can be done by some one with even limited ability. Remember they do not have rocket scientists building these things. I would have bought a B of shelf and ordered a QSK module for it.

Tech also told me that the tube in new AL1200's of recent manufacture has less gain and requires more drive than original tube designs. It also require a different socket than one used in original amps. They had to change dash series of tube and switch to commercial version because of cost which changed tube socket. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 08:07:12 PM by W8JX » Logged

--------------------------------------
Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KH6DC
Member

Posts: 771




Ignore
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2011, 11:48:20 PM »

Don't know if it was me that you were qouting about my Ameritron AL811 received as a kit.  Mine is 15 years old and I bought it from HRO back in 1996.  When I received it at my QTH in Honolulu, I noticed things rolling around inside.  I took off the cover and noticed several screws, washers and balls of solder rolling around the bottom of the chassis.  I also noticed cold soler joints which I resoldered and the PC board was loose that's what the loose screws and washers were for.  I secrured the PC board, cleaned out the bottom and checked the entire circuit before powering up.  I also called HRO and told them about it and they said I can send it back for a new model or refund and they'll pick up the return shipping.  I told HRO that I fixed everything and cleaned the loose solder balls so I thought I voided the warranty and they said know.  They said it was a common problem with Ameritron products and they know.  I remember he even joked that they were "kits" and we had to finish them.  I made the statement that if I did sned it back, it will take away someone elese's fun for kit building or doing them a favor and we both laughed.  15 years ago with that linear and it still works great.  I just replaced the 811As with 572Bs because the tube anode rusted from our salt air in Hawaii.  I since replace the amp with a solid state amp (Tokyo Hy-Power) and wow, you should see inside when compared with my AL811.  It's like comparing a Rolls Royce to a Yugo.  But I can't complain, it still works after all these years.
Logged

73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
N2EY
Member

Posts: 5093




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2011, 05:58:09 AM »

According to Ameritron, "kitting" something as basic as the AL-811/H would no be pay for a number of seemingly valid reasons.
1.  Cost of "proof builds" and manual preparation versus the expected sales volume
2.  The tech support problems associated with a wide variation in workmanship levels
3.  Product liability resulting from death/injury to the inexperienced/incompetent builder.

IMHO
It would have been great fun and emotionally rewarding to assemble my AL-811H. 
Forty years ago, if you got killed or injured building your SB-200, it was your own damn fault.  Today, even in spite of warnings and cautions, such an incident could put Ameritron/MFJ out of business

I think the liability issue is way, way overblown. People do far more dangerous things working on their homes, yet Home Depot and Lowes and the manufacturers of the stuff they sell aren't sued. Look at all the really dangerous stuff you can buy at those places, and how many ways you can get killed using it improperly. Those companies are huge targets, yet they stay in business.

If somebody is really worried about liability, there could be the requirement of a waiver/disclaimer being signed, where the buyer asserts that they are qualified to build and use the amp and will follow all instructions and warnings. And that the manufacturer is not liable for builder mistakes. Bike races, marathons and such events do this routinely, because there will always be folks who sign up with inadequate preparation, medical problems, etc.

I think the first two issues are the big deal-killers. How much of the cost of an AL-811H is in the assembly labor? 10%? How much would it cost to write a comprehensive assembly manual and package the parts as a kit?

2) has another aspect: reputation and resale value. I've known hams who would not own anything that was a kit unless they built it themselves or knew the builder personally. They'd been burned too many times by poor kit-builder workmanship.

If somebody really wants to build an amp, why not homebrew a copy of a known design? The manuals and schematics are online.

Or do the re-kit route. Buy a basket-case SB-200/SB-220 or similar for cheap. Maybe buy two so you have spares. Take them all apart, clean, test and refurb/replace the parts, and rebuild.

---

Historic notes: There was a QST article some time back about really dumb questions that had been received at HQ, technical service departments of manufacturers, and kit companies. Like the ham who opened the top of his set and did an "alignment" by "tightening all the loose screws" (trimmer caps and coil cores). Another used real spaghetti in his kit. Then there was one who bought a receiver, brought it home, hooked it up, plugged a mike into the phones jack, hit the send-receive switch and proceeded to call CQ. 

The article appeared about 1956. Dumb mistakes aren't new.

73 de Jim, N2EY



 
Logged
KA5N
Member

Posts: 4380




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2011, 06:33:58 AM »

Another used real spaghetti in his kit.
73 de Jim, N2EY

When I read the QST article when it first appeared, I wondered about using real spaghetti
to insulate wires.  To this day I haven't seen any spaghetti with a hole through it.
Macaronni,sure.
I designed a simple power supply for a piece of equipment that worked fine until they were assembled on the line.  So I took one of the defective units apart and found that someone
had put cutouts made of thin polyethelene instead of mica washers on the pass transistors.
The lead assemblyman said they ran out of the washers so he just made substitutes.
Unfortunately plastic melts. 
Of course everyone makes mistakes.  I have made a few, but I'm sure not going to outline
them here, I catch enough flak already.

Allen
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!