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Author Topic: Which Amp To Buy?  (Read 23658 times)
SA2CER
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2014, 10:35:30 AM »

A quality automatic amp will "bankrupt" you as you probably know. Take a good look at ACOM, Military quality AND v e r y quick and simple to tune. They are quiet also, not to forget.
ACOM also has an automatic, the ACOM-2000. And it is coming a smaller automatic soon as well.  I have the ACOM 1010 and are deeply impressed!
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SA2CER
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 10:45:58 AM »

K6AER wrote:
"On a side note the ACOM 1000 is a very nice amplifier but I would put the money in an up graded antenna and tower. More bang for the buck."

I say: ...Eh, Then one gonna get an heck of antenna!!!
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NC8T
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2014, 07:44:51 PM »

I'm surprised no one has mentioned QRO Tech made right here in Ohio.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2014, 10:12:48 AM »

Neither is it solid state or cheap BUT look at a nice used Alpha 87 A.  They are tubed and have a 3 minute war up cycle, BUT they are fully automatic in operation and have so many built in protects, that even I can not break it. A beautiful amp, around 4k to 5k used, and are a real star.

 Check with RF concepts/ ALPHA and see what they have in the used bin. They are  the absolute BEST amp I have ever owned. I have had the als 600, the als 500 a bunch of sweep tube amps, an ALS 1200 a TL922, several Clipperton L's, an IC 2 KL ( great if you are running Icom stuff),  the ameritron 811 and 811 H and many more. The absolute best is the alpha 87 A, bar none.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 10:15:28 AM by N6AJR » Logged
W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2014, 01:02:38 PM »

Alphas are the pricey and in my book spending 4 or 5k for a used no warranty amp is a bit foolish because while it more might be okay it could cost big $$$ to repair or be a very expensive door stop. When you spend that my you want new amp and new tubes.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KA4WJA
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Posts: 1098




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« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2014, 01:53:20 PM »

Dave, W9DEC, the original poster, never answered what his budget was, nor what bands/modes he desired to run, nor what antennas he has (or can afford / fit in his yard), etc..
And, since he mentioned possibly buying a tube amp to save $$$, and asked for advice....
 
1)  So, here is just my advice/opinion here...
ALPHA...Used Alpha's will give you years and years of service...



2)  I agree with John, W8JX, regarding the Alpha 87a, as this is microprocessor controlled amp, and some 87a's have been known to be a bit temperamental (not to mention expensive to repair)...
But, this is not the case for all Alpha's!!!
Alphas are the pricey and in my book spending 4 or 5k for a used no warranty amp is a bit foolish because while it more might be okay it could cost big $$$ to repair or be a very expensive door stop. When you spend that my you want new amp and new tubes.
Spending $1500 - $2000 on a used Alpha "legacy" amp, such as an Alpha 76, 374a, 78, etc. is not out-of-the-question, if the 8874's are good (or you get spares)

And, $4000 - $5000 will get you a Alpha 77dx, in very nice shape...and probably with a good (new?) 8877...
(the only problem here is finding one....those that own 'em, usually keep 'em 'til they die.....I got lucky and found one in the 90's....but I'm not dying anytime soon...sorry...Smiley

Non-microprocessor-controlled amps are fairly easy to troubleshoot/repair, so warranty is not a big issue (in my opinion).....



3)  And on a side note, regarding tubes / tube life...
Here are my personal experiences (take 'em for whatever you think their worth!!!)

--- My mid-1970's Henry 2002 (still has 1100 watts out at 144.1mhz), still has the original Eimac 8874's in her...I've owned her for 30+ years now, and she has worked 2m EME, etc. without issue....and I'm the second owner (the original owner used it on 2m FM service @ 400+ watts out, for years)
[ONLY maintenance/repair:  I replaced the filter caps, once in 35 years...]


--- My late 70's, Alpha 77 had some upgrades done in the early 80's (and I think new tubes at that point), but the still the same Eimac 8877 tubes for 30 years....and she still works great, full output and very clean IMD-wise....
[ONLY maintenance/repair: I had to re-solder one wire on a relay in the power supply, after shipping it from the original owner, and that was in the 1990's]


--- My 1979 Heathkit SB-221, of which I'm the original owner (which I built myself, about 35 years ago), still has its original Eimac 3-500z's....
(I loaned this SB-221 to my best friend about 10 years ago, as I didn't want it sitting around unused, and he and his wife use it almost daily....and she still puts out 1100+ watts PEP, with no signs of any issues....)
[ONLY maintenance/repair:  replaced the filter caps once, and cleaned/lubed the fan, once....]

--- I've also homebrewed a few (an 811-a amp, a 2x-572b amp, and a couple solid-state 25watt amps, a couple vhf solid-states, etc.), and have never had a tube / device failure (although I did have a problem with a spur/oscill from a vhf amp once...)

--- Also a few Mirage vhf and uhf solid-state amps.....and no device failures...


So, if you don't abuse your amp (keep from improperly tuning it, and from  overdriving / overheating it), and you buy/build a decent quality amp to start with....tube life is a fairly moot argument....


Just my 2 cents...


73,
John,  KA4WJA
  
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 02:03:26 PM by KA4WJA » Logged
N4ATS
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Posts: 1304




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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2014, 02:44:54 PM »

"Alphas are the pricey and in my book spending 4 or 5k for a used no warranty amp is a bit foolish because while it more might be okay it could cost big $$$ to repair or be a very expensive door stop."

That's the beauty of an Alpha , in MOST cases they don't go bad. My Alpha 89 has been slamming legal limit for many many years. In all my years of amplifier repairs, and I repair piles, I could count the number of busted Alpha's on one hand....BUT the number of "other" brands I get in for repairs are countless....
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2014, 06:04:47 PM »

"Alphas are the pricey and in my book spending 4 or 5k for a used no warranty amp is a bit foolish because while it more might be okay it could cost big $$$ to repair or be a very expensive door stop."

That's the beauty of an Alpha , in MOST cases they don't go bad. My Alpha 89 has been slamming legal limit for many many years. In all my years of amplifier repairs, and I repair piles, I could count the number of busted Alpha's on one hand....BUT the number of "other" brands I get in for repairs are countless....

You have had good luck but I have had good luck with lessor amps too. Again the problem is if it goes belly up you can be out big $$$ for repairs. You can get a NEW Acom for same or less depending on model and it is a solid amp too.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
AD4DZ
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Posts: 88




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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2014, 06:09:50 PM »

Thank you very much for all your input. My antennas are a hex beam at 25 feet and a Stepp IR big r vertical. I'm a fairly new ham so I'm experimenting and enjoying a lot of different bands. I like to chase DX and do so mainly on 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters. I really enjoy my Tokyo high power as it's completely automatic and I can change bands and frequencies at will so I don't think I'd be satisfied with anything less than a solid-state automatic amp. I guess at this point in time I'm leaning towards the expert but I'm going to research some of the others before  I pull the trigger. I'm really in no hurry and although I'd rather not spend that much money for an amp I will probably do so. Thanks again for all your input.

Dave
W9DEC

73

W9D EC
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N0PQK
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Posts: 112


WWW

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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2014, 06:56:29 PM »

Here is one.

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-008643&oi=1076421191
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K7JQ
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Posts: 1282




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« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2014, 08:37:38 AM »

That's a lot of money for an open item (used) THP HL-1.5kfx, with no warranty. I've recently seen (claimed) mint condition units for around $2,500 on the online classifieds. Since the bankruptcy, more of these have been popping up, whereas previously used ones were very scarce.
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KH6DC
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Posts: 771




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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2014, 02:15:24 PM »

Here are my 2 choices:

1. ACOM 1000 or,

2. Alpha 8410 if I ant to go legal limit
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
KT0DD
Member

Posts: 453




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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2014, 09:47:06 AM »

Acom is out with a Solid State 600 watt amp. If you are dedicated to 110-120v this is about the best you can do. Besides, you have to go from 600 to 2400 watts (4X power change) to gain 1 S-unit on the other end.
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W5HEH
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Posts: 40




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« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2014, 09:38:34 PM »

Take a look at Ten-Tec /Alpha Amps they merged and i imagine will be around for many years to service from Tennessee, USA , both great quality .
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2014, 10:24:16 AM »

Take a look at Ten-Tec /Alpha Amps they merged and i imagine will be around for many years to service from Tennessee, USA , both great quality .

I would not bet farm on that. They merged to just to try to survive a bit longer. Both are seeing serious competition that is squeezing market share.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
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