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Author Topic: Ameritron AL-800 or Acom 1000?  (Read 55949 times)
KX2T
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2014, 03:58:43 AM »

So Far Not One Person who has owned one of these amps has chimed in, lots of commentary from those who have never used either amp and then you have the Ameritron bashers that gotta get there digs in yet when it comes down to it out of all the amplifier companies they sell more amp's than anyone out there and not just the cheap ones there lots of AL1200/1500/82's out there. I know the Acom is built to a better fit n finish but I can buy most of the parts for the Ameritron on line here in the USA and that would not be so with the Acom. The difference in price is not that big so it comes down to which will be the better amp between the two in the long run.
Jim
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W9PMZ
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2014, 05:08:51 AM »

OK, I will chime in.
I had an AL800H.  Bought it used.
Pretty nice amp and never had an issue with it in the 3 years I had it.
Takes a while to warm up, 3 minutes as I recall.
Went back to 3-500s as the warm up period was annoying.
It sure could crank the power into my load, 2000w.  Probably pretty crappy signal if on the air.
Low drive requirements with legal power.
If you have to replace tubes it is expensive.
Chasis is pretty thin aluminum and when reinstalling the cover sometimes difficult to get the holes to align.
Not build for phyiscal abuse but was reliable and never failed.
Replace the light bulbs with LEDs if you have an older model.

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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W9AC
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2014, 08:37:31 AM »

The street price for the ACOM 1000 is USD $2490 from Array.  The AL-800 is USD $2119 from DXEngineering.  But to keep this an apples-to-apples comparison, the Ameritron will need the optional QSK-5PC at a price of USD $280.  So, for a price delta of less than USD $100, it seems the choice should be obvious.  A few things to consider:  

If later selling either amp, the ACOM will have a much higher re-sale value as price depreciation on the Ameritron will accelerate faster than the ACOM.  

I think the cost and future availability of either tube type is mostly a wash.  I would not let this influence my decision one way or the other.  

Not sure what actual IMD products look like from either amp.  That's worth investigating.  

Ameritron is supported in the U.S.  Same for ACOM - at least for now.

I have not owned either amp, but I did own the first ACOM 2000A to arrive in the U.S. back in early 1999.   I have seen both amps on numerous occasions at various hamfests.  Electrical and mechanical design of the ACOM is extraordinary.  I've never been impressed with any of the Ameritron mechanical designs but the electrical designs are generally excellent.  

Noise.  The ACOM amps are very quiet.  I've heard other Ameritron models and they're much louder by comparison.  This is a factor for many owners.

T/R switching and QSK.  Output vacuum relay is standard on the ACOM.  The Ameritron can be fitted with the optional QSK-5PC and a cost of a few hundred dollars.  I'm not afraid of PIN diode switching designs.  Some folks are.

If you just gotta' buy American, then Ameritron is your choice -- except the reality is that probably 90% of the electrical components are manufactured in Asia.  Not sure where Ameritron is getting their sheet metal but they need lessons on extruded design and anodzing/alodizing.  A large number of parts in my ACOM 2000A were manufactured in Bulgaria and the surrounding ex-Soviet-bloc countries.  Not sure of that today.

Despite Ameritron's mechanical deficiencies, either amp should deliver trouble-free performance for a long time.  

Paul, W9AC      



  
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 08:39:51 AM by W9AC » Logged
K7JQ
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« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2014, 09:23:11 AM »

Well, I own the Acom A1000...bought it new from Array Solutions in April at the new lower price. Obviously haven't had it long, but participated in a few long contests, and am very impressed with it. Fit and finish is extraordinary; can hardly hear the fan (by far the quietest amp I ever owned); great protection features; LCD readout provides all the necessary operating parameters and then some; easiest and fastest tune-up of any manual tune tube amp...less than ten seconds between band changes; will handle SWR up to 3:1; easy KW out with 50 watts drive, even on six meters...60 watts in will give in excess of 1,200 watts out (although I keep it at a KW); two year warranty; over 150 positive eham.net reviews.

It replaced a THP HL-1.5kfx solid state amp I had for seven years...sold it when they went out of business. Was concerned about lack of repair ability if it eventually failed. Previously, I also had an Ameritron ALS-600, which never gave me trouble in the three years I had it, so I'm not an Ameritron basher.

Hope I helped with your decision....good luck.
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KK5DR
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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2014, 05:30:31 PM »

No problem getting parts. I find and buy many of them on eBay, Cheap too.
Accom has been able to "re-open" a couple parts manufactures in Russia, on a small batch basis.
Caps, relays, bandswitches, etc. The electronics in all the Accoms are very simple, and boars are readily available from them through their eBay store.
Service in the US is handled by a couple of ham radio dealers as well as the import center in the NJ area.
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KX2T
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« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2014, 07:16:31 PM »

I am leaning towards the Acom amp, I had an Alpha 78 back years ago and that amp made the least amount of noise of any amp I have ever owned and I like what hams have stated in there reviews of this amp. The qsk is no big deal with me cause I don't really use qsk that much but vacuum relays don't make an of that frame type relay noise at all. I know from owning a 91B years back that tube will do a little more than the 3CX800 will so running it at 1000w it should last a log time. I looked at the QST reviews on the 1000 and the AL800H(two tube model) the IMD was slightly better on the Acom(both in the 40ies for 3rd order) but the 5th order was much better on the Acom and after having used a few SS amps the tube amps are still better in this regard.
Thanks to all the owner/user reports as well.
Jim
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WX0B
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2014, 01:56:58 PM »

"The electronics in all the Accoms are very simple, and boars are readily available from them through their eBay store.
Service in the US is handled by a couple of ham radio dealers as well as the import center in the NJ area."

I think you are mixing up your ACOM vs M/ACOM companies.  To my knowledge ACOM Bulgaria are not selling on EBay, nor do they import to NJ.
We are a Distributor, Importer, and True Service Center (on site I might add) for ACOM Bulgaria made amplifiers.  We have most of the PCBs in stock, and I get most of the ICs, and passive components from Mouser.com local to us, next day delivery.

As to the discussion, I think ACOM is the clear winner.
Price - $100 more and you get 6m with QSK built in.
Quality - just lift the lid on both of these amplifiers, the tank circuit should be your focal point first, then look at the HV / Fil supply.
Protection -  read the specs
Reliability - see Quality above and eHam reviews
Tubes - Gu74b is a proven robust inexpensive tube.  There are hundreds of thousands of them.  We have 50 in stock most of the time, We get them from S'Petersburg directly- NOS in sealed baggies with the certificate inside. No need to buy a spare unless your just nervous.
Service - you can always reach us on the phone for help, we try to help you fix it online or on the phone, so you don't have to send it in first at no charge to you. If you have a failure that needs us to fix it, we have very low bench rates $75/hr.  Check out the others out there. Full schematics are available along with a complete service documents and error code spreadsheet that is unlike anything I have ever seen.  And Response back from the factory is excellent if we have a truely odd problem.
Tuning - a child can tune this amp up with the TRI tuning indicator it is always running at its most efficiency.  5 secs and you have changed bands and are running 1kW.

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KX2T
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2014, 03:48:34 PM »

You forgot to add, nobody has them in stock in the USA so far. Clearly the Acom is the better built amp that anyone could tell but as far as servicing the amp for most hams that might not be the case and I agree the other amp doesnt show as well once you lift the lid but I have never had an Ameritron that I could not fix but for that matter never had to fix one. These are just concerns that I have for down the road but the one thing I dont like with the Acom amps is there warranty, its to the original owner and you cannot transfer it if maybe you want to sell the amp down the road so there 2 year warranty is only to the original owner, heck Alpha and Ameritron both allow you to transfer the warranty.
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WX0B
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2014, 05:31:47 PM »

Miss your point entirely, thought you wanted an amp that you can take to your grave.

We offer a warranty transfer if you send it to us to inspect. That should be expected I would think?

We have even taken an amp in and sold it for a few guys after we inspected it / repaired it.  Were kinda easy to deal with.

Stock is coming from ACOM, we have a big shipment being loaded for us now, including the 600S,  but we have 1 ACOM 1000 in stock, new in box.
73
Jay
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KX2T
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« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2014, 08:44:15 PM »

If your open on Saturday I will give you a call, when I called you two weeks ago you had a shipment coming but no stock. My point is if you decide as a dealer for some reason to end your relationship with Acom in 2-3 years I would be holding the bag to service the amp by myself, I think that is a very real point knowing the nature of the radio biz these days cause we have already seen more than one good amp company bite the dust in the past few year. Heck I was building an effective but small contest station in the 90ies when the Bulgarian Alpha 91B came out and low and behold they completed there contract with ETO and Acom was born. A LZ friend was giving me all the dope on these happenings and I knew what the 91B was all about before it hi the streets here in the US and I think if it wasn't for the deal they had with ETO they would have sold the 91B as an Acom but instead brought out there version of the Alpha 87A with a nicer RF deck, PS and control circuits with the Russian tubes. During the 1999 CQWW phone weekend we ran one Acom 2000A and one 87A all weekend long with the call W2A, the Acom changed band faster and came up to the 1500W power level much faster than the Alpha did so it made catching mults so much faster. Almost 10.8 million points M/S from a 1/3 acre plot on LI,NY with two crank up towers and we were 5 miles in land so no salt water shoots but those days are gone but it was pure radio fun and tons of work.
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KE4KY
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« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2014, 03:47:20 AM »

I just purchased an Acom 1500 a few weeks ago....

After much deliberation, I went with Acom as the brand to buy. One tough decision to muddle through was which amp...the 1000 or the 1500. Given the discussion, I would go with the 1000. I am coming to realize that many more folks own Acom than what you think. Given the standards that they build their products, you won't go wrong with that purchase. I called Array Solutions for answers and ultimately made my purchase from them.

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Glenn KE4KY - Ham since 1975
KX2T
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« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2014, 02:14:04 PM »

Miss your point entirely, thought you wanted an amp that you can take to your grave.

Now that's funny Jay, LOL.

KE2TR
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W8JX
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« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2014, 04:55:54 AM »

Though not a big fan of Ameritron, I have considered the single tube AL800 as a viable option. Not much more than a AL80b (which it share basic chassis with) and it has more reserve built into it. I always liked the AL82 which shares chassis with AL1200 and AL1500 amps. I have seen the insides of all their amps many times at Hamventions.
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--------------------------------------
Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KX2T
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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2014, 07:03:34 AM »

Hi John, yes the 800 can be had for a little over $2000 new and I have found a 1000 used for  little below $2000 that seems in very good condition or go for a new 1000 at $2490. That difference could buy a spare tube or two from Russia. I've owned in the past AL80A/AL80B and AL1200/AL1500 none of those amps ever needed any work, they are not the neatest inside but there PS works well and the RF part of the amps always worked well, there no alpha but the Acom's are built like Alpha's inside cause the company Acom started production of there 2000A after completing there contract with ETO on the 91B, that was one deal that W4ETO got bit in the behind on and I woul bet my bottom dollar that Acom had taken a 87A and re worked there own design like there power supply and basic RF deck component layout from the 91B to the 2000A, they had to do the auto tune circuit but I am sure the basic's were taken from a 87A.
Jim
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KX2T
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« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2014, 06:05:39 PM »

Going with the Acom, I like that its quiet, easy to drive, well protected, the TRI tuning system, well built. Found a few year old amp under 2K that's in excellent condition and maybe pick up a spare tube from the Ukraine while supplies last. Thanks for everyone's input.
Jim
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