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Reviews For: Amp Supply LK-500-Z-all models

Category: Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M

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Review Summary For : Amp Supply LK-500-Z-all models
Reviews: 21MSRP: 1,295 in 1988
Runs a pair of 3-500Z tubes, Legal Limit output, built like a tank! Covers 160-10 meters. K4ICL repair site has info but is down ATM
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N7UTV Rating: 2022-01-26
I think it’s just what I needed! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Wow, it’s been awhile since anyone has reviewed this amplifier so let me give you my first impressions. I searched quite a while for one of these amps (over 6 months) but I believe it was worth the wait. Mine is an LK-500zb with a plainer faceplate but the layout is the same. I think the majority of the weight comes from the Peter Dahl transformer. That thing is Huge! I will continue to update this review as just yesterday the electrician installed a dedicated 240v line to my shack area. Yahoo, we are ready to rock.

Here we are, January 2022. This amp is so awesome! Extremely easy to tune, quick warmup, and easily puts out 1400 watts ( maybe my meter is not super accurate). I run 1000 watts with 60 input because I do not want to fry my Dentron Super Tuner. I have a Dentron Super Super Tuner that can handle 3k but is way huge! bigger than my amp. Shack space is limited haha. And I love the orange glow of the pair of 3-500zg tubes. sometimes I turn the rest of the lights off and just let the tubes illuminate my space. wonderful!
KM1H Rating: 2021-09-23
A dream heavy duty amp for contesting, DXing and any mode.SB. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Ive had mine since new in 1986 and with 80W drive the original Eimac 3-500Z's still put out 1200W.

Mine came with the Jennings vacuum relay QSK option for the output and a small dip relay for the input on the QSK board. Amp Supply featured the speed of the circuit at Dayton at least twice and its close enough to full QSK to have won or placed in many serious CW contests in the 1987-1995 era. Also entered most SSB contests those years. The rig at the time was a TS-940. The rig now is a TS-950SD and the same 940 is at the second station driving an Alpha 76PA 3 holer.

The components are mostly the same as used by Alpha, and the quality shows

It also came with the remote transformer enclosure with a big Peter Dahl transformer which was also used with the LK-550 series.

The LK-500 is now used a lot on AM and with a simple bias mod it handles 1200W PEP just fine.
KI7AQJ Rating: 2016-08-31
My first QRO amp, and I think it was a wise choice! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
LK500ZC...I have had more fun with this amp at home, on the road and in a few places only insane people would even try to use a transmitter. I called the owner, went over, and he had the chassis apart, and was working on a Ten Tec Titan, and some old EF Johnson amps. I had previously looked at some Ameritrons in Colorado for $1200, and the newer ones had that cheap MFJ feel to them, plus the owners thought it was something really special. I looked at Alphas outside Denver. $$$$$$$$$! WOW! Cool stuff, but not with my income. I looked at some nice old Dentrons, but 8875s?? Yeah, great! If those 8875s ever go bad, I am probably SOL. Then the LK500ZC came up for a grand. Little to no tuning, easy to use, and the Chinese are making okayish tubes for it. This one had the SLC Utah Varian era Eimac mid 1980s (Late 1984 & early 1985) tubes in it. Not my first choice for a 3-500Z, but certainly not my last choice either. The Salt Lake City tubes did have some seal problems. I resoldered the pins with a clean DC resistance soldering rig, and that horrid silver solder jewelers despise, because the solder's melting temp goes up after the flux goes away. Silver or gold jewelry would melt before the solder ever does, so I doubt even RTTY or AM will run the solder out of that pair now. I made a dummy load from some Aryton Perry wound resistors, and a small value variable cap, in case there is any inductance in the no/low inductance resistors and bathed the whole array of resistors in a 10 liter bucket of oil. I bought a really nice old Heathkit 2060A antenna tuner, and am loving life, for now. I got a real speaker & made a preamp, EQ & noise filter (redundant) for my Yeasu FT-857D so it does not sound like a tinny tiny total cheapo crap speaker. I just found an old HW 101 Heathkit including PSU, preselector Q multiplier, & SWR Power meter, and now I can go all vacuum tubes. I made quick work of fixing up the HW101. I also just bought two 6200 volt CT plate transformers for $100, so I am starting to design a couple home brew amps now. With the LK500 ZC I am in no hurry! I just fixed up my late father's Chevy Blazer to run the linear amp mobile, by moving the spare tire to a rack, and making a box for deep cycle batteries and a big charger inverter for a sail boat. I have a generator mounted on the tire rack, and got a 225 amp alternator. That Amp supply is built tough enough to have made it to some pretty remote places, over some horrific roads. I put up a kite antenna, and put a resistor in series with a ground to a replica of an old livestock bridge over the Verde River and made some contacts from a very deep canyon. GPS even stops working in that canyon. I just wanted to see if and how that would work, and it does! The weather turned sour really fast, and I had to tie off the kite, cut the wire from the tuner and just get far far away from it, or risk a lighting strike. I do pull the tubes, for transport and I reinforced the Peter Dahl transformer mounts. This amp is built like a steel mill ball now. It was pretty rugged to begin with. They really are super little linear RF amps! My newfound plate supply transformers weigh in at over 50 Kilos each. You won't see me taking those anywhere, unless I am using a hand truck or a truck with a lift gate. I realize the LK500ZC was probably made when I was in high school, and there are newer better amps now, but I am still playing through the 1973 Fender Vibrolux Reverb & 1977 Les Paul Kahler Brass Works NAMM demonstrator guitar I bought with my paper route money. Some products are just worth keeping, and the LK500ZC is on of them, for me anyway. I played a lot of guitars and amps before I made that purchase too. 1000s! My uncle owned a music store, so.... I think I have a nice amp, despite it's few shortcomings. I can't wait to see what I can do with 0-4000 volts DC plate supply!! Double it, if a hook those up in series. I repair audio amps, guitars, guitar amps, test equipment, hi fis, TVs & RF stuff. I have the LK500 now so, no hurries no worries. With it and the SA 2060A antenna tuner, I am setup for now.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KI7AQJ on 2016-08-22

Okay, so the solder tried to melt out of the Varian era Salt Lake City tubes, so I took a filament transformer, and made a resistance soldering rig. I removed & cleaned the base & pins, then used high melting temp silver solder to resolder the pins back on the 3-500Zs and added a fan. I bought a NOS Exide charger inverter, moved the spare tire from under the truck to a rack on the back of the truck, and put a box with 4 deep cycle batteries and the inverter charger where the tire used to be. Now my LK-500ZC has been taken to some stupid remote areas over roads that are easily confused with the creeks and washes they transit. This amp is run out the back of the truck on a dedicated 25 amp 120 volt circuit, mobile, and run off the dryer outlet at 240 volts at home. So far, it never fails to deliver the goods. I had it in a very deep steep canyon, and used a kite antenna to get out on 40 meters. I really enjoy having this linear, a Tarheel, and a dipole set up at home with an SA2060 Heathkit antenna tuner. As they say, "I am in the big-time now." I drive it with a Yeasu 857D or 897D, which can be used at home or on the road. I picked up a Heathkit HW101 and have pushed that transciever up the the legal limit, and gone 100% vacuum tubes. If the SWR is not right, the amp folds back on itself, and no harm, no foul, no expensive damage. Usually I check everything with an analyzer first anyway. I can cut the SA2060A out & use an old Viking Matchbox into an LCR switched through a solid state home brew, and match the impedance, inductance & capacitance of both tuners, & go. I will have a 2KW dummy load soon enough. None of that MFJ load in a tin can stuff either. Yeee-uck! I wish my yard was larger and not so close to the power lines, so I could have a nicer antenna set up. I hope to move soon, so I am not going nuts erecting towers. 73s KI7AQJ
NA1A Rating: 2013-08-23
Super Amp Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This review is for an LK-500ZC, not ZB or ZA model. The ZC is the latest of the series as Danny placed QSK T/R vacuum relay, 3KVA on the PS and a few other re-finements from the ZB model.
Amp runs really smooth, quiet, lots of power. I'd say amongst the 3-500Z type amp, this is one of the best ones made. It is like an SB-220 on steroids.
W5LW Rating: 2011-11-29
LK500ZC Works Great Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased a LK500ZC that had a bad plate transformer and badly butchered ALO board and QSK board, I took the ALO board out and put vacuum relays in place of the QSK board. I used an external toroidal transformer I had for the plate and it works great now. 1.5KW out on 20 and 75, I run it at 1KW as a norm. If you can find one buy it, If you have one and don't want it I'll take it. If you need one repaired let me know. A great amp and as already said if Alpha made a 3-500Z amp this would be it, I have a Alpha 78 also and the LK500ZC is just as good.
W7RF Rating: 2009-01-27
Amp Supply repairs Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I just got finished with a total refurb of my LK-500ZC and used Al K4ICL for some advice and repair info. See him at . He is the new "go to" guy on all Amp Supply amplifiers and has taken over for Bill after his passing. Friendly and informative on the phone, he seems to know what he is doing. If I didn't do the work myself, I would definately trust this guy for my amp work! I added a step start, HV current limit resistor, HV glitch resistor, new AG6K type parasitic suppressors, replaced all HV electrolytics, all new equalizing/bleeder resistors with new type MOF (Metal Oxide Film, do not use carbon!). My old carbon resistors had two that had more than doubled in value and one was open. I replaced the HV wire from the ps board to the bottom of the plate choke, I didn't like the thin insulation of the original. I remounted the DC block to use more nichrome wire between it and the plate choke. Also remounted the VOX/QSK switch to the front panel right above the H/L air switch. I always hated having to reach around to the back to switch from standard semi break-in to full QSK. I raised the fan slow-down resistor as it was burning the circuit board because it was mounted right on top of it and there was no space for airflow. One other thing I might mention is that I removed 2 extra In parallel) resistors in the Grid Shunt because they did not appear in the scematic. I returned it to what the manual says. When I did that, the grid meter barely moves with full drive and even if I mistune the load control to be "light" (MORE capacitance) loading, which should bring up the grid current quite a bit. Putting those resistors back should make the meter operate properly in the grid position as it did before. I really enjoyed this project and will keep this amp for a while. On 160M the output with about 90-100 watts drive is about 1100 watts, 80-40-20-15M is about 1200-1400 watts, 17M and 12M WARC are still over 1KW as is 10M. Trust my measurements as they were performed into a special Radiodan modified multi-range Bird 43 into a 50 ohm dummy load. Multi-range 43 Wattmeter calibrated with a Bird 6091 calorimeter. I like this amp as it is quiet in the low speed air mode and is very stable with these mods. 73, Dan W7RF
W0FEN Rating: 2008-11-25
LK-500ZC Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This amp would rate an 5-GREAT!- if not for one thing. I have had at least 3 sets of tubes in it and every set has had the problem of the solder running out of the 3-500Z pins. It is an easy fix to resolder the pins. That is not the problem. This should not happen. The SB220 had the fan set up to cool the pins but this amp doesn't. I will keep this amp because it is the only one I have that has 160M on it. I will use another amp for all other bands.

I agree with all other positive reviews of this amp except for the above.

K6TLA Rating: 2006-06-24
Solid Amplifier Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I had been after this amp for years before finding one late last year. Construction is solid, the tank circuit is well built, and the bandswitch is impressive, kind of reminds me of the Daven pots of old. Lets not forget that this box includes 160 meter operation as well. Mine came with the 10 meter modification in place. The massive Peter Dahl transformer should last longer than I will. Frankly I bought the amp as something that I could keep for another 25 years and initial experience says that it will last at least that long. There's no 220 in the shack so it has been set for 120 volt operation. The amplifier works perfectly well on 120. This desktop box is a keeper. Not many seem to be listed for sale. Most owners probably see the quality and value here and keep them over the longterm. The LK-500 series amplifiers are highly recommended.
M5TAW Rating: 2006-03-12
Outstanding amp Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the 500ZA model second hand approx 18 months ago. It has served me very well during this time. The build quality as mentioned by other reviewers is first class. There is no comparison between this and Ameritron for example (I currently own and have owned various Ameritron amps in the past - I have nothing derogatory to say about them). It works very well on all bands including WARC. Approx 20 watts in produces 400 watts out - UK limit :(
and 60 watts provides 1000w out (limit of my dummy load).
They are quite rare in the UK and definately a serious alternative to TL-922 etc...
AA4SY Rating: 2004-04-23
Great AMP!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have the LK-500-ZC and have been very happy with it. (300 + DX confirmed) It has blown a capacitor, and I spoke to Bill at Omega Electronics ( and got the scoop on repairs and mods.
Turns out Bill worked with AMP supply before the owner got out of the AMP business, so he really knows these AMPS!
If you have a chance to pick one of these amps up, BUY IT!! You'll get a super amp for the price. It's a real workhorse.