Manager


Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Elecraft KPA1500 HF+6M Amplifier

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Elecraft KPA1500 HF+6M Amplifier
Reviews: 20MSRP: 5,995
Description:
The Elecraft KPA1500 is a compact, full-legal-limit, solid-state amplifier designed for reliability and operator convenience. It has the following features: * 1500 watts * 160-6 meters * Space-saving RF deck and separate power supply unit * Fast, silent PIN diode T/R switching * Comprehensive, easy-to-read LCD status display * Fast, bright bar graph displays for power and SWR * Advanced thermal design using two PA devices and very large heat sink * Unique fan control system to minimize noise * Built-in, wide-range antenna tuner with VFO tracking and dual antenna jacks * Extensive remote control capabilities * Compatible with nearly any transceiver
Product is in production
More Info: https://elecraft.com/products/kpa1500-amplifier
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
35204.9
N7ZM Rating: 2019-11-07
Elecraft KPA-1500 amp, simply outstanding Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Outstanding Solid State Amp. I sold my Alpha ETO-91B and bought this. Sure its expensive but its legal power, solid state and no more tuning period. Just buy the appropriate cord for your brand transceiver and it instantly follows along with the radio frequency no matter what band you switch too. If you should make an error such power input too high or High SWR the defaults in this amp instantly defaults and your sent into standby mode with the default LED on instantly. I am using this with my Palstar HF-Auto tuner in front of my transceiver. Highly recommend if the price does not scare you off. Its worth it!
Ron N7ZM
W7DXX Rating: 2019-08-31
K3, KPA1500. Elecraft - need I say more? Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I traded an 87A for an SPE 2KFA, and traded it last February for an Elecraft KPA1500.
This completes my all-Elecraft remote base. I can honestly say this amp delivers 1500 watts with no effort and it is a pleasure to use.
K9HZ Rating: 2019-08-13
Good Solid Amp Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I waited until all of the initial bugs were worked out of the KPA1500... and I glad I did. The final product is a wonderful device... easily runs 1500 watts out in all modes including digital modes. I have my amp at my rental villa in the Caribbean where it's really hot. No problems at all with cooling. I read about people complaining about the noise the amplifier makes... this is nuts! Obviously these people are newbies. The KPA1500 is as quiet as I'd ever want an amp to get.

I work a lot of 160 and 6 meters so I'm really glad to have an amplifier that covers these frequencies. It integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Elecraft gear, and looks great to boot. New firmware releases continue to improve its operation and performance.
WB4OOA Rating: 2019-03-01
THE FINAL GAME CHANGER Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned my KPA1500 over 1 year now. No problems found.

Before that I owned a KPA500/KAT500 for over two years, and before that all tube amplifiers. I believe that All tube amplifier manufacturers are now or will switch over to Solid State Amplifiers to survive the future.

I just down loaded the latest UTILITY 1.19.2.21. Then I loaded the BETA Firmware 2.09 into the KPA1500. The Elecraft firmware process is the easiest and most straight forward of any product I have ever used.

I use my KPA1500, all the time, with my K3S and P3 which is just like having a 1500 watt K3S. This is definitely the most satisfying ham rig I have ever owned.

The antenna tuner inside the KPA1500 works perfectly on anything I have to throw at it.

The protection in the KPA1500 is second to none.
The KPA1500 runs cool; quiet; and has excellent metering and control.

The light weight switching power supply is cool; quiet; and very efficient.

I could not ask for a better amplifier. It has pulled me totally away from even considering a tube type amplifier. I highly recommend it.
W1PEF Rating: 2019-02-02
KPA1500 Usage/Issues Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Updated Review:
Received my repaired KPA1500 back on 1/14/2019. The Amp was completely repaired with both PAs replaced along with other current mods. The firmware was updated to correct a problem on 160m. (Elecraft did release a new and required software version 2.0 to all KPA1500 ownerrs) I feel Elecraft support made the problem/experience as positive as possible. Elecraft has called several times to discuss my shack environment. I have used the returned KPA1500 for over a week without any issues. My only complaint is the $200 it cost me to ship the AMP back to Elecraft via UPS but I knew that possibility before I purchased. Bottom line is the KPA1500 is super easy to use and I recommend it now with a 5/5.
K0JJR Rating: 2018-11-12
Noise Update Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Below, I rated this amp 5/5 "despite the noise" from the fans. Subsequently, I downloaded the new firmware version, the notes for which say that it includes "Changed temperatures for fan speeds." It worked. Operating in an RTTY contest, both search and pounce and some significant running at 800W, the real loud, bothersome fan speeds were not activated, so the fan noise was much more tolerable. I now give the amp an unqualified 5/5.
W2PP Rating: 2018-11-02
Reminds me of my Alpha 87a Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
If you've read any of my other reviews you will note I am not a guy who justifies his purchase with a glowing review. If the product is not any good believe me I tell you. Look at my most recent post on the Flex 6700, ugh now sold. Its not a review if you don't lay it all out there and help the next guy before he buys a dud. I was pretty aggressive with my use of this amp over the last month plus, contests, RTTY, SSB, and CW...( I count FT 8 as RTTY too )

I've had my amp for a month. Mine has the soon to be released firmware update which addresses several issues, most trivial, one not. The new firmware changes the behavior of the fans in a way that causes them to run fan one longer and thus reduce the need for fan two which is louder, but not terrible frankly. Currently, my fan 1 runs less than 1 percent of the time unless I am really banging on RTTY/FT8, but otherwise is not on at all. Beyond that, the amp is plug and play. I put my Alpha 87a on line in 1994, never tuned it, ignored it but used it a ton, and in 2004 sold it. This amp is the same, tuned the tuner ONCE and I've not touched the amp again. It just works, thus its like my Alpha 87a. I think Elecraft really hit it on this amp.

I'm seeing more than 1500 watts per band too

I can, unconditionally recommend it, and as noted above I am NOT that guy who spends a ton of money and writes a great review to justify to myself what a great decision I made.
N5WNG Rating: 2018-10-01
Fantastic but can be noisy Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I owned an ACOM 1000 for about a dozen years, and its fan noise was exceptionally quiet. As a result lets say I am a bit spoiled in that degree.
By contrast when the finals temp in the 1500 hit 60C the fans kick in and certainly are not very quiet. At the highest fan level it becomes very loud, but my experience has been hitting those high speeds is low as I typically keep the power to 6-700 watts.

I found a way to increase the fan turn on time and then shorten its time on by putting a 5 inch quiet PC fan (<50 db) behind the unit that turns on, and stays on, when the amp is one. I suspect two would work even better but have not yet tried that.

Aside from the noise, the amp is remarkable and highly recommended.
N3ETA Rating: 2018-08-07
No problem here. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have to admit some of the posts here and on the Elecraft email reflector regarding the high noise level of the KPA1500 had me a bit concerned. Well...Ive had mine for a bit over a month now and I am not experiencing any of the noise problems described. I have the power supply on one side of my K3S system and the Amp on the other side. All of this is right at eye level (Which means it is also at ear level) and I am not experiencing any of the problems I've heard addressed. Granted I'm not running a digital or CW contesting station but I do fill-in for several net controllers , so were not talking just an occasional short transmission. I actually had to go into the menu and turn the fans on just to see what they sounded like. The db level on the amp power supply is almost non-exesistant (Much less than the fan on my AL-80B) and even with the amp fans turned up to the second level the db level; was about the same or maybe less than my AL-80B. Keep in mind it at bench top level not eye level. I felt I had to say something so anyone thinking of buying one for SSB and casual digital and CW work wouldn't be put off by what they're reading. I realize that a large portion of Elecraft users are big time contesters and a lot are digital users, but this is a fantastic Amp and you should not be put off by reports of high noise levels if your not involved in long the duration transmissions involved with some of todays popular modes. In the 5 weeks I've been using mine the Amp fans have only kicked on once and that was level one while winding up a particularly busy SSB net session. I' wouldn't have even noticed except for the fact that I had to reached over for a new pad of paper putting my ear 10" to 12" from the front of the Amp. I'll admit that I'm in my 60's and I'm a retired sound engineer, but my hearing isn't particularly bad. I don't use hearing aids and I don't have to crank up the volume of a TV to hear it. Maybe Elecraft addressed the noise issue before mine was released, but I haven't seen anything on the Elecraft sites alluding to that fact.
I'll dig out a db meter and report back with some hard figures and further thoughts as I've had more time with it but my first impression of this supposed problem is basically confusion. Maybe I'm missing something but I'm extremely satisfied with my KPA1500 and I would urge anyone thinking of buying one to go for it.
Ron
n3eta
K3PA Rating: 2018-07-29
Good amp with a fatal flaw Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Everything you read about the KPA1500 is true. It's a nice, well behaved, high power amp that is fully automatic and easy to deal with. What I cannot understand is the total lack of comment on the fatal flaw of the amplifier. Noise level.

I am accustomed to tube amplifiers. Both my ACOM 2000 and ACOM 1000 are very nearly silent and a pleasure to have in the shack.

The noise from the KPA1500 power supply is already annoying. It alone surpasses the noise I am used to from previous amplifiers.

With the RF deck at its default fan level 0, it is, of course, quiet. At level 1, it is already pretty annoying and well louder than my tube amps. At level 2, which does occur under normal use, it is just not acceptable. I don't know what it takes to get the fan to kick to level 3, 4, or 5, but the fan noise is so high there, you'll think there is a jet in the room. Why is no one noting this? I love Elecraft gear too, but c'mon guys, you need to do A LOT better here. Without my noise cancelling headphones, I could not use this amplifier.

Without reengineering of the fans, and air path sonics, this amp can never be the accepted classic the K3 is. Get back to work, Elecraft.