Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Elecraft KPA-500

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 KPA-500
Reviews: 126MSRP: 1999.95 Kit Form
KPA-500 Solid State Amplifier 160-10M Plus 6M, Auto Band
Switching via RF sense or cable connection.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
MM0XXW Rating: 2023-04-25
Superb Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
As a 'newbie' to amplifiers boy is this just the ticket to cut your teeth on!
Purchased a K3+P3+KPA500 combo and despite having very limited experience of amplifiers at home this one took care of me well.
Leading a novice through the set-up was so easy with the Elecraft instructions set out before me I had the radio/amp combo 'on the air' within 20 minutes.
You really can't go wrong with this thing mostly because it won't allow you to make too many stupid mistakes as it just goes in the huff and shuts down albeit a push of a button, rectify your mistake and your good to go with no ill feelings from the amp ;)
Band-changing is a breeze via the radio, the amp or (in my case) via Ham Radio Deluxe logging programme it just follows me like a little puppy :)
SWR, Output power, amp temperature and the menu are all pretty easily accesible and the info is self-explanatory.
Runs at 400w with around a 3-35w input, fans come on at the appropriate point and aren't the loudest things in fact I've heard louder from psu's!
For a 'newbie' like me I can whole-heartedly recommend this amplifier which is absolutely perfect for the 400w limit in the UK!
KB1GMX Rating: 2023-04-10
IC7300/KPA500/KAT500 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Recently got mine and its proven to be what other uses tell me.
It's very good and near bulletproof in use.

I have mine teamed up with IC7300 and got the package with the KAT500 auto tuner. Makes for a very flexible and smooth operating package with very little fuss setting it up.

W5GIF Rating: 2023-03-10
A very GOOD if not GREAT AMP Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Just wanted to put my two cents worth in.
I had the ACOM 1000 and got tired of having to remember to change BANDS and re-tune after changing Bands.
Got the KPA-500 and just love it. Super quite and follows the radio, no more having to remember to change bands and re-tune manually, just change Bands and talk!
I ran around 750-800 Watts with the ACOM 1000.
Now I run around 475 - 525 WATT's and always get amazing results both "S" Signal and Audio reports.
Highly recommend. 73 W5GIF
W4TL Rating: 2023-03-10
Very pleased indeed! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just received the new KPA 500 a week or so back and finally got around to installing it yesterday. I am driving it with a Yaesu FTDX10 which I have it connected to the KPA500 with Radio Dan’s cable from the radios linear port to the aux port on the amp. I turned everything on and everything worked as expected. The amp tracks with the radio each time I change bands before I apply rf to the amp. I am currently driving it with 20 watts from the radio and the amp is putting out a cool 400 watts. Very pleased with this seamless operation. A great piece of amateur gear from the guys at Elecraft.
NT9E Rating: 2022-08-28
Great Amp! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I needed an amp I could run on 110VAC and let me run 500-600W on 160-6. I bought mine as a kit in 2015 and finally put it together in the fall of 2016. This amp will not disappoint. My previous amp used 2, 3500Z's but my new shack location did not have 220VAC available. I was worried this amp might "sag" on 110VAC when I needed it to perform and I was not disappointed. I also use the KAT500 ATU with my Icom 7600. What a great combination!
N4LSJ Rating: 2022-07-26
Excellent! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Ordered this as a power combo (KAT-500/KPA-500) at the 2022 Hamvention and waited about 8 weeks for them to ship. Got it near the end of July and built in about four hours. The manual is very detailed and if you can follow directions, it's a snap. This amp and tuner combo works very well. The tuner keeps the amp from operating when it is tuning. It interfaces well with the 7300 when you make a "band voltage" interface with your accessory plug (see google.)

One reason I chose this amp is that it will run on 120V. It does indeed work as such.

This thing is very well designed and I'm glad I chose it over other models of 500 watt amp. Other amps are not as smart and won't auto-QSY for you. The serial (usb to serial) port allows one to monitor power out / standby / operate / fault while operating from the PC.

W4ABF Rating: 2021-12-13
Nice Amp - works well Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a great product - good fit and finish. I built it in 4 hours - the instructions were clear and easy to follow. I replaced a SB 1000 with it so I really appreciate its auto tuning, and quietness. I drive it with a Flex 6600M. 40w in = 550-600w out. I use an ABR 704 - it's not required - but is a good idea IMO. I consider a $59 fuse protecting 5K worth of gear a good investment. I did look at the Ameritron ALS 600 but based on the reviews I chose Elecraft. No regrets. I feel that I got more than what I paid for with this unit. How many things can you say that about? I ordered the KAT 500 this morning to replace my LDG 1000 Pro. Way to go Elecraft!

UPDATE - After over seven years of use, the KPA 500 is still going strong. Not even a hiccup. When paired with the Flex KAT-500 and connected to my Flex 6600M via USB I don't even know it's in the shack. Except for the great signal reports that I get.

UPDATE 010821 - I smoked the 1:1 balun on my Carolina Windom running FT8 - the coax was shorted as well. Didn't bother the amp much - it let me know there was a problem then just shut itself down. I might have blown the finals on lesser amps. Way to go Elecraft!
WD5ACP Rating: 2021-10-30
Excellent little amp (update) Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Update - 18 months and still 5 stars.

My original review mentioned the amp not working with the MR keys on the 890. I was mistaken as it was the KAT500 tuner that missed the MR frequencies (and there's a patch for that now).

The amp has been rock-solid with great support from Elecraft. I also created a small Arduino program to talk to the amp using the serial port and provide a simple web page interface for remote monitoring and control.

It's a great amp - proven, reliable, compact, quiet for SSB use. Can't go wrong with it!

So I've had my amp for about 4 months now - Coming from a classic SB-200 it's quite an upgrade. I knew I wanted a state-of-the-art solid state amp, and after looking at my options and focusing on 120vac powered amps, I decided the Elecraft Kit would be perfect. It can interface direct with my Kenwood TS-890 so it follows the rig as soon as I switch bands. That feature works -almost- perfect. It does NOT work with MR channels, but if I pick a Memory channel on the rig, then select the M>V feature to put the memory channel into the VFO the amp then sees it and immediately follows. No big deal.

The amp is small, quiet, and has been working flawlessly. I really like the fast peak-reading LEDs - with the solid-state switching it's quiet in operation. As it heats up the fan does kick in, but it's not very loud at all. The amp also 'creaks' a bit as it expands and contracts with the heat. Once again, very very minor. On top of it all you can buy it as a kit that's easy to build and maintains the factory warranty. Coupled with the KAT-500 tuner it's a great happy-meal combo pack!
VE4AMN Rating: 2021-02-22
Seamless and easy. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased the "kit" version of the power combo, which saved me a couple hundred bucks. I had constructed the K3, KX3, P3, and PX3 so I thought is should be a snap. I had not factored in how aging has reduced my manual dexterity with arthritis in my hands. Also I am sure the parts have become smaller in the last few years!

I took extra time, and construction proceeded without incidence.

The unit operates flawlessly. I had the Expert Linear SPE 1.2K and that was/is a fine rig. I was not happy with the restricted range of the tuner, since I run a set of mongrel antennas and the KAT-500 really shines. The KPA-500 has less power than the SPE, but my KX3 will drive it to 200+ watts, which is fine while I wait for my K4.

One last point. I exercised the "doofus" option several times and the amp is very forgiving.
K0INN Rating: 2021-01-23
Great and easy to use. Not leaving the shack anytime soon. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Acquired the "power combo" used. These amps hold their value on the used market. I figured the amp to be about 4 years old based on the serial number.

I'm driving the amp with several rigs using the "basic" interface with just a key line. You can send one dit or briefly key the mic and the amp changes frequency.

The amp runs cool and quiet. Totally satisfied here. I can't figure out how my experience could be improved.