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HF Solid State Amplifier Price Comparison

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  #1  
Old 04-07-2011, 11:09 AM
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Default HF Solid State Amplifier Price Comparison


With Elecraft entering the QRO marketplace with their new solid state amplifier, I thought it would be interesting to do a price comparison of all of the currently available HF solid state amplifiers in the 500 watt output range. Here's what I found:

Elecraft KPA 500



  • Frequency Range: 160m-6m
  • Power Output: 500 watts
  • Drive for full power: 30-40 watts
  • Auto Band Switching: Yes
  • Power Supply: 100-125V/200-250V Built In
  • Operating Protection: Legal frequency, Excessive PA current, High temperature, Excessive drive, PA excessive power dissipation, High SWR, Power supply fault
  • Duty Cycle: 10 minutes key down / 5 minutes off
Price: $2399.95 Assembled / $1999.95 Kit


Tokyo Hy-Power HL-550FX




  • Frequency Range: 160m-6m
  • Power Output: 500-600 watts
  • Drive for full power: 80-90 watts
  • Auto Band Switching: No
  • Power Supply: 100-130V/200-260V Built In
  • Operating Protection: Over drive, Wrong band set, Temperature, Over voltage, High SWR
  • Duty Cycle: Not Indicated
Price: $2950.95

Ameritron ALS-600(S)



  • Frequency Range: 160m-10m
  • Power Output: 500-600 watts
  • Drive for full power: < 100 watts
  • Auto Band Switching: Optional
  • Power Supply: 90-135V/185-260V External
  • Operating Protection: Wrong band set, Temperature, Excessive power output, High SWR
  • Duty Cycle: 10 minute / 50%
Price: $1748.90 with Power Supply, Auto Band Switch, 10 meter option / $1499 without Power Supply, Auto Band Switch, 10 meter option


Ameritron ALS-500



  • Frequency Range: 160m-10m
  • Power Output: 400-500 watts
  • Drive for full power: < 70 watts
  • Auto Band Switching: Optional
  • Power Supply: None
  • Operating Protection: Wrong band set, Temperature, High SWR
  • Duty Cycle: Not Indicated
Price: $998.90 with Auto Band Switch, 10 meter option / $849 without Auto Band Switch / 10 meter option


If I've left any products out that should be added to this comparison, let me know and I'll get them on the list


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Old 04-07-2011, 11:59 AM
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Ameritron, here I come!!!!!!

Thanks to this comparison I know where I'll spend my cash..

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:01 PM
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I'm with eagle1911. I've owned the Ameritron 811 and 811H, so $2-3k for a 500 watt amp?? Maybe if I win the lottery.

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:38 PM
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Incidentally, you can find some good deals on the Ameritron stuff if you want to purchase a previously owned unit. Check out this ALS-600 that showed up on ebay:

AMERITRON ALS-600 LINEAR AMPLIFIER with POWER SUPPLY - eBay (item 360357041503 end time Apr-10-11 19:00:53 PDT)

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:50 PM
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Thanks for the product comparison.
Looked into the KPA500.
Someone wanting basic features will go for Ameritron to get the best dollar per watt.
But the Elecraft has some interesting features:

Automatic band change via high-speed RF sensing, switches very fast.
Accurate 3-color LED power and SWR bar graphs, but with a peak hold feature that actually works
Digital LCD display shows Band in MHz, HV, IP, TEMP of finals, SWR, RF OUT, plus a menu of customizable settings such as LED / LCD brightness.
Fast QSK without clicking for CW users.
Four speed fan.

When comparing amps, pay attention the the finals it uses. The 2933 pills are much better than MRF150. Worth the higher price.

In all cases, be careful of radios that have overshoot on start of transmit. Some radios have a few milliseconds of full output power before they back off. Such as the icom HF mobiles.

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Old 04-07-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default Speaking or radios..

Speaking of radios like the Icom mobiles having high starting RF output spikes, does anyone know how the Kenwood TS-2000's fair in this arena?

I ask as I was considering getting something like the ALS-1300 to use with my TS-2000, and sure don't want to go blowing the 1300 up as soon as I start using it.

I figured with all this chatter about the amps, maybe someone would know how the Kenwood fares in that regard...

73's...

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:15 AM
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'FFV',
I honestly don't know of any solid state radio that doesn't produce a 'spike' at the beginning of a transmission. I have no idea of the 'level' of those spikes, but I haven't seen one that doesn't do that, the TS-2000 included. I also haven't heard of any particular problems with that and solid state amplifiers. I haven't paid any special attention to that spiking, but I'm sure that if it was a 'huge' problem it would be fairly common knowledge, you know? I can also think of several 'hollow-state' amplifiers where that spiking would be as 'dangerous' as it is with solid state amplifiers, and haven't heard of any particular problems there either.
I think you should, at the least, be aware of the potential dangers involved. I also think that there are no radio manufacturers that will guarantee their product will not do any of that 'spiking'. Take that for what it's worth...
- 'Doc

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:30 AM
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Most radios that have a power spike at the beginning of the transmission can be cured by the addition of a fixed external ALC voltage.
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ameritron als-500m, ameritron als-600, amplifier, elecraft kpa500, tokyo hy-power hl-550fx
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