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Looking for an amplifier that wont break my band or back

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by dennisissure, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. dennisissure

    dennisissure Member

    Jul 21, 2009
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    Hello Gents and Ladies;
    I am looking for an amplifier in good used condition that will allow me to operate on 40, 80 and 160 meters.

    My favorite band is 160 meters, but after spending 3 years away from the hobby due to prostate cancer and having to sell all of my previous gear; it has left me in a very unusual position financially and trying to start all over.

    So far I have managed an IC-735/used, I have had to build my own straight key and single paddle iambic keyer and put up an inv-L antenna with wire found in the wood out back of the apartment complex.

    It hasn't been easy; but it has taught me alot about life and doing with the resources in front of me.

    I want an amplifier that will withstand the punishment on 160 meters and only requires as little as 50 watts of drive or 100 watts.

    Will the Ameritron AL-811 work for me? How do I know I am getting an amplifier that is not DOA-----and or getting someone elses problems and headaches?

    I am new here to this reflector/forum as I have been on EBAY and others and I'm not really impressed with some of their prices..

    Can someone with the knowledge of the AL-811 amplifiers history and specifications give me some insight as to what to expect from this amplifier? Looking forward to some good replys and an educational learning curve .

    de K0CKDennis in York, SC

    PS, I also have a B&K model 600 and a Century FC-2 tube testers in original shape and operable that I would consider either trading or selling towards the purchase of the amplifier. (photos available upon request, 3 photos of each unit)

    Thanks for viewing Dennis

  2. im not a ham , but i have slept in a holiday inn . heres a few links with reviews on ham amps that you may find useful . good luck .


    Ham Radio Market
  3. Mr Clean

    Mr Clean Active Member

    May 21, 2005
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    I use a Heathkit SB-200 for one of my amps and for the money a nice little amp. 600 watts Pep with 100 watts drive. Can be found for two or 300 bucks if you look. Cant give any info on the Ameritrons but I know alot of people love them.
  4. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

    Apr 8, 2005
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    Will an AL-811 work on 160 meters? Yes it will. I have an older one, never put it on 160 but I have no reason to doubt that it will work there, it was designed to do so. What kind of drive would you need for what kind of output? I can't say, haven't done it.
    There were several 'foibles' with the early AL-811's, the biggy is that you should use an external watt meter to tune one. The meters on the early AL-811's were not exactly all that 'exact'.
    As for 'eBay' and private sellers being sort of "iffy", that's the way it goes with used equipment sales. There are ways of 'protecting' yourself, but they are not fool-proof by any means. Believe me, I do know about that being 'frugal' thing, and can certainly understand your position. Like it or not, your best protection, and least costly option is to just buy a new one. Unless you know the seller and trust them. Other wise, you'z pays your money and take'z your chances.
    Good luck.
    - 'Doc
  5. n8fgb

    n8fgb Active Member

    May 18, 2008
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    If you use Ebay, stay away from Radio-Mart and Pennradio. You can look at a sellers feedback, and email the buyer himself, to verify the feedback he left on the seller. Sellers use to leave retalitory feedback if a buyer left a negative. New rules are suppose to stop that, ya right.
    But an AL 811 with 572b's will work good on 160. I have a Dentron Clipperton L and it needs some mods to realy work well on 160.
  6. 295

    295 Member

    Mar 8, 2009
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    Last month I repaired an 811H for a friend, which included new tubes. I put in the 572b as replacements. Output was around 475 watts on the H, give or take 25 watts or so. The Ameritron 811 is an okay amplifer, however I was not all that impressed with the build quality, but it is a decent little amplifier for someone on a budget. One of the nice things about the amplifer is you can still get parts direct from Ameritron. I imagine for a three hole 811, you will probably see around 350 watts out. The 811 has been around for a long time, I have not heard too many bad things about the amplifer. Most the problems come from those trying to overdrive the amp, keep the drive at 70 watts or less and the amp will last. Ameritron has a bad habit of the advertising more watts than their lower tier amplifiers will do. The 811 line and the ALS 500 both will not do the watts they advertise, you will never get 600 watts out of 4 811 tubes, they usually only do about 125 watts a piece.

    If you don't like ebay, take a look at the classified boards at Ham Radio Home Page - QTH.COM by KA9FOX! Classified swap ads for amateur radio, ham radio and more, you may be able to fetch a good deal there.

    I just looked at QTH and there are several AL-811's and one AL-811H listed there in the $500.00 range.

    As some pointed out you can find really good deals on Heathkit amps, but if it were me, I would stick with the Ameritron, they are just a little more modern.

  7. SR385

    SR385 Active Member

    Mar 9, 2007
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    Ameritron fully supports those amps too and has all the parts needed if you get one that is DOA. Worst case, if you can't fix it by calling them and troubleshooting it yourself, you can send it in to them for repair.

    Best bet on a used amp is to buy from someone you know or are referred to by someone you know. Otherwise, next best is to go to the seller and test the amp before you pay them for it. Make sure it loads up and does what it is spec'd to do.

    I picked up an AL-80B used, it's another great amp but worth more money. If you are patient you can find them for $750 or so, less patient, more like $900. Very rugged design and relatively simple inside. They'll give you a kW or so reliably with a bit less than 100W drive.
  8. mackmobile43

    mackmobile43 Jock Supporter

    Feb 11, 2008
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    That won't cut it, it has to be a Holiday Inn Express.:tongue:
  9. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 14, 2002
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    I would like to know more about the Inverted L you built for the antenna. How high is the vertical element? How long is the horizontal? How did you feed it? Did you build a matching tranformer of some type?

    About the amp thing: I have had the "opportunity" to need to use Ameritron's customer service to repair a tube amp. They did turn it around very quickly and at what I would call an "expected" price. In other words, I didn't feel like I got shafted (I already knew what was wrong with it and how long it would take to repair, which is why I sent it). No, the Ameritron amps are not built as heavy duty as some other brands, but the used prices are reasonable; you can get them worked on; and you can get parts. Dont' abuse it, and it will be fine for many years.

    One thing I learned about purchasing tube amps over the internet: Make sure you tell the owner to remove the tubes and individually wrap and box them. It sounds basic, but I personally experienced the gut wrenching feeling of looking at the possibility of having to replace two Eimac 3CX800A7 tubes because they were left in the sockets for shipping and the tubes were loose and all the pins were bent when I got it. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as it looked and was no problem to fix. But you don't want to experience that feeling, trust me.

    Oh yeah, welcome to the WWRF! We're mostly friendly here...except for that mackmobile guy ;)
  10. De_Wildfire

    De_Wildfire Member

    Jul 27, 2009
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    I picked up a Drake L4B at a hamfest for $550 and put $250 into that included labor, CAPS in the pwr supply , going over the amp and cleaning it up. It has 2 3z500's tubes. The amp works like a charm and is very quiet/clean. I get great reports with it and it runs great over 1kw.

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