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Re: [Amps] Tubes vs. Solid State (was) Expert Amps 2K-FA: Any Opinions ?

Subject: Re: [Amps] Tubes vs. Solid State (was) Expert Amps 2K-FA: Any Opinions ?
From: W2XJ <>
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2012 12:31:30 -0700
List-post: <">>
Well, not as flawed as one might think. SS is now less expensive than 
the almost impossible to find tube TXs. I don't think anyone makes a 
tube BC TX below 10 KW and you have to go to Eastern Europe to find a 
new tube TX below 50 KW. Manufacturing processes and better solid state 
devices like LDMOS have been a real game changer.  Other things such as 
eliminating power transformers along with most cable harnesses also help 
lower prices. A 50 KW AM transmitter is now less than 2 racks wide. A 
new LDMOS 40Kw FM TX is 19 inches wide by about 6 feet high.

Old amps have the problem of deteriorated wire harness and deteriorating 
insulation. They have other components other than tubes that are 
unobtainium as well. I had to scrap an old Kenwood for just that reason. 
The THP 2.5K that replaced it was much more capable. Personally I would 
not invest in a new tube amp only to use old or poorly quality 
controlled new tubes. An Alpha manually tuned AMP and a THP 2.5K Solid 
state automatically band switched amp cost about the same new.  The 
Alpha uses a pair of 4cx1000s which are still stocked new.

To each their own (and this hobby is a different experience for each of 
us), but the forward looking path is solid state.

On 4/29/12 10:26 AM, Rob Atkinson wrote:
> Using the bc industry as an analogy for hams is flawed. broadcasters 
> have a revenue stream from which they can pay $$$ for top of the line 
> s.s. gear. it is cost effective for them for several reasons--lower 
> utility bills, less maint. costs....none of this applies to a ham who 
> gets on the air for a few hours / week and will not recover the extra 
> expense of fool proof s.s. gear. bc station = for-profit business; ham 
> station = hobby and money black hole
>> Tubes are going away, especially at amateur power levels. I just spoke
>> with Richardson last week. Most new non Chinese tubes are NOS at the
>> manufacturer but are not being produced. This means once they are gone,
>> they are gone.
> Gone from some outfit like Richardson perhaps, but millions were
> manufactured and will be around after we're all in the ground.  You
> can get on eBay right now and find 3-500z made around 1970;  866As (if
> you want them), every flea market has zillions of old rx tubes and tx
> and power supply tubes out of production for 50 years; I've seen
> 3-1000z turn up a couple of times lately for $150 to $200; it may be
> maudlin but as hams go SK their tube stashes show up at hamfests and
> on eBay--I assure you, don't worry about not finding a tube, unless it
> is something odd like 5-500A, 5-125A, or 4cx1600B.  All you need to
> know is the few hard to finds and steer clear.   Actually the 5-500
> and 5-125 are around, they just take more diligence.
> 73
> Rob
> K5UJ
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