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[Amps] Alpha 9500 Repair

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Subject: [Amps] Alpha 9500 Repair
From: "Paul Christensen" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 06:32:51 -0400
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The purpose of this post is to alert Alpha 9500 owners of what's likely an inevitable repair if the 8877 develops a cathode-to-grid short. Hopefully, this information will assist other 9500 owners who conduct a web search on the subject.

The Alpha 9500 uses an 8877 in a grounded-grid configuration. The RF deck design is not too different from other Alpha GG amps although some unique MOSFET circuitry is used for bias control. Last week, the 9500 used at the remote site of N4CC and myself had developed a symptom where Ig read excessively high upon key line activation and without RF drive. Ig remained off-scale even without the 8877 installed in its socket.

In localizing the problem, the 8877 likely developed a cathode-to-grid short, causing two components to fail. R93 is a 10-ohm, 1W SMD resistor. It failed open with a burn hole punched through the center of the resistor. Q16 is a P-channel MOSFET. It failed with resistance readings that showed high leakage between the gate and both source and drain leads. It is also a SMD component. When these components fail, Ig reads excessively high when the amp key line is activated.

In looking at the schematic, these two components will always be subject to failure with such an internal tube short, even if intermittent. When replacing the components, it's important to change the 8877 at the same time. Otherwise, the same components will keep failing if the faulty 8877 is reinserted back into the 9500.

Surprisingly, the on-line schematics from RKR Designs do not show the 8877; the page connectors must be studied to understand the 8877 connection points.

Protecting these components from future failure is possible without affecting amp performance, but that takes amp modification. Despite the hassle of changing out these parts, the good news is that much of the control circuitry is easily accessed inside the rear panel antenna switch cage. In fact, quite a bit of diagnostic amp testing is possible with the amp's cabinet completely attached and there's no exposure to PS HV while testing.

Replacement parts:


R93: 10-OHM, 1-WATT, 1% THICK FILM, 2512 SMD, VISHAY/DALE CRCW251210R0FKEG - MOUSER P/N 71-CRCW2512-10-E3

Paul, W9AC
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