[CQ-Contest] Contest amps under $1000

Alfred J. Frugoli (KE1FO) frugoli at worldlinkisp.com
Fri Aug 20 10:16:59 EDT 2004

What amps are out there on the used market fur under $1000 that are sufficient for contest service (i.e. occational high swr due to tx into wrong antenna at 3am, easy to tune etc.)

I've investigated several amps already, and here are my thoughts.  

If driven hard can get close to 1.5kw output but it was only designed for 1kw input cw and 2kw input ssb.  Tubes are easy to come by.  Possible VHF parasitic issues, although if operated within specs these issues are deminished.  No 160

Similar to SB-220 except cost is higher - worth the extra 300-400$?

Good solid amp.  Again, claims of 1.3kw out in some places, but designed for 1kw input, not output rating.  8875 tubes very expensive if they can be found at all.  Can convert to 4cx400 or 3cx800 but I'm not an experienced builder and the directions for these conversions make my head spin.

Alpha 374
No 160 (unless it's an A model).  Not much out there on this amp, except that those who have them seem to like them.  Bandpass tuning is a nice feature and could come in handy in a so2r situation.  8874 tube is still available.

Decent amp.  Tube easily available.  Can produce 1kw if pushed.  Forgiving of mistuning or mismatch.  Easy to tune.  I currently have an al-80 and like it.

All of these amps were manufactured during the days when "legal limit" was 1kw input and therefore will give up about 1 s unit to todays "legal limit" of 1.5kw output.  Are there any higher power output amps in the under $1000 class?

Thanks in advance for your comments and opinions.

73 de Al, KE1FO

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