[CQ-Contest] 500 Watt Amp or 1500 Watt Amp

Peter Chamalian w1rm at arrl.net
Mon Jul 16 04:22:22 PDT 2012

I have a K3 and the KPA-500.  It's a very nice little amp but at 500 watts I
was getting pushed around all over the place.  With my THP HL-1.5KFX, I run
800 watts and that makes a definite difference.  If you are serious about
contesting, go for the legal limit!

The difficulty with a non-Elecraft amp may be to get the amp to band change
for you, depending on which one you get.  The Acom will do that just fine
with a single dit.

Back in the day when I was running tune amps, I would mark the dials for
each band so tuning was a very quick set of movements.  The extra 5 seconds
won't make a difference unless you just moved someone from one band to
another and even then it's not significant.

Pete, W1RM

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Thorne [mailto:rmthorne at att.net] 
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 6:25 PM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] 500 Watt Amp or 1500 Watt Amp

Hello Group,

I'm finally building my first serious contest station after hamming for over
30 years.  My wife and I moved out to the country last August to a lot with
no restrictions.  My first tower is up and I'm planning a 2nd soon.

I'm looking at amp possibilities.  My rig is an Elecraft K3 so the
KPA500 looks intriguing in that it will follow the rig and I won't have to
tune it, i.e., quick band changes.

Is 1500 watts really worth looking at?  I could go the Acom 2000a or Alpha
route, but that's not quite in the budget now.  So I'm looking at the
Ameritron AL-1200, 1500 or other comparable amp. The disadvantage is tune up
time, but I'm not sure that's really a big deal.  I've operated at K5NA for
years and it doesn't take much to tune to a different band using pre-marked

So the question, does the extra 1000 watts make a difference? as compared to
the ability to make quick band changes using a solid state amp?


Rich - N5ZC
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