[TenTec] QSK or not?

Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP Rick at DJ0IP.de
Thu Mar 20 14:11:28 EDT 2014

Hi Billy,

Nice to hear from you again.  Indeed the AL-1200 is a wonderful amplifier!

I did say "my experience", and that is based on personal ownership as well
as lots of friends, members of my contest club, who had similar experience.

BTW, it's more than $500 over here.  Average?  $500 is a fair comment.

In addition we have always had a problem here in Europe with the shortwave
broadcast stations.  You guys heard them, but they were 60 over 9 here, and
the sum of the voltage hitting our rigs sometimes caused the PIN-Diodes to
cause IMD in the receivers.  That not only affected this type of amp, but
also things like the Alpha amps.  Our club members got rid of them. 

Fortunately that Intermod problem has mostly gone away since the broadcast
stations moved outside of the 40m band...except of course on-site of a
multi-multi operation.

The AL-1200 is indeed a lovely amplifier and would be my first choice (by
far) if we were allowed 1500w here, but I would immediately throw out its
open-frame relay and install a decent vacuum relay.  I wouldn't mess around
with the PIN-Diodes.
We are limited to just 750w, so I stick with the 3-500z.

73 - Rick, DJ0IP
(Nr. Frankfurt am Main)

-----Original Message-----
From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Billy Cox
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:41 PM
To: Billy Cox; Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment; 'Discussion of Ten-Tec
Subject: Re: [TenTec] QSK or not?

Really Rick, that a rather subjective statement? So let's allow for other's
experiences too as I have run a pair of
AL-1200 amps here with the internal QSK board for over 20 years of DXing and
contesting QSOs, each driven by various brands/models of gear and different
guest ops with * NO * design related problems. 

So there's another subjective statement to ponder! B-) B-)

... and it's NOT $500 here in the US, so let's be accurate to not drift into
more anti-Ameritron bashing. QSL OM?

73 de Billy, AA4NU

-----Original Message-----
>From: Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP
>Yes, you are correct, but when you add the terribly expensive external 
>circuits, the amp no longer attempts to follow CW keying with its 
>internal relay.  The Ameritron amps can only run clean QSK with a $500 
>add-on, which my experience has been, are not real reliable.  My 
>experience is based on personal use for a few years, and knowledge of 
>experience of several other members of my contesting club.
>If you want to run QSK at more than about 10 wpm, it would be better to 
>purchase an amplifier with a high speed T/R relay.  There are plenty of 
>them on the market.
>I personally switched to a QSK Technologies amplifier.  In fact I 
>bought two of them.  Never had any problems with them.
>Today I only have an older Ameritron (clone), the SB-1000, and I just 
>don't run "full" QSK.  For contests I set the timing such that I can 
>hear between words.  IMO, there is no tangible loss of functionality 
>compared to full QSK.
>For normal non-contest QSOs I run about 1 second hang delay, which 
>helps me keep what little bit of sanity I still have left.
>73 - Rick, DJ0IP
>(Nr. Frankfurt am Main)
>-----Original Message-----
>From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Brian 
>Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:03 PM
>To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
>Subject: Re: [TenTec] QSK or not?
>Yes, but I think a lot of radio amateurs using good QSK Rigs like the 
>Tentec have managed to convert their amplifiers for QSK operation by 
>adding a circuitboard like the QSK 1500 or the QSK5.
>I realize that is more than just a simple homebrewer undertaking.
>Best regards - Bry Carling
>> On Mar 20, 2014, at 11:51 AM, "Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP" 
>> It's not quite that simple, at least not always.
>> "IF" your amplifier has a very fast T/R relay, such as a vacuum 
>> relay, then you are correct; a few simple switching transistors and a 
>> tiny relay will do the trick.  But that only works when the main T/R 
>> relay is fast enough to follow CW keying.
>> If instead you have an amplifier whose T/R relay needs 20 mS to 
>> switch, AND you connect the hand-shaking just as the Ten-Tec keying 
>> loop normally works, the CW is not going to be very smooth.  Timing 
>> will get screwed up.  The open-frame relays are just too slow to do 
>> that.  The only way to make them work is to have hang delay such that 
>> they
>don't need to follow the keying.
>> The Ten-Tec hand-shaking does not do this.
>> And then if you have to work with hang delay, you don't need the 
>> complexity of the hand-shaking.  You just need sufficient pre-dit 
>> delay and adjustable hang delay - but you sacrifice true QSK.
>> TRUE QSK?  
>> You never had it in the first place because you did not buy a QSK
>> No matter what you feed a mule or how you treat it, it will never be 
>> a race horse!
>> (On the other hand, not everybody needs or wants a race horse and 
>> mules are wonderful animals!)
>> 73 - Rick, DJ0IP
>> (Nr. Frankfurt am Main)
>> -------------------------
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of 
>> bcarling at cfl.rr.com
>> Subject: Re: [TenTec] QSK or not?
>> I have to wonder why some guys will spend $500 for an external 
>> accessory to do QSK with their linear amplifier.  The system in my TT
>> 422 is so simple. A couple of simple boards and a relay.
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