I’ve been thinking about the Alpha 9500 a lot lately, given that I have one in my shack.
I’m very happy with RF Concepts (just “Alpha” to me, for some reason) and the 9500. I’d like to have something to add to impressions that are already out there. Unfortunately, my impression is pretty consistent with the many good reviews I’ve found, both before and after purchasing. Since I am not trying to be comprehensive, I’d also recommend you check out the helpful resources on the Alpha 9500 at dxzone.
I considered alternatives from Expert Amps, THP, Acom, Icom, Ameritron, and a few others. I also have an Ameritron AL-80B. I’m happy with the AL-80B, but wanted full legal power and, more importantly, the ability to operate remotely. I think the 9500 is a clear contender for the best amp on the market. I think the AL80B is a very good value in decent quality watts/dollar and excels in that niche.
Last weekend, I completed the process to set my station up for remote access. I switched from a manual tune amp to automatic, made some logistics changes, and then implemented remote control using remote ham software at remotehams.com. Although I was on track to get things working, I had the pleasant surprise of Roger, W8RJ, logging in to expedite and optimize my setup. Check out my remote station at W4LI – Remote.
I’ve already had the opportunity to use my station while traveling a couple times this week. Also, about two dozen others have registered to use the station. So far, the software and setup is rock solid. I’m very pleased and its quite cool to be able to get on the air on my occasional hotel-nights, which is when I have the most free time.
Thanks to Brandon, Roger, and others on the remotehams team. Great stuff.
Following up after a couple of weeks and revised after a couple of months.
I’ve now tuned the amp at a few points in each band into a dummy load. This gives me a good reference chart on initial tuning, as well as a record of output, grid current and plate current. This makes it easy to tune, but also easy to tell over time if anything has changed.
I’ve since installed the 10/12 meter modification and installed the grid overload protection board. The 10/12 mod was easy, following Ameritron’s instructions after sending them my call sign info, etc.
Since establishing my station a few months ago, I had planned to add a linear. I did quite a bit of research and finally settled on the Ameritron AL-80B.
I liked the power range, 1000W SSB, a 10db gain from barefoot, while still running almost comfortably on a household 120V circuit. I liked the price, under $1400 shipped from hamradio.com. I also liked the 3-500Z based design. It seemed like a good design around a tube originally designed for this purpose. It can push the tube hard, but I believe mainly within its specs. Operator error is another thing altogether…..