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PGXL EHam Review
I'm thinking of going the PGXL route ... So I was checking out the PGXL reviews on EHam and this one Ham gives the Amp 2-stars and states, and I quote, "the noise is like having a leaf blower next to you'.
I can't believe it's that loud ...
Any PGXL owners have any experience / comments on this?
If you are approaching 100% duty cycle they are noisy.
Lately I have been operating FT8, and due to poor band conditions, usually running about 800 to 1000 watts.
I run the fans in contest mode and the amp temp is around 40 degrees C and the noise level is no louder than my Alpha 9500 (which is quite quiet).
If you run 1500 watts and have high SWR only then are they noisy.0
We find that Fan noise is subjective actually. I have friends that tell me that their PC fan noise sounds like a leaf blower as well. The post was written a few firmware versions ago.
The only measurement is to measure the noise from 3ft away with an iPhone app (there are many). To be honest, in the Standard fan setting, it is pretty quiet.
Part of the heat is also from the heat collected from harmonic dummy load which does a great job of grabbing harmonics that don't make it to the antenna or the LMDOS's.
Also, this is why we sell equipment with a 30 day refund policy so you can hear it yourself.
I hope that helps a bit.
I cannot recommend enough that one great thing about this amp is it does NOT need to be in your op position. It can be quite a ways away so the noise issue is not a problem.
If you have no remote options, and by remote I'm talking another room, or across the room, or in a noise hood of some kind, then yes by your desk it can be a little loud. At 100% duty cycle it is quite loud but so was my SPE 2K FA.
So put it somewhere else.0
I have had the PGXL for a couple years now. My previous tube amplifier had to be at my operating position to tune and change bands. As well as just monitoring operation. I had to wait for filaments to warm up for several minutes with the blower running. I used headsets a lot.
I like a quiet shack so I put the amp on the other side of my shack wall. I can’t tell it is running. The PGXL utility gives me complete control. The utility does not have to even be on the computer you are using. You could fabricate a sound reduced box in the shack vented to an adjacent area or outside.
The biggest challenge for any solid state amplifier is heat. That is needed for any manufacturer. Even if you had a water cooled amp there has to be a heat exchanger some where.
if you run 1500 watts FT8 50% TX there is a lot of heat. On CW and FT8 Meffa changes the bias with software and the amp run 10-15 degrees cooler allowing low fan speed.
The point is you have a lot of option to choose from to match your operating conditions and preferences. Some are automatic and others are you selections.
I located my PGXL close to the exit of antennas to the outside. The RF in the shack is non existent, grounded close to the home common ground point.
The PGXL fans are not inherently more noisy than other fans. The choices are slower speed fans with more fans among others. These trade offs are not going to reduce noise by 20db. My shack noise is down 40 dB. That is quiet. If you are listening most of the time, leave it in standby, zero fan noise with instant operate.
No one else (amateur) has a separate harmonic load that gives a cooler device operation. Cooler it better with solid state amps.
Don’t forget the amp is a two channel amp meaning you can run two separate rigs of any brand with one amplifier.
I am not a Flex marketeer, just a user that has lived with the behavior of my first solid state amplifier. These are things that I have seen.
Tell your friend to upgrade his F/W.
I just did 12 hours in RTTY contest with the PGXL 24 inches from my elbow. And it is quiet.
If you want to use old F/W just put up with it. You can always remote it from your neighbors chicken house.
F/W 3.6.21 will give you a quiet amp unless you are very long winded.1
I have retrofitted my PGXL with a liquid nitrogen cooling system. My fan never comes on. As far as keeping it in the shack, my wife once asked why I have all my guitars on the wall. I told her, if I spend $10,000 on a new guitar there is no way I am keeping it in its case in the closet where no one can see it and not ask me how much it cost!1
I’m not criticizing, just noting that I can work just about any FT8 station I can receive running 35 watts. Yes, I could do better with 1,000 watts, just not a whole lot better (note: I don’t work contests).1
I already have a KPA500 connected to my 6600M & Orion 2 ... I just may end up going the 403A / 1A2R route ... I have an Antenna & Tuner Genius headed my way now ...
Thanks for all the feedback y'all ...
My station was set up with the Flex6600M, Expert 2K-FA, Antenna Genius and 4O3A 1A2R switch. I have since changed it to Flex6600M, PGXL, TGXL. I would recommend the latter path.
There are a whole lot of relays in the 4O3A 1A2R switch that engage every time you switch bands and they are loud. During one winter, I could not reliably use radio 1 since the receive level became intermittent. It was a faulty relay in the 1A2R switch.
Then there is the simplification in cabling. All communication is through Ethernet. I no longer have any serial cables or USB cables connected and I have fewer coax cables than were necessary with the 1A2R switch.
The 1A2R switch was an ok compromise to solve the problem of sharing one amplifier with 2 radios, but it is much better to have a true SO2R amplifier.
73, Les VE3NNT1
For me, with my best possible antenna, an 80m loop at about 45 feet, I find the following with FT8:
RX: -18 or higher: I can work with 35-40 watts depending upon propagation
RX -19 to -20: I typically need about 500w to get a contact through
RX -21 to -25: Usually 1kw or more to get through.
Of course this is propagation and station dependent. IE if the station either has a lousy situation, bad antennas, high noise, really nothing gets through. Or if they are not in the propagation rings.
In contrast, running my gear into a friends nice beam at 50 feet, I can pretty much work everyone I hear at 50w.
So I hate to say it, my PGXL is making up for a not so great TX antenna and situation.0
W7NGA... you need to share some pix of that mod! That sounds amazing!0
Mark, now I've embarrassed myself knowing that you took me seriously! I should have mentioned the FLUX capacitor (Back to the Future) I incorporated for the extra 'oomph' it provides when conditions are poor.
That was cute! :)
Seriously, Dave who works on the firmware has taken the PGXL and 50V power cooling very seriously and has made many changes, some of which have been released. You would be surprised to learn it isn't a simple project and power supplies and amplifiers do create a lot of heat and you have to deal with it.
Mike VE3CKO Member ✭✭✭
The recent firmware changes are wonderful and the PGXL certainly does run quieter. Running FT8 now when in MEFFA mode, when the fan does come on I barely hear it. It is also quieter in standard mode.
I did have the amp to the left of me on my operating desk as it does look pretty. The comparison to a leaf blower is greatly exaggerated, as my Toro leaf blower is a great deal louder and would be even worse if used in an enclosed room like a shack. I think most people would figure that out. I redeployed the PGXL to a 20U rack road case (on wheels) with the PGXL on the bottom and it's located on the left hand side of my operating desk. I do want to keep it in the shack but really it would be smarter if I placed it where all the feedlines come in the house which is where the Antenna Genius is located. That would keep more RF out of the shack.0
I motice that the PGXL block on my operating computer display shows a VSWR indication of 1.25 : 1 all time weather or not the PGXL is in Standby or Operate, And weather or not I'm Transmitting or Receiving. Obviously This is not a proper indication. My PGXL is connected to my 6500. and I'm running V3.3.29. Otherwis al is running just fine. Is ther any "adjustment" that I can make to correct this VSWR indication ?? 73, Dave Russell, W2DMR0
This is a small bug fixed in the next firmware fix for the PGXL. Coming out shortly, likely after Dayton.1
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