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RF Amplifiers - Is Flex considering building?

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Answers

  • Roy LauferRoy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited October 2015
    The quote I recieved from "the other US distributor" for the 1.3K-FA w/o ATU was $3599 plus shipping (this was 6 months ago and they are still backordered, though). I like the small size, high efficiency, ability to handle 120 volt AC power and flexibility. The latest version of DDUTIL, expected "any day now", will be able to control it. I hope to have mine by Thanksgiving time... What can I say? I love "the bleeding edge". But then, that's why I am on this forum and have a beautiful Flex 6700 in my shack! 73, and GL to all my fellow bleeding edge compatriots! Roy, AC2GS
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    That makes more sense. I was comparing it to the price I am paying in Europe for mine and the US price is quite expensive. The "other" distributor seems to be closer to the actual SPE retail price. 

    I really like my current SPE 1k and I find the ATU a must even if you have properly setup antennas, it just makes everything very smooth. You are talking about a full legal power 4 antenna ATU. Are you sure you want the non ATU version?

    And here is the Expert together with a flex 6300 in my shack. Sorry for the blurred image on the amp, I was trying to get a wide angle and didn't focus it correctly and the contact with YB was too cool to upload a different video.




  • Roy LauferRoy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited October 2015
    I agree that an ATU is important, in my shack especially. The Expert ATU price seems a bit high, even though it has control over four antenna ports (unfortunately with a 70 x 20 foot property I doubt that I can find any room for even a second transmitting antenna - I have a secondary mag loop receive antenna). My problem is the SWR range of the SPE ATU.

    I realize that ATU SWR specs are not engraved in marble, but according to anyone at SPE that I'd asked, all I should expect is a correction of 1:3 SWR or better. That's not enough for me - I opted for an LDG AT-1000ProII. They quote 1:10 SWR maximum correction and their maximum power handling capacity is just at the edge of the 1.3K-FA's output (I still think using 120 volts power will not get me quite as far as if I had a 240 volt power line in my shack).

    Worse case scenario if the LDG goes "phhttt" is that I swap it for another $500 box instead of finding a SPE ATU replacement board, etc.

    If I was an SPE design engineer, I would have gone with a beefier ATU...
  • k0eook0eoo Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Sal,

    Thanks for the great video/audio playback of your QSO with Ferry, YB0AR.   Ferry is the ham that bought my SDR-1000, w/accessories, when I sold it 6 years ago to buy the Flex5000A....   I hear him on every now and then and worked him last on 40m SSB....

    Regards, Dennis, k0eoo
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    The ATU in the 1k matches beyond 1:3swr... but not much more, true... it doesn't handle the mismatch that the LDG can. I built a loop around the property for 80 and 160 and I use a balun and MFJ-989D. I still would go for the ATU version if you can. I am.
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    LOL Dennis! What a small world! I was very excited about that contact. The quality of the signals between the two Flex radios was excellent. That chat with Ferry and a long QSO with Reunion Is. were some of the recent highlights DXing from 8P. When I am on the air a get large pileups so being able to work those far away stations and having the chance for a QSO with them always make my day.
  • elanelan Member
    edited December 2016
  • Roy LauferRoy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Perhaps, if price were no object, I would take a "belts and suspenders" approach and get the 1.3K-FA with the ATU AND the LDG for those bands that my antenna requires it for.

    I'm using the rationalization of the $1500 saved on a 1.3K-FA w/o ATU as a form of savings rather than the profligate expenditure of large sums of money on an enjoyable little hobby <grin>!
  • KC2QMA_JohnKC2QMA_John Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hopefully it will be 19" Rack mount and use the state of the art output transistors.

    These transistors can handle a Dead Short! Check this Video Out!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSp54qHiS5E
  • KC2QMA_JohnKC2QMA_John Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016



  • Duane_AC5AADuane_AC5AA Member ✭✭
    edited May 2018
    I have an order in for an SPE Experts 1.3K-fa and I originally ordered it without the ATU because I already have a Palstar HF-Auto. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I'm not always going to have untuned or compromise antennas like I have now with high SWR's, so I modified my order and added the ATU. When I've got antennas that no longer need the HF-Auto, I'll sell it and just use the Flex's or the ATU's tuners (depending on whether I'm running power or not.) Today my little-used Alpha 99 needs the help, as does the Flex on several bands. Hopefully this is just a short-term situation, but, to date, it's been a 20 year problem!
  • KC2QMA_JohnKC2QMA_John Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016



  • KC2QMA_JohnKC2QMA_John Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    1000W from ONE TRANSISTOR!
  • Roy LauferRoy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Perhaps, but it is 2/3rd the power output, twice the weight, only spec-ed for 240 volts, and may not be available yet.

    Oh, and Hiberlings tend to be expensive (their radio lists for $18,000-20,000 (no, that's NOT a typo), so who knows how much they will be asking for it...

    I'll stay with SPE.
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I used that rational when I got the 6300 w/out the ATU. I had the SPE with ATU so I didn't need the ATU on the Flex. Now that I am looking at upgrading to a 6700 most of the prospective buyers for the 6300 want the ATU.... In the case of the Flex adding it after market is not a big deal but that is not the case with the SPE.
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Thanks for these videos!! This is super exciting. I feel that using tubes to amplify instead of taking advantage of these new transistors is like using superheterodine radios instead of SDR 
  • edited June 6
    Very interesting thread guys.

    I for one, would be very keen to explore a Flexradio endorsed amplifier, that had good comms with SmartSDR.

    Just a slight word of caution on the SPE Expert amplifiers...I have a friend with very deep pockets who was going to sell me his new 1K-FA...he called me to discuss the fantastic functionality and really was obviously very impressed. So much so he decided to buy the 2K version...However he then started getting problems and refused to sell it to me. The amplifier started overheating when running higher power levels and then automatically folded back to low power. He even tried adding additional cooling, but still found that it overheated in his cool shack.

    Obviously I'm not casting a shadow across these magnificent amplifiers with just one report of trouble...but just a cautionary tale...the 1.3K-FA has recieved fantastic reviews and I've not seen a bad word printed. However, I haven't got the funds that my friend has. He can shrug off this inconvenience as a minor hitch in his $50K shack....but I would be very disappointed to suffer this issue with a relatively major investment.

    Anyhow I look forward to the mouth watering prospect of a Flex friendly Amplifier!

    Best Regards, Rich


  • Richard McClelland, AA5SRichard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015
    Rich, that's a nice shack shown in your QRZ profile.  Well done.
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015
    I am curious myself.   I have looked at the experts and they sure look nice but quite a pretty penny.  My antenna is currently rated at 750 max so I'm careful with what I put out to it.

    In the mean time I ordered and modified upon arrival the ALS-600.  It's solid state and the only real flaw in my opinion was the manual band switch.  Turns out that was easy to handle.  I created a relay board from some stuff I had laying around and now via software only I can:

    Turn on the amp
    Change operate to standby
    Switch bands

    My software connects to the radio and monitors the active TX frequency and changes the amp band settings nicely.

    This amp is a good simple solution for me more now.  I typically lower the 6500 to about 40w and this drives the amp to about 500w.  So both are breathing a little easier.  Still if I want to work PSK or RTTY I really do have to lower the power even more so it is not a continuous duty solution.

    I will wait and see what Flex comes up with as well.
  • Joe WD5YJoe WD5Y Member
    edited January 2017
    Just wanted to post my amplifier project here as it is LDMOS as well as spoke about here. It is a two module Blf 188xr combined amp with input protection through an attenuator and ALC, output load protection through directional couplers before and after the LPF unit. I ordered all from W6PQL. I built the 188 modules along with the FET switch and directional coupler modifications. The units that needed alignment were ordered complete, W6PQL allows many options as well as selling completed units. The cabinet was machined with a Dremel tool and drill. I ordered the machined heatsinks from W6PQL also. I added auto bandswitching also which is selectable from front control with ddutil and BCD board. It can be remotely powered up, bypassed, etc. through connections on back with "wavenode" software / hardware. Spent a lot of time on this.

    73's
    Joe
    WD5Y

    imageimageimage Not sure why images displayed upside down, sorry!!
  • edited December 2016
    Thanks Richard!...it's taken a while, but I'm getting there...like most of us, it's a work in progress!!! (Just don't tell my XYL...she thinks it's finished!!! ;-) )
  • edited January 2017
    Wow, what a beautiful job Joe, congratulations on some great work!
  • Joe WD5YJoe WD5Y Member
    edited January 2017
    Thank you very much. Sorry for the upside down photos. The bottom photo is a server rack with wavenode, auto tuner, antenna switch and power supply. I do control all of this from computer. I learned quite a lot on the build. Jim (W6PQL) answered many questions on the amp. 73's Joe WD5Y
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015
    Joe that is gorgeous.  I wish I had the time to build something these days.  I'm so overloaded with work and personal life that finding time to use my store bought gear is tough.

    I'd love to hear that thing on the air!

    Mark
  • Joe WD5YJoe WD5Y Member
    edited November 2015
    Believe me I totally understand. I have a very understanding wife, I built this over approximately five months on our nice dining room table, of course the table was covered to prevent scratching hi hi. I still have leftover parts in the room! Gotta get that up! Thanks and 73's Joe WD5Y
  • Dale KB5VEDale KB5VE Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    I can assure you the amp Joe WD5Y built is 100% correct. Joe does greet work and nothing is half done. I know I have had some of his work in my shack. Ask Joe about his SDR 1000 with dual receivers! Who has seen one of those? Keep up the good work Joe.. ,
  • Joe WD5YJoe WD5Y Member
    edited November 2015
    Thanks so much Dale!

    Joe

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