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ACOM 2000 - Thinking of Giving up on PowerGenius

Russ RavellaRuss Ravella Member ✭✭
I've been reading about folks waiting for their PowerGenius numbers to come up.  People who paid deposits in 2017, still don't have theirs and continue to hear nothing from Flex.  I only got my name on the list in August of 2018, have already waited 10 months and obviously still have a long long way to go with the same small chance of ever knowing how long.  Add to that the fact that despite many attempts no one has succeeded in even getting information about the antenna tuner let alone specifics so it's probably much further out still, if ever.  Plus the current knowledge base includes at least one major manufacturing issue with a still "Version 1" design, only a small sample of existing users so far, and continued extreme difficulty getting official information from Flex about what's going on.  As usual.  I need an amp and I'm about to give up.

Looking at alternatives, I would sure appreciate some advice.  I'm mostly interested in quality, reliability and a good reputation.  I'd like full power on HF with auto tuning and need an antenna tuner one way or another (I've got big "space sacrifices" in the antenna department I need to deal with).  I don't trust Alpha at all, would like something a little more substantial than say Ameritron (not knocking them - I had one once and they're just fine) and I'm leaning towards the ACOM 2000a based on lots and lots of mostly positive reviews over many years.

There are some posts here on them, mostly about hooking them up.  I exchanged emails with DX Engineering and they advise not bothering with anything but the PTT line and letting the amp do the work when it's actually going to be used (as opposed to following your tuning-around adventures with it's servos, etc).  It seems very beefy, has the power, apparently is a good QSK machine (even my 6600 can't say that (yet?)), built-in antenna tuner and again, years and years of user experience.  I'm beginning to think it's a better move.   Would sure appreciate any thoughts anyone may have.  Thanks in advance!


  • Craig_KØCFCraig_KØCF Member ✭✭
    edited June 11
    I highly recommend the Elecraft KPA1500. Effortless full legal limit, perfect QSK, auto antenna tuner built in, and it easily tracks the Flex TX freq with only 1 USB cable, available from Elecraft.
    KPA1500 Tuner Range and Power Limits:
    1.8 — 2 MHz  1500 W into 16 Ω to 150 Ω (3:1 SWR)
                            750 W into 12 Ω to 200 Ω (4:1 SWR)

    3 — 30 MHz   1500 W into 16 Ω to 150 Ω (3:1 SWR)
                            750 W into 5 Ω to 500 Ω (10:1 SWR)

    30 — 54 MHz  1500 W into 16 Ω to 150 Ω (3:1 SWR)
                             500 W into 10 Ω to 250 Ω (5:1 SWR)

    I have had mine for about a year (serial #99) and it has been the best linear I have ever used.

  • KF4HRKF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Here's my 2 cents.

    After receiving an estimated PG-XL delivery date, I sold my ICOM PW-1 amplifier in anticipation of my new Flex amp.  Unfortunately that estimated delivery date came and went.  Additional delay was realized due to problems with the PG-XL's 6M circuitry, and I heard rumors political tariff issues may have caused shipping delays.  I also heard Flex still doesn't not have a good handle quantity production.   

    Not wanting to loose my place in line for the PG-XL I decided to pick up an amp to hold me over.  I've heard a few horror stories about the Alpha 9500, particularly the early ones.  On the flip side I've heard many others say they were very happy with their 9500's.  I also started looking at older Alpha's.  After checking Reviews the Alpha 87A was rated fairly highly so I decided to see if I could find one.  Luckily I ran across a 87A at a good price.  After I purchased my 87A I took it to **** Byrd, N4UQ (Alpha repair guru) for adjustment and to put it through its paces.  I've had my 87A for several months now and it has performed flawlessly; plenty of power and instant band changes.  The only issue I have with it, and it's  minor, is its 3 minute warm up timer.  If you don't mind a 3 minute warm up timer I highly recommend the Alpha 87A.  I plan to keep mine, even after my PG-XL shows up.  Granted the 87A doesn't have an ATU, but I prefer to use an external Tuner anyway (Palstar HF-Auto).

    The ACOM 2000A is a nice amp if you don't need 6M capability.  But if you're looking for an amp with a built in ATU, look elsewhere.   

    The SPE Expert Amp's are also nice, and SPE claims their FA-1.5K (Version 2) can maintain legal limit, even on the digital modes, but their internal antenna tuners can only handle a 3:1 SWR (2.5 on 6M).

    If price is not an issue take a look at the Dishtronix Promethus.  It's solid state, auto-tune, 160-10M.  No ATU (2:1 SWR maximum).
    Why do I continue to wait for my PG-XL?  It's the only HF amp that I am aware of that has two thru-put paths (at the same time), one amplified and the other passes thru.  I like this arrangement from a Diversity Receive connectivity standpoint.  All other HF amps I've seen only have one thru-put path (regardless of how many input and output connectors they have).   And of course the PG-XL will provide the best compatibility with the SmartSDR software. 

    Just like SmartSDR I expect there will also be software growing pains with the PG-XL, but I have no doubt Flex and 4o3A will eventually work out any issues that pop up.

    Good luck with your amplifier decision. 

  • Sergey KN7KSergey KN7K Member ✭✭
    edited March 1
    while i am waiting for PGXL i can sale you my problem free Acom2000A :)
    I love it, but decided to add PGXL

    Sergey, KN7K
  • DL4RCEDL4RCE Member ✭✭
    edited June 5
    I gave it a lot of thought. Bought a ACOM 2000a. Very quiet, power with ease and no need for a tuner since it matches a wide range as well. My antennas are well tuned and for lower bands I use an external symmetrical tuner with a ladder line / dipole.


    Volker P.S.: there is a 2R1amp box from 4O3A which also enables receive on second antenns while trx on other.
  • Russ RavellaRuss Ravella Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Thanks so much for the help everyone !

    I must admit, I hadn't considered the Elecraft KPA1500 very seriously because it's so new.  Yet I guess it still has a lot more mileage on it by now than the PowerGenius and as far as I know there haven't been any major production issues like there were with the Flex.

    Doing a quick internet blitz on it, one characteristic it seems to have is a lot of fan noise.  It actually sounded quite loud on one YouTube video.  That's a characteristic of SS amps in general however so the PowerGenius might be just as loud.  I know of at least one new owner who thinks it's pretty loud.

    The ACOM is apparently much quieter but ... it doesn't have the antenna tuner and 6M.  But the PowerGenius doesn't have an antenna tuner either and at the rate things are going Flex may never actually produce one.  And as Volker mentioned, some people are finding they don't actually need one since it tunes a broad range of impedances as is.

    The SPE sounds like a great amp too.  I talked to their rep at Pacifcon this year and it sounded good but I don't know much about user's experiences with them.  As for Alpha, I'm extremely glad KF4HR had a good experience with a used one but based on a lot of horror stories I've read over several years now, I'm just not willing to chance it.  They've got a new owner (same guy who bought Ten-Tec) who seems like a good honorable guy so maybe in the future...

    Anyway, a lot to think about.  I only plan to buy one amp out into the foreseeable future so I definitely want to get this right.  Any additional advice or suggestions will also be much appreciated - again, thanks very much to those who responded!
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited June 2
    The SPE 2K-FA was my choice when I decided to get out of the PG loop. Have not regretted it, integrates with my 6500 perfectly. I also ordered the control cables recommended by Expert Linears. But all the ones that I have been suggested are very good also. But what sold me was the built in tuner with 6 antenna ports. Better fought out then others.
  • Clay N9IOClay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited August 2019
    I have decided on the SPE 2K-FA as well. On the list to get one the end of July next month. Google search it, many many comments all very positive on different ham blogs. The PG just too far out before I could take possession of one. Going to semi-retire soon and the funds are there now so the 2K is the next best power house. The tuner in the 2K-FA similar to the tuned input circuit of my Acom 1000 and Acom 2000a in that it will handle up to 3:1 swr. Perfect for my antennas as I do do use a tuner on any. The 2K-FA does 6m as well. Good luck with your search, I am in that boat right now.
  • Burch - K4QXXBurch - K4QXX Member
    edited June 2019
    I can't comment on the ACOM 2000, but I have been running an old Ten Tec Titan for years and it was a great amp.  I finally received my PGXL 3 weeks ago and it was definitely worth the wait.  It is almost like having two amps in one.  I have my Icom 7300 hooked to input B and the flex on input A with two different antennas connected.  I understand not wanting to wait as my patience was running thin.  I probably would have canceled my order if not for the future free antenna tuner.  I received my amp 6 days short of the 2 year anniversary of my order.  If you can wait a bit longer, I think you will be extremely happy with the PGXL.

    Flex used to put out an update every month or two with a status update for the PGXL.  Hopefully they will update again soon.

  • edited June 2019
    I thought about the Genius and got on the list but having many second thoughts about it.  The delays seem quite unreasonable.  I have had my KPA1500 for about 9 months and love it.  The support has been great.  If the Genius ever comes out with a built in  tuner I will consider it only because of the SO2R capabilities.
  • John - AF3KJohn - AF3K Member
    edited June 2019

    Here's my 2c for what it's worth....

    Ordered a PGXL in 2017 and gave up after waiting a year. (Flex was very understanding and immediately refunded the deposit.)

    Then ordered a KPA500 in 2018, as a placeholder, which I've been very happy with and which works beautifully with the Flex 6600M.

    A few weeks ago ordered a KPA1500 at the Dayton Hamvention.  Just prior to Dayton the KPA-1500 was shipping within a week or so, but now there is a backlog.  I hope it's correct to think that since the backlog is due to parts (not engineering/re-design), the wait should be reasonable.

    SPE and RFKit were my personal runner-ups.  The tipping point for me however was Elecraft itself and reputation in engineering and service. (I find my interest in brand goes up proportionally with price.) 

    GL with your search!
    73, John AF3K
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    You could buy something eles now, then sell it later and get the PGXL, if you want the very best!!!
  • KT0AM  - MarkKT0AM - Mark Member
    edited June 2019
    Here's my recent experience... I knew that I was going to leave Dayton 2019 with an amplifier and had narrowed my selection down to the PGXL, KPA1500 and SPE 1.5k-FA. I'm currently running Flex6500 and Icom7000 as my primary and secondary rigs. My focus was on value; which amplifier provided the best cost/benefit value for the dollars spent. I really wanted to like the PGXL as I am a FlexRadio true-believer. However, with an $8k price tag, no internal tuner, serious delays in delivery and no pricing flexibility, the PGXL fell to the bottom of the list. It was the lack of pricing flexibility that disappointed me most; you would think that after the disaster that the PGXL roll-out has been, Flex would be interested in providing incentive to keep the order pipeline filled.... as I found out, not so much. And, for all I know, the order pipeline is already going gangbusters. In that case, I don't blame Flex for staying the course.

    After my experience in the Flex booth, I wandered over to the SPE booth and there was the SPE 1.5k-FA with a Flex6500 on one input and an Icom 7000 on the other. After a detailed conversation with Bob Hardie to confirm amplifier performance and capabilities, the decision was made. Yes, I did also talk to Elecraft about the KPA1500; a fine amplifier but the $7k+ price tag with fewer features than the $5k 1.5k-FA, the value proposition was clear.

    Looking forward to some QRO operation in the near future.

  • Dave AA6YQDave AA6YQ amateur radio software developer (DXLab) Member ✭✭
    edited February 9
    I've been using an SPE Expert 2K-FA with my 6500 for the past 4 years. It's been flawless - an absolute joy to use.
  • edited June 2019
    I like what I see about the SPE except for a few points.  1.  Their warranty policy is with the selling agent.  2.  In the US it appears it is a one man shop.  He has a good reputation but my concern is what happens if he closes up shop to retire or whatever.  2.  I think the display on the SPE is very old tech.  My support from Flex and Elecraft has been outstanding so I look at this aspect quite hard.
  • Neal_K3NCNeal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I owned an Acom A2000 and it was an absolutely great amp. Just do a dit on band change to set the amp to the correct band and you are off to the races! As mentioned earlier, it is a tube amp so you will probably want a spare set of matched toobs. Also, its not a 6m amp, if that means anything to you.

    I bought a RF Kit B26 2K+ LDMOS amp and have really been impressed with it so far. Its been live at K3NC for 2  months. Its a kit and since I was elbow-deep in its building and calibration, I feel pretty confident I can maintain it in case anything happens. It only outputs abt 500 watts on 6m currently, I am awaiting the new output transformer which will double this.

    The only negative to any LDMOS amp (including Elecraft's which uses the same LDMOS finals) is that their is some mysterious issue concerning LDMOS finals that causes them to fail in some amps. Mine has not had an issue but there are several cases where multiple failures have been reported. Again, this isn't specific to RF Kit, but amps using the chips in general.

    I can, however, recommend both amps completely.

    I did have a PW1 prior to my Acom and would never recommend it, very sensitive to drive power overload causing final failures!
  • Rick N4RZRick N4RZ Member ✭✭
    edited February 9
    I am on the waiting list for a PGXL and have owned both the ACOM 2000A and the SPE 2K-FA. The ACOM 2000A and the SPE 2K-FA are the best two amps that I have owned to date.  If I was not willing to wait for the PGXL and had to pick one of the other two I would take the 2K-FA.   It operates 6 meters, has inputs for two radios and has 6 antenna outputs.  The 2K-FA also can control the drive power of a Flex radio so that it is appropriate for each of the three power levels the amp can run on each band.   The main advantages of the PGXL over the 2K-FA are in its better SO2R switching arrangement and that you can monitor the status of the amp from a Flex Radio which would be beneficial for operating remotely.   
  • Clay N9IOClay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Happy to hear that Dave. Really looking forward to getting the 2K on my bench.
  • Russ RavellaRuss Ravella Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Again, thanks to everyone so much for all the responses!  I'm obviously going to have to look at the SPE 2K-FA more carefully.  One concern I'd have right off is fan noise since it's another solid state design.  Can anyone comment on how it compares with either the PowerGenius or Elecraft or just their general impression of how noisy it is?
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I put in a pair of Alpha-9500s (you're best with the second series model with improved fans) that were place holders for the PGXLs I ordered.  

    Only has been replaced with a PGXL as I deferred my second PGXL to make room for an additional Alpha Tester.  

    The Alpha-9500s will likely stay as backups, especially at the Washington Island QTH where logistics make it hard to get things shipped in quickly.  

    I liked the Expert (1KW) I had, though faced some "RFI in the shack" issues with it.  I let a local ham talk me out of it and he reports he has had great luck with it too.

    If you really don't need auto band switching the pre-tuned settings on the Alpha-78 are a great lower price option.  I sold one but have kept the other as they are such a solid backup unit.


  • Neal_K3NCNeal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited February 9
    There is a big difference between the PGXL and the other amps mentioned and its indicated by the price: its a SO2R amp so you can use it with 2 different radios and 2 antennas simultaneously. This makes it twice as capable as the other amps mentioned (as well as almost twice as expensive).

    This is an important selling point for the PGXL in my opinion. If you want or need dual radio single amp capability there really is no other choice. Its a perfect amp for multiflex users as well as contesters. If, however, you are a traditional ham with one operator (and one radio/transmitter at a time) you are paying for an expensive capability that you may never need.

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    And the PGXL has cooling like none others as well, plus the harmonic dummy load that helps keep the amp razer clean.
    I agree Neal, the PGXL is a lot of amp for a normal station operation.
    But if you want the best? it's the PGXL.

    Right now from talking to many , the KPA1500 is the only way to go at this time.
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    In the N6RO contest station, we have the great advantage of testing many different amplifier options.  There are 2 key differentiators that PGXL brings to the table.  the first and obvious one is the ability to use 2 radios on 2 antennas simultaneously.  The second is its integration with SmartSDR to essentially provide a full legal limit end to end solution including integrated metering.  When paired with a 2 SCU flex, such as the 6600/6700 series, you can have 1 transceiver, 1 amp perform the duties of 2 transceivers and 2 amps.

    another differentiator of PGXL is it is a full legal limit solution, even the Expert2k folds back with continuous duty cycle modes, including FT-8.  PGXL can handle these key down modes better than most other LDMOS solutions.

    We have ACOM 2000, Expert2k, Epert1.5k and my PGXL along with AL-1200's and older alpha manual tune amps.  The ACOM and PGXL loaf with any duty cycle.  the experts have issue and fold back power.

  • Pat N6PATPat N6PAT Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    At the risk of being lambasted and raked over hot coals, have you considered running with lower power?

    I've had a lot of success and , more importantly, a great deal of fun running 300 watts or less with a small vertical antenna.  You'd be amazed how well a modest setup can perform
  • Mike W9OJMike W9OJ Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    They're in it to win it.

  • K1UO - LarryK1UO - Larry Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    ...and twice as amazed when you hear those next hop signals from far far away with big antenna hardware and legal limit power :)   
  • Neil D Friedman N3DFNeil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I run 35 watts into a dipole. All the fun I could wish for.
  • Pat N6PATPat N6PAT Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I'm just using a small Hustler 6BTV and 300 watts. Added on the 12 and 17 meter kits as well as a very simple 160 mod.

    I could not be more pleased with the results and I keep a low profile on the air as well as on the ground. I want to remain in good standing with the neighbors.
  • Dave AA6YQDave AA6YQ amateur radio software developer (DXLab) Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    On initial power-up, my SPE 2K-FA makes than my 6500. However, long transmissions in a digital mode like RTTY or FT8 will eventually raise the temperature to a point where the fan speed increases significantly; the noise level is then greater than the 6500, but less than a handheld vacuum cleaner. As a DXer who mostly works CW and digital modes while wearing headphones, noise level has not been problematic.

    Addressing another issue raised in this thread, the SPE-2K is limited to ~1 kw for continuous digital modes like RTTY or FT8. It's track record in RTTY pileups is 100%.

  • Russ RavellaRuss Ravella Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Well, obviously, I’ve already got the option of running with low power.  That’s what I’m doing now.  I’m interested in adding the option of using an amplifier.  It’s not like having an amplifier means you’ve got to use it.
  • Russ RavellaRuss Ravella Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Thanks Dave.  Helpful, responsive, authoritative, competent and on subject as always.  I have to admit the power handling overkill and quietness of the ACOM are sounding attractive though.  As always is the case, if only one amp had it all ...

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