ACOM 2000 - Thinking of Giving up on PowerGenius

  • 2
  • Question
  • Updated 2 weeks ago
  • (Edited)
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!
Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes

Posted 1 month ago

  • 2
Photo of Craig - KØCF

Craig - KØCF

  • 196 Posts
  • 69 Reply Likes
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.

Photo of Justin Smith

Justin Smith

  • 28 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
I am torn between buying the Elecraft KPA1500 now or waiting for the PG-XL. If both amplifiers were available now, are there any compelling reasons to favor the PG-XL over the KPA1500? (price is not a deciding factor). Thank you.
Photo of Volker Geith

Volker Geith

  • 69 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
Hi Justin, full integration of PGXL into SmartSDR, no extra PTT cable, full SO2R support (no other amp can do this), higher peak output power, it is one unit, not two (additional cabling), MEffA algorithm which cares for good output signal, high pass filter dummy for additional supression of unwanted harmonics. KPA1500 does have a tuner, which for some hams is a reason.

73

Volker, DL4RCE
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3798 Posts
  • 917 Reply Likes
Justin, the PG-XL is more amp than most people ever need. If you need an amp that will TX at hight duty for extended times without any effect on the amp, or you want an amp that operate with two radios at the same time, then maybe?

Or if you want an amp with the very best in it's class protection? then maybe.
If you want an amp with a built in power supply so you can take it anywere and set up then maybe.

If you want an amp that works with a Flex radio seamlessly with few connections or from another room away from your radio with only a Lan cable. then maybe.

The PG-XL TX is cleaner then the KPA 1500 due to the 4 amp biaseing as oppose to the 1500 2 amp. And the built in harmonic filter not found in most other amps.

Other than that I would go with the KPA 1500 in a heart beat. Well made, great support, and very quiet. Many people have them only using the center fan on the back running at low speed, on SSB none of the other fans should kick in. And they update the firmware often.
Photo of Justin Smith

Justin Smith

  • 28 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Thank you, Bill and Volker, for your spot-on answers to my question. I am fortunate to belong to a group of hobbyists whose experts are so willing to share their knowledge.
Photo of Michael N3LI

Michael N3LI

  • 89 Posts
  • 28 Reply Likes
just a note: Two friends have KPA-1500's. Well, actually Elecraft has them at the moment. Blown finals I believe. The two I have at our club station have been  doing okay, but I've been policing them like a hawk.

I hope this doesn't become a common problem, because the KPA1500's are a joy to use. But if I was in the market for an amp, I'd wait for the PG amp.
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 758 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
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 Dick 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. 
  


Photo of Sergey Abrikosov

Sergey Abrikosov

  • 258 Posts
  • 31 Reply Likes
while i am waiting for PGXL i can sale you my problem free Acom2000A :)
I love it, but decided to add PGXL

Sergey, KN7K
Photo of Volker Geith

Volker Geith

  • 69 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
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.


73


Volker

P.S.: there is a 2R1amp box from 4O3A which also enables receive on second antenns while trx on other.
(Edited)
Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
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!
Photo of Michael N3LI

Michael N3LI

  • 72 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
Our station KPA1500 power supplies are mounted under the desks to help with noise.  They do make a bit. 
Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 675 Posts
  • 239 Reply Likes
What about the KPA500? Is it as durable as I've been told?
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3777 Posts
  • 911 Reply Likes
Pat, it is like anything, depends how you use it. I know of a few people that cooked the PA in the KPA 1500 because they drove it to hard. If you keep things under a little bit they should last a long time. I have a good friend that owned a KPA 500 for many many years without any problems, but he never drives it very hard.
(Edited)
Photo of Neal Pollack, N6YFM

Neal Pollack, N6YFM

  • 241 Posts
  • 120 Reply Likes
KPA-500 is a rock solid tank.   But, no matter how well something is built, an untrained, un-technical, CB-Head all-knobs-to-the-right, ignore red lights and temperature readings, "Special Kinda' Stupid" can easily blow it up.  I don't care if it is  a ham amplifier, a Ferrari, a power tool, or an F/A-18 fighter jet;   if someone does not drive a fine machine with care and skill and attention, they can crash it or trash it.
Cell phones and MicroWave Ovens are made for the distracted general public who just want to mash a button and walk away.   Guns, chain saws, Fighter Jets and Ham Amplifiers are clearly NOT.  Ya' need some attention, understanding, and skill, or you're gunna' become real unhappy real quick.

But for those who pay attention and watch temperature, SWR, and red alarms while they operate;  I  have beat the crap out of my KPA-500 for several years of RTTY and JT-65 and FT-8.  It takes a licking and keeps on kicking.   Shortly after I bought it I was doing a RTTY contest and it was under max indicated temperature, but making heat-sink hold-down-spring creaking noises.  I called Elecraft to inquire, and they said "Yes, we know,  it's two dissimilar metals that make that noise, but ignore it.  Will not cause a failure. I reminded them I was doing hard digital modes, and they literally said they challenge me to try to break it.   They could tell from the conversation that  I would push the amp, like a fighter jet pilot, but that I would also pay close attention to SWR and the temperature meter.    They said after designing it, for beta testing, they put it out with RTTY contesters and DXpedition folks.   They we very happy with the results and so am I.  That conversation was 3 years ago.   I still kick the crap out of the KPA-500, but with care and respect and a watchful eye on metering.

That said, I am an engineer who has worked 35 years for manufacturers, and can tell you that no matter how well ANYTHING is designed, parts have statistical failures.   Even if not over-driven, parts have manufacturing tolerances and fall at both ends of a bell curve, with some statistical outliers. For the few weak parts that come out of manufacturing, they will quit on you randomly, no mater if driving the amp at 50 watts out or 1500 watts out.  The parts don't seem to care if they are purchased by Elecraft, Alpha, Palstar, Yaesu, Flex, Icom, or anyone else.  They are just parts.  They can and will sometimes fail when we least expect them to.  So any brand name can have a bad customer experience if you happen to get the wrong part.  [It just appears that MFJ has a special skill for finding more of the bad ones :-) ]

That above is all about the occasional and somewhat rare statistical failures that occur even if you are treating the machine well.  It should be approx 2 to 5% of customer units, with a lot of variables coming into play.

But second, we have the general item that applies to ALL of the parts;
Heat is the enemy of all semiconductors, toroids and ferite cores, resistors, capacitors, and mechanical parts too.   The harder you drive "any" type of product, the less life span it has.  But still, an amp designed for 1500 watts should do just that for at least a decade, if driven with attention and technical care;   not if used for arc-welding CB-radios onto a rusty pick-up truck. :-)   And not if "driven" by someone who never notices poor SWR or border-line termperatures.  These are the same people who hook a frequency counter directly to the output of a transmitter, key up, and then say, humph, dang counter don't work :-) :-)   Um, er, ah, right.
[Thanks for being the source of 10 cents on the dollar test equipment that I buy and fix after idiots put it on discount for me :-) ]

But back on topic;   The PGXL and the Elecraft KPA-1500 are both fine designs.  Both are built exceptionally well, and the PGXL also offers a higher level of integration and control options with other Flex equipment.

If either one of them had blown finals, it would be down to either the random statistical failures I mentioned in manufacturing semiconductors, or it would be down to the Pilot.   We have all met friends who could destroy ANY tool or machine simply by walking within 10 feet of it.

Buy the amp that YOU like.  All of the amps mentioned here in this thread are really great, except of course the weakest of the baby SPE.  But the SPE 2K, the Acom, heck even the ancient Yaesu Quadra, are all fine amps that will make you very happy, and be very durable if you treat them with respect.

Cheers,

Neal
(Edited)
Photo of Pat - WH6HI

Pat - WH6HI

  • 367 Posts
  • 71 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 598 Posts
  • 160 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Burch - K4QXX

Burch - K4QXX

  • 519 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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.

Burch
K4QXX
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 758 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
Burch - I'm planning on doing exactly the same thing when my PG-XL arrives; connecting a Flex-6700 and a 2nd rig to inputs A and B.  As I mentioned above, as far as I know the only the PG-XL provides two thru-put paths at the same time.  This was an issue of contention for me with my ICOM PW-1 and other amps I've owned.  I could use either the A connection, or the B input connection, not both at the same time (with one being amplified).  A 2nd rig connected to most amps is rendered useless, even for receive, when not selected.  I'm glad the PG-XL design went a step beyond in this regard. 
Photo of Richard Zalewski

Richard Zalewski

  • 66 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of John - AF3K

John - AF3K

  • 147 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
Russ,

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
Photo of FRED  W9TB

FRED W9TB

  • 165 Posts
  • 64 Reply Likes
John,

I also got the KPA1500 for the same reason as you. I like to spend my money on American products. My station is 90+ percent American. The first KPA1500 only lasted about one hour and stopped working. They had me a replacement on the way two days later. Got it 3 days later and never cost me a penny.

I love the KPA1500 and the fan noise in the power supply is no louder than my PC.

73, Fred W9TB
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3799 Posts
  • 918 Reply Likes
You could buy something eles now, then sell it later and get the PGXL, if you want the very best!!!
Photo of KT0AM  - Mark

KT0AM - Mark

  • 18 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
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.


Photo of Dave AA6YQ

Dave AA6YQ

  • 191 Posts
  • 224 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 588 Posts
  • 151 Reply Likes
Happy to hear that Dave. Really looking forward to getting the 2K on my bench.
Photo of Richard Zalewski

Richard Zalewski

  • 66 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 531 Posts
  • 183 Reply Likes
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!
Photo of Rick - N4RZ

Rick - N4RZ

  • 82 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
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.   
Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
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?
Photo of Dave AA6YQ

Dave AA6YQ

  • 191 Posts
  • 224 Reply Likes
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%.
Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
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 ...
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1462 Posts
  • 738 Reply Likes
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.

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 531 Posts
  • 183 Reply Likes
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.

Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Thanks Howard!
Photo of Neal Pollack, N6YFM

Neal Pollack, N6YFM

  • 241 Posts
  • 120 Reply Likes
Bill:
Thanks for forwarding the letter from 4o3A and Flex, but after reading, it appears to be a carefully worded political piece that does not answer any specific question.  It is rather content-free.  Completely.

Now, to be fair, Amateur Radio is a far far smaller market than say TV sets, for example.   So, instead of Sony or LG or Sharp releasing a design to manufacturing, and asking for an initial run of 50,000 units per month so they can stuff "Best Buy" and "Costo" stores (and equivalents) all across multiple nations,
Ham Radio amplifier makers have a fraction of that size market.  Most ham radio amp makers tend to build approx 20 to 45 amps per month.

I guess the real question here that several people have asked is this;
If Flex is a small maker, and Elecraft is a small maker, and SPE is a small maker;  Then why are the Flex amp customers having to wait so very long, while the Elecraft and SPE customers "seem" to be getting amps more quickly?    Honest question.    Do you think that Flex simply pre-announced their amplifier far far too early in the design phase compared to Elecraft and SPE?  Flex does have a great design though.
And naturally, Flex's design is better integrated to a full Flex station than 3rd party amps, by design.

But back to the letter Bill :-)

Let's take this title line, either added by you or Gerald, not clear at all;
"PGXL is ramping up to full production"

Um, OK.  How do we define that?  What does that 7 word statement really mean?  The amplifier has been on a slow ramp toward full production for the last two years.
If you used those same 7 words a year ago, do they mean something different?  How does one tell from those words?   Does that sentence convey new information, or clarify if something has changed recently?  Or say how much it has changed?    Suggestion:  If you are going to communicate with customers, then COMMUNICATE :-)  :-)
Like the little kids used to say on that old AT&T commercial;  It's not complicated :-)

Now let's take the body of the message.
It talks about praise for the alpha testers, and a journey for creating a great product, but it does not say one thing about the ramp of production.  It lacks even one sentence indicating that something has changed, or that they have increased the rate of manufacturing, or how many units a month they are building compared to 3 months ago.   Even Tesla shares some of that type of info.
The letter says nothing at all about production, only about thanking alpha testers.
So once again, a letter about a production ramp that isn't, (and no relevant content).
Forgive me, but's it's sort of like listening to the current white house;

Reporter:  "Sir, can you tell me about your plan for health care?"

Answer:  " Yes, the economy is doing great.  Kim is my friend.  I thank him.
The wall is doing wonderful things, bigly.  Doesn't Ivanka look great?"

I will go crawl back under my rock now before people start throwing filament transformers my way....

73
Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 700 Posts
  • 243 Reply Likes
I suggest leaving political references out of the conversation. Touching upon that topic regardless of your point of view is guaranteed to start a ruckus
Photo of Rick - N4RZ

Rick - N4RZ

  • 82 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
Actually, the comparison of the Flex, SPE, and Elecraft on coming out with a full power amp to the market after first announcing it is interesting.  I believe it took over two years from the first demo of a 2K-FA at Dayton before one was ever delivered and they first announced a Splitter/Combiner for their amps over 5 years ago and still have not released one for sale.  As for Elecraft, they first showed a legal limit amp at Dayton around 2006 and finally brought a legal limit amp to market last year with fewer features and over a 50% increase in price.   Their excuse for not moving forward with the amp at that time was that they were a small company and wanted to prioritize their newly released K3 transceiver.    
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3787 Posts
  • 913 Reply Likes
Neil, I really do not see the point your making, sorry.
Are you questioning the valitity of the letter? what is it?

The letter is very timely in that it says they are ramping up to full production. They have not been able to meet full production yet because of some setbacks.

I thought I would pass it along, take or leave it as you wish...
Makes no difference to me...lol
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 929 Posts
  • 265 Reply Likes
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.



Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 709 Posts
  • 245 Reply Likes
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
Photo of Neil D Friedman N3DF

Neil D Friedman N3DF

  • 229 Posts
  • 72 Reply Likes
I run 35 watts into a dipole. All the fun I could wish for.
Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 709 Posts
  • 245 Reply Likes
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.
(Edited)
Photo of Russ Ravella

Russ Ravella

  • 41 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
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.
(Edited)
Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 709 Posts
  • 245 Reply Likes
@Mike W9OJ,

I guess you're saying the level of skill needed is inversely proportional to the power used which could be boiled down to:

S = D/P where S, D and P represent the skill required, the difficultly in obtaining the QSO and the power applied respectively

I do agree and have mentioned as much in previous posts only to be swiftly reprimanded for daring to challenge the necessity of high power

Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3799 Posts
  • 917 Reply Likes
It would be very difficult to get the contesting community to use low power or QRP
Photo of K1UO - Larry

K1UO - Larry

  • 847 Posts
  • 135 Reply Likes
...and twice as amazed when you hear those next hop signals from far far away with big antenna hardware and legal limit power :)   
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 531 Posts
  • 183 Reply Likes
From multi-op viewpoint I completely agree but I know some (super-op Lar K7SV) who will never personally own an amp and continues to whip the proverbial hindside in low power cw contests!

The absolute greatest thing about this hobby is that we all have different ideas of what is fun about it (some slightly different from me, others drastically different).
Photo of Chris DL5NAM

Chris DL5NAM

  • 667 Posts
  • 151 Reply Likes
Can any PGXL user show us >> the ability to use 2 radios on 2 antennas simultaneously << please?

Simultaneously = at the same time, concurrently, at once? 


Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3763 Posts
  • 906 Reply Likes
If you mean transmit together? the answer is no. How ever as one is transmitting the other radio can move around on the band or change bands and have the amp follow as the other radio is transmitting, in that way, yes both radios are using the amp at the same time.
Photo of Lasse Moell

Lasse Moell

  • 120 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
After a premature death of my SSPA for unknown reason, I ended up getting a Acom2000A as my main amp. Of course the 150 sec warm-up time vs instant on is a bit irritating but switching it on at the same time as my 6500, it only takes another 50-60 seconds.