Looking for AMP suggestions for my 6600M I just ordered

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  • Updated 6 months ago
I am wondering what AMPs people are using with their 6600M. I just ordered mine at the Yuma Hamfest, will get it in 6-8 weeks so I have time to shop. Would like a solid state AMP with a built in ATU. Min 1000 Watts. Open to input folks! Thanks
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Rob Monsipapa

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Posted 10 months ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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If you relax the built-in requirement for an ATU that can be located closer to the antenna feed point (making it a coupler), the PowerGenius XL integrates nicely with the 6600.  Both are Ethernet connected and when mater up with the 6000, the radio becomes a 1500W transceiver. They are in beta testing now and the results have been excellent.  

http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/powergenius-xl/
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Rob Monsipapa

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Love the PowerGenius but it’s been priced out of my range. Looking at a top end of $5000 so there are some great amps at that price....
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Varistor

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One thing to consider- heavy is not necessarily bad. There are certain components you do want to see heavy duty, ie heavy. For example, the LPF wire and toroids, output matching transformer, combined, power supply, and cooling subsystem. Even the cabinet/enclosure benefits from using heavy duty materials to minimize vibrations and noise.

So unless you plan on moving your amp all the time, consider de-emphasizing weight.
(Edited)
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Varistor

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Why solid state? Do you need 6m? Take a look at OM Power, carried by Array Solutions, Acom, Elecraft, and the yet to be released Power Genius (no ATU). Personally I use OM Power and Alphas. If you don’t need 6m, right now there is a guy on QTH.com selling a 4KW automatic OM Power.
(Edited)
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Rob Monsipapa

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Solid state are smaller, lighter and come on a lot quicker. Don’t need 6M. Been looking at the Expert 1.3 and ACOM 1200S but wanted to see what others have been using.
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Larry - W8LLL

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I am using a SPE 1.3k-fa and use the built in tuner for my hex beam but I also have a palstar hf-auto mated up with it to tune my multi band dipole. For me this is a very nice combination and covers all my needed bases.
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John - K3MA

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I have the exact same setup with a 6500.  It works well.  Stay away from a PW1.  I am not saying the amp is not good but we have had all kinds of interface reliability issues using it with a Flex 6XXX series.

I should also add that I operate the Flex and the SPE amp in a remote fashion 100% of the time.

If money were no object and I did not already have a good amp then I would get the Power Genius.  Otherwise I would get a SPE 2K or 1.5K.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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3 minute warmup has caused me to miss many a DX on 160. Solid convert to solid state now.
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Burch - K4QXX

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That 3 minute warmup sometimes feels like eternity.
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Wim

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I use an elecraft KPA 500 with the KAT500 tuner, works very well with the flex, the band data
can be sent via USB output of the flex to the Amp/tuner
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Zack Schindler

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I have a KPA500 also and it is great. The kit was super easy to build. I have a Steppir vertical so I don't need a tuner.
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K3SF

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ditto..

i also have KPA500 that works well with flex and the USB cable. Antennas are tuned to each band.

I find the 500 watts is sufficient.  Now sitting at 329 worked with 327confirmed on my way to HR.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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K3SF are you using DDUtil controling  the amp and using the USB?
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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USB? My KPA500 only has serial port. Can you share more please on the configuration? I just got my Flex 6600.
Thanks.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Check out http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/usb-cable-interface-guide-pdf/ 

Page 13 for KPA500/KAT500 configuration.

Dave wo2x
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Neal, the cable being talked about is an serial port to USB cable for connecting to the Flex and amp. If you call Elecraft and tell them what you are doing they will set you up with what you need.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Or as Dave pointed out, buy from Flex if that's an issue.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I didn't say to buy from Flex.

You can use a USB to serial cable from any vendor as long as it has a genuine FTDI chipset in it. The guide has the instructions for configuring the amp and Flex to work together.

73
Dave wo2x
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Rich - N5ZC

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The KPA-500/KAT-500 is a great amp to mate with a Flex rig.  I've had mine connected to a Flex 6700 and awaiting a 6600.  

You need a USB to DB9 cable along with a null modem adapter like this https://www.amazon.com/female-slimline-transfer-serial-adapter/dp/B075XHWVSJ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8... 

I also have a USB cable going from the rig to the KAT-500 so it follows along.  The USB cable that come with amp and the tuner is all you need, other than the null modem adapter.

Once connected and setup it's like having a 500 watt radio as the amp/tuner follow your vfo movements and your ready to go.
I set up a couple profiles for my 6600.  One set at the correct power levels to drive the amp to 500 watts and another for 100 watts when the amp is bypassed.  I also have a profile for band with 5 watts when I'm in the mood to operate qrp.
Rich - N5ZC
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dj3cq

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Using an Expert 2K since 2012, a small warranty issue and no further problems yet. For Dxpedition use I have a 1.3 as well and if the 2k would die I would opt for the 1.5.
The connection to these Experts, using the FDX usb-ports works flawless, one of the best jobs FRS ever did...
 My amp is under the table now and I control on/off standby/operate with the small applet.
Tuner or not, an important question: For me it's a must but others mileage may vary...

73, Jo
dj3cq
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Paul Mandel

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I put a second vote in for the Expert series of AMPs,  I, too, have the 2K-FA and the 1.3-FA and they both work flawlessly with the Flex.   The before and after sale service here in the US is excellent.

Paul -W4PGM
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roger na4rr

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As others have said, cant go wrong with the Expert. Also service form Bob in Texas is outstanding.  I thought I had a problem and I did. As usual OP error.
Roger
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Varistor

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We all have our own reasons for making decisions. Personally, I would not buy anything that depends for service on "Bob in Texas". I am in the process of replacing my manual amps with auto/no-tune and my shopping list is as follows (note that I need two amps for being able to run both SO2R and M/S):

1) Used OM Power 2500A (not too many of them around)
2) Used Alpha 87A with all mods/upgrades (it's a classic, totally idiot proof but not as robust as the OM Power)
3) Used Acom 2000a (the protection is a bit too picky and sometimes trips when using different stack combinations, not as robust as the OM Power)
4) Elecraft K1500 (things are getting really expensive for two amps)
4) Power Genius (not sure I want to place all my best in one amp, no ability to run M/S)

Haven't decided yet how to rank the K1500 vs the PGXL
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W2PP

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I have an ACOM 2000a for sale right now if you are interested, email me.
pgprendergast@yahoo.com
Peter
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Varistor

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I have about 90K QSOs under my belt with Acoms. They don't like it too much when you change the stack combination and the protection sometimes trips. It requires I keep an eye on it all the time. Last but not least, I should have mentioned that the tubes are becoming rare and expensive.
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Had the second OM2500A in the country (when it used the GU84B). Plenty of power out but blower was like having a jet engine in the shack and the auto tune really works like the Alpha 87A. You need to get every x kHz in each band, tune, and save the settings. 

Had an Acom 2000a and loved it. That was true auto tune and worked great. Only thing I needed to do was change the RF connectors on the back as the center pins spread out over time.

Now moved to the Power Genius and am fortunate to be one of the testers. Easily does legal limit and as Tim stated it is a seamless 1500 watt remote station. I use an HF Auto for the G5RV for 40/80 as SWR on 80 is quite high. All other bands have resonant antennas.

Also have an SPE 1.3kfa and that amp works quite well. Integrates easily to the Flex. Only "issue" I have with the SPE is IMD starts to get a little "ratty" as you approach 1200 watts out. Running at 900 - 1000 watt range is very clean paired with my 6600.

With SPE now releasing their 1.5k, the Elecraft 1500 out, and soon the Power Genius, I would expect to see some 1.3k amps coming up on the used market.

Dave wo2x
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I’m running a Flex-6700 with an Alpha-9500at each of my QTHs. The home one has been set aside for a Flex-6600M and PGXL recently. I’ve run an SPE 1.3 which along with my ever-trustworthy Alpha-78 remain as backups.

Zero issues with the Alphas or my PGXL. The SPE has gone in twice since new.

I do like the Alpha-78 if one is in the shack to make band changes.

My two Collins stations have 30L1s and somewhere in my lockup is a dedicated 6m King Conversion amp.

YMMV but most of the popular amp choices do well. Orphans might take more effort to keep going long term and amps dependent on obsolete components are a challenge.

BTW I seldom run any of these at more than half power. Little point.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Power Genius XL is my first choice but the SPE 1.5K-FA is a good choice as well. The 1.5K has the new 1K80H transistor so it can run legal limit with acceptable IMD.
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Jerry W4UK

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Yaesu Quadra - good for 1.2 KW SSB/CW. Very nice auto antenna switching by band to 4 output ports, ATU handles up to around 3:1. BCD output on Flex controls Quadra bandswitching.

Jerry W4UK 

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Jeff-W7NEE

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I too have used a Quadra amplifier with great success with my Flex Radios. It is like having a 1kw Transceiver! Everything tracks and operates automatically!
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Jeff-W7NEE

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Jerry, are you using DDutil to control your Quadra?
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Jerry W4UK

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Yes - DDUTIL does bandswitching (only) at present.  I have the USB to BCD gadget but just haven't wired it up yet.

W4UK

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Mark WS7M

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Rob, If you are looking for Solid State amp, I have an Expert 1K-FA in great condition.  We can make a deal on it.  Email me:  ws7m@arrl.net
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Rick Ciotti

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Operating a SPE1.5K. 1.5K out with 8W drive from the Flex6500. The ATU matches a not so flat 40M beam without an issue. The amp follows the radio band changes. This is my first experience with SPE and its been a great one so far. W3DIY
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David Salomon

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I have an Acom 2000a.  Yes, it's a tube amp and the replacement tubes can be pricey (and maybe very hard to find eventually).  However, it will take anything you throw at it without a hiccup.  It handles 400 watts of reflected power (more in some cases depending on resonance, frequency, etc.).  The automatic tuning is nearly instantaneous.  It has every imaginable built-in protection.  And the best thing (for me) is that it can be located almost anywhere.  Only the remote needs to be touched once the main power is on.  There are several programs that will control it automatically, including DDUtil, so you really don't even need access to the remote.  It's also pretty quiet.  The only downsides are: the weight (around 90 lbs, I think), the footprint (it's a big sucker), and like Ria said - the warmup time.  I've tested it using my SplatterView (www.CleanRF.com) and scope and it's always perfectly linear.  Oh, and you can use it to heat your house as well. :)
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Mark - WS7M

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I've never had an issue with an SPE amp... (so far).

I started with the 1K FA which was a great amp.  Maxed out at about 1100 watts.  However since I like CW and digital modes the amp simply could not handle digital mode activity.  For example a rtty down of about 20 seconds takes it almost up to red-line temp.

So when the PGXL was announced I was excited, except for the price.  However a deal came up on a new 2K FA that I could not turn down.  It was almost $1000 off the new price making it about $1500 cheaper than the PGXL which still is not available.

So having the 2K FA now for a few months I have to say it is a great amp.  I only had two concerns:

1) It will not do 1500 out key down in CW.  It will do it for a short time then the protection takes over even though the heat is not really that high and it automatically reduces the power to the mid range or about 1100 out.

2) It was not integrated with the flex.  This meant for true remote I had to pull together a webpage to control it with.

Considering my operating these two things are not too bad.  I op CW as much as I can and the amp easily does 1500 out as long as I don't key down for long periods.  I have managed to with my web page and a pi make the amp seem to be almost fully integrated.

When I was considering amps I seriously considered the RF amp from the Germans' I think called PA B26 and I might still look into one of these.  From what I read in the news group and the web page it looks like they are getting 1500 watts with like 1.5 watts input.   Because the FCC to get my 2K FA to do this I need about 30 watts in.

Anyway I fully agree that solid state is the way to go.

Mark - WS7M
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Varistor

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Here's a summary of the B26 amp performance:

Last Weekend I did an heavy 48h activity at the WPX with DL1CG and DL3SKF.
We used 2 x RF2K+ (SW 55.2.150), 3 Antennas. (2x LW Doppelzepp 42m, 10m ASL and 1 x Spiderbeam 15m ASL)
PA Drive Power: =<15W with PA-ATT: 13 dB
What was good:
- The outstanding RF Performance !
- the Power efficiency is more than the Acom 1000  Tube-PA's we used in the past. 
  So, one 2500W Generator is enough per Station.
- No reported IM and Splatter from our side and nearby stations :-)
What was bad:
- Metering Display comes with (variable, depending of CPU-Load?) 2-3 Sec. delay
  You can not see what's going on if you press PTT and start TX (real RF Power seems generated with no extra delay)
  but it was almost impossible set the TRX Output Pwr/Processor/MIC-AMP correctly in SSB for legal Limit Power. 
- Releasing the PTT after TX causes a massive Time Lag in the Meter displaying (variable) 1K+ RF for ~2-5 Sec on RX
  it looks like the cpu flushes the TX-Metering-Data after releasing the PTT-Line. 
- all Keys on the Touch where (variable) delayed....this was not funny :-) 
- No Yaesu BCD Support ( we must use PTT Line with Hardware Universal IF)
- Sometimes (not very often) an Over-Current and High SWR - Errors occours caused by RF-Injection trough the LW-Antenna from the 
  Second Station. This is a minor Problem because the LW Antennas where too near. (~50m) 
  The combination Spiderbeam and one LW did not cause this Problem. 
  
- No WLAN-AP Support ==> no VNC Remote yet (I'll make QSO, not playing with my Raspi so this is a minor Problem for me)
So, for us is the focus to have a Real Time Display to see immediately what's going on Pressing the PTT-Line or Pressing a Key on the Touch.....
My suggestions:
- We use Raspi 3B+. Does the new FW use all CPU-Cores or is the PA further controlled by an 4 Core-Raspi using only one Core?
- The status modification of the PTT-Line should cause an Interrupt on Raspi !
- To save time -when pressing PTT- for me it is much-needed to Implement the BCD-Band-Data functionality that makes
  the frequency counting on the Universal-IF not more necessary.
I would be glad if the new FW will solve some fundamental difficulties.
In this (SW-) condition the planned RF2K+-presentation for our HAM-Group is postponed.
Vy 73 de Rolf DL4SKF
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Gordon

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For the serious ham the only amp to consider (the new PGXL will probably be close) is a Dishtronix.

It weighs in at about 200 pounds and is built like a tank.  I run mine at 2K out on a regular basis, (the Canadian legal limit is 2250 PEP out).  Nothing else I have seen comes close in solid state.  There are more powerful tube amps out there but I'm not interested in those.

Gordon, ve7on
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Varistor

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2250W is for single side band emissions, CW is 750W.
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W2PP

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Are you saying the PGXL only puts out 750 watts on CW?  That isn't what they are saying ......????  Maybe your referring to another amp? Sorry if I got this confused.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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He is saying CW legal limit in Canada is 750 watts
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Gordon

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Thats what I said, 2250 pep.  CW is different.  Sure beats 1500 pep.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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For the serious ham the only amp to consider (the new PGXL will probably be close) is a Dishtronix.

I wouldn't consider the current one. It uses older RF MOSFETs and not rugged LDMOS like the PGXL.

But what is the concern with the PG XL? I have one here and I can run 1500 watts all day all night, FT8, MSK144 etc. without breaking a sweat. Even runs full legal limit AM. It's not as heavy but that's just technological progress. We have newer, cleaner, heavy duty switching power supplies which considerably reduce the weight. There is also vapor chamber cooling. It also has MEffA to optimize cooling. 

BTW I say 1500W because I can't run higher legally. Ranko did run 2KW on one for a contest weekend.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ria,
I don't have any concerns with the PG XL.  The Prometheus DX2400 is an older design, but it is rugged.  I've had mine since 2009 and was certainly the best SS amp available for many years.  

But If I didn't already have it I'd be looking at the PG XL now.  Mike is working on a new amp but it is probably a year off and I don't know much about it yet.   IMHO, It will probably be another really good one but likely to be more expensive than the PG XL. 

My DX2400 page: 
http://www.nn4zz.com/Prometheus.htm

Regards,  Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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W2PP

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Ria
It’s the lack of availability and the moving timeline for delivery that is a prominent issue. I tried to buy a PGXL and of course I could not. Should they begin shipping the landscape will change. But at the moment it’s vapor hardware. I hope that changes very soon
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W2PP

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Well they stopped making the Distronix amp so unless you see a rare sale ya outtta luck.
I would have loved to have tried one of those out
Peter
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Gordon

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Not so, Mike would be glad to make you one.  He has been working on a new model as of late but still very much alive and well.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Mike is planning to be at Dayton this year and recently posted a brief update on his project status at this link and pasted in below:

https://groups.io/g/PrometheusDX2400

*****************************

Friends,

The new solid state has PLENTY of headroom on 160 and other bands, just like any Dishtronix amp. In fact the new chassis is intended to even build 5K solid states in.  I think it is safe to assume you’ll see 2K on 160 or more. However this isn’t a specification or a promise. This is just idle chat – for now.  I’m not going to promise when it is going to be out. Let’s hope by fall.

 I finished last year’s big projects and expect to have engineering time available again for the tuner again sometime in April.

I’m going to be involved with some other things this year, starting with the process of the new Ten Tec factory.  I’ve selected the site and now have to go from there with the process.

 You might see something new at the Alpha booth.  Maybe I will divulge more before Hamvention.  

 73-Mike

****************************

Regards,  Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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W2PP

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Gordon:
   I spoke to him on the phone nadda he told me ....so he won't make them. 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Probably a good idea since he is well sunk into the new amp and all competitors (except MFJ, who isn't at all in the same league) are using LDMOS. 
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Gene - K3GC

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Take a look at the Palstar LA-1K. LDMos rfsensing iincluding antenna switching. Rock solid, quiet (for an amp.  It puts out an honest 1kw on all bands.  It only requires an RCA to PTT on the amp to TX on the flex and a coax from the Flex to the amp.  How simple is that,  I have had several amps over the years inclusing the THP1.5 and the LA-1K is IMO the best of them all
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Wayne

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Dont make an expensive mistake spend the money 1 time and get elecraft they are virtually indestructable you will pay more initially for it but you wont pay twice! Small footprint solid state instant rf sensing bandswitching, its like having a 600 or 1500 watt transceiver just turn it on and go in less than 15 seconds no tuning just hit your transmit and talk or cw.

Best amp I ever used and small, the 1500w model now has an external power supply that sits on the floor while the kpa500 is one unit both the kpa1500 and kpa500 are physically the same size but the kpa1500 has the separated power supply and comes ready for 2kw use if the fcc ever approves that with just a firmware upgrade.

Dont work for elecraft just know they are the best and US made and IN STOCK which is the best part.
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WW1SS - Steve

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I am using a Palstar LA-1K. Band switching with just a quick push of the tune button. It is RF sensing. Don't need any USB cables with FTDI chip sets, etc. I use it with my HF auto. A 1 second push on the tune and amp switches bands and tuner is tuned and it is good to go.
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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Rob,

If interested I have an SPE 1K-FA that I am probably going to be selling.  I used this with my flex for a about a year before getting the SPE 2K-FA.   Great little 1kw amp.  Rock solid.

If you want to chat about it, email me:  ws7m@arrl.net
(Edited)