The Alpha 86 Rock Crusher

1.8 to 30 MHz Continuous Coverage at 1.5 KW. What's not to love about that?

I call my Alpha 86 the Rock Crusher!

This thing is capable of 1.5 KW output, key down, all day.  And, it will operate on any frequency from 1.8 to 30 MHz.  Continuous coverage makes this the amp to own if you're doing MARS or other "out of band" work.

Continuous coverage? Seems hard to believe doesn't it? Well, here's a close-up picture of the "bandswitch".

Alpha 86

But, I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Let's start with a pic of the amp in my shack. In this picture the amp is making full power (1.5 KW) on 20 meters.

Alpha 86

And here is what that looks like up close:

Alpha 86 Meters

The meters are peak reading LED bar-graphs and work much better than I would have thought. In this picture you can see the output power at 1.5 KW, the grid current at 70 mA and 10 watts of reflected power.

The lower meter is a multi-meter that can measure plate current or plate voltage or the TUNE mechanism which is shown. This meter is used for tune up and helps maintain the best possible linearity by ensuring proper loading for a given amount of drive. It's much like the meter on the Collins 30L-1 linear and uses the same principles.

Here is another picture of the amp making full power -- this time on 10 meters:

Alpha 86 Full Power on 10 Meters

Typical of the Alpha line of amplifiers, the inside is a thing of great beauty:

Alpha 86 Internal View

The tubes are a pair of 3CX800A7 triodes running in grounded grid mode. The amp can put out 1500 watts with no time limit. What a great amp for RTTY or other continuous, key down modes!

Another picture, this time of the massive 3500 watt hypersil power transformer:

Alpha 86 Power Supply

One thing to note, this amp was modified by a prior owner. The PIN diode T/R switching circuit was replaced with a pair of vacuum relays. Apparently, the PIN diodes were prone to failure and installing vacuum relays in their place has become a common practice. I run this amp on CW and use QSK and it all works perfectly. Of course, I never send above 40 WPM so maybe that's why.

Anyway, here's a picture of the vacuum relay T/R mod:

Alpha 86 T/R Switch Mod

Here is my tune up chart for the major Ham bands. These settings are for 1.5 KW output:

Band Drive Power Tune Load
160 Meters 57 75.0 87.0
80/75 Meters 46 46.0 30.0
40 Meters 57 46.0 48.5
20 Meters 57 51.0 18.5
15 Meters 61 36.5 15.0
10 Meters 68 23.5 11.0

It's a great amp but I sold it in 2012 -- replaced it with an ACOM-1500!