We took all the best parts of the Alpha 87A and made them better. With the Alpha 9500, we start with a heavy duty, .080”, 5052 grade, iridite yellow chromate coated, aluminum chassis that resists both flex and corrosion. To it, we bolt the front panel assembly and a center partition, building a solid I-beam structure that just doesn’t move.
Add our custom made, time proven, Hypersil transformer that weighs a massive 35 Lbs and is capable of delivering 3,500VA of power to the plate of the Alpha 9500’s tube. Every time the Alpha 9500 is powered on, circuitry in the amplifier reads the ‘mains’ voltage and automatically selects the proper transformer input tap, so without manually strapping the primary, the Alpha 9500 can be moved from a 100V system to a 240V system without operator intervention.
Big Robust RF Deck and Tank Pi-L Network
The Alpha 9500 utilizes the same superbly designed RF deck found in its predecessor, the Alpha 87A, but instead of the two 3CX800's, our selection for this amplifier is the single 3CX1500A7/8877 high power triode. After careful thought and testing, we felt that this was a robust, fault tolerant, easy to find tube that should be available for many years to come. It’s the choice for many of the MRI amplifiers in use today, so there is little chance of being orphaned as so many of the tubes of the past. Multiple factories worldwide provide tens of thousands of these yearly.
Under microprocessor control, a heavy duty, four gang, commercially rated, ceramic switch assembly, connected to a beefy stepper motor simultaneously switches both the input matching circuitry and the output tank circuitry in tandem. Alpha 9500’s output tank is built to take a beating. With the famous heavy duty, silver plated, hand made, Alpha Pi-L matching network, the Alpha 9500 will operate into up to a 3:1 SWR without the need for an external antenna tuner.
Add two more high torque stepper motors: one for each of the carefully chosen Tune and Load capacitors – both conservatively rated so they will give years of smooth performance, and you’ve got what it takes to switch bands, tune and load this amplifier automatically. The Alpha 9500 will sense the frequency, switch to the proper band and subband settings, and set the tune and load capacitors to their proper settings, all in less than one second.
Mulitple Microprocessors Control This Amplifier
Rather than using a single microprocessor for control and processing, the Alpha 9500 uses five. This simplified the point to point wiring in the Alpha 9500 so, instead of a complex wiring harness with multiple connectors that are more prone to failure, the Alpha 9500 uses a simple 2 wire, I2C microcomputer bus to communicate among the subassemblies, vastly simplifying the interconnection scheme and increasing the reliability of the system. Separate microprocessors on many of the subassemblies have sole responsibility to control and monitor the health and performance of that single function, enabling the amplifiers’ ability to deliver high performance, high power, linear amplification, while protecting each subsystem from operating outside its safe operating envelope.
The computing platform in the Alpha 9500 is responsible for system configuration, ‘mains’ voltage selection, frequency counting, SWR computations, input matching, cathode bias selection, band switching, auto-tuning, and antenna relay switching. It monitors low voltage power supplies, plate voltage, plate current, grid current, amplifier gain, tube bias, primary or "mains" voltage, and RF power in both directions simultaneously.
Accurate power and SWR measurements are made with the separately powered, internal wattmeter, which uses a variant of the "Bruene" bridge to provide amazing accuracy across a wide range of frequency and power. Unlike other amplifiers that use inaccurate simple diodes, the 9500 uses two high quality log detectors to accurately measure the forward and reverse power simultaneously.
If the computing platform senses a problem with any of the 10 performance measurements it watches, it takes itself off-line and resets itself. If the Alpha 9500 senses a condition that could damage the tube, it trips off line, bypassing the amplifier to instantly to protect itself. Correct the problem, press the amplifier power on switch to acknowledge the fault, and press the online button and you're instantly back online at full power.
Interested in connecting your computer to the Alpha 9500? Both RS232 and USB ports are provided for remote control and diagnostics, and with its simple operating control command language, integrating it into a fully automatic, remotely controlled station is a reality.
Besides the power (mains) connection, there are only two required inputs to the Alpha 9500 - the Push To Talk (PTT), and the RF IN. All RF connectors on the Alpha 9500 are BIRD type quick change type, SO-239, for ultimate reliability and flexibility. Need N-type connectors in any of the positions? Remove 4 screws surrounding the SO-239 connector, remove it, plug in the N-type quick change connector, reinstall the 4 screws and the job is done.
No need for ALC input like lesser amplifiers. The micro computing platform assures you don’t damage the tube by overdriving it. Separate input match circuits for each Amateur band guarantees a proper match with any standard 50 ohm output from your transceiver.
RF output is delivered through the amplifiers own 4 port automatic antenna switch. Latching relays control each of 4 antenna ports, so the last antenna you chose, stays selected - even without power to the amplifier.
Proudly Handcrafted in the USA
This amplifier is as rugged and reliable as anything we've created. We buy the best components available for the Alpha 9500. Our stringent selection of even the simplest components demonstrates the commitment that we have to deliver the best, most reliable amplifier in the world.
The Alpha 9500 is finely handcrafted and is designed and built in Colorado, USA, comes with an industry leading 4-year warranty on the amplifier, and 1-year warranty on the tube, and is supported by our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We build them by hand, tune them by hand, and burn them in overnight at full power so we know that when you get your Alpha 9500, you'll have an amplifier that is the most rugged, best built in the world. It's shipped in two separate double boxes with the transformer packed separately so there's little chance of anything happening to it on its way from the factory to its new operating position in your shack.
Here's a flash presentation of the 9500.
The Alpha 9500 flash presentation is a bit dated, but shows the amplifier - inside and out. Note: we no longer ship the amplifier with an Eimac tube as pictured in this flash presentation. Also, the production back panel is slightly different than shown. You can see the flash presentation HERE
Frequency coverage: All amateur frequencies from 1.8-29.7 MHz
Power output: 1500 Watts minimum on all served bands
3rd Order IM: <-30 dBc
SWR tolerance: 3:1
Drive power: 45 - 60 Watts nominal for full power out
Tube: single 3CX1500/8877 type high performance power triode with a plate dissipation of 1500 watts provides key down performance on all frequency bands, all modes, and all duty cycles.
Cooling: Forced air from two blowers
Antenna outputs: comes standard with 4 x SO-239 BIRD connectors, but can be changed to Type N easily from the back panel by removing 4 screws.
Antenna selection: Internal 4 port antenna switch with 1 or 2 outputs per band/segment
Calibrated Wattmeter: The Bruene type wattmeter accurately simultaneously measures both forward and reverse power and displays this information on the easy to read bar graph meters on the front panel. It also uses the information to simultaneously monitor the gain of the amplifier.
Protection Mechanisms: HV Interlock and Power Interlock.
Bypass mode: There are two power "ON" buttons on the Alpha 9500. "ON1" activates the Wattmeter and antenna selector without powering the amplifier itself, and sets the amplifier into "bypass" mode. The Amplifier is powered with the "ON2" button.
Input: Comes standard with an SO-239 BIRD connector, but can be changed to BIRD N Type easily from the back panel – order JCX-X130
Tuning/Band switching: Automatic plus manual override
Power: 100,120,200,220,240 VAC, 50/60 Hz, selection Automatic. At 240 VAC, requires 10 Amps per leg, for a total of 20 Amps. Note: Although the amplifier will operate at 100V, the mains will have to be able to deliver upwards of 35 amps.
Interface: Serial port and USB. Full remote control capability.
Protection: Protected against all common faults.
Display: Bar graphs display Power, SWR, Grid Current, Plate Current, Plate Voltage, and Gain - all simultaneously. Digital Panel Meter can display Forward Power, Plate Current, Plate Voltage, Grid Current, SWR, Filament Voltage, and PEP Output.
T/R switching: Two Gigavac brand vacuum relays enabling QSK (full break-in) at QRO (full power).
Bypass capability: 1500 Watts.
Shipping Weight: 95 Lbs, Assembled weight 82 Lbs
Product Size: 17.5"w x 7.5"h x 19.75"d
Standard Shipping Packaging: We ship the amplifier in a double box, and the transformer in a separate box.