Is the end near for the Alpha 9500?

Posted: September 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


I have owned two Alpha 9500 amplifiers. The first amp was a very low serial number and was a “wild and wooly beast” That amplifier had a mind of its own and I sold it having been dissatisfied with it. A few years later, I bought a used Alpha 9500 and enjoyed it for a few years before moving to a solid state, instant on amplifier.

As ownership of Alpha Amplifiers has changed hands several times, the prices and availability of this amplifier has fluctuated wildly. At its height, this amplifier sold for $7995. In contrast to today where the future of this amplifier is increasingly in doubt among some of us, I have seen used excellent condition Alpha 9500s sell for $4,000.

Last week on QRZ.Com I saw an Alpha 9500 sell for $3,000 as the seller wanted to buy a new solid state amp. With late model Alpha 9500s selling for $3,000 to $4,000 I don’t see how the current owner/manufacturer of Alpha amplifiers can continue to produce or sell them for upwards of $6,995. With the new Elecraft and Expert solid state amps selling for well below that, the big gun tube amplifier such as the Alpha 9500 might be a dinosaur with its future in doubt.

What do you think?

  1. Roger says:

    I believe that we are at the beginning of the end of the era of vacuum tube amplifiers for radio applications. I had a Henry Classic 3KD [which used a 3CX1200D7] back in the 1990-2000 time frame. At one time Henry was one of the major makers of vacuum tube amplifiers. I got rid of that Henry amp [I gave it away] back in the 2003

    I’m looking at the DX Engineering catalog right now. The only vacuum tube amplifiers I see in there are made by Ameritron. It would be interesting to know if Ameritron is still building these in their factory or are they merely selling off the existing inventory.

    Currently I am running with an ICOM PW-1. I also have an Ameritron ALS1306. I don’t miss the boat anchor amps one bit.

  2. Gene says:

    Roger, look again. DX-engineering also lists the ACOM line of tube amps.

    I think tube amps will be around for a long time. They provide a reasonable entry price point for hams, old and new.

    Spending $6K-$8K+ for a 1.5KW SS auto-tune amp isn’t possible for many people. People need an entry level amp which is exactly what tube amps provide, whether glass or metal / ceramic.

    While I sold it 5 years ago, my 31 year old Henry 2K is still putting out the watts. Today I have both tube and SS amps.

    The tube amps will be built long after you and I are gone.

    GS K5GS

  3. N6PSE's Blog says:

    This from Glenn at Alpha:

    Alpha RF Systems acquired Alpha Amplifiers from RKR Designs over a year
    ago. We are located in the same place in Longmont, CO that we have been in
    since 2010, still building new 9500, 8410 and 8406 amplifiers and repairing
    existing Alpha amps.

    Glenn AE0Q
    Alpha RF Systems, LLC
    634 South Sunset Street
    Longmont CO 80501

  4. Gene says:

    And I will add to Glenn’s comment:

    I’ve been to the current Longmont factory several times, and to the former Longmont and Boulder locations, delivering legacy amps for repair / upgrading, and my own 8410 for engineering changes. I was always greeted with a smile and the equipment was ready for pick-up as promised.

    Earlier this summer I had a question about my 8410, sent an e-mail on a Saturday and received an answer from Glenn on Sunday. He then sent me a document with detailed instructions for the modification I asked about.

    I don’t know what the future holds for Alpha, but I do know Alpha still provides an excellent level of customer support for their current products.
    GS K5GS

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