Expert 2K-FA


Rating: 5/5 / Sep 12, 2011 10:09 / Time owned: 3 to 6 months

I did have some "infant mortality" problems involving low voltage fuse blowing, but that was taken care of in quick order by the SteppIR folks. I have been dodeling with Ham Radio for well over 50 years and have never seen anything even close to this amp! So automatic - easy to set up - MANY adanced features - lots of power - small and light weight - I guess I would describe this amp in one word - MAGNIFICENT!

Exceptional Contest Amplifier 
Rating: 5/5 / Aug 5, 2011 16:34 / Time owned: 3 to 6 months

The SPE 2K-FA is by far the only choice for serious DXpeditions. During the VK9HR Lord Howe Island Dxpedition we used 2 x SPE-1K-FA's and 1 x SPE-2K-FA units. The SPE-2K-FA performed without a single hitch running nearly 24 hours a day for ten days on all bands and all modes including RTTY (at half power). The weight of the SPE-2K is very similar to the SPE-1K and while larger than the SPE-1K it fits very nicely into a Pelican 1620 case for transport. The SPE-2K was used via the cat interface with our Kenwood TS-590S radio. The antenna tuner worked perfectly in tuning up our 160M Inverted L antenna which had a SWR of around 2.5:1.
I also noticed that the SPE-2K runs a lot cooler with temperatures averaging around 40-45 degrees C. I assume this is because of the larger heatsink / fan cooling area. I am so impressed by the SPE-2K-FA that I am seriously considering putting my Yaesu VL-1000 Quadra back in its box and using the SPE-2K-FA with the FTdx-9000D instead. There is no better solid state amplifier available anywhere with the features and performance of the SPE. For our next DXpedition in 2012 we will be taking more SPE amplifiers with us.

This amp ROCKS !!! 
Rating: 5/5 / Aug 4, 2011 13:22 / Time owned: 0 to 3 months

NEW: SPE EXPERT 2K-FA SOLID STATE 2+KW FULLY AUTOMATIC LINEAR AMPLIFIER. ( Initial comments- This amp ROCKS!!! Just tune around and it follows the Flex5000a and the FTdx9000 like a puppy dog. Can connect 2 rigs to this amp at the same time! Plenty of power, 2.3 kw out into a dummy load with 70w drive. Runs cool and no warm up time. So far, great amp.) SN: XXXXXXX19
I bought this amp thru SteppIr, the {former} US Distributor. Good service from them. I understand that they will no longer be the US distributor for the Expert 2k-fa and the company in Italy is setting up a new US distributorship. I was informed by SteppIr that they WILL honor the 2 year warranty service. I have owned many amps in my day, Alpha's (even 77SX, Ten Tech and Emtron BIG GUN'S, to mention a few, but this amp is the easiest to use and literally becomes part of your transceiver. I use it mostly with my Flex5000a and love the no warm up time, and full legal output on all bands from 160-6m. !!! Awesome!! More info as I continue to use and have fun with this versatile amp. BTW: I have had several communications with the designer of this amp, Gianfranco, I0ZY. He has always answered any questions I had or info requested in a timely fashion. Nice to see from a manufacturer. 73, Stan KH6CG, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Modern amplifier 
Rating: 5/5 / Jul 5, 2011 01:05 / Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I think I have serial #13 and hope that does not mean bad but good luck.

I changed over from an Alpha91 2x4CX800A amplifier. Although I am usually wearing noise compensated earphones (HEIL Quietphones) I was tired of having the acoustic equivalent of a vacuum cleaner on my desk and I was tired to wait 3 minutes (that time can last forever when you are about to call rarae DX you just discovered and which is not yet reported by a DX cluster) until I could use my PA.

The 2K-FA was quite easy to set up. For manual operation like I was used to up to this time, you just need the RELAY line from the xcvr, but adding an ALC line is a good idea, too, no more problems with forgetting to reduce drive power at the xcvbr from barefoot full throttle when using the amplifier (the 2K-FA requires about 30 to 45 W of drive power, a bit less than the Alpha needed).

Then I added the CAT line to my YAESU FT-2000 using a Y-connector as I need the CAT connection primarily for digital modes with MixW which runs on a dedicated small desktop PC. That worked very well from the beginning on: you can set all required buad rates at the 2K and the PA immediately "understood" my xcvr. Then I added the control line to my BiggIR/SteppIR antenna controller using Kenwood 9600 bd protocol. That also immediately worked and I was fully automatic in less than an hour including the making of the required cables. I had not been able to drive the SteppIR from my YAESU as its controller never understood the frequency data from the FT-2000 although it had been configured for that. SteppIR obviously only understands KENWOOD, and as the 2K-FA is using Kenwood protocol, it was my key back to automatically setting the antenna length.

The amplifier works flawlessly. It is well made and its output meets specificatiosn on all bands well (Power setting MID usually yields 1050 to 1200 W, on MAX 2000 to 2100 W, LOW 500 W to 600 W). I could not check 160 and 80 as I don't have antennas for these bands). Running CW most of the time, I usually use the MID power setting, enjoying a large margin to the full output capability. In MID heatsink temperatures never exceeded 44°C up to now, the rear fans cut in at 39 - 40° and then keep temperature constant by 1 or 2 °C +/- . They disengage again at 39° to 38 °C. Yes, you do hear the noise, one must remove a large amount of thermal energy from a relatively small and compact box (you can't have large ducts with slow whispering airstreams like the air conditioning people like to use them in such a small amplifier, that's physically impossible). At least I can say that the blower noise from the rear fans is much less than it was from the cooling of my Alpha91. The loudest and most annoying blower is the one that cools the switching power supply. You hear it well because it sits right left front of the PA, but it only runs in operate mode. You can set it up so that it only runs while you are actually transmitting (QUIET MODE), but you may lose the first dit of a CW transmission then when you use VOX in CW or first syllable in SSB, because drain voltage takes 80 ms to rise from zero when blower and power are turned on.

The PA makes a very solid impression, the assembly is clean and prfoessional, the built in tuner also works quite well on my antenna #2, a Butternut HF9V, and even installing the remote control program was relatively easy. It is true that it faithfully reproduces the PA diplay and the keys at the front panel, but for my opinion it would have been nicer if it had been disigned to show more data at the same time just like the equivalent program for the 1K-FA does. For me the PC display has littler practicle value the way it is designed now and even the manual states that the main purpose of the program is that you can make possible future firmware updates yourself with it.

The PA fully fulfills my expectations up to now and yes, I would buy it gaain if necessary.

Another world! 
Rating: 5/5 / Jul 1, 2011 15:02 / Time owned: 6 to 12 months

Living just a few miles away from the factory where the Expert 2k-FA linear is produced, I could get a pre-production unit (SN# 0001) much earlier than any one else, and then get it updated every time its design was improved along the testing & validation phase.

The nicest thing of the 2k-FA is that you can forget about it: no warm-up and instantaneous band change.

Also antenna tuning (if enabled) is instantaneous as the 2k-FA has a modern-design relay-actuated memory-controlled antenna tuner, differently from those old-style auto-tune linears which utilize slow motor-driven variable capacitors.

So, you can instantaneously go and work any DX appearing on the DX Cluster, on whatever band and frequency, without having to wait even a second.

If so desired, the 2k-FA antenna tuner can still function even when the linear is not in-line, so effectively making the transceiver internal tuner useless. Doing so, when operating barefoot, you will feel like transmitting into a dummy load, as you will read low SWR at any frequency. And you will not be able to perceive the antenna tuner operation at all (apart from the click of a few relays now and then).

If you really need to do something on your 2k-FA (e.g. to switch an antenna or to vary its power level) you can do everything from your PC (via a USB link) without having to touch the linear at all. The screen faithfully reproduces the linear front panel (both the controls and the display) and you can remotely do / see whatever you can do / see on the front panel. You can even switch the linear ON / OFF from your PC.

I measured output power on my SN# 0001 (CW key-down, with a Bird wattmeter on a dummy load). Power is generally well above the 1,500W US limit. In range 7-28 MHz you can get around 2,000W. On 6 and 80 meters you can drive the linear up to about 1,750W and somewhat less on 160 m.

I cannot here mention all the nice features of the 2k-FA. Please read the operating manual carefully and you will discover the great deal of features offered by that incredible machine.

Rating: 5/5 / Jun 30, 2011 13:50 / Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It finally arrived! I ordered in Nov 2010. after wonderful success operating the "Little Brother" SPE Expert 1K-FA for a few years, I just had to have the SPE 2K-FA. It is amazing! Operates 160 Mtr to 6 mtr. Legal output!! This new SPE Expert 2K-FA model required a hour or so for me to set up the SIX (6) selectable antennas for which band, and then setting the antenna tuner according to antenna and band. She is INSTANT ON!! You can quickly change set up for low power 500 watts, mid power range 1000 Watts, or high power 1500 Watts. very sensative to drive power changes. take aprox 65 watts to get legal output...will easily put out 2200 watts if your not careful with your drive power settings!
Cooling Fans only come on when you "key" the amp. they are NOISY..very "high pitch". the fan noise is my only negative. I wear ear phones, and operate 98% CW, so the fan noise doe not bother me a lot! It could be a concern for the SSB station, unless amplifier is sitting in another room ?? I will submitt another review in 30 days after a HARD TEST period.

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