Tag Archives: Alpha 4040

Alpha 4040 Automatic Antenna Tuner, Kessler AT-AUTO, and 4o3a Tuner Genius – A Group of Stillborn Projects?

Alpha 4040 QRO Antenna Tuner Rendition (Exterior)

Alpha 4040 QRO Antenna Tuner Rendition (Exterior)

The original Alpha was working on a new Mega-Antenna Tuner, and the various successor owners of the Alpha IP (Intellectual Property) have occasionally mentioned the tuner online, but it has been years since any updates or a prototype was shown.  Last update in 2017 said the unit’s development was too immature to make it to even Beta-Testing.

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Alpha 4040 Tuner someday soon? Alpha 9500 Amp now.

With Ten-Tec and Alpha/RF Concepts merged some good things are happening.

Some of the Amps and Radios have really aggressive sale pricing. Example the Alpha-9500 Amp which had been raised this year to $8,750 is available for $6,995 – a combination of a $755 drop in list price and another $1,000 off in sale pricing. In my case they threw in the plug (usually another $50) and shipping was an affordable $125 for a net $7,120 vs. what would have been $8,925+ before the merger and the summer mega sale.

Amp pricing is also being affected by the pricing jostling between the different manufacturers, and Alpha as a similar hot deal on their manual tune model.

The Ten-Tec radios are also aggressively priced for the sale. Tempting to pick one up as a backup radio…

I’ve read where some hams are worrying that the Alpha Amps might become orphans – a valid consideration if the new merged company gave signs of anything other than success. Right now many of their products went from in-stock/overstocked to short backorder which means they don’t have to move the inventory, their sales are up, and enough of us are ordering to make forward sales positive.

The best news is that the Alpha 4040 Tuner project seems to have been given new life, with announcements that the design is stable, testing (including abusive high power switching testing) has gone well, the form factor has been reduced and stabilized and the processor upgraded. No delivery date yet or confirmation of meeting the price target either, though this latest communication sure is more transparent and encouraging than the silence or limited communications during the long wait.

Good stuff happening.




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Dayton 2013 – Friday Report

Been an interesting Hamvention so far.

There are some new products – the IC-7100 successor to the IC-7000 and the TS-990 was being shown.

Interestingly the Kenwood was somehow locked up and the floor team didn’t have a way to reboot it.

My first focus was a visit with Julius at W2IHY where I was having a very serious look at the new line of switch gear.  I’ve always admired the quality of his gear and this new range of products doesn’t disappoint.  http://w2ihy.com will fill you in on the new gear.  I already have a lot of his audio gear and will be adding some of the new line.

A visit at Hilberling found that they fully up and running for the USA market.  Never intended to be “everyman’s transceiver” they have delivered over $1million of these new “uber-radios” so far.

Long chat at FlexRadio Systems and one has to admire their willingness to trickle out radios even while the eagerness and requests to ship are so huge.  It was hard to get up close with the crowd, but i did get some time on their Flex-6700 simulators.  Tim W4TME was kind enough to give me a guided tour of the inside of the visual Flex-6700 – and I obliged by pretending I knew what all that stuff was (actually it is pretty neat and straight forward.)  FlexRadio Systems has put the Flex-5000A on end-of-life status with a when stock is sold, they are all sold noted on their website.  Flex-5000A critical components have become unavailable and it was fairly easy to see their was a product line overlap (a fully loaded Flex-5000A was within five hundred dollars of the new Flex-6500).

Very nicely the FlexRadio Systems team explained to me that when my radio is ready to ship, it will be ready.  Tomorrow is the FlexRadio Systems Dayton Hamvention Dinner where I hope to hear much more.

Over at Alpha the long awaited Alpha-4040 Tuner was being shown in working form.  The tuner looks well worth the wait.  The touchscreen display is awesome!

I was really taken with the dual port VNA (Vector Network Analyzer) at Array Solutions.  This “black box” connects to your PC to create a full test lab doing much more than I can recollect.  Jay (Array Solution’s owner) showed me how to do a TDR (Time Division Reflectometry) examination of a feedline and antenna system (including the VNA even measuring a human hand touching an antenna element), how to do a full in depth coil measurement, and a bunch of stuff I am going to have to brush up on.  This look like my next test gear addition.

The Japanese LUSO tower people took the time to explain their very cool crank-up towers.  Really amazingly serious amateur radio gear.

I was surprised at a couple vendors living the past.  Some of the big name rotor/rotor-controller folk have amazing new technology (Green Heron Engineering is a personal favorite, and they sold me one of their new station control modules) and other are promising to catch up to market norms by adding computer control to their rotor-controllers in perhaps a year….

TenTec was showing off their latest and a new Model 506 “Rebel” QRP transceiver I hadn’t seen before.  Apparently this new radio has the guts of an Arduino running the show – very cool!

More tomorrow!



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Why did Dayton 2012 have so many Vaporware Phantom New Product Offerings?

Why did Dayton 2012 have so many Vaporware Phantom New Product Offerings?

  • Kenwood had a stage-prop mock-up of what their new FS-990S should look like, but no actual radio, specifications or even pricing. They do have Photoshop created adds in the radio magazines and have been hinting at new “executive class transceiver” for a couple years.
  • Alpha didn’t even had their mock-up of what their new Alpha-4040 Automatic Antenna Tuner would look like when Dayton 2012 opened its doors, though fairly complete hardware models did arrive later during the show. Software apparently isn’t ready, so an operating product wasn’t ready. Alpha had been avoiding pinning down delivery dates for this tuner, but has had a pre-order list taking system up since November 2011.
  • The third is more a pre-announcement and advanced showing, as the product was not announced until Dayton. Flex-Radio had hardware prototypes and panadapter software simulations running of the Alpha Stage hardware & software for their new Flex-6500, Flex-6700R and Flex-6700 series. In all fairness there was no expectation of anything more – just a preview from Flex-Radio on where their next product was going.

What is all this about?

In the case of Kenwood one can only guess. They have hinted for at least five years that they had this class of radio coming out. I listened to the salesman at Dayton who said this new model will be “almost as good” as the other top end rigs out there, but “for a better [lower] price!” Whoopee, I can take out a home equity loan to have a runner up in performance but shave a few bucks off the dollars needed. Can’t say this inspires me in any way.

Alpha seems to mean well and may end up with a great product. The early announcement of a not yet ready product seems to be to create a buzz and do some positioning in the marketplace. I know I didn’t buy a new tuner awaiting this new Alpha – though it is again supposed to be pricey it offered the potential of being the last tuner a ham might ever need to buy. Credit has to be given to not pushing product out before it is ready, though Alpha should have had a better handle on its development time.

Flex-Radio intended to “drop the big one” on amateur radio with a “game changer” and never promised more than a chance to preorder a new radio when production starts in six-eight months (or so). They needed to gauge the support for bringing this technology to the amateur market, and I would guess took away a lot of potential buyers for other premium rigs at Dayton with their deposit for a production slot strategy. They never promised anything but announcements and really delivered more with some prototypes and illustrations of what the software might look like.

So the phantom gear at Dayton 2012 would seem to be each a unique case – Kenwood struggling to find its market and simply not having a ready product – Alpha having good intentions buy not having development far enough along to match real product to marketing’s promise – and Flex-Radio who only promised they would have an announcement only to actually have much more to show.



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Alpha 4040, Yaesu FT dx 3000, Hilberling PT-8000 and….

Lots of other new items at Dayton

Kenwood has their new Flagship in mock-up form. Looked to be a “catch up – me too” transceiver rather than a rig that shouts “KENWOOD!!”

Yaesu has a middle grade “dx series” radio out. Appears to be a price-point filler for the series.

Alpha didn’t have their new tuner in the booth when I stopped and was expecting it to arrive later in the show. Not certain what that was all about.

Hilberling-USA had shack ready radios at the show. I’m hoping to talk with Marcus today.

Array Solutions had the OM line of amps on display Impression is very solid and physically large amps

Attended the DXBanquet last night, and by chace was at a table with W9OP and AA9A from NEWDXA, our local DX club! Didn’t think much of the weak keynote presentation though.



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Dayton Hamvention 2012 Run Up

Just a few days to Dayton 2012, and some rather interesting pre-announcements and events. A few that I have noticed are:

  • Kenwood to have a new TS-990S Transceiver with widely circulating pictures out of a very button heavy machine.
  • Flex-Radio teasing the market about a “Game Changer” that makes the complex simple. So something new in SDR.
  • Hilberling PT-8000 should be available to Dayton attendees with the first USA versions of this $20K radio.
  • Alpha should have their new Alpha 4040 Tuner available.
  • Ten-Tec is said to have their new amplifier ready.

I am sure there will be more!

This year planning to take in the DX Banquet and the Flex-Radio Banquet.



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