Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Metron 1000 amplifier

The Metron 1000 was probably the first commercially made solid state mobile amplifier, from circa late 1970s. Rumour has it that the same design is still in use today by the military under the Datron name. From what I can tell, the amplifier is basically bulletproof, unless you do either of two things: One, drive it with more than 70w, or two, let it get too hot.

I had the opportunity to get one of these amps in the states, however it had to sit on a friend's desk in the New York office for about nine months before one of my colleagues brought it back with him on the plane (big TNX to Julio, Cristi, and Lenny). As expected for the era, it weights a ton and was not designed to fit in the back of a modern day 2013 car!

Good chunky heatsink on it, but no fans.

I finally got a chance to test this out in the car last sunday, and took down my MFJ989 to use as a power meter (it's the only one I've got!)

Here's what the mess looked like all hooked up in the back

It took me a while to figure out how to hook it all up. It came with a home made remote system which is not marked at all! At least I had been told it was wired for Kenwood and when the 8 pin DIN plug was plugged in and the mic keyed, a relay went "clunk" somewhere....

As far as I could tell, you can choose between using the front panel bandswitch, or, putting that switch to remote, and using the remote. I could not get the front panel to work at all. And on the remote, I found two positions where 20m would work more or less the same. On 15, all OK, but no way to get it to work on 10. I didn't try on any of the other bands. I guess old wiring and the strange cinch Jones connector will probably need a bit of going over

Power-wise, it seemed like it was putting out slightly more than the ameritron, but I then noticed power was reducing. The heatsink was pretty hot to the touch so maybe it was that, or maybe low charge on the battery. When I get some free time at home I'll go over the wiring and test it with a fixed PSU, before trying to put it back in the car again. In the meantime my ancient but stalwart ALS 500 is back in its usual position.

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