Texas Star Amplifiers

DX1600

YeticomNZ have just received a new shipment of Texas Star Amplifiers. Not the cheapest of the CB type 10-12m amplifiers out there but they about the best for the price we have found so far. Plenty of grunt and they sound very nice on SSB when driven properly.

The amps of interest are the DX1600 and the DX1600x Similar amps in terms of power and transistors but quite a different layout for the new 1600X. It also also about 20% smaller and has a built in fan. The DX1600’s that we sell all come complete with a factory fitted fan kit. It is massive. Four large fans, two below blowing onto the circuit boards and two on top cooling the heatsink.

DX1600X

DX1600

DX1600 DX500 DX1600x

The DX1600X has an internal fan that blows into the components and out over the heatsink fins at the bottom of the amplifier. It is small and compact. Very small for a 1kw plus amp. The sweet sixteen has more heatsink area and 4 fans so one would think it should run cooler in a showdown. But it is all down to efficiency. Texas Star assured me the DX1600 is more efficient so perhaps less heat, or perhaps less power! No doubt about it, the DX1600x is a nice looking amp and pretty compact. It has always been a problem to find somewhere to place the larger sweet sixteen with the side located coaxial plugs. The compact X version has them all at the back. You can also dial a watt with the front mounted potentiometer but I have yet to see that pot last very long when you start using it like that. Better to adjust the drive and let the amp loaf along than to strangle it with the dial a watt control.

Texas star used to make a 16 tranistor amplifier the DX3200 and I did ask them if they would make one for me. They mentioned that they had been having quite a few requests for this amp and were considering it but had not come to a decision yet. Apparently they worked well under all test in the workshop but the return rate was horrendous. That’s why you seldom see them for sale. They are all blown up! I can only assume they were overdriven to buggery on AM. 3200w is a lot of power and it wouldn’t take much to go wrong fry a bunch of transistors. A large percentage were being returned and Texas Star stand behind their product and will fix them. I don’t think the amp maker wants to go through that again but who knows…I would just like to cruise along a 2kw instead of one 1kw and know I still had 30% in reserve. Don’t ask me why..I just would!!! Just 40 or 50 watts input..no need to hurt it.

The accompanying paperwork describes this beast as a 5w 10m CW trasmitter!! Where did they get the idea 8 2879 transistors would only put out 5w ? America !!! God Bless them.

The kit with the DX1600x

DX1600 and DX1600X

comparing them size wize

when I stop admiring them I will fire them up.

Sunday morning and popped the 1600x in line.

Looks cool with blue lights coming through the aluminium from panel outlines. Hmm..lots of switches. Red turns the power on. White turns on the preamp. Don’t bother with that as it only works on noise. 1600 didn’t need it and neither does this amp. A built in 150 A power supply would help get it in line sooner in the shack because it is a big job to connect up the 5 fuses and the plug to some suitable cables. You will also need to get a hold of a crimping tool for welding leads to connect them into the plugs provided. I always like to see direct keying on an amp which this does not have. hard to work digital or cw with an rf switched amp. would not have hurt to have added a little filter circuit to keep the purists happy…

Here it is with the lights on.

1600X with the power on

Power wise very similar to the DX1600 original but a much better package to slip under the seat. Heats up a little more than the dx1600 but cools down well with the fan on full time. The fan has two modes. On full time and heat sensitive. I turn on the fan when I am going to use the amp and leave it on till I stop and have a break. Pumps a fair bit air but doesn’t make a lot of noise. There are 2 toggle switches on the front panel. Neither of them seemed to do anything. AB/C or RF/BV. Sent a mail to texas star to see if they can throw some light on what they were intended for and how we should use them. AB/C should change the mode which one would think would indicate some sort of change if we were in SSB mode. But there was no discernible difference between C and AB in output or TX audio when feeding the amp with SSB.

All good, great little amp for an easy kw PEP with 45w  PEP in. Don’t know what she will peg out at. At least 1200 w PEP and probably more. Clean sound on SSB and did not test on AM or FM.

A keeper for sure.

On to the DX1600 with the fan kit.

Well its official. The old DX1600 puts out a few more watts than the 1600x and the new 1600 with the fans. I think that Texas Star have biased the amps a little harder to make them more stable and at the same time sound better. Not much.The original DX1600 I have when driven by the Optima with 43w PEP will put out 1150w PEP on the meter. The 1600X in exactly the same situation was 1050 and the DX1600 (New) just on 1,000 PEP. Probably unnoticeable to anybody else except me!The Fans on the DX1600 work very well. They turn on automatically and turn off when the amp cools down sufficiently which at 1kw out doesn’t take long even if we keep talking. On my old 1600 with a home build fan kit, 4 on top and four on the bottom, they run full time when the amp is turned on. No sense in having these fans on all the time and coating the insides with dust….you can get by with the temperature switched system.

DX1600 in operation

My old 1600 with home brew fans added

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24 Responses to Texas Star Amplifiers

  1. dd182003 says:

    One thing with the closed heatsinks is that one can no longer touch the heatsinks and get a feel for the amplifier’s working temperature. I wonder if anyone has a nice simple temperature reading circuit that could be incorporated to a sensor in the heatsink?
    Reading the temp from 25C to 150C should hopefully cover all that is needed and could possibly be incorporated into the on board heat sensor that turns the fans on.

  2. Kevin says:

    I liked the well thought out article, very informative, and i do like and use the various Texas Star Amps, they are a fine unit and when driven within their means are very clean and work very well…

    Thank you for the in depth article, and for the clear pictures you provided, they do the amps far more justice than the ones you find in the catalog.

  3. Pingback: List Of CB and Ham Items For Sell - Page 2

    • dd182003 says:

      Not quite sure what you are going on about as I am unable to access the URL you gave. If the photos you refer to look the same as the ones in the blog then the person concerned probably took them off the blog. No worries. Nothing on here is copyright. And all photos on here were taken by me or Mike of YeticomNZ.
      Hope this helps.

  4. greg says:

    I have a DX 1600, and love it! It sounds great on am and ssb. Everyone thinks I’m running a tube amp with my 2995! At the 10% mark on my 2995, dead keys at 600, and swings to 1k.

  5. CHRIS SCHMIDT says:

    HOW ABOUT AMP DRAW WILL TWO ASTRON 70 SUPPLY THESE UNITS

  6. CHRIS SCHMIDT says:

    THANKS FOR THE COME BACK.

  7. Nelson Rojas says:

    great thread I have been thinking about the dx1600x

  8. Carlos says:

    Hi,and thank you for nice review where can I buy these?.straghit from Texasstar?

    • dd182003 says:

      You could try…Any online shop in the US. Most carry them or can get them.
      If you live in Australia or NZ we can supply and I have shipped some to Europe but the freight costs are expensive as they are quite big and heavy.

  9. Paul says:

    Any word on what the RF/BV switch does

    Regards

    Paul

    • dd182003 says:

      I think (and this is just a wild guess) it reads approximate RF out or Battery voltage.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks Dave
        This unit looks like a good size for install into my mobile

        Keen to get my hands on one

        Cheers Dave for the review, I think you have persuaded me to lash out on one

        73

  10. Steven says:

    You may know now, but incase not. The advertised watts performance is always 5 with these amps in the usa due to the fcc rules. That is why Texas Star also informs of the typa and amount of transistors used, so that anyone familiar with amps “gets it.”

  11. sam says:

    I love a texas star own a sweet sixteen for years and still runs it and had a3200 Viking and someone stole it but like to own another one

  12. JW says:

    Anyone who wants Texas Star in the states should look at RADIO ACTIVE RADIOS. They’ve always done me right with these top shelf type components if freight is a problem from NZ to the US.
    No I don’t work there just helping out a fellow enthusiast.

  13. dd182003 says:

    They wont build it again. I have asked repeatedly….too many folks wrecked them.

  14. Carlos says:

    Texasstar. Com
    amps just (:. Waxed out sacred they suck if they think that (; man they are loseing money cause 100% I will bet anything if they come
    Out with a bigger amp they will boost but they
    They are weak mudducks still in a pawn
    Swimming for pussycats

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