A Review of the Power Genius XL-By Mack McCormick, W4AX
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A Review of the Power Genius XL

By Mack McCormick, W4AX

Power Genius XL – There Is No Equal

W4AX reviews the PGXL, VA3MW gives us some video highlights and N7HQ describes how to interface your transceiver and more…

Are you searching for the highest performing solid state linear amplifier on the market today? If so, then the Power Genius XL (PGXL) amplifier is exactly what you need.

It has no equal. It is the only amplifier on the market that enables fully integrated single operator two radio (SO2R or Multi-1) operation using a single amplifier; and it works equally well in single operator mode.  The Power Genius XL seamlessly transforms your FlexRadio FLEX-6X00 series radio into a legal limit beast. Imagine working your favorite two bands, 160 meters through 6 meters, and effortlessly switching between them while working a contest, DX, or FT8. The PGXL will deliver 1,500 watts of power without a sweat thanks to employing two NXP MRF1K50H LDMOS transistors each rated at  1.5 kW dissipation. Because the design utilizes a special unalloyed aluminum heat sink it is capable of 1500 watts at full ICAS duty cycle on any amateur mode . 

Also unique to the PGXL is a technology called MEffATM (Maximum Efficiency Algorithm) which controls the DC voltage and bias levels on the PA to match the envelope of the signal to yield the highest efficiency and lowest intermodulation distortion. The PGXL amplifier is built to broadcast industry standards using complimentary low pass and high pass band switched RF output filter networks.  This directs all signal harmonic energy to an internal resistor load therefore, eliminating the reflection of this harmonic energy back into the amplifier. This significantly improves amplifier stability, distortion, and efficiency. An internal very high quality, fully shielded, modular switching power supply is also used for enhanced performance and reliability. 

And like all FlexRadio products, service and support for the PGXL is located in the U.S. out of their Austin, TX headquarters. 

The PGXL is very simple to connect and my experience from unboxing to on-the-air was under 15 minutes. Configuration with a FlexRadio FLEX-6000 series is as easy as plugging the PGXL into 240 VAC power, inserting an ethernet LAN cable, connecting the coax from the radio ANT 1 and ANT 2 to the respective inputs of the amplifier, and connecting the antennas to the two outputs of the PGXL. Install the desktop software on your PC and configure the PGXL to your radio. Press Operate and you’re on the air at legal limit. Of course the PGXL can also be easily configured to work with any radio from another manufacturer because it supports CAT, CI-V, BCD band decode, and RF sensing. 

How does it perform in everyday operation? The PGXL is literally a device you can forget about during your operation. It can be left powered on in standby for minimal current draw and transition to instant operation when you press operate. The standby/operate functions are fully integrated into SmartSDRTM, MaestroTM, and SmartSDR iOS. In fact an entirely new set of meters can be selected to monitor the PGXL power output, SWR, and temperature. In SO2R operation you can almost instantly switch between two bands for interleaving contacts. 

One question I am frequently asked is, “how loud is it?” I have used all competitive legal limit amplifiers and the PGXL is noticeably quieter. There are three fan operating profiles; normal, contest, and broadcast. When selecting the normal or contest fan profiles the fans are barely noticeable when the amp is at idle. The fan speeds ramp smoothly as the amplifier duty cycle demands. I recommend not placing any solid state amplifier on your operating position desk. With the PGXL, due to its seamless integration and simple LAN connection, it can be placed anywhere. For example, I have placed mine at my antenna entry panel in another part of the shack. You simply don’t need to see the front panel of the amp due to the great software integration. The PGXL has an ultrafast protection circuit in case it sees high SWR. If you’d like to see pictures of the PGXL in my shack you can visit QRZ.

In summary, the Power Genius XL has greatly added to my enjoyment of ham radio and has greatly improved my operations. I used to have multiple tube based linear amplifiers in the shack and they have all been replaced with a single Power Genius XL.

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