Gonset GSB-101 reviews

Gonset GSB-101
Shortwave Linear Amplifier

Price History Chart

My GSB-101, "Esmeralda"


I bought her in 1997 at the Oak Creek WI ("South Milwaukee" repeater group's) July hamfest. She had been wrapped in Saran Wrap and stored in an attic for the previous 20 years. The seller wanted $200 bucks, and I got her for $180. If she didn't weigh nearly 100 lbs., I would have scooped her up and run off like a thief. The chassis shined. You could eat off of it, it was so clean.

This amp has an untuned input, so a rig with a built in ATU helps a lot to squeeze the last bit of RF out of her. It also has a weird set of 3 band positions for the 3.5MHz ham band: 80A, 80B, and 80C. I assumed this was because of the width of the band and large "fraction of a frequency octave" the full band covered. But...I never found the need to use anything but the 80C band position no matter whether working CW at the bottom or voice at the 75m end at the top of the band. Perhaps this was done for the amp's pi-net to cover a wide range of antenna impedances.

I named her Esmeralda because I liked the name and viewed the amp as a spirited, powerful "female presence". The name stuck, even when I bequeathed her to my brother-in-law this year (2021). My replacement 811H amp is now "Esmeralilita" (little Esmeralda).

She can still put out 700W+ CW carrier on 80/40/20, less on 15 and 10 (down to about 400). She will even work WARC, like 17 and 12m with even a bit more reduced output. The previous owner made a mod for using a 12vdc relay to switch the amp in and out when keyed. I used a 2 transistor buffer I designed for my IC-706mk2g to safely key her.

The only thing I ever did was replace her electrolytics and bleeder resistors. The original 1958 caps and R's were in her until 2020 and still worked FB, but I felt they were on borrowed time.

Overall, a great 4x, grounded grid, 811A amp.

Build quality
User friendliness
Value for money
Mint condition in 1997
USD 180.00

Review the Gonset GSB-101