Alpha Amplifiers and the United States TSA

By Bob Whelan, G3PJT

Alpha amplifiers, used to great effect by the Voodoo team

Alpha amplifiers, used to great effect by the Voodoo team

I think it was in Mali when Vince, K5VT bought an ‘Alpha’ amplifier with him which he had just bought on ebay. We turned it on but it didn’t seem to work as expected -when it was opened up it was clear that someone had removed the tank circuit completely and rebuilt it for 6m – or so it seemed.

Vince was most put out because of the fact that he had been sold a pup and determined to return it to the seller and demand his money back – so he packed it in his return luggage.

When he got to Houston, en route to Phoenix, the mysterious box caused a full scale bomb alert and a possible shut down of the entire airport!! The TSA didn’t know what to make of this strange looking device and isolated the amplifier in readiness to conduct a controlled explosion.

The situation was fairly quickly resolved, fortunately, when one of the TSA security guys recognised the box as an amateur radio amplifier and the alert was scaled down.