Is it Time for a New Transmitter?

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Not Just HD Radio

If HD Radio isn't part of your station plans, there are many manufacturers able to provide hardware.

Bext offers two compact transmitters: the XL1000 and XL2000. All inside a 2RU package (23" depth and 33lbs in weight) you get the integrated exciter, power amplifier, output filter and power supply. Output standard is a 7/16 DIN. Specify a 7/8 EIA flange if that's your preferred connection.

The integrated exciter uses direct-to-channel modulation and has a single composite input and two other inputs that can be used for SCA and RDS. Additionally, it has its own built-in stereo generator, supporting left/right analog inputs. (An AES input is optional.)

The integrated exciter uses direct-to-channel modulation and has a single composite input and two other inputs that can be used for SCA and RDS. Additionally, it has its own built-in stereo generator, supporting left/right analog inputs. (An AES input is optional.)

Other GPIO access is done via DB9 connectors on the rear panel. RS-232 and RS-485 access are available. If you are looking for a transmitter that can make a good translator, keep in mind that one option for the XL1000/XL2000 is an FSK keyer for ID purposes.

BW Broadcast offers the V2 line, which covers a power range from 5W to 1.5kW. They have a built-in DSP-X processor, 14 factory presets and a built-in FSK and Morse identifier. Gold-clamp transistor technology allows quick in-the-field transistor changes. Ethernet control SNMP and other connections simplify control and monitoring. Power supplies slide in and out.

Ecreso, a division of Worldcast Systems, has the Helios 2000W, a 2kW unit (the entire line covers the 350W to 2kW level), which needs 3RU and weighs about 45lbs. Its integrated exciter uses a direct-to-channel modulator with a built-in stereo generator, accepting analog or AES up to 192kHz sample rate at 16-, 24- or 32-bit word length. Additionally it has two BNC inputs that will accommodate external composite or SCA/RDS signals.

Aside from local GPIO connections for control, Helios supports HTTP using an internal Web browser and Ecreso's AMI (Advanced Measurement Interface) via Ethernet. It also supports SNMP, and has an interesting feature known as Expert Maintenance Reporting. EMR is an optional service, which pushes regular reports on the status of key parameters such as temperatures, currents and voltages, plus information on the performance and lifespan of components such as the fan and power supply, via an IP connection, to Worldcast Systems, where the data is monitored. With trend analysis, EMR can identify problems and issue warnings in advance to allow for corrective action to be taken. A map-based display of current statuses and detailed reports and graphs are available at any time on the EMR user page. Clearly this is a potentially useful feature if you have a widespread network of transmitters.

Ptek has a line of transmitters that includes the Gamma HE series. It comes in six different versions, at power levels of 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 and 5kW with a 7/8" flange output connector. All but the 4 and 5kW versions use 4RU; the two largest need 6RU. The integrated exciter makes of use Direct Digital Synthesis; the amplifiers are made of up LDMOS, resulting in higher efficiency (and reduced cooling requirements). Aside from front panel metering and control, the transmitters have complete remote control: GPIO and an RS-232 interface that allows access to all major transmitter parameters. An embedded Web-server is optional. The power supply accepts voltages between 208 and 264Vac.

Armstrong has a line of transmitters (that includes the FM Series B) which are completely solid-state and come in power levels of 5, 7.5, 10, and 12.5kW. The amplifiers are self-contained and include three power supplies per amplifier. The IPA for the lower power levels is the FX-150B, and for the larger levels, the FM650B. The output connector is a 1-5/8" flange. AC power input can be single or three-phase, 208-240Vac. The exciter is optional with the purchase, and obviously Armstrong offers those as well; you could certainly consider the FMX-30B.

OMB has a line of products that includes the FMA 2000 HE. This is a 2kW transmitter (3RU) with two 1kW amps with individual switch-mode power supplies; the output connector can be EIA 7/16" or 7/8". Local control is via the front-panel TFT screen and touch keyboard. VSWR protection against line mismatches is included along with an integral low-pass filter. Remote control is provided by GPIO and RS-232. You would need an exciter as well; for example the EM 25 DIG PLUS. This is a frequency-agile exciter, with analong, composite, and SCA inputs. Maximum power out is 25W.

Finally, let's look at the Elenos line. The Medium Power ETG series includes models in the 2.5, 3.5 and 5kW power levels. You can get this transmitter as an amplifier with integrated exciter (in 4RU) or as a 2RU exciter and 4RU amplifier. The Indium series in 10 different versions, from 100 up to 2kW, and the Elenos Eco-Saving line has models from 5 to 30kW.

Irwin is RF engineer/project manager for Clear Channel Los Angeles. Contact him at

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