New Transmitters for Richmond Radio

am1000board1I am excited to announce that I have taken possession of two surplus AM1000 Rangemaster transmitters. Also included in this acquisition is a Behringer MDX-1600 compressor/limiter/gate unit. Both transmitters are crystalled for 1700KHz.

This is a huge step forward toward getting “Richmond Radio” on the air. I have almost all the pieces need to start legal unlicensed AM broadcasting. With the addition of this equipment I am suspending any further work on building my own transmitters for this project. I had a lot of fun prototyping my transmitter but I am more interested in getting on the air quickly and legally.

I was able to buy these transmitters and airchain processor because a church in Washington state with whom I was acquainted decided to end their radio broadcasting operations. I am sad to see a church leave the airwaves but am happy that I was able to buy some of their equipment at a good price.

However, there is still work to do before regular broadcasts can commence:

  • Studio arrangement – I now have a fair amount of studio equipment that I need to get organized in a way that is functional and somewhat aesthetically pleasing. I don’t have a lot of studio space, so I am going to have to get creative.
  • Transmitter mounting, tune-up, and routing the power and program signal lines back into the studio.
  • Check the range of the transmitter to determine the actual coverage area.
  • Configure a PC as an automation system for unattended playout. Hey, I have a day job, I can’t be at the control point 24/7.  Actually I suspect nighttime reception is going to be very challenging. There is a Mexican station, XEPE running 10KW on 1700KHz that comes in at night and might actually give me a run for my money. Depending on how it sounds I may limit the broadcasting to daylight hours only.
  • Develop a minimal set of station audio assets to begin broadcasting.

I am learning that putting together a real radio station, even an unlicensed Part 15 station, takes a lot of work. And I believe it will take lot more work to keep it running. I can’t do it alone. I will certainly need contributions of content from other members of the neighborhood. Besides I don’t want to be the only voice on the air. In fact, I would be happy to have a limited on-air presence with most of the content coming from the community.

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To start with, the three band eq on the mixing board and the MDX-1600 will be the only airchain processing. However I am still wanting to add an asymmetric modulator, like the Inovonics 222, to give the signal a bit more punch. 100mW is not a lot to work with and I want to get every possible advantage.

Watch this space for updates as we get closer to launching the station.