It’s now March 1st, 2014 and it seems like development of the station is moving at a glacial pace, which it is. The fact of the matter is that this station is a hobby, and as such it gets afforded hobby time resources. That means I work on it when I can get to it. Also there is competition from other hobbies and responsibilities.
But I have not given up on Richmond Radio.
In addition to the Rangemaster AM1000 transmitters I talked about in the previous post, I have added to the station equipment an Inovonics 222 AM processor. This unit provides a low pass filter, pre-emphasis, and asymmetrical peak limiting. My main interest is with the peak limiter – it is capable of driving the Rangemasters to 125% positive modulation which helps distribute the power to where it will do the most good in terms of transmission range.
I’ve experimented a little with running the audio from the source through a compressor (MDX1600) then through the Inovonics to the transmitter. However, finding the right distribution of gain and settings on the compressor was hard. I remained challenged to find a combination of settings that sounds good.
In fact, the best sound I got was by omitting the compressor and simply running the program from the source through the Inovonics to the Rangemaster. So my plan is to go with that setup. Maybe the MDX will find a home in a production capacity, but for now it is out of the airchain.
The next step must really be to get one of the AM1000’s mounted on the roof and tuned up. This is harder than it sounds because roof access is not easy where I live. Furthermore, I need to get some four conductor shielded twisted pair cable to run audio and DC power to the transmitter on the roof. Then at least I can see what my transmission range is and start airing some programs.
I want to point out that I am not too hung up on the subject of transmission range. Yes, I want to get out as far as possible with the limitations placed on me by my equipment and running Part 15.219 legally but I’d have to say that distance is not a primary goal.
I am having fun assembling the station, and I am building transmission capacity. I am learning how much is involved in simply getting a professional sounding signal on the air and I feel that developing the ability to do that is worthwhile.
Who knows what the future will bring, but isn’t it better to be prepared to serve your neighborhood or community in times of need rather than try to develop that ability during an emergency? And the preparedness goes both ways. Even if your range is truly limited, you still want your neighbors to know about your station and how to tune in so that when an emergency hits they might remember you as a resource.
So really I just consider my efforts now as preparation. And if, as I prepare, my neighbors can hear my station and get some information or entertainment from it then I think it is time well spent.
Hopefully the next post will announce on-air tests.
Catch ya’ in a bit …