In May of 2015 after 40 years on Hegenberger Road in Oakland, Family Radio announced the move of their headquarters & studio facilities to a new building on Alameda.
Instead of transplanting a whole facility of 20 year and older equipment, they did the sensible thing and built a modern facility with new equipment and auctioned off the old studios, equipment and all.
While most of the gear was from a previous generation of radio production it was in very good condition, I am sure due to their stewardship mentality and good engineering practice. These aren’t people that trash equipment.
There were several beautiful Audioarts R-60 consoles, professional cassette recorders, reel-to-reel decks, and all manner of radio goodies. While I was quite tempted to buy one of the consoles, I really don’t have room for them and couldn’t justify their purchase even though they were a great deal. Instead I focused on the item I really wanted, and have room for in my station, an AM modulation monitor.
The Hamilton Rangemaster AM1000 transmitters in use at AM 1700 are capable of deep modulation, up to 125% positive peaks. But short of taking an oscilloscope to the transmitter my best option was to set the audio drive level “by ear” for maximum loudness without noticeable distortion.
So for less than a Benjamin I was able to pick up an Inovonics Model 520 AM Broadcast Modulation Monitor in excellent condition at the Family Radio auction. The 520 is a slightly older unit which includes a reference receiver that is tuned using dip switches inside the unit. I reset the tuner from Family Radio’s 610 khz frequency in the San Francisco Bay Area to monitor Radio Richmond on 1700 khz.
Here is a brief video showing the modulation monitor in operation on the bench before installation in the equipment rack.
My thanks to Family Radio for passing this equipment on to me that it may continue to serve its purpose in another AM radio station rather than going to the scrap heap.