New Transmitter or Just get an Amp?

Pirate FM broadcasting: how to start a pirate FM radio station, discuss or review FM broadcast transmitters, FM broadcast antennas, FM amplifiers, audio processing, software, radio station equipment, and issues related to pirate FM broadcasting.
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JoeMusic913
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:07 pm

New Transmitter or Just get an Amp?

Post by JoeMusic913 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:17 pm

Hello All!!

I have a Ramsey FM30 that has been on the air 24/7 for about 10 years (or however long they have been made), even though it is only a 1/4 watt I have it attached to a Dominator NWE-34 broadcast antenna by Norwalk Electronics (http://fmbroadcastantenna.com/dominator.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) @ a 1/4 watt you wouldn't believe the radius I get with this $350 antenna mounted 50 feet above ground LOL, I get about 1 mile in every direction, I am serving a community of people in a small town with GREAT Classic Rock (uninterrupted music, 24/7 "commercial free")

I play lots of "deep tracks" that commercial radio could not play in the 70's, (we use $600 pro software called "OTSAV" that a buddy got me a copy of)

We have an email address and I am getting emails from young kids saying they didn't know about all this classic rock, and older folks saying they love it, the town has about 30,000 people in it and even the town council is aware of it and is very supportive of the station, the problem is I only reach about a 1/4 of the town

I am trying to decide whether to scrap the Ramsey FM30 and get a 20 or 30 watt transmitter or just get a class A-B amp for about 20 watts, I see a lot of them from China but don't want all kinds of spurious emissions

I am no expert on the sound quality of the Ramsey FM30 compared to whats out there today, But everyone says it sounds great (the software does a GREAT job of leveling the sound so I can drive the Ramsey FM30 well)

I am 56 years old and unfortunately I am now on a fixed income and don't have a lot of money to spend on this, I am figuring a max of about $300 or so

I have been in radio all my life, Can any of you give me some advice?

Thanks!!

Joe

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The Poet
Posts: 575
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Location: Lansing, Michigan USA
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Re: New Transmitter or Just get an Amp?

Post by The Poet » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:51 am

I don't know how the sound quality of the Ramsey would compare to other equipment out there.

One possible problem with finding an amplifier for that transmitter is, you may find it difficult to drive one to anywhere near full output with only 1/4 watt drive from the transmitter. Most of them require one watt or more of drive from the exciter. You would need to pay particular attention to the drive requirements of the amplifier in question.

One possibility would be to use a smaller amplifier first to step up to the 1 watt or more of drive you may need, which means you'd actually need TWO amplifiers to get to your 20-30 watts, rather complicating matters. Another would be to use a much larger amplifier, say a pallet amplifier rated 150-175 watts, normally requiring 3-4 watts drive, which with your 1/4 watt might manage to give you 10 watts-- but I really couldn't say for sure. It would certainly be simpler to find a new transmitter capable of the power output you want, but finding a decent one on $300 could be problematic.

The rule of thumb on distance vs. power for VHF is said to be, to double your range you need 10 times the power level. If you're running 24/7 I'd certainly try to avoid using more power than necessary to cover the area you are trying to reach.

Your other problem would seem to be that too many local people know about it--- but its the classical pirate radio conflict between security and popularity. If there are no local stations to complain about it... I'd just try to operate in such a way that licensed stations who may serve that area will be less likely to find out about it. Certainly you want to avoid any newspaper publicity of any kind...

That Dominator antenna was on my wish-list, once upon a time. I'd say you chose very well there.
The Poet
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'Demonstrating a Deliberate Disregard for the FCC's Authority and Its Rules,' Amen!

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JoeMusic913
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:07 pm

Re: New Transmitter or Just get an Amp?

Post by JoeMusic913 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:34 am

Hi Poet,

I found out it was only 25 milliwatt output.... sheesh I feel like an idiot.... I was talking to Ramsey tech and they corrected me LOL

Anyway I was looking at the 25 watt version of this pallet amp (Drive power required: 1mW-3mW)
http://www.pcs-electronics.com/high-gai ... rrency=USD" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And the "best" spec radio I could find was this:

http://www.pcs-electronics.com/5000-wit ... rrency=USD" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But in addition to the $291.67 it requires a $100 stereo encoder bringing the total to almost $400 (not counting shipping)

They do sell a 15 watt version boxed already for $475.71
http://www.pcs-electronics.com/cybermax ... p-216.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am aware of the double edge sword between security and popularity, the only reason I am going to do this is because I have heard they will just send me a cease and desist letter for the first offense, I don't intend to put out more wattage then necessary, If I can do it on 1 or 2 watts that's all I'll run, I just want 15 or 20 watts so I don't ever have to buy a radio again and the adjacent freqs on both sides are empty also

Ramsey does sell an amp they market as a receiver amp OR Broadcast Amplifier
(keeping it on the downlow for the FCC, they have it hidden under their "Amateur Radio Gear" section)
Their tech told me it works great and with the included low end filter it is very clean
http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/High-I ... B0002NRJQ8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For the money this may be the way to go for the time being, one watt would be about 40 times more power than I am running now LOL

My biggest worry is spurious emissions, want to make sure its a clean signal

BTW, I can't say enough about the Dominator antenna, the Gain is awesome.... and Donald from Norwalk Electronics is VERY nice and helpful

My setup is a midrise apt building, the audio leaves the computer attached to an Audio Balun Extender
(works GREAT no loss, http://www.ebay.com/itm/350618853530" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) Over Cat5 for about 100 feet to the transmitter, then Belden 9913-f7 80 feet up an old incinerator chimney (not used since the 70's) to the Dominator antenna, the Dominator is about 20 feet above the flat roof level, a total of about 50 feet above ground, the owner of the building knows I am a ham and thinks it's my 2 meter antenna that has been up there for 20 years

Thanks

Joe

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