Middle Aged Iron: Cetec/Bauer 701B transmitter

In service as a backup unit at WALL 1340 KHz in Middletown, NY:

WALL 1340 KHz, Middletown NY AM1A on air, 701B into test load
WALL 1340 KHz, Middletown NY AM1A on air, 701B into test load

I believe the Cetec transmitter is from the early 70s. I wouldn’t really call it old, we have much older units in the field that are still in backup service.  WALL itself has been on the air since 1942 from this site. The tower out back was replaced in the mid 90’s and is 147 degrees tall. It broadcasts the “True Oldies Channel” and is currently owned by Cumulus, soon to be Townsquare.

Cetec 701B tube deck.  4-500As.
Cetec 701B tube deck. 4-500As.

The site is also home to sister station WRRV (92.7 MHz) which has a side mounted antenna near the top of the WALL tower. We are currently reconnecting the CCA transmitter as the backup for WRRV. That unit is also from the early 1970’s.

WRRV WALL transmitter site, Middletown, NY
WRRV WALL transmitter site, Middletown, NY
WRRV WALL transmitting tower, Middletown, NY
WRRV WALL transmitting tower, Middletown, NY

14 thoughts on “Middle Aged Iron: Cetec/Bauer 701B transmitter”

  1. Again, thanks for showcasing another excellent example of local AM broadcasting, Paul. I thoroughly enjoy these segments.

    73, Chet W6XK

  2. The design engineer was Fritz Bauer, who started out making transmitters in his garage. I do recall something along the lines that you could buy these as kits and put them together yourself.

    Chet: Glad you enjoy it. I think that shortwave station CFRX (repeater of commercial station CFRB, Toronto) has been using a Bauer 701 transmitter since the early 1980’s.

  3. WCAP Lowell is using their Bauer 707 (older style cabinet with external meter mounting) due to their Harris MW-5A has ben non-functional for some time. This was built as a kit and sold off the floor at the NAB

  4. Yep, those Bauer units were sold as kits. Sometimes an owner would buy one assembled off the NAB floor. Encountered one of those once, it was pretty neat to think about a transmitter arriving like a giant Heathkit and putting it together to get it on the air.

    With all the SMD’s now and the fact that most new transmitters are computers with RF sections wrapped around them, the magic of that is lost. But I will take the remote diagnostics on my Nautels over building kits any day of the week.

    Also, is that 2200 really the main processor for WRRV??

  5. The old CCA transmitters as a rule were simple and reliable beasts. I love the one in my care. Just runs and runs. Easy on tubes, the final is now 6 years old. The Cetec transmitter is nice looking and certainly very well cared for.

  6. Boy, that brings back some (good) memories. Had one of those as my first transmitter. Sparta 701B (same box). Installed in 1974. (I was 2 at the time – not!) Great transmitter though! It survived a flood (had “potted” inductors and transformers)when the Wilkie AM-5000B at the same site drowned! (Yeah, the Sparta had to be cleaned up before it was safe to turn it on . . . ) It used 4-500 tetrodes, two in the RF section, two in the modulator. Most of the other rigs of similar design in those days (ie. CCA) used 4-400 tetrodes except for a Collins I had (can’t remember the model #) that used 5-500 pentodes. All the rigs in my care of that design back then were easy on tubes, even considering Eimac’s poor performance in those days.

  7. Sounds like a scenario that happened in my town about 30 years ago. There was a site that got flooded. Had a 5kW Wilkinson, and a 1kW Sparta. After the waters receded, the Wilkinson was scrapped, the Sparta cleaned back out, and put on the air until a Continental 315R was installed. I also remember seeing a car power window mechanism in the debris. I was told it was used to activate an antenna switch. Salvaged a dead 4-1000, which I think was from the Wilkinson.

  8. Hey, that site sounds REAL familiar, right down to the power window lift motor powering the antenna switch and the Continental version of the Power Rock replacing the Wilkie. Your town you say?

  9. The 707 was a Fritz Bauer design. It was even offered as a kit. The 701-B pictured above was my design as were all subsequent transmitters. Juan Gregorio, the engineer who actually developed CCA and ITA grounded-grid transmitters, co-designed the FM line.

  10. Fritz Bauer designed the Bauer 707 which was also sold as a kit. He also designed all equipment that started with “FB” such as the FB-705 (5kW AM) and FB-710 (10kW AM).

    I designed the 701-B (above) and most all the rest of the RF products. In its heyday, Cetec/Sparta provided everything from audio input (consoles, turntables, tape-cart machines) to RF output (Jampro antennas). Most everything was designed and manufactured in-house at the Sacramento plant.

    We also produced equipment for the government, including the 50-watt transmitters used in Vietnam and the first 1 kW AM transmitter broadcast Type Accepted by the FCC
    http://www.abominablefirebug.com/BlogFiles/ss-1000.jpg

    We also produced 5kW transmitters for NIST (WWVB) at 5, 10, and 15 MHz.

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