Engineers are funny. We all have our likes and dislikes and our reasons for both. I don’t really like Harris products. Even when I was in the military, their stuff seemed a little “light.” I suppose having to deal with an MW-50B transmitter at my first full time chief engineer gig didn’t help that impression. The MW-50 would “blow up” every six months or so. I say blow up because that is the only way I can describe it, no overload lights or any other indication of trouble until the blue lightning flashes and thunder from the PA section. What a POS.
Other Harris transmitters, such as the SUX-1, FM20H, Gates-1 etc have also left me less than impressed.
In order of preference, my choice of AM transmitters would be:
- Any Nautel solid state unit. Nautel makes good equipment that is well supported.
- Any BE solid state transmitters. I favor the A model over the E model, but both are good. One condition, they must absolutely be well grounded and all of the toroid filters provided by the manufacture must be used when installing.
- Any tube type Continental transmitter. There are older units, I believe 816R but they work well and sound good on the air.
Really, that is about it.
2 thoughts on “AM transmitter preferences”
The old Gates equipment was a good value before the Harris-Intertype purchase. The engineering was sound and you could always get industry standard parts to fix them. Typical of midwestern conservative design during the period 1922-1961. The Vanguard I to me, signaled the downturn of the company. New kids out of engineering school with little knowledge on serviceability, packaging, reliability, started designing a lot of junk. The BC5P2 was probably the last of the reliable, easy to keep going series. On the FM side, they should have followed CCA with grounded-grid PA design with triodes instead of screen-grid tubes with the high-power sensitivity and inherent instability problems. Gates used to be the low price leader and today, Harris is just the opposite. Nautel is a small closely held company, and that is the reason they are pulling ahead of the big boys.
I agree the older gates equipment was simple and easy to fix. A friend of mine, who has some knowledge of the situation, told me that Nautel is sell 4-5 transmitters for every Harris unit. I suppose in the end, it catches up, just like it did with GM and Ford.