What happens next

It’s the middle of the night and the phone is ringing.  That is never good.  The transmitter is off the air.  You call the remote control and try to put the main transmitter back on the air.  No good.  The backup comes up, no problem.   Shaking off the sluggishness, you get dressed and head out the door.  The transmitter is about 30 miles away, but it’s in the middle of the night, so there is no traffic.  While driving, you are thinking of all the things that could be wrong.  The blower motor was sounding a little loud last trip.  The exciter has some reflected power.  The PA tube is two and a half years old.

Upon arrival, there are several overload lights lit, including the driver’s plate.  An investigation is in order.  You turn everything off and open the doors.  The trouble seems to be a bad IPA power supply.  There are spares on the parts shelf, so you put one in.  Put the transmitter into the dummy load.  You turn on the filament and the transmitter comes to life again.  Reset the overloads.

Broadcast Electronics FM35A transmitter ready to be turned on
Broadcast Electronics FM35A transmitter ready to be turned on

Now you are standing there looking at the plate-on button.  Was it really only the IPA or was that just a symptom?  Was there something else that took out the IPA power supply?  What will happen when I press the plate-on button?  Will it come on normally or go BANG!  I hate BANG!  By the way, my tradition in a situation like this, if on a mountain top somewhere, I go outside and pee.  I give the situation one more run through the mental checklist, then come back inside and press the button.

Broadcast Electronics FM35A transmitter high voltage on button
Broadcast Electronics FM35A transmitter high voltage on button

Please excuse the blurry picture, it is hard to take a picture of yourself turning on a transmitter…

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5 thoughts on “What happens next”

  1. I think peeing on the plate supply would make one go AAAAARGH! then expire, which seems worse than BANG!

  2. Okay. Good point. I sense an idea that should be passed on to Mythbusters. I know, I know. They’ve done electric fences and the third rail on an electric train line. But a high voltage transmitter plate? That would definitely test the maxim of “There’s a fine line between ‘that didn’t work’ and ‘OH HELL YEAH!'”.

  3. That is a fun transmitter site I was there for twenty three years, know those BE’s well.
    Keep the boxes clean and the AC’s running. Keep a eye on the nitrogen and never change the air filters with the B+ on and you will be just fine. Those transmitters now are more stable now than when if first started there. be careful have fun.

  4. Editor note: I strongly suggest you call Broadcast Electronics and have a factory rep help you with this problem. That transmitter is still supported and it is much better to talk with them than to seek information from random strangers on the internet.

    Ed, since you know be’s well I have a be 10 t, plate voltage has gone from 6 kv to 10 kv,
    single phase, xmtr.
    I replaced c2 and c3 and L3
    worked well for 2 weeks and now both caps are swollen and its back up to 10k. Running on low power to keep 125 amp breaker from overheating. Suggestions?

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