The Nautel ND-5 transmitter

This transmitter is about 10 years old. In ten years of service, there have been no failures.  Not one transistor has gone bad.  It is connected to a three-tower directional array on 920 KHz.

WGHQ Nautel ND-5 transmitter
WGHQ Nautel ND-5 transmitter

Sadly, this model transmitter is no longer made.  They were built like tanks, heavy gauge steel cabinets, well-designed, well-grounded circuit boards.

It is dirt simple; RF power MOSFETs on drawers, combined and tuned with the output network.  A power supply, exciter, and simple control logic and nothing else.  No serial port to plug a computer into, no ethernet ports, no digital read-outs, fancy efficiency optimizing computers, etc.  In the meantime, it does what it is supposed to do, stay on the air.

I was reading, with interest, the idea of “energy star” transmitters.  I think that good radio station engineers already take electrical efficiency into account when buying a new transmitter.   That being said, electrical efficiency is not the only measure of efficiency an engineer should be considering.  Reliability, redundancy, and repairability must also be considered.  If the station spends an inordinate amount of time on the old backup transmitter while the new, super-efficient main transmitter is off line is counterproductive.  Not to mention the time wasted troubleshooting which could be better spent on something else.

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2 thoughts on “The Nautel ND-5 transmitter”

  1. Please tell us the function of the former Collins 20-V. Looks like a neat conversion to something. A Phasor perhaps?

  2. Don: That is the original phasor (from 1959), designed by Collins to match the original 20-V transmitter. It is in great shape, I’ll have to snap some pictures of the insides.

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