The Crown FM2000A transmitter

I had the opportunity to work on one of these recently, thought I’d post a few observations.  The transmitter itself comes in three parts, the FM100 which serves as the exciter and driver, the PA2000, which holds the RF amplifiers and combiner and the PS2000 with supplies the DC voltages to run the PA.

Crown FM2000A transmitter running at half power
Crown FM2000A transmitter running at half power

That configuration has some advantages and disadvantages. First, it takes up much more rack space than the comparably powered Nautel VS2.5.  Second, because the unit does not come with slide-out rack rails, each part needs to be removed from the rack for servicing, which makes things a little difficult when working alone as the PS2000 weighs quite a bit.  As far as the rest of the design, the PA2000 is very modular, all of the PA modules, controller card, fuse board, and RF combiner easily come out of the chassis for service.

Crown FM2000A top cover removed
Crown FM2000A top cover removed

This unit had been in service at WBEC in Pittsfield, MA for an undetermined amount of time. As such, there was quite a bit of dirt and bugs inside the PA chassis. I used an air blower to clean everything out. Checked the fans for bad bearings, checked all RF connections for signs of overheating, etc.  I also cleaned out the power supply and rinsed all of the air filters.

Crown FM2000A front cover off
Crown FM2000A front cover off

My other minor complaint is the power adjust pot is under the front cover.  When making adjustments and such, the LED display indicates operating constants based on a little LED light next to the display.  The legend is on the cover, which has been removed to adjust the power.  Minor thing, but slightly annoying, nonetheless.

There are four RF modules in the PA2000, each one generating 500 watts.  This particular transmitter has a bad device in PA3.  When the transmitter is running the DC fault LED flashes and the PA3 reading shows no current.  The device is a BLF278, which is a fairly common, inexpensive RF MOSFET.  According to the factory tech, they can be replaced in the field provided one can solder.  After replacement, there is no special tune-up or anything needed as the module is wide-band.

Crown PA2000 500 watt RF module
Crown PA2000 500 watt RF module

The four modules are combined and then sent to the RF output filter which has the low pass harmonic filter and directional coupler.

Crown PS2000 output combiner
Crown PS2000 output filter

It is a pretty simple transmitter, no bells or whistles or fancy things like IP connectivity.  Overall, it seems to be well-made, robust, modular, and efficient.  The remote control interface is via DB-25 connector on the back of the PA2000.

I did not get a chance to hear it on the air, I was just cleaning and testing the RF sections.  The exciter is an FM100 transmitter, which I had to change frequencies on.  I found that to be self-explanatory.

It would be fun to compare this to some of the other broadband FM amplifiers like PTEK and Armstrong.

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7 thoughts on “The Crown FM2000A transmitter”

  1. Hi am having trouble with cooling fans for crown fm 2000 amplifier and power supply, they have failed to run

  2. Do yourself a favor and replace the power supply muffin fans with ball bearing AC powered ones. If nothing else, add a themo cut out from local furnace shop in series with the 12V “on” switch, mounted on the power supply heatsink. That way if the power supply fans fail (OEM ones fail all the time) it will protect power supply transistors (IGBT’s) from exploding.

    The 28V fan power supply seems to blow diodes a lot (probably from failing muffin fans). If you use AC fan it take some load off the 28V supply. The PA deck fans never seem to fail.

    Also the Crown PA 2000 design does not use balancing resistors, so under-drive or RF transistors that are not matched will just lead to more transistor failures. This design does not like to be pushed. If the PA voltages stay at 38V or lower it will be much more reliable.

  3. Hi,
    I have one crown Tx Model FM100T SN 053976 with faulty transformer ( please send me transformer specification if you have .

    Thanks and Kind Regards

    Eliab Kemboi

  4. Yeah I’d very very very gladly take one of these over a PTek or Armstrong. 🙂

    Then again, I’d take a rusty old ACME Anvil over a PTek. The Armstrong solid state rigs are usually built kinda weird but generally okay.


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