Continental 816R2 still chugging along

Had to do some work at a transmitter site today and had to put the backup transmitter on the air for a few minutes.

WFLY backup transmitter, on the air

These were good units in their day and many continue on. This transmitter was new in 1986 and served as the main transmitter until 2015 or so. This unit still has the tube driver (4CX250B) which tended to use a set of tubes every year or so. The PA tube normally lasted 4 years or so.


I miss the analog meters sometimes. There is something satisfying watching all the meters come up together when the plate on button is pushed.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

10 thoughts on “Continental 816R2 still chugging along”

  1. The ubiquitous BE FX50/30 exciter!
    I’ve had those on an AEL FM25KD, Gates FM20H3, and an RCA BTF20E1.

  2. The FX-50 is a great exciter! We put that in a few years ago when the 802D stopped working; the final went bad and the device is unobtainium.

  3. I also appreciate analog meters. Especially when accompanied by a satisfying ‘clunk’ from within!

  4. That was one of the very first FM sites I ever saw, way back in 1997. It is also my oldest picture of a transmitter on my website. (Check it out, it’s still there.) I was up there in the Heldebergs for the very first time, as an intrepid traveler. I happened to see a car there, knocked on the door, and the engineer, Roger, gave me a tour. He had been running the old Rockwell transmitter and while I was there switched it back to this rig. Was very cool to see. Great to see it’s still there. What is the main these days?

  5. A great transmitter! I have one of these on the air at CIMX, it also has the dual 4CX250B’s. I agree there is a lot of satisfaction in seeing those meters all coming up, especially just after performing a repair.

  6. Great Transmitter have one here at WEZN with the solid state IPA.
    The transmitter never fails to come on when needed, i do run it every week for a hour.

  7. Lorne, what needed to be repaired? I believe, in 36 years, we had one SCR gating card go bad. That was in year one or two. After that, nothing ever broke.

    Ed, sounds like you have a regular maintenance schedule. What a good idea!

  8. Hi Paul;

    I had the same experience with 4X250B driver tubes lasting only a year in in a 1950’s era TV transmitter. On a whim I tried a 4CX250R.
    The tube life tripled and the linearity got better and more stable too. Of course the linearity doesn’t matter in an FM transmitter. RF parts still lists the 4CX250R/7580W.


  9. Paul, I can’t recall the part numbers (I don’t have the manual in front of me right now), but the main issues I’ve experienced with the 816R include the capacitor at the top of the cooling chimney above the main tube that I’ve had go. I’ve also had feed-through caps go and repaired a few SCR cards over the years. Another repair which was a little unexpected was once the time delay relay which activates after the filament is turned on, but delays 30 seconds before the plate can be turned on (it triggers the “ready” circuit) went bad and would not trigger the ready circuit. Otherwise it is a very reliable unit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *