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Which AM broadcast TX would you choose?




 
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K2GTM
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« on: November 09, 2021, 06:06:51 PM »

Hello all,

I hope this is the right forum to post this in...

I have the opportunity to get either an RCA BTA-1R1, or a Gates 250C-1.  I know they're two different animals in many ways (power output, tube compliment, etc.), but this will be my first broadcast transmitter that I'll convert to ham use.  I'm curious about your thoughts as to ease of modification, reliability, flexibility of operating band(s), etc.  Both are in fairly good physical and electrical shape. 

If you had to choose one, which would you choose?  (I'm tempted to take both, but I do need some room in my garage for other projects!)

Thanks!
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w9jsw
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2021, 07:03:04 AM »

The RCA for 160M and the Gates for 80M? Easier then making them agile.
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W7TFO
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2021, 07:34:21 AM »

Whichever one is the most complete and clean.

Trust me.

73DG
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KL7OF
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2021, 09:35:52 AM »

Trust Dennis.......
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K8DI
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2021, 09:45:10 AM »

At the moment I'm partial to the RCA; I have two of them and am converting one right now. I don't know about the Gates, in that I can't find any info on that model. Did you mean a BT250C? I found info on the BT250D, and it is considerably older than the RCA. It looks cool, more vintage, which may be a factor for you. That said, the older it is the more likely parts are harder to find, wire insulation has decayed, etc.  But, like Dennis said...whichever is more complete/closer to working condition. Everything I've run into that has slowed me down on my RCA conversion has been finding and fixing existing problems in the transmitter. Being cynical, I'd venture to say that NONE of the broadcast transmitters we bring home are in working condition when we get them, all have been mothballed (and decaying) for years/decades, and all were replaced for a reason...

Ed
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K2GTM
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2021, 11:39:18 AM »

Definitely a good point.  Both of them are said to be in working condition, and they look complete to me.  The Gates looks to be a bit "tinkered-with", and has a lousy paint job.  I've worked a bit on the 1R1 in the past so I'm partial to that one. 

There are a couple of photos of a beautiful Gates 250C-1 in this thread:

http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?topic=29404.0

Looks to be a rare one!
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W7TFO
WTF-OVER in 7 land Dennis
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2021, 07:28:26 PM »

Gates BC-1(G thru T) TX are probably the most plentiful, as the design was standardized back in the late 50s'. 

Before that, the 1E's &F's were of an older design, with cabinets twice the size of the later ones.

All ran 833 finals for the 500 to 1kW models, with 810's for the 250W jobs.

They are a whole world different than an RCA, from construction techniques to electronics design. 

The RCA's were generally more expensive, mostly due to the component cost, but the Gates soldiered on for many years without major design problems.

I babysat many of them over the years, from the day they were turned on, to the final minutes on the air.  It was, after all the years, a bit romantic to see tubes glowing and mod ron singing.

Hotrod audio processors and the diminished supply of good tubes spelled the end of cost-effective operation, as high +peak modulation was really hard on some parts.

Keep in mind, these boxes usually had to run 24/7/365.  A lot different than PTT.

73DG





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