PCS Electronics PCS Electronics - home page PCS Electronics

English version.Versión en espanol.Nederlandse Versie.Versão em português.Deutch.French.Italiano.

Our Products
Our Guides
What's new

Visa, Amex and other cards accepted, protected with SSL!


Secured by SSL!

 

SAM3, the best radio automation software out there!

This page deals with the problems of setting up a radio station. Our (MAX) kits will be used as an example, although others could be used as well. First you need to establish what kind of an area do you want to cover.

 

Range

Range is limited by:

a) Optical visibility. This can sometimes be up to 40 miles, if you are looking out from a mountain top.

b) Interference from other stations on the same or close-by frequency.

c) Transmission power. Even if optical visibility is 20 miles, 1W probably won't get you more than a mile. If 50 Watt ERP is used, it's very likely that 20 miles of range will be achieved. This is because 50 Watt ERP is ample power to propagate a strong signal 20 miles. If 1 Million Watts of power is used, it is very likely that signal will only propagate just over 20 miles. This is because the range is limited as described in point a) above.

Assuming the antenna has a clear view, the frequency is clear and an average (poor) quality portable receiver is used, typical transmission power vs range figures are as follows:

Power watts ERP Range (miles)
1W approximately 1-2 (1.5-3km)
5W approximately 3-4 (4-5km)
15W approximately 6 (10km)
30W approximately 9 (15km)
100W approximately 15 (24km)
300W approximately 30 (45km)

It is not normally possible to have hundreds of miles of range on FM broadcast band (87.5MHz to 108MHz), even if terrain is perfectly flat and you have your antenna on the top of the mountain and you're using killowatts of power. It is occasionally possible due to special atmospheric conditions, such as inversion etc. Such special conditions happen rarely and only last for a very short time so it is not possible to rely upon them in any way. In order to cover so many square miles it is necessary to setup a grid of transmitters and link them via wireless audio links, making sure they do not transmit at the same frequency as they could interfere.

There is no difference in range between transmitters of different manufacturers, provided they're operating at the same power level. The difference can show in audio quality, reliability, life span and spurious emissions.

What is needed

First, we have provided a number of prepared combo packages for you, explaining and containing everything you need to start broadcasting immediately. These complete packages can be reviewed here.

Here is a list of things that you need to start your own radio station:

1.) Transmitter. This can be any of our transmitters, depending on your budget and your target range:

- If you just want to cover your property (house, apartment, yard), think about PCI MAX. This transmitter is a PC card, you insert it into your PC (just like any other computer board) and it turns your PC into a FM radio station.

- If you want a higher quality stand alone solution, think about our boxed standalone transmitters: Cyber MAX LCD or Cyber MAX FM. You can still use PC as audio source for these transmitters.

- Even cheaper are our FM exciter boards (mono and with no enclosure). They are assembled or in a KIT form. They can be upgraded to stereo with any of our stereo encoders.


2.) Antenna. PCI MAX comes with a rudimentary small handy antenna. All others require a special antenna. Antenna needs to be placed as high as possible, preferably on a roof or a highly elevated tower. Several types of antenna exist, some radiate in all directions, others are more or less directional. Check our antenna guide.
3.) Coaxial cable transfers the energy from your transmitter to the antenna. RG-58 and RG-213 can be used, with RG-213 being better. They can be purchased at our website under accesories on the left. BELDEN is the best, but its price is only justified for long runs of the cable.
4.) Power supply. PCI MAX and Cyber MAX LCD do not require this as it comes built-in. Other units usually require mains power supply.

5.) Audio equipment. This can be a limiter & compressor, tape decks, mixing tables, cd players or even a PC. Note that it is not necessary to use PCI MAX in order to use your PC as audio source. In fact even professional radio station use PC's today to stream their audio.

 

Example - CYBER MAX LCD

This is our most popular boxed unit. Probably for its simplicity and features at a great price. It has LCD display so it is easy to control frequency and use the unit. It also has a built-in power supply so no extra cables and boxes. Another strong point is the optional built-in RDS encoder (for US; This is a system which makes it possible to send text messages to your radio receiver). Its hard to beat this package on features and price.

CYBER MAX LED STEREO

Cyber max LCD, stereo FM transmitter at an affordable price, and Comet antenna, a perfect companion for this transmitter

ADVANTAGE
Price and features, optional RDS, built-in mains power supply, easy to handle and less cables.

DISADVANTAGE
Hardly any, if you want more power you need to consider stronger model

RANGE
It is never easy to predict range. Check this to get some idea. Basically depends a lot on your antenna location.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?
- Cyber max LCD with power supply and optional RDS
- Comet antenna

WHAT ELSE WILL YOU NEED AND IT WASN'T INCLUDED?
- Coaxial cable (50 ohm coaxial cable RG213, RG58 or Belden - best), keep it short, you can get it HERE.
- SWR meter to tune your antenna (optional). See accesories on the left.


NOTE
It is a good idea to use PC as audio source and run some kind of audio processing software to form a cheap limiter/compressor (MLB4 or Winamp plugins, such as rocksteady).

HOT TIP:
Save 5-10% off product price by promoting our website. Here's how.

 

 

Check out the remaining guide sections for additional information about antenna designs, power supplies, audio equipment and more. You can order everything discussed above by choosing an appropriate product category in the first selection box (Our products) in the frame on the left.

Problems or questions? CONTACT US

 

Comparison table of our transmitters

Comparison of our boxed units

Type Power Stereo SWR protection RDS encoder Power Setting power 19" rack enclosure Tuning Stability RF filters
Cyber max LCD
5-7W
-
12V or mains
Internal trimmer
-
Easy tune
PLL
Cyber max FM
15W
-
12V or mains
Potentiometer - very easy
None
PLL

 

Comparison of our KIT units

Type Power Stereo SWR protection Antenna connector Power Setting power LCD display Tuning Stability RF filters
AM MAX II
5-10W
-
-
BNC
15-24V
Trimmer
None
PLL
MAX PRO I
5-7W
With SE3 or SE4
-
BNC
12-14V
Trimmer
Easy tune
PLL
MAX PRO II
5-7W
With SE3 or SE4
-
BNC
12-14V
Trimmer
-
Easy tune
PLL
MAX PRO III
15W
With SE3 or SE4
BNC
12-15V
Potentiometer or via LCD
None
PLL

 

 

Problems or questions? CONTACT US

Discuss this article in our Forum!

 

.

 

Copyright © 1997,2005 by PCS Elektronik d.o.o. All rights reserved.
Revised: Regularly


Layout & shop engine by BLUEWARE LC