AM Transmitter advice needed

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AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by bill57 on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:17 pm

OK everyone, I need help on getting a transmitter to transmit OTR to my radios. I've got about a dozen working radios and don't play them because of the garbage on todays AM.
I have checked out the websight for the SSTran AMT-3000 which seems great but I think is a little pricy for what it does. Does anyone have one of these and do they work well?
Any other alternatives. How about the talking house transmitters realtors use? I would like to get something that works without spending a bunch on it. All your comments and advice is certainly welcome and appreciated.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Doug K. on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:34 pm

I have an SSTrans and love it. My Kids bought me the kit for my birthday last year. I got the one with the premounted chip, assembly was pretty easy even with my tired old eyes. It works very well, does the whole house. Sound quality is very good. I do have to add that for it to work well it must be grounded (part of the antenna system). I used the radiator in my den for the ground.
You may also consider building your own tube transmitter - plans are here : http://6le8transmitter.googlepages.com/6LE8_instructions_v.1.1.pdf
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by bill57 on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:45 pm

Thanks, Doug. Sounds like it is what I'm looking for. I think I would also get it with the premounted chip. Websight on building one is pretty interesting too.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Timaaay! on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:58 pm

Hi Bill. I tried a Talking House transmitter about two years ago and wasn't too pleased with it. It's cost wasn't much less that the SStran but the audio quality was horrid. It seemed to be very low in modulation but even worse, the bandwidth was very limited. It was passable for voice but music sounded like I was listening to it through a cheap 3" speaker. I have about 15 console radios, some with nice big speakers, and the talking house made them sound like a cheap transistor radio. There was absolutely no bass whatsoever and the highs were completely missing.
I built a kit from a schematic I found on ARF. It wasn't too bad to build but the results, although much better than the talking house, were a bit disappointing. The range was very limited. It worked well, with fairly good audio up to about 25-30 feet. If your radios are in the same room or very close, it's not a bad unit except that it tends to drift a little bit and if you move it or move the antenna, it detunes the unit.
I finally broke down and got the SStran after reading some reviews and on the advice of a friend the had bought a Veronica transmitter as well as the SStran. He said it was "night and day" in favor of the SStran.
It was fairly easy to build (it took me just over 4 hours) but wow! The audio is indistinguishable from a broadcast station. The range (with the supplied wire antenna) easily covers my whole home (over 2600 sq. ft.) and I use it often. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that there was no power switch on it. I wound up drilling a hole and adding a mini toggle switch.
The only advice is that I would recommend getting one with the chip already installed unless you have a very small-tipped soldering iron, really steady hands, and a seeing-eye dog.. The chip is VERY small and the legs are REALLY close together.
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by bill57 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:38 am

Thanks alot to you also, Timaaay. You gave me a lot of info which is what I was looking for. From what you and Doug have said and I also have read some reviews on the SStran.....Looks like that unit is worth the money.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Timaaay! on Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:51 am

Hey Bill, I see that there is an assembled SStran on e bay if you're still interested. It's not my auction and I have no interest in it, just thought I might pass it along.

http://cgi.ebay.com/am-radio-transmitter-sstran-amt3000_W0QQitemZ330302914744QQihZ014QQcategoryZ4675QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by bill57 on Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:24 pm

Thanks, I will keep an eye on it. Would be nice to get one ready to go.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:25 pm

The problem with the Talking House transmitters is that they apparently have lousy QC. Some sound terrible, but some sound like an SSTRAN.

I have an SSTRAN, and I have a bunch of Talking House units. One of my TH's is a model 4 and sounds terrible. One is a 4.6 and sounds good. The others are the newest model (5.0) and sound excellent - as good as the SSTRAN. However the TH puts out a much stronger signal than the SSTRAN.

I bought a 5 pack of TH's on eBay for $160 including shipping. They were all new, consecutive serial numbers, 5.0 models and all sound great.

I also have a home brew 6888 transmitter from the ARF schematic. It works OK but does not have the frequency response of the TH or SSTRAN, it is quite muffled sounding.

If you are looking for a low cost FM transmitter, look no further than the Whole House FM transmitter. Small, light weight, stereo and sounds like a commercial FM station. Usually around $80 including shipping on eBay, but I just nabbed a 2nd one for $25. The only drawback with these is you are limited to 7 frequencies - 106.7, 106.9, 107.1, 107.3, 107.5, 107.7 and 107.9. However, you will likely find a clear frequency in that range.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Bob T on Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:57 pm

Purchased my SStran in June of 2005 . It has been powered up ever since.
Never any problem with it.
Did not have problem where ground has to be hooked up . Mine has just been floating since I got it.

Just ordered my second one. Now I can Broadcast 2 stations . One for Music , the other for OTR programs.

I enjoy streaming music all day re broadcast with my faithful SStran.

Bob T. Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by easyrider8 on Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:42 pm

Naddy

How do you tap into these to feed your audio in, do you have a schematic?

Dave
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:21 pm

Schematic? Don't need no steenking schematic. Laughing

They all have a normal input connector. The FM transmitter is a stereo mini, the Talking House is a mono mini, and the SSTRAN has separate left and right RCA type female connectors, like audio/video equipment, which are added together internally to make mono.

Just connect your MP3 player headphone out, or computer sound card headphone out and connect it to the input of the transmitter. Adjust the volume and tone on the source to get the best modulation without distortion and away you go.

I have a couple of old laptops, each feeding a Talking House transmitter. One is running The 1920s Radio Network (music 24/7 and OTR on Sat and Sun nights) on 630 kHz, the other is running AM 1710 Antioch for OTR 24/7 on 800 kHz.

The SSTRAN is being fed from an MP3 player with more music and OTR on random play on 580 kHz.

The FM transmitter is usually fed from my main desktop computer, with various internet stations and/or local MP3 files of all kinds of music on 106.9 mHz. Stuff that benefits from FM stereo. OTR/music generally sound the same on AM or FM.

Always something good on the radio in my house!

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by DA on Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:29 pm

I bought a Vectronics 1290K about 5 years ago when I had dial up and used it to broadcast streaming OTR from my computer on 1000khz. I have DSL now and discovered that the transmitter interfered with the DSL connection. I tried moving the transmitter to another room from where the DSL modem is located and connected it to a CD player and had no interefence with the DSL connection to the internet. Then I connected a 16ft headphone extension cable from the transmitter to the computer. The transmitter interefered with the DSL connection again. I aligned the transmitter to 1290khz and that stopped the interference, so I put the transmitter back in the room where the modem is located. I've always had problems with hum when connected to the computer but not when connected to a CD player. I haven't tried grounding the transmitter. I'd be willing to try the SSTran, if hum is not a problem with that unit. Does it come with an audio cable?

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:46 pm

I don't remember if my SSTRAN came with an audio cable or not. I don't think it did. You can get any cables/adapters you need at radio shack.

For hum, you might need a Ground Loop Eliminator cable, also available at Radio Shack. One of my laptop/Talking House combinations needs one, the other does not.

The Ground Loop Eliminator cable is like an ordinary audio patch cable (RCA male connectors on each end, red and white) but has as an added round section in the cable, sort of like like a top loaded antenna. I guess it is some sort of isolation transformer, so there is no direct connection between the 2 devices the cable connects to. It does work, completely eliminates the hum.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by easyrider8 on Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:58 pm

Interesting, I didn't know the AM Talking House had an audio input, Thanks

Dave
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:16 am

You must be thinking of the old model Talking House transmitter, the one that is basically a cassette player. You do NOT want this model.

The newer version has a RAM chip to record a 5 minute continuous looping message, OR you can flip a switch on the back panel, plug in an audio source, and broadcast "live".

Do a search on eBay for "Talking House Transmitter", or go to www.talkinghouse.com.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by DA on Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:20 am

Naddy69 wrote:
The Ground Loop Eliminator cable is like an ordinary audio patch cable (RCA male connectors on each end, red and white) but has as an added round section in the cable, sort of like like a top loaded antenna. I guess it is some sort of isolation transformer, so there is no direct connection between the 2 devices the cable connects to. It does work, completely eliminates the hum.

Is this what you mean?



The Vectronics transmitter only has one input RCA jack, so If I use it with the Vectronics transmitter I'll need a Y-Adapter, Phono Jacks to Stereo 1/8" Plug($5.49) at the computer end, The Ground Loop Eliminator cable($16.99) in the middle and a Phono (RCA) Y-Adapter ($3.99) at the transmitter end. If it would cure the hum, it would be worth the cost.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:46 am

Yep, that's it. I use it with adapters on both ends also, phono jacks to 1/8" plug.

If the hum is caused by a ground loop, this will eliminate it.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Timaaay! on Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:01 am

Are the new Talking House transmitters stereo? I had an older one and it was mono. And the frequency response was just awful.
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:44 am

No, not stereo. What would be the point?

But the newer models do sound great. I have a model 4 which sounds terrible, a 4.6 that sounds good, and 5 model 5.0 that sound great. In fact the 5.0 models sound identical to my SSTRAN, but at 1/4 the cost. I paid $130 for my SSTRAN (used, already assembled). I paid $160 including shipping for 5 TH model 5.0 transmitters. Yes I got lucky, but TH's are going for under $50 these days on eBay, since the real estate market is in the toilet and everyone is dumping them. Three years ago they were selling for $200 each.

It can still be a crap shoot to get a good TH, as the quality control has historically been terrible. Make sure you buy from someone who will allow you to return it. I returned 2 TH units (one for a refund, one was replaced). I now have a nice fleet of transmitters!

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Timaaay! on Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:14 pm

I didn't think they were stereo. Someone had said, on another site that they have an AM stereo version. I thought that was odd. Mine is in fact a 4.6 and the audio is just horrible. It sounds muffled and restricted. I changed a few caps in an attempt to get the audio better, but it still sounds like crap.
I may look into getting a newer one and give it a whirl. I love the SSTRAN, but would like at least one more transmitter and if the new TH's are good, it seems like a better deal. Thanks for the info.
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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:27 pm

Well, there may be a stereo version, but I have never seen or heard of one. Since it is made specifically to transmit voice, it seems unlikely.

Previously, the live transmit aspect of the TH seems like it was an afterthought. Now on their website, they actually have a "live transmit" package available. Perhaps since the real estate market is in the tank they are beginning to focus on other uses.

http://www.actradio.com/another_use/pricesheet_pf.htm

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by DA on Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:22 pm

Naddy69 wrote:Yep, that's it. I use it with adapters on both ends also, phono jacks to 1/8" plug.

If the hum is caused by a ground loop, this will eliminate it.

I bought the ground loop eliminator today, but it didn't stop the hum. The problem is the wall warts. I tried two of the adjustable types that I own and used them with an AC line filter. I get no hum when I use a battery pack. The AC adapter for the SStran AMT3000 must be well filtered as hum doesn't seem to be a problem.

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:22 pm

The SSTRAN has option jumpers to control whether the transmitter is grounded thru the audio cables and/or thru the AC line. If you don't ground it thru one or the other of these, you will need to connect the black ground wire to a ground of some kind, or you won't get much range.

The fact that you get no hum when using batteries indicates that you might have a ground problem. Perhaps the outlet you are using is not grounded properly?

Interesting that the loop eliminator did not solve it. It completely solved my hum problem with one of my TH transmitters. The other one has no hum problem. Which is interesting, as both transmitters and both (identical) laptops are all plugged into the same power strip, which has a 3 prong plug, grounded cable.

Ground/hum problems are notoriously difficult to solve. Have you tried sacrificing a chicken? Do you have a working knowledge of Latin? Razz

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by bowfin on Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:19 am

You guy's with your prefab xmitters...i built my 6888\6c4 for under $50 and it covers my block. Not to mention it's TUBES. Hey exray...how about showing off your deco looking job you just built. Man is that one sweet.







david

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Re: AM Transmitter advice needed

Post by Naddy69 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:52 am

Yeah, I've got a 6888 transmitter also. It's OK, but the TH or SSTRAN runs circles around it.

I paid $32 each including shipping for my TH transmitters. I got no complaints. Laughing

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