Low Power Transmitter Kit Sources FAQ


[Document Version: 1.01] [Last Updated: 11/12/96]

1. Introduction

Author : Rick Harrison
E-mail : hrick@world.std.com
Subject: Low Power Transmitter Kit Sources FAQ
Date : Sat, 6 Aug 1994

Here is a brief list of companies selling low power transmitter kits. Please send me information about any companies not listed, so that I can include them in future versions of this list.

Note to newcomers: to assemble these kits, you must be able to solder components onto a circuit board, and it helps if you know the difference between a resistor and a capacitor. If you haven't reached this stage of electronic know-how yet, consider buying some of the educational kits available from C&S Sales, 1245 Rosewood, Deerfield IL 60015, telephone 800-292-7711. Their electronic components course (item #ECK-10, $14.95) might be especially helpful to newbies.

When assembling radio circuit kits, I prefer to use narrow-diameter silver-bearing solder (Radio Shack #64-013) and a 15 watt soldering iron (64-2051). You may need a more powerful soldering tool for making antennas out of large-diameter wire, soldering really large connectors to a printed circuit board, etc., but the 15 W iron works fine for most kits and reduces the chances of over-heating transistors and other heat-sensitive components.

2. Ramsey Electronics

Ramsey Electronics
793 Canning Pkwy
Victor NY 14564
Tel: 716-924-4560

The FM-10A is an FM stereo transmitter kit ($34.95 plus shipping) with a few milliwatts of output power; it is based on the BA1404 integrated circuit.

Ramsey kits have well-written instruction manuals, and most of the circuit boards have lots of wide-open space which makes modifications easy. The company also has a good reputation for service. These factors make Ramsey kits a good choice for beginners, in my opinion.

Their AM transmitter kit (item #AM-1, $29.95) and their TV transmitter kit (item #TV-6, $27.95) might also be of interest; however, there is much room for improvement in the design of these two circuits. (Robert Myers of Ramsey Electronics tells me they do intend to release an improved version of the AM-1 kit at some point in the future.)

(From Len Rusnak)

To whom it may concern. I PERSONALLY would think twice about recommending Ramsey Electronics or even listing their name in any way. I PERSONALLY have had nothing but problems from them. The kit that I bought had numerous errors in the manual. The manual also was poorly written. Some parts were missing in the kit, and some parts were incorrect. After all that the kit does not function properely. But the most disturbing factor is the sense that NOBODY AT RAMSEY could give a care about these problems. They will not return phone calls or fax messages in a timely fashion. When I wanted to send a letter to the president of the company I phoned them to find out Mr. Ramsey's first name so I could address the letter. They said "I'm sorry, but I am not permitted to give out that information."!! I asked the person what they were hiding and they hung up on me!! Just some personal observations.

3. DC Electronics

DC Electronics
 O Box 3203
Scottsdale AZ 85271

The Improved Stereocaster is another FM stereo transmitter based on the BA1404 chip with a few milliwatts of output power ($29.95 plus $3.50 S&H). It has a smooth fine-tuning control which makes it easy to get on the exact frequency you want, and a voltage regulator for the BA1404 which improves stability. Documentation is not quite as lucid as Ramsey's.

4. Panaxis Productions

Panaxis Productions
 O Box 130
Paradise CA 95967-0130
(send $1 for catalog)
This company offers many interesting books and kits. The REB-1 kit is a 100 milliwatt transmitter for the upper end of the AM band ($34.95 plus shipping). The FMO kit ($75) is a high fidelity stereo FM transmitter kit with 2 to 20 milliwatts of output power. The FME-500, a half-watt mono FM transmitter with excellent technical characteristics, can be combined with their stereo generator to build a high-quality low power station (> $200 for the two kits).

Other items of interest include transmitters for the 1750 meter band; a 1-watt shortwave transmitter kit; and more powerful FM transmitters (available only for export to countries other than the USA).

Panaxis kits might not be suitable for absolute beginners; you should have a little experience in circuit assembly before you tackle these.

5. RadioActive Transmissions

   RadioActive Transmissions
   .O. Box 6714 Station A
   Toronto, Ontario
   Canada M5W 1X5
   Tel: (519) 974-0163 (10AM to 5PM EST)
   Fax: (519) 974-0165
   E-Mail: <a href="mailto:dbhatia@io.org">dbhatia@io.org</a>
   URL: <a href="http://www.io.org/~dbhatia/">http://www.io.org/~dbhatia/</a>
They make the Renegade FMII guitar transmitter kit. They also make one for bass guitar and singers. Not a kit (as such) but in case someone is looking through here with this in mind... here it is.

6. Supercircuits

13552 Research Blvd
Austin TX 78750
This company sells a low-power TV transmitter for channels 3 thru 6 which appears to be of high quality ($49.95 plus $4.50 S&H). For licensed radio amateurs, they also sell some ham TV transmitter kits with 1 to 2 watts peak output power that can be adapted for use on UHF channels 14 thru 19, and a linear amp for boosting the output of these transmitters.

7. Free Radio Berkeley

Free Radio Berkeley
1442 A Walnut St. #406
Berkeley, Ca. 94709
Tel: (510) 464-3041
Items listed in their advertisements include a 5 watt mono FM transmitter kit ($55 plus shipping), a 1/2 to 1 watt stereo FM transmitter kit ($50), plus kits for output filters, dummy loads, RF amplifiers, and antennas.

Some people who ordered kits from FRB have reported that they've waited a long time before receiving their kits. Others have said they had no problems when dealing with FRB.

FRB is spear-heading a movement to challenge the FCC's regulations and is trying to foster a low power broadcasting movement. Contact them for more info. (Internet: frbspd@crl.com)

8. North Country Radio

North Country Radio
PO Box 53, Wykagyl Station
New Rochelle NY 10804-0053
Tel: 914-235-6611
(send $1 for catalog)
Many TV-related items: a 50 milliwatt UHF transmitter with crystal controlled frequency ($78); a "video pallete" to create special effects; a switcher that does cross-fades and wipes; and upconverters that will take channel 3 video from a VCR and shift its frequency up to any UHF channel 25 thru 70. For licensed radio amateurs, they have a line of more powerful UHF TV transmitters.

With a 100 foot range and a price tag of $62.50, their FM stereo transmitter is not exactly competitive, but it is interesting from a technical point of view. Their stereo infrared transmitter and receiver could be used to build a difficult-to-trace studio-to-transmitter link.

9. Xandi Electronics

Xandi Electronics
Box 25647
Tempe AZ 85285
Tel: 800-336-7389
Tel: 602-894-0992
The XFS108 kit ($41.95) is an FM stereo transmitter, probably based on the BA1404. Their advertisements give no specifics.

10. Tentronix

3605 Broken Arrow
Coeur d'Alene ID 83814
Tel: 208-664-2312
Another BA1404-based FM stereo transmitter kit ($24).

11. Progressive Concepts

Progressive Concepts
1434 N. Mills Ave.
Claremont CA 91711
RF amplifiers, FM transmitters and stereo generators, components for RF circuits and more.

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