"I wanted to point out that the studio unit is not a modulator, but just a connection box with regulated 12V power supply. The modulator is inside the transmitter itself. "
First, thanks to ChezRadio for allowing me the opportunity to review this new entry into the FCC Certified Part15 AM Transmitter market (whew.. mouthful).
I am really hoping that what I got was typical of the TX package. Out of the box it included mounting hardware, enough Cat3 to get me going, the TX (natch), the studio modulator (woot! I love the separation of the mod from the tx), all the mounting hardware, and oh yeah - a surprisingly sturdy and easy to tune antenna.
In all seriousness, it took me a whopping hour to go from opening the box to listening to some tunes over the air.
The installation was very basic: The tx was nailed to my lanai in the back yard, the ground lug was fastened to a metal plate that holds the joists together, which was, in turn, grounded to a 8' ground rod. Nothing special.
I picked 1700 because it was temporarily open (daytime in San Jose - at night, forget it..), I stuck a little Sansa MP3 player on the mod box, and made it loop for testing. For music, I used some classic Tommy Dorsey, a shot of Led Zeppelin, some DJ Magic Mike, a Little Dead Kennedys, a spoken word concery bit from Henry Rollins, and a bit of Zeromancer. I figured that should cover most of the spectrum.
1/4 mile from the house, I was hearing everything like it was a commercial station. At .5 mile, it was still strong. It sort of dipped out a little at .75 miles because of the fact that I live on a hill, and I think it skipped a touch (no idea.. just seemed like a logical answer to me). At 1 mile, everything was still strong and listenable, but it would phase out to a little hiss every now and again. at 1 and 1/8 mile, it just quit.
I'm thinking if I really tuned this thing, it would probably push 1.5 miles pretty good in my area.
All in all, I give this little tx pretty high marks.
On a 1-5 scale:
Ease of Installation: 4 (it would have been 5 if it leaped from the box and installed itself:) )
Sound Quality: 4/5 - the bass was a little muddy in places - could have been my install.
Communication with Vendor: 5 (This guys is mega nice.. answers all questions)
Pics would be here, but seriously - all the stuff you need is at his site: www.chezradio.com