If it was your Am station what would you do >>?

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If it was your Am station what would you do >>?

Hey, guys ever wish you had a do-over or a looking glass into the future?

Hi I am Joe the Radio DOOD KOIW AM 1680 Parkersburg, Iowa 

I am one of the newest stations around these forums but I would like to think one of the most enthusiastic as well. I really appreciate feedback from all you guys who been there done that! 

I have three questions that I want to ask the group and get some advice from if you can help out I know it will save me time and money and hurt..!!

1. I have radio DJ and now I have Zara radio but don't know what's the best one without months or years of experience so would rather ask folks what's the best per features ease of use and likeability?


2. best performance per Height for a Hamilton transmitter. I have it on a 10 ft rigid steel gas pipe I picked up at a lumber yard right now. It's ungrounded and gets out all over town covers about 80% of my town Parkersburg, Iowa of about 2500 people.  Here's my exact location you can see I live south of town near a huge open farmland to the south of me.


3. How long radials should I use I figured 234 divided by the frequency of 1.680 MHZis 139ft divided by 2= 69.4 ft so my radials should be 69 ft roughly, and I plan to use a ground from the hamilton to one ground rod than bury the 69ft radials not connected to the common ground so the fcc cannot say I have the radial field as part of the ground so much as just a reflector and not a radiator..? I plan on using RFI chokes on my ground wire as well to show I am not using it as a radiator..!!!


Format is a mix of old time radio theater 80/90's music and PSA's and news weather and radio trade buy sell want call in show,

Any help with any of these questions would be awesome guys.

Joe the radio dood

KOIW 1680 




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For the radial system you can

For the radial system you can leave it connected to the common ground rod, I get excellent results with that same setup. However, you will not be able to keep the Rangemaster elevated with any ground wire and still stay legal to the letter. To be completely legal you'd have to have the transmitter no more than 2 feet above ground level.

I have always used Zara Radio for my automation software, I've tried others but have never found one that works as easily and flawlessly as Zara.

I echo Mighty1650's words.

I echo Mighty1650's words.

I would experiment with radials.  You don't need a 1/4 wavelength length for a short radiator - you can try 10-20 feet per radial.  It saves a lot of wire & doesn't require a lot of space.   You might want to check the ground conductivity for your area - it it's favorable, then you might not need them at all.

From KDX

Hello Joe the RadioHAM -- it was good to meet you at the ALPB meeting.

With all three of your questions you are way ahead of me even though you are new and I've been on the air for 10 years!

I  have been using Zara for quite awhile and it has done a great job. I very much intend to install and try RadioDJ out of curiosity, but haven't done it yet. I personally like to try everything so I have direct knowledge about what can be done.

Have never had a Rangemaster nor a transmitter on an elevated pole, but I absolutely have proven for myself that radials do FAR MORE in terms of range than a ground rod. I have written about this a lot and plan to experiment with different sized radials, but right now only know what's written by other people.

Carl Blare

Radials will certainly

Radials will certainly improve your ground plane if you have poor soil conductivity.  If it's good (as mine was), they made little difference.

"It's ungrounded and gets out

"It's ungrounded and gets out all over town covers about 80% of my town Parkersburg, Iowa of about 2500 people..."

That dumbfounds me, I have mine ungrounded on the roof and it only covers a few blocks like that to a car radio, even less on a portable hand held radio. Basically a few blocks away on three sides I'm surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.. why wouldn't I acheive such ranges ungrounded?

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

Automation software

I am still new at this and still learning. Hopefully I will ALWAYS be still learning. I tried RadioDJ at first and it just seemed too complicated for me. I'm sure I didn't give it a fair chance and it might be great software. But then I tried Zara and it just worked. I'm sure it does 20 times more than what I use it for but it was simple enough to allow me to get several play lists up and running with little effort, so I am sticking with it, and eventually will get into the more advanced stuff it does. 

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

What I Did

Radioham asked "If it was your Am station what would you do ?"

Avoid an elevated installation, a ground mounted over radials installation works for me.

What I did was install twelve 10 foot long radials connected together at the base of the transmitter connected to the ground of the transmitter.  Since my transmitter does not have an internal loading coil there is one installed colinear with the vertical  radiator.  Power and audio are supplied by means of a buried cable.

The transmitter is running a  <100 mW DC final input power and the total length of the transmission line, ground lead, and antenna is 3 meters.  Out of band emissions are down at least 35 dBc.  The installation is intended to meet the requirements of 15.219 and I don't worry about questions regarding elevated mounting and rationalizing if elevating is legal or not since my install is not elevated and such a debate with myself would be moot.

Maybe more and longer radials would help but I am happy with what I have..




I know what an efficient radiator does with a connected groundplane field of radials but as far as a out of tune ineffcient antenna thats barely measureable down to khz doesnt behave the same as a full radiated antenna system. If you look at a walkie talkie it has a compromised antenna and yet we can use it on cb on 2m or 440 and using a crappy rubber ducks what works the best with this kind of crappy antenna .. ((HEIGHT) and that's all have you ever heard of a contact between another state and a microwatt kids walkie talkie >>??< i am gonna say no... never happened yet we build our radials out like it's gonna behave like the big boys .. (WHEN WE START THINKING LIKE A WALKIE TAKIE) we will get out better and quit fooling ourselves its got to do with pure line of sight and nothing to do with factor tricks that only work well with tons of power..   Height location location location and did I mention location away from objects that absorb your  big old rf micro peanuts of power




AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

CB and AM have very little to

AM has very little to no line of sight characteristics. Though CB certainly has a mixture of both groundwave and line of sight.

Well... since AM does have

Well... since AM does have difficulty penitrating buildings and even tree leaves tend to suck up rf, I would suggest it certainly does have some line of sight charicturistics.

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

More Antenna Talk

It is no doubt obvious but no body has mentioned it so I'll point out that the antenna of a licensed AM station being the entire tower at higher than 100-feet is BOTH ground-mounted AND elevated since it reaches from the earth level right up into the sky.

With the much shorter part 15 medium wave antenna, whether it sits at the ground, or is held somewhat higher up, it is only able to grab a small fraction of what a full height tower achieves.

The fiddling over which is better goes on year after year being only talk.

When is somebody going to prove it one way or the other?

Carl Blare

I think a lot of it has to do

I think a lot of it has to do with grounding and your local ground conductivity. I found with an ungrouded or poorly grounded system that height would make a world of difference. I also found with an elaborate enough grounding system the signal would ultimately out preform the elevated install. This all gets thrown out of course if the elevated installation is properly grounded, in which case prepare for double digit milage in coverage.

Basically I found if your transmitter is high up enough you can somewhat, if not effectively, make up for poor grounding.

I Buy It

Mighty 1650 has said:  "Basically I found if your transmitter is high up enough you can somewhat, if not effectively, make up for poor grounding."

The reason I believe that is because so many people have reported excellent results with high ungrounded medium wave installations!

Carl Blare

"Basically I found if your

Mighty, you said: "Basically I found if your transmitter is high up enough you can somewhat, if not effectively, make up for poor grounding."

Curious what you mean; How high before it starts to compare to performance of a grounded ground install?

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

Carl, I have not ever

Carl, I have not ever observed any (except one person) ever reporting successful range with elevated ungrounded installs.. Have I missed some reports?

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

Two I Think

Rich Powers looking to verify:  "Carl, I have not ever observed any (except one person) ever reporting successful range with elevated ungrounded installs.. Have I missed some reports?"

I've seen two people say that... Tim in Bovey has his Rangemaster or maybe it's a Procaster up in the attic window and Mighty 1650 just said what he said.

In our small part 15 community two witnesses are plenty.

Carl Blare

My memory is not the sharpest

My memory is not the sharpest.. I do recall Tim speaking of his attick install, but I don't recall him boasting any substantial range. As for Mighty just said.. I'm not sure what he meant.

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

Whole Town

Tim gets all over Bovey with his fully legal install.

Carl Blare

Ok, let me ask a different

Ok, let me ask a different way.. How can I too acheive multiple miles of Range with my Rangemaster raised in the air ungrounded? Because obviously I must be doing something incorrectly, because my signal barely makes it down the street without a ground.

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

I tell you what.. Nevermind,

I tell you what.. Nevermind, this really isn't worth the conflict. I have a hard time beleiving anyone can honestly say with a straight face that a ungrounded part 15 installation is capable of acheiving miles of range. I'm not insuating that the signals are not traveling that far, I just think accurate info is what should be provided.

Rich Powers Part15, Take 2..

Timinbovey has a Procaster

Timinbovey has a Procaster and he did have a Youtube video of his station.  It shows his audio processing and his studio along with the transmitter installed up high clamped somehow to the window.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

End80 has some great points

End80 has some great points and questions.

For antenna height, you just need to be above the tree and roof line.

Additionally End80s suspicions about range are correct, you will almost always have a better result with a grounded install than an ungrounded elevated installation. However, repspectable range of a mile or so can be achieved. (Entirely dicated by local soil conditions)

I was able to achieve phenomanal range with an elevated rangemanster mounted on a pole about 9 feet in the air, the range was unbelievable with an added radial system. Around 15 miles of coverage quickly showed me the reason why the FCC no longer allows elevated installations to have grounds. Removing the ground dropped my coverage to about 5 miles, I have since assumed my audio and power path must be acting as some sort of ground. My studio equipment is all grounded to both house ground and an added ground rod by the studio window.

For a lot of users, an ungrounded installation will serve them just fine. For users that want some serious range and have the space for a proper radial system a ground install is the way to go.

Good elevated installs

All that said, there are a handfull of elevated installtions I can think of that have some phenomenal range for a part 15.

DJCR 1670 San Antonio, TX 1.5 Miles or more

KLSR 1650 Rowlett, TX 1.5 miles or more (confirmed)

Liberty Radio (1670?) from somewhere up north. I've seen videos of their installation and coverage, they appear to cover most if not all of their town.

FWIW, my elevated install gets about 1-2 miles of good daytime coverage, about 5 miles of very faint but intelligable coverage.

Are you using a shielded

Are you using a shielded audio/power feed?

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Nope, just standard run of

Nope, just standard run of the mill telephone wiring.

Missed you at the latest ALPB

Missed you at the latest ALPB meeting....forgot all about it, LOL.  I'm Matt, the owner/operator of 1650 AM, Radio Free Connecticut.  We broadcast right around the Bridgeport/Stratford CT city line area.  Let me tell you how I run my setup. 

First, I transmit using a Talking House (aka I.AM) AM Transmitter, and included antenna.  At my location, the signal usually gets out a good ways....I think about 1500 feet or so. 

Second, I don't use any really special software to air my programs.  Usually, I just use my WinAmp Media Player, coupled with my music library, for music.  If I'm doing a talk show, I usually host it via phone on Blogtalkradio. 

Finally, I use my PC's built-in mic for a microphone.  This setup works great for me....just saying.  :)


Matt Boland

1650 AM, "Radio Free Connecticut"

Yep i get the same results as you ...

I love my Hamilton :) no magic...

Here's the best video on net advertising the Hamilton 





Rangemaster Sold but this is what AM audio quality is possible from one.Bob Hawkins Bob Hawkins88Add to Share More659 views Published on May 12, 2015

Hamilton Rangemaster AM1000 for sale near Indianapolis on 1610. I can ship (at buyer's expense) the transmitter, brackets, cable, power supply and antenna base (2-3 feet) but not the upper part of the antenna (a CB whip) but would highly prefer that the buyer come here and hear it in action and witness the great coverage first hand to avoid misunderstanding. Mounting it on the ground, even with a good ground, will not perform as well as being on the roof at 20' with no ground. FCC approved as long as you use it exactly as it is. The audio of this video was recorded from an AM receiver about 15' from the transmitter. It is possible to tell what song is playing nearly 6 miles away but understand that your results may vary--that it why I would prefer that the buyer witness it's capabilities first hand before buying.


AM 1680 KOIW Old Time

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