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Broadcast Electronics Inc.

4100 North 24th Street, Quincy, Illinois 62305 USA • Phone (217) 224-9600 • Fax (217) 224-9607 • www.bdcast.com • bdcast@bdcast.com

INSTALLATION GUIDE FOR BROADCAST ELECTRONICS


LOW / MEDIUM POWER AM TRANSMITTERS

This document has been created as a planning guide for the installation of a new Broadcast
Electronics low- or medium-power AM transmitter. The installer who follows the steps listed
here will be rewarded with more reliable operation and a longer transmitter life.

1. IN WHAT WAY ARE BE AM TRANSMITTERS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER BRANDS?

Most AM transmitter manufacturers use a conventional power supply consisting of an AC


transformer followed by a rectifier/filter. Most of these power supplies are unregulated.

BE transmitters use multiple switching power supplies for redundancy. These supplies are
connected directly to the AC line and accept a 196-252 VAC input voltage. An input power
transformer is not used.

A major advantage to this method is automatic line voltage regulation, because variations in
the AC line voltage are compensated for in the power supplies, including voltage differences
between phases. The lack of a transformer in the power supply also prevents distortion and
phase shift of low frequency AM audio caused by transformer reluctance. However, extra care
must be taken with the connections to both the AC line and ground, and a power line urge
arrestor must be correctly installed. If these steps are not followed, the user may experience
degraded reliability of the power supplies due to external AC voltage surges or lightning strikes.

2. AC SERVICE REQUIREMENTS:

The regulated power supplies in BE solid state AM and FM transmitters accept an input AC
voltage of between 196 and 252 VAC, 50/60 Hz. The internal voltage regulation eliminates the
need for an external AC voltage regulator in all but the most exceptional cases. These
transmitters also incorporate automatic shut-down circuits which will turn off the transmitter
in the event of extended over- or under- voltage conditions. The most efficient and reliable
operation will be achieved with the use of nominal AC line voltages that fall in the center of
this range.

Acceptable power input configurations:

A. SINGLE PHASE 240 VAC WITH NEUTRAL.


B. SINGLE PHASE 240 VAC WITHOUT NEUTRAL.
C. THREE PHASE 240 VAC DELTA
D. THREE PHASE 240 OR 380 VAC WYE (STAR)

Unacceptable power input configurations:

A. THREE PHASE OPEN DELTA. Open delta power circuits utilize two effective phases
operating against ground to create a third “phantom” phase. They are advantageous

©2005 Broadcast Electronics Inc. All rights reserved.


Specifications subject to improvement or change without notice.
Broadcast Electronics and the BE logo are registered trademarks of Broadcast Electronics Inc.
All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
for electrical utilities because they require only three conductors and two transformers.
But open delta circuits are inappropriate for the operation of transmitters or other
sensitive electronic equipment. The voltage and phase imbalances and distortion of the
AC waveform inherent in these systems can cause significant and frequent damage to
the connected equipment. For this reason, like most transmitter manufacturers, BE
does not warranty any damage caused to its products as the result of operation with
open delta AC circuits.

A. HOW TO CONNECT SINGLE PHASE AC SERVICE:

The two hot conductors of a single phase balanced (split phase) 208-240 VAC service should be
connected to the two AC service terminals inside the transmitter. The neutral is not used, and
should NOT be connected. Do NOT connect the neutral to the ground terminal or any other
chassis connection.

B. HOW TO CONNECT 208-240 VAC THREE PHASE AC SERVICE:

The three hot conductors of a three phase 208-240 VAC service should be connected to the
three AC terminals in the transmitter. In a 240 VAC installation, the transmitter’s internal
power supplies are connected between phases. The neutral is not used, and should NOT be
connected. Do NOT connect the neutral to the ground terminal or any other chassis
connection.

Neutral not
connected

Station
Ground

Neutral connected
to ground terminal

Incorrect Installation of AC Neutral Correct Installation of AC Neutral

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C. HOW TO CONNECT 208-240 VAC THREE PHASE AC SERVICE:

In the 380 VAC configuration, the transmitter’s power supplies are connected from phase to
neutral instead of from phase to phase. For this reason, it is necessary to connect the AC
neutral inside the transmitter to the designated neutral terminal (TB2 # 6 in the AM10A). Do
NOT connect the neutral to the ground terminal or any other chassis connection.

The acceptable AC voltage range is 339 to 437 VAC.

Note that only a 380 VAC wye may be used, and that a delta with either a grounded leg or
grounded center tap cannot be adapted to a BE transmitter without the use of an external
transformer.

Neutral connected
to TB2 #6

3. AC MAINS DISCONNECT SIZES AND WIRE SIZES:

TRANS. MODEL DISCONNECT SIZE AMPERAGE DRAWN WIRE SIZE


AM-500A 20 Amp fused 9.5 Amps # 14 copper, THNN
disconnect or equivalent
AM-1A 30 Amp fused 18 Amps # 10 copper, THNN
disconnect or equivalent
AM-2.5E 75 Amp fused 40 Amps #3 copper, THNN or
disconnect equivalent
AM-5E 60 Amp fused 53 Amps #6 copper, THNN or
disconnect equivalent
AM-6A single phase 125 Amp fused 90 Amps # 2 copper, THNN or
disconnect equivalent
AM-6A three phase 65 Amp fused 52 Amps per phase # 6 copper, THNN or
disconnect equivalent
AM-10A single phase 225 Amp fused 150 Amps 250 MCM copper,
208-240 VAC disconnect THNN or equivalent
AM-10A three phase 150 Amp fused 100 Amps per phase 2/0 copper, THNN or
208-240 VAC disconnect equivalent

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4. COAXIAL CABLE TERMINATIONS:

MODEL TERMINATION
AM-500A Type N female chassis mount connector
AM-1A Type N female chassis mount connector
AM-2.5E (US Version) Clamp and lug for ½”or 7/8” coaxial cable
AM-2.5E (EU Version) 7/16” DIN chassis mount connector
AM-5E (US Version) Clamp and lug for ½”or 7/8” coaxial cable
AM-5E (EU Version) 7/16” DIN chassis mount connector
AM-6A Clamp and lug for ½”or 7/8” coaxial cable
AM-10A 1-5/8” EIA flange

The photo below at left shows the proper method of connecting 1/2” and 7/8” coaxial cables
inside the 2.5 to 6 kW transmitters. The AM-10A is provided from the factory with a 1-5/8”
termination, as shown below at right..

AM2.5E & AM5E AM-10A


(U.S. Versions)

5. EARTH GROUND CONNECTION INSIDE THE TRANSMITTER CABINET:


The transmitter cabinet must be connected to the station’s earth ground by means of a
substantial low impedance conductor. There are two options for an earth ground connection
inside the transmitter cabinet:

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A. A 2 inch or wider copper ground strap may be routed along or beneath the floor,
and enter the transmitter at the base of the cabinet. No specific termination
point is provided, but the strap may be secured to any convenient cabinet
hardware at a number of possible locations.
B. A 4/0 gauge insulated cable may be routed overhead to the transmitter cabinet,
and attached to the ground lug located next to the main AC connection. The
ground cable should follow as closely as possible the route of the AC cable. This is
the preferred method of grounding the transmitter, because any AC surge between
the AC line and earth ground will see an equal impedance on both routes, which
will reduce the possibility of an instantaneous current flow between the two
conductors. It also avoids such currents running through the transmitter cabinet
from top to bottom, which can induce currents into circuits mounted close to the
walls of the cabinet.

Ground Terminal At Top of Cabinet Ground Strap Entrance at Bottom of Cabinet

6. INSTALLING AN EARTH GROUND:


An earth ground should be established outside the transmitter building, and located as close as
possible to the service entrance. This may consist of an array of four 8 ft. copperclad steel
ground rods which are separated by at least 10 ft. (3 meters) and connected together with 4/0
cable or copper strap. Another effective earth ground method, especially for larger transmitter
facilities, is a perimeter ground system. This consists of a large cable or copper strap which
surrounds the foundation of the building, and which is bonded to copper clad ground rods at
regular intervals around the building.

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7. ESTABLISHING A REFERENCE GROUND POINT INSIDE THE TRANSMITTER BUILDING:
A single point reference ground should be designated at the AC service entrance of the
transmitter building. This is the only point where all ground connections will meet. The
purpose of this method is to establish a single common ground location for the installation,
thus avoiding voltage potentials between different ground connections, and avoiding ground
loops in the system. This point would preferably be a large copper panel or strap, to which the
following circuit elements would be connected with the shortest possible conductors:

A. Transmitter building earth ground


B. Utility company’s AC ground
C. AC neutral
D. Transmitter chassis ground
E. Chassis ground for equipment rack and other station equipment.
F. AC surge arrestor ground terminal
G. Transmission line shield
H. AM antenna system ground radials

There should, where possible, be no other connections between these circuit elements other
than at the reference ground panel.

Ground connections should be made with low-impedance conductors, such as copper ground
strap or 4/0 cables. Long runs of cable and bends in the cable are to be avoided wherever
possible.

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Three examples of single point ground systems constructed of copper buss bar

8. AC POWER LINE SURGE ARRESTOR:

In a small dedicated transmitter building, an AC surge arrestor should be installed at the main
AC service entrance. In the case of transmitters installed in larger buildings such as a studio

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building, the surge arrestor should be installed at the disconnect panel for the transmitter,
providing protection only for the transmitter and any other equipment on that same circuit.
This will protect the transmitter against any AC surges which are generated inside the facility,
by air conditioner compressor motors or other high current devices. Ideally, the surge arrestor
will be located as close to the main disconnect as possible, immediately adjacent to the
reference ground, and as as far as possible from the transmitter itself.

The AC surge arrestor should be connected in shunt across the AC line after the main
transmitter disconnect. In-line fuses or circuit breakers should be installed in series with the
surge arrestor, to remove it from service in case of a malfunction that causes a short to ground.
The best protectors will provide internal line-to-line, line-to-neutral and neutral-to-ground
protection and will be field repairable or easily replaced.

If the AC cable feed line between the service entrance and the transmitter is less than 100 ft.
(30 meters), a series inductance should be added to the AC feed line between the surge
arrestor and the transmitter. This will increase the impedance of any path to ground that
passes through the transmitter, and will encourage any surge voltages to find their way to
ground via the surge arrestor. This can be easily accomplished with the installation of a ferrite
toroid on the AC line between the AC service entrance and the transmitter.

9. FERRITE TOROIDS:
Several ferrite toroids are provided with the installation kit of each AM transmitter. These
toroids are to be installed at the following locations:

A. On the AC line between the AC surge arrestor and the transmitter. All AC conductors
should be run through the toroid, as shown in the diagram.
B. On the RF coaxial cable between the shield ground and the transmitter. (Presuming
that the center opening of the toroid is large enough to accommodate the coaxial
cable.)

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C. On any other low voltage cables that connect to the transmitter, such as audio and
remote control circuits.

`
Toroid on audio connection Toroid on AC connection

Toroid on coaxial cable

10. VOLTAGE REGULATORS:


BE solid state AM and FM transmitters incorporate internally-regulated switching power
supplies which will adjust for AC voltage variations between 196 and 252 VAC and provide a
constant regulated B+ output voltage. As a result, an external voltage regulator is not
normally required. Motorized voltage regulators, in particular, can actually cause damage to
the transmitter’s regulated supplies, due to their slow response to sudden voltage changes. For
this reason, if a voltage regulator is to be installed at the site, the use of ferro-resonant or
electronic regulation is recommended. If a motorized regulator is used, it is highly

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recommended that its operating points be set widely-spaced, so that they adjust upward only
below 200 Volts and downward only above 250 Volts. This will allow the internal regulated
power supplies to do their job within their normal operating range without interference from
the external regulator.

11. COOLING AND VENTILATION:


Cooling and ventilation are among the most important aspects of a transmitter site installation.
The reliability and longevity of a broadcast transmitter will be greatly reduced by two principal
factors: heat and dirt. A cooling and filtration system which is designed to maintain the
transmitter in a cool and clean environment will greatly enhance the useable life of any
transmitter.

BE transmitters are rated for operation in temperatures of 0 to 50 degrees C. (32 to 122


degrees F.), and with a humidity of 95% or less, non-condensing. However, in practice more
comfortable air temperatures and lower humidity will result in longer and more reliable
operation.

BE solid state AM and FM transmitters are designed to operate without a direct ducting
connection to the transmitter for either intake or exhaust air. An external ventilation system
should be provided to maintain the ambient air temperature in the room at a comfortable
level. Two forms of ventilation and cooling systems can be used:

A. OUTSIDE AIR, POSITIVE PRESSURE SYSTEM:


Outside air is brought into the room through a forced air entrance port or plenum.
This air entrance should have a ventilating fan which exceeds the CFM air flow rating of
the transmitter, and which has a cross-sectional diameter sufficient to not reduce the
rate of airflow. Air filters should be installed on the air intake that are sufficient to
remove small particulate matter without reducing the rate of air flow. This air intake
should preferably be located low to the ground and at the rear of the transmitter, so
that the outside air will be drawn directly into the transmitter air intakes with a
minimum mixing with room air.

An air exhaust port is provided, preferably high and on the roof or the opposite wall
from the air intake. A fan can be installed to help exhaust the hot air from the room,
but it should be rated for less air flow than the air intake fan to maintain a positive
pressure in the room. This fan can be thermostatically controlled to operate only when
the desired room temperature is exceeded, and air deflectors or louvers should be
installed to prevent backpressure caused by outside wind.

Both the building and transmitter air filters should be cleaned or changed on a regular
basis. Cooling systems that do not use air filters, or air extraction (negative pressure)
cooling systems should be avoided.

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VENTILATION AIR ENTRANCE. Air is drawn from high above the ground to avoid entrance of dust or dirt,
but delivered near the floor inside the building for best cooling efficiency. A fan inside the duct provides
positive pressure to the room.

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B. SEALED, RECIRCULATING SYSTEM:
With this cooling method, the inside air is recirculated continuously through the
transmitter, and no outside air is brought into the room. Air conditioners are installed
to extract the heat generated by the transmitter and other equipment by means of heat
exchangers.

For redundancy purposes, the ideal system uses two air conditioner units, each of
which is capable of cooling the room to the desired temperature under normal
environmental conditions. The thermostat of one unit is set a few degrees higher than
the other unit, allowing it to assist the first unit only in the case of excessive heat.
Every few weeks the settings of the two thermostats are reversed, to spread the load
between the units and allow each unit to have a rest period.

If the transmitters are to be located in an excessively dusty or humid environment, or


subjected to salt air conditions, the use of a recirculating cooling system is strongly
recommended.

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TRANSMITTER MODEL: CFM AIR FLOW: BTU HEAT EXHAUSTED:
AM-500A 250 CFM 2,330 BTU/Hr. (max.)
AM-1A 250 CFM 2,900 BTU/Hr. (max.)
AM-2.5E 500 CFM 6,000 BTU/Hr. (max.)
AM-5E 700 CFM 12,000 BTU/Hr. (max.)
AM-6A 720 CFM 13,700 BTU/Hr. (max.)
AM-10A 1,200 CFM 20,525 BTU/Hr. (max.)

12. ANTENNA SYSTEM ISSUES:


The following installation details at the tower will reduce the possibility of damage to the
transmitter caused by a lightning strike or static energy accumulating at the tower:

A. Ball gaps at the base of an insulated tower should be spaced to the minimum amount
possible without causing arcing on modulation peaks. This will be 1/8 to ¼ inch with
most medium power transmitter installations. The balls should be free of excessive
corrosion and paint, and oriented side to side rather than one above the other.
B. There should be an inductive loop in the copper feed line that connects the ATU to the
tower. The tower lighting cable should follow the same path as the feed loop.
C. Ball gaps or a horn gap should be installed at the antenna side of the ATU.

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D. An array of four or more ground rods should be installed at the base of the tower to
establish an effective earth ground. (The ground radial system functions as an RF
ground, but is not an effective earth ground. Both kinds of ground systems are
needed.)
E. Ground rods should be installed at each guy wire anchor to provide a path to ground
for static on the guy wires.
F. A static drain choke should be installed at the output of the ATU.
G. If possible, the T-network of the ATU should include a series capacitor in the input or
output leg, to act as a DC block and prevent the transmitter from static energy on the
tower.
H. The shield of the coaxial cable should be grounded at termination at the ATU as well as
at the entrance to building.

Polyphasor Bulkhead Entrance

I. A copper strap should connect the ground connection at the base of the tower to the
station reference ground inside the transmitter building.

13. DISSIMILAR METAL ISSUES


Ground connections to galvanized steel structures, such as radio towers, should be planned
carefully to assure a good connection that will not corrode over time. A junction between
a copper ground conductor and a galvanized tower will quickly erode the zinc coating on
the steel when moisture is present. The underlying steel will oxidize and compromise the
electrical connection, as well as potentially jeopardize the structural integrity of the tower.
This is why steel ground rods are copper-plated – to assure the integrity of a copper-to-
copper connection..

There are two recommended means of joining copper conductors to galvanized steel
structures:
a. Using a transitional metal, such as bronze, to break up the cathodic current that will
form between copper and zinc. Bronze grounding clamps (see photo) can be purchased
from most electrical supply stores.

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b. Cadwelding, an exothermic process which fuses the metals into a single molecular
structure that will not loosen or corrode, providing a non-degrading electrical connection.
Cadwelding products are available from Erico Corp., www.erico.com

A Bronze Electrical Ground Clamp A cadwelded tower leg ground

13. SUMMARY
Following the installation procedures recommended above will result in a reliable installation
and a satisfactory experience for the user. Please feel free to contact the BE RF customer
service department if there are questions about the implementation of any of the above
recommendations.

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