I've had an occasion or two when I started at a new radio station and found the RF componentry at the shop to be, shall we say, somewhat lacking. It's hard to be the transmitter guy without all the proper items readily at hand. When things are a little slow around the radio ranch, make use of the time to ensure the shop is ready to go for the times that you are busy. Nothing cuts efficiency more than having to run around looking for a cable or adapter. So, here are some of my favorite sources for these types of items.
Ready-made cables and adapters. Of course you can always make your own but if you prefer factory made cables, try Pasternack. I always need type N to BNC adapters, or cables with the different connectors on each end. Pasternack has a great selection of adapters. Grab some N to BNC, and have some UHF or TNC/SMA/SMB to BNC adapters around for that special occasion.
Power dividers, attenuators. If you have any RF test equipment at hand then you invariably need attenuators. Power dividers are handy for any number of projects. When I need stuff like this I usually go to Mini-Circuits.
Filter sets. If you have an RF proof to perform you'll likely need either a bandpass or a notch filter. For these items I usually go to Microwave Filter. The company makes custom filters for any number of applications, and I've called upon it countless times.
RF amplifiers. Sometimes you have a receiver with a front-end that needs a little extra help. I've had occasion to add some extra gain ahead of 950 receivers - and typically I use Advanced Receiver Research for that application. I also built a building-wide wireless mic system one time, and using common antennas with power dividers, some filtering and some extra system gain, it worked well. That particular time I needed a very hot gain block, so I turned to Miteq. These filters, dividers and amps can be part of your bag of tricks that is well-stocked and at-the-ready when the occasion calls.
Irwin is transmission systems supervisor for Clear Channel NYC and chief engineer of WKTU, New York. Contact him at email@example.com.
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