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GatesAir Suspends Sale of AM Transmitters

Cites availability of critical components in taking “responsible step”

GatesAir is suspending the sale of new AM transmitters.

When a prominent radio engineer passed along word to Radio World that he’d sought a quote from the manufacturer on a new transmitter but was told the company had discontinued the model and was assessing its AM line, we sought to learn more.

Chief Product Officer Rich Redmond replied: “Recent changes in the long-term availability of critical components from our suppliers, including several last-time buy notices, have caused us to take proactive steps to ensure we can meet our continued support obligation of our AM products,” he said.

“To safeguard our ability to offer an ample supply of spare components — and to secure the ongoing field support of our AM transmitters — GatesAir has taken the responsible step of suspending new AM transmitter sales, and will instead focus on supporting existing customers’ transmitters with our available components.”

He said warranty, field service, phone support, spare parts and repairs continue as normal for GatesAir AM products.

Flexiva DAX, DX and 3DX transmitters all had a number of obsolete components that influenced the decision.

“GatesAir is currently in the advanced technology assessment phase for the development of an updated line of AM transmitters,” Redmond said.

The company, formerly part of the old Harris Broadcast, has deep roots in AM, and its Flexiva line ranges in power from 1 kW to 2 MW.

[Read our 2013 photo essay “Remembering the Gates Radio Company”]

The news has no impact on the FM line, anchored by its Flexiva FAX or FLX transmitter. For DAB Radio, GatesAir recently launched the Maxiva VAXTE platform and will be showing new power levels at the NAB Show, Redmond said.

We asked him if engineers should read this as a backing away in general from AM by GatesAir.

“We continue to be committed to all radio customers, and this includes AM,” he replied. “We have always taken our long-term support seriously, hence the steps we have chosen to take to be able to ensure continued support of our customers in the field. It is always simple for a supplier to declare lifetime support, but we believe it is more important to be upfront about the challenges of shrinking component lifecycles, and in some cases make difficult choices to continue support.

“AM transmission uses very different RF device technology as compared to FM, DAB and TV transmitters, and requires a new approach for the next generation of AM systems. We are excited about some of the advances that are applicable to AM, driven in part by new developments for electric cars that will enable us to bring to market-high efficiency, compact and modularity in transmitter design to AM broadcasters.“