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The Old and New Meet at BE

The Old and New Meet at BE

Two Broadcast Electronics transmitters that happened to end up next to each other on the shop floor offer a glimpse into the history of broadcasting.
A vintage BE FM-30 and a new FMi-1405 were sitting side-by-side in BE’s test area when it became apparent to employees that the gear represents opposite ends of a 23-year span in Broadcast Electronics history. The FM-30 was the first transmitter model that BE introduced in 1980, when the company was headquartered in Silver Spring, Md. The solid-state FMi-1405 is BE’s recent and most advanced transmitter for digital HD Radio at 14kW power output.
Together, the transmitters represent more than two decades of radio transmission advancements: from tube to solid-state transmission, and from analog FM to HD Radio.
“I happened to walk past final test and saw these two transmitters and I quickly ran to get my camera,” said BE’s John Schneider, who witnessed the FM-30’s introduction as an independent representative with RF Specialties Group. Now the Latin America sales manager for BE, Schneider is currently witnessing the FMi’s impact on the industry.
BE believes roughly 130 FM-30s remain in operation at stations today. The vintage FM-30 sent to the shop by original owner KTCZ(FM), Minneapolis, has been in service for more than 15 years. It was in the shop to receive a new IPA, new tube socket and new grid shelf, among other factory upgrades.
Its shop-mate, the new FMi-1405 transmitter, was on its way out of the BE factory to a station converting to HD Radio. The FMi-1405 is an all solid-state, modular transmitter designed for analog and digital transmission.

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