Total posts : 45366
I think range can more often than not be dependent on conditions. I have a Procaster. Every day I leave my house at the same time in the morning, and come home at the same time later in the day. I have days when I can reach nearly two miles out e.g. I can clearly hear the station, as I drive away. I have other days where 3/4 or one mile is typical. Clearly atmospheric and man made interference varies from day to day. Same car, same road, same transmitter, same style of music, same modulation levels. So I suspect when it comes to Rangemaster vs Procaster it may very well be a tossup in range, and it depends SO much upon installation and a thousand other variables that depend on your location and surrounding buildings, objects, trees, ground conductivity, etc as well as interference potential in your area, etc.
I had narrowed my choices down to Rangemaster or Procaster and I chose Procaster based mostly on two things: The built in tuning meter made it a snap to fine tune for best output, and the built in processing. I wanted it to be a simple as possible and require the least amount of additional investment and tinkering. I engineer radio for a living, so doing it for myself I wanted it simple. I find my sound to be at least equal to the two major commercial AM stations in the area (and I’m the engineer for one of them).
I haven’t checked prices for a while but I’m betting the Procaster comes out as most expensive. But again, I didn’t need anything else. And if you so choose to go with outboard processing at a later time the built in processing can be shut down and you can run with whatever you like.
When someone says they get out a mile or 1.5 or 3/4 how is that determined? With a car radio? Generally car radios are the best, they have external antennas, are very sensitive, and have automatic circuits to make up for weakless and signal to some extent as you move from a signal. But then again, I have a coworker whose new Kia has such a crappy AM radio it barely picks me up when he’s two blocks away, OR any of the commercial AM’s either. When someones says “I get out a mile” is that how the crow flies? Or they drove for a mile with a couple turns in it and are actually only half a mile from their transmitter? Get a map of your town, measure a mile radius, draw a circle a mile out from your transmitter, make another at a mile and a half, and 2 miles. Look where a road intersects that line and go listen (I went and listened AND took field strength readings AND used three different radios). Did they go back to the same spot at 9 AM, Noon, 3 PM and 6 PM and 9 PM? How far do they get at night before the skip and interference comes rolling in? I’ve done all this and the variable reception is amazing. I go out with my car radio, a small $5 hand held portable transistor radio, a GE Super Radio and a Nems Clark field intensity meter, calibrated, and which is used regularly in my maintenance for a commercial directional AM that requires monitor point readings to verify pattern of signal, that has been confirmed accurate compared to an FCC agents device. Throughout the day, in the exact same spot signal strength varies, especially on the fringe of the signal.
I think unless you get a crappily built transmitter or build one crappily yourself, there are too many variables to simply state one gets better range than another, as long as you’re looking at similarly engineered units, with similar antenna styles and the same ability to modulate. Good solid modulation adds to your range as well.
Trying to compare transmitter range is like comparing automobile miles per gallon. So much depends on how you drive it and where you drive it. When driving my wife’s car I get 30-31 mpg. The BEST she can do is 26-27. But she’s a bit of a maniac. So she would tell someone “I only get about 26” where I would say “Great car, I can get 30 sometimes 31 mpg with it”. Same car, different technique. It makes all the difference.
Tim in Bovey