ChezRadio Procaster - A review from the non-tech
February 20, 2008 - from MLR posted at www.part15.us
First, thanks to ChezRadio for allowing me the opportunity to review this new entry into the FCC Certified Part15 AM Transmitter market (whew.. mouthful).
I am really hoping that what I got was typical of the TX package. Out of the box it included mounting hardware, enough Cat3 to get me going, and oh yeah - a surprisingly sturdy and easy to tune antenna.
In all seriousness, it took me a whopping hour to go from opening the box to listening to some tunes over the air.
The installation was very basic: The tx was nailed to my lanai in the back yard, the ground lug was fastened to a metal plate that holds the joists together, which was, in turn, grounded to a 8' ground rod. Nothing special.
I picked 1700 because it was temporarily open (daytime in San Jose - at night, forget it..), I stuck a little Sansa MP3 player on the mod box, and made it loop for testing. For music, I used some classic Tommy Dorsey, a shot of Led Zeppelin, some DJ Magic Mike, a Little Dead Kennedys, a spoken word concery bit from Henry Rollins, and a bit of Zeromancer. I figured that should cover most of the spectrum.
1/4 mile from the house, I was hearing everything like it was a commercial station. At .5 mile, it was still strong. It sort of dipped out a little at .75 miles because of the fact that I live on a hill, and I think it skipped a touch (no idea.. just seemed like a logical answer to me). At 1 mile, everything was still strong and listenable, but it would phase out to a little hiss every now and again. at 1 and 1/8 mile, it just quit.
I'm thinking if I really tuned this thing, it would probably push 1.5 miles pretty good in my area.
All in all, I give this little tx pretty high marks.
On a 1-5 scale:
Ease of Installation: 4 (it would have been 5 if it leaped from the box and installed itself:) )
Sound Quality: 4/5 - the bass was a little muddy in places - could have been my install.
Communication with Vendor: 5 (This guys is mega nice.. answers all questions)
Pics would be here, but seriously - all the stuff you need is at his site: www.chezradio.com
Procaster review on radio-info.com
April 13, 2008 - from XRQFM
Mounting the Procaster in the attic was too easy! I suspended the antenna & transmitter using hooks screwed into the beam, grounding was easy using the conduit and J-box in the attic. The house ground terminates into a 10 foot copper stake by the power box. The builder of the house provided an electrical outlet & light in the attic, this is a single story house. I know range would be improved if I had a two-story house; my ½ mile coverage was rock solid with zero static and fading on a Jensen aftermarket radio, and a portable radio inside the van.
In this situation the Procaster has the advantage in that it's easier to tune up with a simple screwdriver adjustment, and the fact the antenna collapses makes it a breeze to bring it up through a tight crawl space. This is the third house I have had where the attic door is in a place that is hard to get up into, I know I could not have brought a 102” whip though the opening without sharply bending and damaging it.
The Procaster's performance is great!
October 19, 2008
As I wrote in the title line, I'm very impressed with the Procaster's performance. I got it installed on Friday afternoon and chose the lower, pole-mounted option. The installation was easy, even for a novice like myself, and although it's only installed 15 inches off the ground and attached to a single 8 foot ground rod, the signal is great. It reaches all over our five acres (which is what I was essentially seeking) and then some. Driving around, it's also putting out a clear signal at a quarter of a mile and is still recognizable (with some static) at a half mile! I'm transmitting at 1470 right now because my antique radios don't tune as high as modern receivers, but I'm sure that a higher frequency and elevated installation would be even better. I am considering the ground radial system in the future, but for right now I'm very satisfied!
AM1610 Proctor Community Radio
November 18, 2009
After receiving the transmitter about a year ago, the overall set up was easy. After tweeking the sound quality and adjusting our sound mixer in the studio, it came in fine. We did try
different car radios to pick up our signal and a few worked and a few didn't. I also tried various portable radios and they worked fine.
Overall, our signal reaches out over 2 miles. I'm happy as it covers our entire town. I would recommend the Procaster Transmitter to anyone wanting good quality audio for their AM Radio applications.
Peter W. Luke
March 17, 2010
The transmitter is working wonderful and I'm getting great range out of it. I did what you told me and your advice really work. I'm getting about 2 1/2 good solid miles and I can cover the community, I can even hear the station with some static at about 3 1/2 miles away. Thank you for the Procaster transmitter the best on the market - GREAT JOB.
AM 1700 Albany Oregon
July 11, 2010
Hey, I cannot thank you enough for everything, an update, I had to move some antennas around, so around 10 Pm the other night (because it was cool) outside, it has been in the triple digits here, we moved the AM Transmitter,
So I mounted it to a 10 foot pole next to our steps ans grounded it to a Metal Shed, wow the signal somehow has got more range, and I went around the town and drive around, well I move it to 1700 Khz.
Anyway, it does still a great job. Albany is about 49,000 in all parts of town I can get it.
I am sending you the latest pattern, it is the best reception pattern but outside of it I can get it, though a bit low, but still all through the town, Gerry WOW....and thank you..I run your spots a TON what else can I do to spread the word more!!!
You have the best product and I changed the spot as you asked..thanks Gerry!!
Your transmitter is a god-send, My wife was a big help in the set up, she had to make the adjustments, my vision is not getting better, her and I got it done...we had fun...it was worth the move. We had to do it, but it worked out great...thanks for all Gerry you are great..
Jerry Gaule and thanks for your help,
AM 1700 KTGR True Gospel Radio
August 9, 2010
A while back I emailed you guys saying that I was going to put my transmitter up higher than where it was at 25ft. Well, I did it and YES it worked. I Have the transitter at 55ft. I was getting 2 1/2 miles of good solid range and now it has jump up to 4 1/2 good solid range. You can pick up the station at with static out at about 6 miles, YES 6 miles. The key is to get the Procaster as high as you can above power lines and trees and YES a real good ground. Thank you Chezradio - This IS the best am low power transmitter on the market.
At "Radio Red Caboose" 1610 kHz Franklin, NC
November 9, 2011
We are running a small tourist info service that is based out of a multi-merchant antique mall with about 300 booths and 30 shops restaurants crafters and antique dealers...I own two larger recording facilities and we do voice work for various national agencies and client radio and TV stations. In the area of the mall we have a small satellite recording studio in a vintage caboose. We installed the Procaster today with the unit bolted to the very top of the curved ladder that was used to access the metal grate "catwalk" on the roof of the train car. I was able to use only about 5 feet of wire to utilize the "ground" that is the entire metal grating..bolted to the metal roof of the caboose. The height is at about 25 feet, and at 1610 the signal is solid for way more than I would have expected. I tuned the meter to the "spike" and seem to be getting a good bang for the buck.
We got about 1.7 miles south listenable, and around 1 mile north towards town. Haven't checked east and west yet. But hey..that's 2.7 miles of listenable signal. We based that on an actual LISTENABLE consumer grade signal..versus a radio geek's version with a lot of noise..so I am being honest with myself here..and at the same time really impressed!
Modest setup for now using ZaraRadio automation software. Onboard AGC keeps levels hot. With the Chezradio Procaster it is truly high fidelity AM.
Vintage Burlington northern caboose
Procaster mounted on caboose access ladder
All Aboard! Air-1 and Red Caboose Radio
10 July, 2012
By Jeff Laurence Gill
There tend to be a lot of unknowns when you decide to run a station out of an old caboose. Which antenna should I use? What are the acoustics like in this big metal box? Where’s the whistle in this thing, anyway?
I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I started Red Caboose Radio, which we put on the air on 1610 last year from the Whistle Stop Mall in Franklin, NC, using an FCC certified ChezRadio Procaster as our transmitter. But I knew enough to get an Audioarts Air-1 board for it.
I know the Air-1 and just about every other console Wheatstone makes. I do voice over work and produce remotes as the operator of Autumn Hill Studios in North Carolina. I have studios in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina, all of which have Wheatstone or Audioarts consoles. I knew the Air-1 to be an extremely flexible multipurpose board. It’s especially suited to this operation because it can be a program board for live on-air feeds or it can be a production mixer when the automation is running the transmitter, which is often. As a very low-powered mall station, Red Caboose Radio airs program loops of mall specials and merchant interviews with the occasional live remote thrown in on the weekends. We’re actually quite popular in and around the mall, which is a converted manufacturing plant with a railroad motif in tribute to all the trains that ran through here at one time. The big red box that is our studio doesn’t do much for acoustical integrity, but it sure propagates the signal. We’re transmitting only a tenth of a watt through the ChezRadio Procaster but our signal reaches beyond the mall about two miles.
I plan to use the board’s USB port to feed our main PC for production work, while the computer’s on-board soundcard feeds the automated programming to the transmitter. When we go live, we simply switch the transmitter’s source to the Air-1′s analog I/O to bypass the automation, and we are on the air! Next weekend is a car show at the mall and the car show guys want me to walk around with a wireless mic to interview people. All I will have to do is flip one switch and the Air-1 becomes a live, on-air board. That USB port also will come in handy when I’m recording interviews into the Adobe Audition production and editing suite.
I received my Air-1 this afternoon, opened up the box and immediately remembered why I like this mixing console so much. It’s built incredibly well, and with the easy-to-configure, but well isolated switches located under the chassis, we can set input levels, assign tally light configurations, and if a CD deck or other audio source is too hot or too low, adjust the gain range, and forget it.
It sure is nice to have the Air-1 on board.
Jeff Laurence Gill is a train lover, a voice talent, and the owner of Autumn Hill Studios in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.
Red Caboose Radio AM 1610
Wheatstone Air-1 Console
8 October, 2012
I signed on this past weekend. I have a coverage area of 3 miles and it sounds great....... Already the Mchenry chamber of commerce and many business owners are very excited, This in just two days.
Thanks Gerry! Procaster delivered big time!
Wilm Radio 1630
11 November, 2012
We are sending this message to complement Procaster on the performance of our AM transmitter. We are getting out solidly for 2 miles and have a fringe area as far as about 7 miles. We are operating on 1630 khz. We are extremely happy with the audio quality and when comparing to commercial am stations in our area we sound equal if not better. We are very pleased with the ease of installation. We are operating this transmitter as part of a community radio station and have received many positive comments.
Terry and Bill
WILM RADIO 1630 ISLE LA MOTTE, VERMONT
AM 1710 McHenry, Illinois
11 January, 2013
Thanks to my engineer PK we are covering 5 miles plus at 40 feet with two 8 foot grounding rods at a milliwatt of power, it sounds incredible!
Yes, great news on the signal. The format did not change as we are staying true to the big bands and crooners, I am however adding some 60's based and 70's based that fit.
Thank you again so much for your help and friendship
AM 1710 Mchenry, Illinois.
Sports Lodge Barber Shop, Illinois
26 March, 2013
Hi, I received my transmitter and everything went very well. Easy to hook up. I'm very surprised at the range I'm getting, which is 2.5 miles of a very solid signal. Up to 3-4 miles is my range that is still listenable. I have it mounted about 22 ft off the ground and grounded it with two 8ft grounding rods.
Community Radio Group Broadcasting, Sioux Falls, SD
31 January, 2014
Just a quick note to let you know the Procaster has been performing very well for us. We are quite impressed that it continues to perform through a very, very cold winter here in South Dakota!
Our coverage is really strong for a 1/2 mile, but depending on conditions we get an okay signal 1 to 1.5 miles. The unit is mounted on the roof of a house in the heart of the city, so quite a few trees and buildings to contend with. Nevertheless, the system works "as advertised" given these conditions!
We are hoping to add additional units around town to improve our coverage for our small community radio station "Dakota Music Collective".
All the best,
Lee McKenna, Founder
Community Radio Group Broadcasting, Inc.
Sioux Falls, SD
CoolJamz Radio, Calgary, AB
25 June, 2014
Despite poor soil conditions and a lot of electrical noise in our area, the Procaster has allowed us to get out a very quiet, hum-free, high quality AM signal with a 2km range.
We had tried pretty much every other ‘Part 15’ AM solution out there with little luck and much frustration. Not only did the Procaster solve all our technical issues, it also gave us a product that is certified and legal to use.
Our music format is one that is fairly difficult to put on an AM signal and have it sound good. Well, the Procaster’s excellent audio quality was certainly up to the challenge and we are very impressed.
The Procaster in an amazing product in our opinion and is the best money spent on a Part 15 transmitter.
About CJR-AM: CoolJamz Radio is a low power AM radio station serving areas of Calgary and a global audience through our online stream. Our format encompasses the very best in Urban music from the last 25 years. CoolJamz is perfect for your drive home, workday beats, Saturday night parties or just chillin' at home.
WRMO Saturday mornings from 6-10 937thewave.com
4 January, 2016
I've been in radio broadcasting for over 50 years, but only on the mic side, no experience in engineering or the technical end. I cut my teeth on AM radio in the early 60's and still enjoy listening to AM. Even now I have a part-time gig on an FM station once a week. AM radio is still very much a hobby, so I've been looking for a simple, easy-to-setup Part 15 AM transmitter. The Chezradio Procaster seemed like a very good choice because of its simplicity. I talked with Gerry at Chezradio and he reassured me that, indeed, the Procaster was really easy to set up and use, so I ordered one. While I waited for it in the mail, I installed a very good ground system, so when the Procaster arrived I was able to get it on the air very quickly. It is EVERYTHING that the ad said it is. I installed it in a minimum amount of time without any problems. Remember, I have trouble using a toaster. The range is VERY GOOD! Better than expected. I bought a Talking House transmitter about 3 years ago, but the range was limited and I couldn't get rid of an annoying hum, so I rarely put it on the air. Now, the Procaster is on the air 24 hours a day. And as good as this unit is, the most outstanding feature is the service....before, during and after the sale. The package includes everything you need, all nuts and bolts, even hardware to mount on a mast. You don't have to buy anything else, not even a processor--it's all right there. Gerry Herlinger has invented a superb transmitter designed for many uses, and he is extremely helpful in making sure everything works right. I can't recommend this company and the Procaster enough.
3 July 2017
I should have sent this sooner but now I have gotten around to it. I am VERY happy and EXTREMELY Pleased with the Procaster!
My Procaster is providing a solid mile or more of coverage.
Tim Miller VoiceOvers
30 July 2019
Thanking you for working with me with the transmitter. It works great and the range is better than expected!
Again, THANK YOU, great product and personal service. --Tim Miller Voiceovers, LLC