Secure Site Login


Broadcast-Quality Audio Processor Donated to W1AW


Orban Labs, headquartered in Pennsauken, New Jersey, has donated a state-of-the-art audio processor — the all-digital 9300 OPTIMOD-AM — to ARRL. Orban Labs Vice President of Business Development Mike Pappas, W9CN, arranged for the donation with the intention of improving the audio quality transmitted by W1AW during its evening phone bulletins. The 9300 OPTIMOD-AM is used worldwide at broadcast stations that want the best possible “sound.”

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, installed the 9300 OPTIMOD-AM into W1AW’s audio chain. After making necessary set-up adjustments and working with instructions that Pappas provided, he determined that overall average modulation had increased and audio clarity was improved.

At that point, though, it became apparent that some low-level hum in the station’s audio chain was sneaking in prior to the new processor. The hum was traced to the station’s audio distribution amplifier. ARRL Lab volunteer Tim Smith, WA1HLR, offered up a homebrew method of using a passive (non-amplified) distribution method. After construction and installation of the new audio distribution system and some level adjustments, W1AW’s audio chain was passing world-class audio with no trace of hum on its transmitted signals.

“We greatly appreciate the donation of the Orban 9300 OPTIMOD-AM,” ARRL Assistant Laboratory Manager Bob Allison, WB1GCM, said. “W1AW audio quality is improved, with increased average power output, while still occupying the same transmitted bandwidth. ARRL thanks Mike Pappas for arranging this significant donation and Tim Smith for his technical assistance.”

W1AW wants your opinion on its new sound. Listen for W1AW’s phone bulletin 0145 UTC on 1.855, 3.990, 14.290, 18.160, 21.390, 28.590, and 50.350 MHz (SSB), as well as on 7.290 MHz (full-carrier, double sideband AM), and on 147.555 MHz (FM simplex). Send brief signal reports to W1AW.