Continental Electronics
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Continental Electronics is an American manufacturer of broadcast and military radio
transmitter In electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particle ...
s, based in
Dallas Dallas (), colloquially referred to as Big D, is a city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United State ...

Dallas
,
Texas Texas (, ; : ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the region of the . At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2020, it is the second-largest by both (after ) and (after ). Texas shares borders ...

Texas
. Although Continental today is best known for its FM,
shortwave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (100 ...

shortwave
, and military
VLF Very low frequency or VLF is the ITU 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies ...
transmitters, Continental is most significant historically for its line of
mediumwave Medium wave (MW) is the part of the medium frequency (MF) radio band used mainly for AM broadcasting, AM radio broadcasting. The spectrum provides about 120 channels with limited sound quality. During daytime, only local stations can be received. ...
( AM) transmitters, many of which are still in active service as either main transmitters or backup facilities. Among
clear-channel A clear-channel station is an AM broadcasting, AM radio station in North America that has the highest protection from Interference (communication), interference from other stations, particularly concerning night-time skywave propagation. The system ...
AM stations in the U.S. and Canada, the Continental 317C was the most popular transmitter type in the 1970s and 1980s.


History

Continental Electronics was founded in Dallas in 1946 by James O. Weldon, as a spin-off of the broadcast consulting business in which he was a partner, Weldon & Carr. In 1953, when
Western Electric The Western Electric Company was an American and company officially founded in 1869. A wholly owned subsidiary of for most of its lifespan, it served as the primary equipment manufacturer, supplier, and purchasing agent for the from 1881 to 19 ...
's radio equipment business was broken up by Federal antitrust regulators, Continental acquired the AM transmitter business, and with it the U.S. patent on the Doherty linear RF amplifier. Continental became part of
Ling-Temco-Vought Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) was a large US conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a productio ...
in about 1962, the first in a series of sales which would later bring it under the control of
E-Systems Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (RIIS or IIS) is a business unit of Raytheon Company headquartered in Dulles, Virginia. IIS specializes in Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillan ...
and then
Varian Associates Varian Associates was one of the first high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1948 by Russell Varian, Russell H. and Sigurd Varian, Sigurd F. Varian, William Webster Hansen, and Edward Ginzton to sell the klystron, the first vacuu ...
in 1985. Tech-Sym acquired Continental from Varian in 1990, and then sold it to Integrated Defense Technologies in 2000. DRS Technologies acquired IDT in 2003, and in 2005, private equity, private-equity firm Veritas Capital (which had previously owned IDT) bought Continental back from DRS. Weldon remained with the company until his retirement in 1988. In 1958, Continental introduced a more-efficient Doherty-style amplifier based on a tetrode (previous Doherty designs made by Western Electric and Continental used triodes) with the type 317B transmitter. With four subsequent revisions, more than 200 units were sold in the 317 line (a substantial number given the limited customer base for 50-kW AM transmitters in the North American market); the final revision, the 317C-3, was introduced in 1990. By this time, competitors such as GatesAir, Harris had demonstrated the workability of all-solid-state 50-kW AM transmitters, which were far more energy-efficient than tube transmitters, and the North American broadcasting industry rapidly shifted away from vacuum tube-based AM transmitters. Continental eventually dropped the 317 from its product line, but still makes transmitters using similar modified-Doherty designs for high-power longwave and
shortwave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (100 ...

shortwave
broadcasting and military customers. In 1980, Continental purchased the Collins Radio line of broadcast transmitters from Rockwell International. Collins's high-power FM transmitter, the type 831, replaced Continental's type 816 in production, and was renumbered the 816R. More than thirty variants of the 816R have been produced since 1980, and the line is still in production today.


References

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External links


Continental Electronics website
Broadcast engineering Electronics companies of the United States Manufacturing companies based in Dallas Electronics companies established in 1946 Manufacturing companies established in 1946 1946 establishments in Texas