L-3 Now Shipping CEA IOT Transmitter Tubes

L-3 Communications, a manufacturer of transmitter output tubes for the television broadcast industry, announced that it is shipping production versions of its Constant Efficiency Amplifier (CEA) IOT to Thales for use in the Thales DCX Paragon transmitter.

The CEA is an IOT with five internal control elements-or stages-including three that are set at voltages below that of the collector. This technology is known as multistage depressed collector, or MSDC and it offers real-world efficiencies of 60 percent, compared to about 40 percent from a standard IOT.

According to Buzz Miklos, director of sales and marketing for L-3's Williamsport facility, the L-3 CEA is out of the prototype stage and several have been shipped to Thales.

"The first station is expected to be on the air before NAB2003," Miklos said.

L-3 estimates that broadcasters will save $20,000 per year per tube in a high-power transmitter that uses CEAs instead of standard IOTs for the output tubes. The L-3 CEA can be operated at up to 30 kW per tube and also provides efficiencies when operated at reduced output power.