This is the GatesAir Radio Section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last Update 8/1/15

  Gates Radio Co
Quincy, IL

  Harris Broadcast
Quincy, IL / Mason, OH

Mason, OH, Quincy, IL

Gates Radio was founded in 1922 by Parker Gates' father, Henry C. Gates. Turning it into a pioneering company, Parker Gates invented many different pieces of equipment for the broadcast industry. 

In 1957, Gates Radio was purchased by Harris Intertype Corporation, although the Gates Radio logo was used until 1975.  

The transmitter model numbering convention changed sometime after 1948 to use "BC" for AM transmitters and "FM" for FM models. This was likely the result of the increased interest in FM after WWII.  (The "GY" model appellation was for "Gates Year" ... the 25th anniversary of the company in 1947.)

The industry changed a bit in the early 1950s, as many Class IV stations raced to implement a power increase to 1 kW daytime. A number of manufacturers developed low cost transmitters and other equipment specifically to cash in on the "upgrade" fever. As price points were "sensitive," each company tried to provide the "best value," and gear started to be made more cheaply. The term at Gates was "Value Analysis," led by George Dively. During the time when "value" manufacturing hit its peak, in 1957, Gates Radio Company was purchased by Harris Intertype Corporation (now Harris Corporation). 

Sadly, Gates Radio began to acquire the moniker "Quincy Tin Works" as it sought ways to cut costs of manufacture. Some commentators remark about the "time line" between early Gates equipment that was "solid, well built, reliable" and "cheap, sort of OK, difficult to maintain" products. This was not said to be in harmony with Gate's reputation. 

Phil Alexander notes: "The "Quincy Tin Works" moniker came about through George Diveley's edict to build products at a lower cost once Harris-Intertype bought Gates Radio. Although Parker Gates stayed for 10 more years as President, the major policy directives came from Cleveland. Both cosmetic and cost surgery started with the cabinets. Square corners are so much cheaper than anything more esthetic. Harris insisted on a VA (value analysis) program which was a major buzzword when they bought Gates in the late '50's. Ed Gagnon was their PR honcho at the time and he headed up the program. The directives came from Cleveland, not from Parker Gates. This gave birth to the BC-1T (tin can) succeeded a few years later by the 1G."

In 1975, Harris dropped the "Gates Division" and relabeled the products as "Harris." 

In 2013 Harris Broadcast was purchased by Gores, a venture capital company. On March 17, 2014, the company was split to Imagine Communications and GatesAir.

AM Transmitters

S-101 (100 W)

S-102 (250 W)

The A Series (1944 1945)


100-A - 100 W

250-A - 250/100 W

250-C, C1 - 250/100 W - 1939?




500-A - 500 W


1-A - 1 kW - 1945


5-A - 5 kW

The B/C Series (1945 1946)

250C - 250 W - 1939?



1-B - 1 kW - 1945


1-C - 1 kW - ????

BC-5B - 5 kW - 1949

pictured: WCOJ - 1963

BC-20B - 20 kW

BC-50B - 50 kW - 1957

Pictured  XET, Monterey , Mexico

BC-50C -  50 kW - 1960

BC-100C - 100 kW


The D Series (1946 - 1947)


250D - 250 W - late 1947. 

The "D" was for "Deluxe"


500-D - 500 W - 1945


1-D - 1 kW -1945


The E Series (1946 - 1958) (aka: the Hi Watter series)


1-E - 1 kW - 1946

BC-5E - 5 kW


The GY (Gates Year) Series (1949 - ) 

250GY  - 250 W - 1947
BC-250GY -
250 W - 1952


The F Series (1949 - 1955) 

BC-1F - 1 kW - 1949
In 1953, this was $5,950 - WGEM - Quincy , IL


The J Series (1955 - 1956)

BC-1J - 1 kW - 1955

The K Series (196x - )

BC-500K - 500 W


The L Series (196x - )

BC-250L - 250 W


The T Series (1957  - 1962)


  BC-500T - 500 W
BC-1T - 1 kW - 1957
This transmitter came with a standard dummy load included.
The former WSID transmitter, now on the ham  bands.



The P Series (1957 - 1966 )   P = Les Petery

BC-5P - 5 kW - 1957

Pictured: WGEM, Quincy, IL

BC-5P2 - 5 kW - 1963??

A variant model (the BC-5P2S) used solid state rectifiers.

BC-10P - 10 kW


The G Series (1962 - ) (Essentially Ts with a new cabinet)


BC-500G - 500 W - 1962

BC-1G - 1 kW  (1962)
1967 Price - $5,590


The Vanguard Series (1966 - 1968)

Vanguard-1 - 1 kW - 1966
1 tube = 30% efficiency! (V1 with cover open)
The first unit reportedly went to KELP, El Paso , TX

Vanguard-2 - 1 kW - 


The VP Series (1965)

VP-50 - 1965 



The H Series (1966 - 1978)

BC-1H - 1 kW

BC-5H - 5 kW


BC-10H - 10 kW


The MW Series (1973 - 1992)

MW-1 and 1A - 1 kW
Harris' first solid state transmitter

KDLR MW-1A pictured. 
(Courtesy Jeremy Eisenzimmer)


MW-5 - 5 kW (1973-1983)
Tom Osenkowsky's Tech Tips on MW-5 transmitters.



MW-10 - 10 kW

MW-50 - 50 kW (1972 )

Shown: KLOK, San Jose, CA

The SX Series (1983 -1990)

SX-1 (1983- 1990)

Tom Osenkowsky, Mike Patton, and others' Tech Tips on SX transmitters.



The Gates Series (1990- 2000)

Gates One

(Harris revives the Gates name!) 

Gates Five


The DX Series (1987- 2001)  


DX-10 (1987)
Serial #1 to KIOA

DX-50 (1988) 

Serial #1 to KFBK, Sacramento. Inst 2/89


The 3DX Series (2001-

3DX-50 (2002)

Serial #1 - WSM Nashville, TN.

The DAX Series







FM Transmitters

The BF Series



BFE - 10 W










BF-1C - 1 kW - 1947


The FM Series






FM-3    3 kW ... 1954
WGEM-FM - Quincy, IL



B Series B = John Butcher, the designer.




FM-1B - 1 kW - 1958 
1960 price: $5195




FM-1B driver ... 

C Series 




FM-1C - 1 kW - 1960

Same as the B, with a door and newer exciter design



G Series

The G and H series were essentially the same transmitters, being differentiated by the exciters. The G series had a tube exciter (M-6095). The H series was solid state, with the TE-1 exciter, the H3 series had the TE-3 exciter. (Phil Alexander)

H Series

FM-250H - 250 Watts

FM-1H - 1 kW

FM-3H - 3 kW

FM-5H - 5 kW and 7.5 kW





FM-10H - 10 kW

FM-20H - 20 kW

FM20H3 - 20 kW

HT Series 

HT Series 3.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 30, 35
WGEM-FM, Quincy, IL

Courtesy: Dave Land

K Series


FM-2.5K - 2.5 kW


FM-20K - 20 kW

Tech tips

FM25K - 25 kW

WYST, Lexington, IL



Z Series  




Z5CD - 5 kW
WDQZ, Towanda, IL


  ZDD40CD - 40 kW (1999)
First unit to WUOT, Knoxville, TN

Flexiva Series  


FAX-150  2012















TE-1 (1971?)

TE-3 - Designed by Jack Sellmeyer


One of only two built. 
Courtesy of Dave Hershberger.


among the improvements, the AFC card was redesigned to prevent the "Axel Foley Effect" ... which unlocked the AFC.

  The Digit


Thanks to Mike Bafaro for some of the scans of the pictures.


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We have used many sources, including FCC files, university lecturers, historical publications and more, and have tried to be as accurate as possible, not repeating many of the myths of the industry (such as the Uncle Don Story) nor histories "manufactured" by promotion departments. However, I am not perfect, and may well have overlooked something. If you do see an error or omission, please let me know.

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