This is the RCA Section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last Update 12/12/23

Radio Corporation of America

Camden, NJ.

RCA delivered its last transmitters over 30 years ago. 

RCA was formed during World War I as a company to share the patents of GE, Westinghouse, and AT&T, to further the war effort without legal issues. In the early years, GE did most of the hardware construction, Westinghouse was highly involved in the control and power circuitry, and AT&T was the source of many audio products.

As far as broadcast, all the early RCA transmitters, etc were really built by GE until RCA (now an independent company) bought the Victor Company in 1929 for $154 million.  In 1930, RCA Radiotron was started, but some GE products were still rebadged until the mid-1930s, when RCA was fully operational as a manufacturer.

Interestingly, in a kind of strange circle, RCA itself was dissolved when GE bought the company in 1985. The "RCA trademark" is currently owned by a Japanese company, for use on consumer products. There are some professional sources for parts and information, though:

Commercial Radio Company
Duttonsville School Drive
Cavendish, VT 05142
(802) 226 7582
(Dan Churchill)
Thales Broadcast
Southwick, MA
(413) 569-6753


AM Transmitters


Click on picture for a larger image

1B?  1 kW  (1930?)

built by GE

1-D - 1 kW  (1935)

a 250W xmtr to drive the kW

  100-C  100-D
  100-G  100-H  
100-H - four 845's (mod), pair of 838's (RF)
250-D a pair 845's driving pair 805's (mod), pair 805's (RF)  
250-E  250-G

BTA-250K - 250 W

essentially the same as the "L" series

BTA-250L - 250 W (post-war)

828s modulating 810s

  BTA-250M - 250 W
  BTA-500M - 500 W
  BTA-500MX - 500 W
  BTA-500R - 500 W

BTA-1L - 1 kW

833s modulating 833s

  BTA-1M - 1 kW
  BTA-1MX - 1 kW
  BTA-1N - 1 kW

BTA-1R - 1 kW   (500R)


BTA-1R2 - 1 kW       (1R3)
KKTY, Douglas, WY

BTA-1S - 1 kW

5-C - 5 kW 
  5-D - 5 kW 
four 845's driving a Pair 891R's (mod), single 892R (RF)


5-DX - 5 kW  

Art Deco styling

5-E  - 5 kW

BTA-5F - 5 kW 
WERE - Cleveland, OH

BTA-5G - 5 kW 

BTA-5H - 5 kW
  BTA-5J - 5 kW 

BTA-5L - 5 kW     (5L1  .. 5L2)
  BTA-5R - 5 kW    (R1)


BTA-5SS - 5 kW  1975
A solid state design - a number were sold, but most had to be bought back as they apparently did not work well.

BTA-5T - 5 kW 
  BTA-5U - 5 kW     (BTA-5U1   5U2)
  BTA-10F - 10 kW
  BTA-10G - 10 kW
  BTA-10H - 10 kW
  BTA-10J - 10 kW

BTA-10K - 10 kW
CHMB, Vancouver, BC
  BTA-10U - 10 kW   (U1  U2)
  BTA-20L - 20 kW
  50A - 50 kW

50B - 50 kW
  50C - 50 kW (possibly a field conversion of the "B")
50D - 50 kW

WWL - New Orleans

50E - 50 kW 

x-KOB at the Bolack Museum

BTA-50F - 50 kW  - 1948? - $95,000

KOMO Seattle, WA
KRMG - Tulsa            (50F1)
  BTA-50G - 1955 - 50 kW

BTA-50H - 1960
Ampliphase with solid state rectifiers

BTA-50J - 1970 - 50 kW
Ampliphase with solid-state exciter

KFQD, Anchorage, AK

250 kW "special" built for XERF.
  500 kW "RCA-1 built for WLW

a second was said to have been built for WJZ, but not delivered. It appears it may have gone to England. More info is coming on this.


FM Transmitters

Click on picture for a larger image
  BTF-10E  Exciter


BTF-1D - 1 kW

FM-10A  - 10 kW  -  1942

BTF-10C - 10 kW - 1960

BTF-10E - 10 kW

WPAT-FM, Patterson, NY

BTF-20E - 20 kW

tech tips


Jack Sellmeyer shares some tips on the model names: "RCA used no prefix for the transmitters before about 1946.  The RCA model numbers were simply 250A, 1D,1L, 10A, 10B, 50B, 50C, 50D (only a couple made) and 50E. The first of "BTA" numbers were applied to AM "F" series, the BTA-5F, BTA-10F & BTA-50F. I believe this had to do with avoiding confusion between AM, FM & TV after the war. The AM's were BTA-NNNL; the FM's BTF-NNNL, ant the TV's were TT-NNL for low band TT-NNH, for high band VHF and TTU-NNL for UHF."

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An important note about this resource:

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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        Barry Mishkind