1000 Watt FM Transmitter Range

In this article we calculate the distance covered by a 1000 Watt FM Transmitter.

FM transmitters are used in many different broadcast applications. When planning a system I like to know how far my broadcasts will reach. I created a tool to make this easy for me.

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FM Transmitter Range Calculator

In the calculator below, enter:

  • Transmitter power 1000 Watt (converts to 60 dBm)
  • Receiver sensitivity (depends on environment – example below)
  • Transmit Antenna Gain
  • Receive Antenna Gain

Example Calculation

According to the ITU, the following table shows required sensitivity in dBuV/m for FM in various environments. We have used the dBuV/m to V/m calculator to convert the units.

EnvironmentField Strength (dBuV/m)Field Strength (V/m)
Rural540.0005012
Urban660.0019953
Large Cities740.0050119

The field strength is used to calculate the input power at the receiver in dBm. In this case the antenna gain of 0 dBi is used. However you can substitute any value in this calculator. As well, for FM, the frequency range is 88-108 MHz, so we have used 108 MHz in the computation.

EnvironmentField Strength (V/m)Power (dBm)
Rural0.0005012-64
Urban0.0019953-52
Large Cities0.0050119-44
FM required power

Note that cities are more challenging RF environments, so the required power is higher relative to a rural environment. There’s a 20 dB difference between the two. These are receiver sensitivity values that can be substituted in the range calculator above.

What is the Range of a 1000 Watt FM Transmitter?

Based on the calculation above, the range for different operating environments is:

  • Rural – 350 km or 218 miles
  • Urban – 88 km or 55 miles
  • Large City – 35 km or 22 miles

As would be expected the range is the lowest in a city where buildings and other large objects will obstruct the FM signal. This means it will not travel as far in a city as it will in a rural environment.