A modified sol-gel process based on polyethylene glycol has been developed for preparing (Bi,Pb)(2)Sr2Ca2Cu3Ox precursor powders in view of Ag-sheeted tape manufacture. A careful control of the pH and concentration temperature yields an amorphous gel, which can be converted to a fine and extremely reactive powder. The reactions taking place during the process were studied. Various calcination conditions were used in order to obtain precursor powders having different characteristics (grain size distribution. phase assembly). The influence of precursor preparation parameters on the formation of the (Bi,Pb)(2)Sr2Ca2Cu3Ox phase in pressed pellets and on some of its physical properties is presented and discussed. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.