Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

FM Radio Broadcasting


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:40 PM

So I have this dream, it's been in my head for quite a while:
My own FM Radio Station

The FM radio stations around here are pretty horrible, so why not create my own?

FM Radio is not dead yet, so I was wondering what the rules are for setting up your own broadcast station. Is it even partially legitimate?
What are the rules surrounding the miniature FM transmitters you can purchase at Wal-Mart and such?
Are there any loopholes for "Pirate" radio stations?
What bands are not regulated? Is the FCC more relaxed about any FM band?

Just throwing ideas in the air, thinking out loud...

#2 Lugner

Lugner

    Gibson Hacker

  • Members
  • 86 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 04:04 PM

Legally, it would have to be extremely low powered. The power limit for unlicensed FM transmissions is a signal strength of 250 microvolts per meter, measured 3 meters from the transmitting antenna. At this power level, stereo reception is only possible within 100 feet. I remember some discussions about setting up something like a distributed radio station using a bunch of these types of broadcasts.

If you wanted to go pirate, you're going to get busted eventually, which will result in hefty fines. Probably not worth the trouble. There was a panel at H2K2 about pirate radio (Audio).

Oh, and if you do go pirate, call it KRAP-FM ;)

Edited by Lugner, 24 January 2008 - 04:11 PM.


#3 Ohm

Ohm

    I could have written a book with all of these posts

  • Members
  • 3,209 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maine, USA

Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:44 PM

FM is not dead, but it's outmoded. The Internet is far more powerful, and it's reaching more people every day. With Internet radio and podcasting, you can reach people directly and there's nothing stopping you. If you want to reach people, you can get on your feet for almost no money and in a matter of hours. So... go do that instead!

#4 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 06:10 PM

Legally, it would have to be extremely low powered. The power limit for unlicensed FM transmissions is a signal strength of 250 microvolts per meter, measured 3 meters from the transmitting antenna. At this power level, stereo reception is only possible within 100 feet. I remember some discussions about setting up something like a distributed radio station using a bunch of these types of broadcasts.

If you wanted to go pirate, you're going to get busted eventually, which will result in hefty fines. Probably not worth the trouble. There was a panel at H2K2 about pirate radio (Audio).

Oh, and if you do go pirate, call it KRAP-FM ;)

I was thinking the idea of distributed FM transmitters. I wonder if that would work out very well. You could build little beefed-up FM-Pods that cover 100 feet radii across highway guardrails. I don't quite know how it all would work though. I'd mostly only want it where people can drive. That's a lot of FM-Pods just to be pirate.

FM is not dead, but it's outmoded. The Internet is far more powerful, and it's reaching more people every day. With Internet radio and podcasting, you can reach people directly and there's nothing stopping you. If you want to reach people, you can get on your feet for almost no money and in a matter of hours. So... go do that instead!

I thought this too, but nobody has internet in their cars. I just get pissed at the morning talk shows and things. I thought it would be neat to set up a pirate radio request system through text messages. SMS to email is easy and just setup an email reader program that reads a specific formatted email and searches a database of songs, or download from itunes. If no requests are present, default to a playlist.

#5 deepgeek

deepgeek

    HACK THE PLANET!

  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:A secret cyberpunk opium den in the basement of some used bookstore.

Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:35 PM

FM is not dead, but it's outmoded. The Internet is far more powerful, and it's reaching more people every day. With Internet radio and podcasting, you can reach people directly and there's nothing stopping you. If you want to reach people, you can get on your feet for almost no money and in a matter of hours. So... go do that instead!

I thought this too, but nobody has internet in their cars. I just get pissed at the morning talk shows and things. I thought it would be neat to set up a pirate radio request system through text messages. SMS to email is easy and just setup an email reader program that reads a specific formatted email and searches a database of songs, or download from itunes. If no requests are present, default to a playlist.


Ah, Y0ungBra1n, your missing the forest for the trees on this one.

Let me spell it out for you, as I am not sure your getting all the nuances of what Ohm is saying, so I will go through all the points, even the obvious ones, so I can be sure your not missing anything.

1) You are now a member of Binary Revolution, we all see you as more than just a visitor around here!

2) We have a daily internet radio show called Hacker Public Radio at hackerpublicradio.org, which really wants every member here to be involved.

3) If you make episodes for HPR, a) they will be appreciated B) you will no longer be just a member, you will become a contributor and be valued even more around here c) you will get, I believe, over a thousand listeners (I think, correct if wrong please.) BTW, if your thinking that you are a nube and therefore would bring nothing interesting to the internet radio show, your opinion will be fresh and different, and will have value just for that.

4) Yes, nobody has internet in their cars, but almost all have CD players, and you can burn a show to a cd in the morning and drive around listening to it. Blank CD's are less than 3/$1 in bulk and this is what I did until I invested in an Iriver digital media player.

to wrap up, I think that a bigger problem would be attracting new listeners, while doing some HPR would be much cheaper and have so many upsides for you. What do you think?
---
Deepgeek

#6 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 08:09 PM

I know Internet Radio shows like HPR and Binrev quite well. In fact, this is beginning my fifth year here at binrev. I am not a newcomer to the idea and I have even participated in a few radioshows back in the day with Cr45 Du57 and Phreakblaze. I am not looking for more talk shows because I still do listen to 'Hacker Radios' as often as I can. What I am looking for is a new, fresh way to work around the system that is placed before me. Thinking of creative ways to serve a public audience. Pirate radio would be like a softcore way to plug things that couldn't be on public radio, say binrev and HPR, while still being able to play badass music to the public.

And I post it Nubie HQ not because I feel like a nub, but I believe asking questions is the best place to begin anything. The more questions or answers about a topic, the more perspectives on my original thought. When I post I am also doing research, the post is only a place where I can collect my thoughts as well as the thoughts of others helping me.


<<<Segue>>>
So far I have researched and found the only truly open bands are Amateur radio bands, FRS (and other walkie-talkie bands), CB Radio (no music is allowed to be played for continuous periods of time) and other higher frequency bands. I was thinking that I could use one of these open bands to broadcast legally for long distances and pick them up at little FM transponder pods that could fit in most places and broadcast within the legal distance. They could be placed in public areas on telephone poles and things (hopefully not to be confused with bombs, like the ATHF fiasco) and then we could have ourselves a pirate radio network.

It would be quite an undertaking and costly, but to have our own unrestricted radio is more than worth it.

[Maybe this should be moved to the Ham/Hardware hacking forum]

Edited by Y0ungBra1n, 24 January 2008 - 09:00 PM.


#7 Lugner

Lugner

    Gibson Hacker

  • Members
  • 86 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:00 PM

Amateur radio bands are not simply open. You need to get a ham license, and there are rules, such as no music what so ever, band planning, and various conduct codes. FRS and CB have various rules too.

Unlicensed FM broadcasts simply have too little power to make anything practical. Furthermore, putting any effort into it simply to play music seems like a waste.

#8 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:09 PM

Yeah, I just thought a radio for the people, by the people that all the people could listen to would be pretty neat.
And it wouldn't have to just play music, wouldn't it be up to our discretion what is on there?
That is the part that interests me. Kind of like a Radio Free thing.

I glimpsed over some of the rules about Amateur radio bands and realized the things you said as well. It doesn't seem like a very practical idea, but using liquid nitrogen to cool overclocked computers isn't very practical either. Just doing it would be enough for me. -_-

[Just some information]
FCC Regulations on radio transmission
Definition of Microbroadcasting
Microbroadcasting website

Edited by Y0ungBra1n, 24 January 2008 - 09:36 PM.


#9 deepgeek

deepgeek

    HACK THE PLANET!

  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:A secret cyberpunk opium den in the basement of some used bookstore.

Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:46 PM

Well, my understanding of the ham/cb no music rules is that the bandwidth (no quite sure or the tech term) is optimized for voice and will clip the upper and lower frequencies of the music. I wonder if AM pirate might be better from a cheaper/distance carried standpoint. While I don't advocate it, my understanding is that even CB and five watts, with the right conditions, can carry quite a bit further.

Have you listened to HPR # 6 and BR # 138? I don't mean to be condescending, but I am really trying to cover basics here. Seems that antenna construction would be the biggest issue. When I actually bought a fm transmitter for my Digital media player I was really disappointed, so I assume that with no real antenna, you would not have a hope. Then it's back to getting listeners again, most people don't scan airwaves (seems to be a geek past time. I've scanned AM in the middle of the night, and I am the only person I know who has done this.) Anyway, if I recall correctly from BR # 138, they guy was actually going out to public events and running his pirate station remotely to promote it.

Heres a few links
http://members.tripo...m/transmitters/
http://www.sstran.com/
[so it looks like the transmittor kits cost $40 - $100 dollars.]

And I love this video clip...

which is a holland pirate showing off his studio

Well, at the risk of being boring, a few things from the backlog in my grey matter. I have an interest in alternative music, and so I have read a bit about netherlands pirate radio. Turns out that it is a response to state-runned radio, which is mostly classical. We have a different problem in America, which is corporate run radio, and the sheeple who listen to it. I wonder how that will translate out. I like to catch oldies from Canada on nightime AM here in NY, USA, just to get some variety. Otherwise, FM is just the current pop mix, which sucks. And AM is sports radio mostly, which sucks. So If I can get a Canadian oldies AM station at night, I grab it.

If the commute thing is really you starting point, have you considered a car mounted transmitter? These things can be tied into car power systems, maybe you could get one of those magnetic signs that sticks to your car door, put something with your frequency on it and cruise the parkway. Just don't get pulled over for anything.

---
Deepgeek

#10 deepgeek

deepgeek

    HACK THE PLANET!

  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:A secret cyberpunk opium den in the basement of some used bookstore.

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:14 PM

heh,

I'm not much of a hardware hacker, so I just found this...
http://antenna18431....com/antenna.htm

Heres a guy who will sell you an antenna for your SSTRAN community radio transmitter, he charges $400 dollars. So if you are not a person who wants to hack away at building this thing yourself, it looks like you can get into this for...
$100 for transmittor,
$400 for good antenna,
Than you have an AM station that is good for 3/4 a mile, provided you can find a free frequency in the 1600 to 1750 range [in theory, you could find a slot in the europeon 9khz station spacing arangement, but then only radios that can be set for this standard would work well.] [these things are normally used for churchs, he says.]

I love the idea too, but how many listeners do you need before you feel justified in doing this?

If it were between just us "tech" types, I would much rather get a good SSB (sideband) CB radio, fashion a network for ourselves, and do what we want on different nights and hope the FCC does not notice. CB seems pretty abandoned, so I think it would be cool. That would be about a hundred in a car. You could get traffic reports from truck drivers during the commute, and drive to high elevations and be a radio pirate at night. I would not go for this thing without first getting a bunch of us who were all interested in it though. I've heard intestate chat on SSB CB, so the range would be great, but the audio- let's say it aint FM quality. Legalwise, SSB CB does not require licensure, but being caught attempting a broadcast would be at least a "cease and desist" if not a fine.

Well, again, I think your right, chalk this up to the "thinking aloud" thing.
---
Deepgeek

#11 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:15 PM

Thank you so much for your post, it was the furthest thing from boring. This is exactly the kind of information and opinions I was looking for. The video of that pirate radio station was definitely awesome.

Although pirate would be my last resort, because it can poke a hefty hole in my pocket, there has to be a way to 'hack' around it with low power transmission. Do you think a series of low power FM (or AM) transmitters rebroadcasting a higher power shortwave transmissions (as I described) could be legal? Is there any frequency on which high power transmission in the US is legal?

From my limited research it seems that high power transmission is regulated and you have to pay a fee to broadcast. And to me, that doesn't make any sense at all. They're making money off of something that they don't own, they just 'control' it. That's not very fair.

#12 Phreaker Meekrab

Phreaker Meekrab

    SUP3R 31337

  • Members
  • 188 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:27 PM

Those little FM Transmitters for your MP3 work wonders if they're modified... I use one for My local Neighborhood radio broadcast, :D People like me doing the street conditions around here, its more accurate than the other ones because its local

#13 deepgeek

deepgeek

    HACK THE PLANET!

  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:A secret cyberpunk opium den in the basement of some used bookstore.

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:32 PM

Hi,

It would definately be legal. Looks like anything that can not be construed as obscene and is less than 1/10 a watt is legal. So, here is a scenario.

A bunch of people get FM broadcast units for IPODS,
And plug them into thier speaker plugs on their computer sound cards.
They then all get the same stream and viola, a legal blanket of broadcasts.

However, it covers like the adjacent units in an apartment building, so you need to think antenna. Once you say antenna, you are talking constructions, which means money, time, and zoning-regulation problems.

I'm still looking at the angle attracting listeners. Now, by virtue of us all being interested in binrev, we have an audience, which is also technical. I do think it would be better to find something mostly legal, that carries distance, and then kinda push the envelope as much as possible. That's why I am thinking SSB CB.

Although, with the "we already have an audience" theory, we could even do things just for the wierdness factor. I heard there are some very powerful CB radios in Italy, which don't run on standard american frequencies. Getting a handful of those would be interesting, kinda a private anarchistic network!

At any rate, I want to hit a ham fest this year, and just see what kind of old equipment can be purchased.

Well, l8r,
---
Deepgeek
and I'm glad you enjoyed the cupid radio clip. Theres a guy with balls, and money too.

#14 deepgeek

deepgeek

    HACK THE PLANET!

  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:A secret cyberpunk opium den in the basement of some used bookstore.

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:34 PM

Those little FM Transmitters for your MP3 work wonders if they're modified... I use one for My local Neighborhood radio broadcast, :D People like me doing the street conditions around here, its more accurate than the other ones because its local


AAAHHHH! You gotta give me a link on how to do those modifications!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
---
Deepgeek

#15 Phreaker Meekrab

Phreaker Meekrab

    SUP3R 31337

  • Members
  • 188 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:48 PM

Those little FM Transmitters for your MP3 work wonders if they're modified... I use one for My local Neighborhood radio broadcast, :D People like me doing the street conditions around here, its more accurate than the other ones because its local


AAAHHHH! You gotta give me a link on how to do those modifications!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
---
Deepgeek


Get a nice WIFI Antenna or a really long wire and solder it to the ANT pad on the PCB, that should give you a bit more coverage.

If you happen to have an old VHF/UHF antenna on your roof you could use that, 32" or more wire should also give you at least 2 blocks depending on the transmitter

Edited by Phreaker Meekrab, 24 January 2008 - 10:48 PM.


#16 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:48 PM

http://www.engadget....n-with-an-ipod/
mentions it.

http://www.casano.co...ansmitter-hack/
http://www.instructa...ransmitter-Mod/
I did this too an old belkin before it broke. It works. Hooking up a bigger battery helps too I hear...

#17 Phreaker Meekrab

Phreaker Meekrab

    SUP3R 31337

  • Members
  • 188 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:50 PM

http://www.engadget....n-with-an-ipod/
mentions it.

http://www.casano.co...ansmitter-hack/
http://www.instructa...ransmitter-Mod/
I did this too an old belkin before it broke. It works. Hooking up a bigger battery helps too I hear...



Use a 9V + a good Pentium II or better heatsink, those chips get HOT.

#18 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:53 PM

Car battery + Antenna + Van = Mobile Pirate Ship :lol:

http://www.woot.com/...P...5&count=437
would have been cool to get three packs of those. 9 Hacked transmitters broadcasting at 1 kilometer each (a lot of juice). Mini pirate radio for 35 bucks or so.

Edited by Y0ungBra1n, 24 January 2008 - 10:57 PM.


#19 Phreaker Meekrab

Phreaker Meekrab

    SUP3R 31337

  • Members
  • 188 posts

Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:58 PM

Car battery + Antenna + Van = Mobile Pirate Ship :lol:

http://www.woot.com/...P...5&count=437
would have been cool to get three packs of those. 9 Hacked transmitters broadcasting at 1 kilometer each (a lot of juice). Mini pirate radio for 35 bucks or so.


PhreakPlanet Radio Downtown? :o

#20 Y0ungBra1n

Y0ungBra1n

    The floor is made of lava!

  • Agents of the Revolution
  • 1,239 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sal Tlay Ka Siti

Posted 24 January 2008 - 11:11 PM

Hmm this is interesting to note as well
http://futureofmusic...factsheet07.cfm

Takes a looong time though...

[edit]Expired last October :( [/edit]

Edited by Y0ungBra1n, 24 January 2008 - 11:34 PM.





BinRev is hosted by the great people at Lunarpages!