Total posts : 45366
Now it is my turn to add my two cents worth.
I started out with a Ramsey FM 100 that a friend gave to me. He assembled it and believed he installed a part wrong and may have fried that part as he had no equipment to do tests, he put the transmitter aside and eventually forgot what part it was.
One day, he decided to hand It over to me and said if I can get it working, it’s mine to keep. The board was fully filled with the parts, however, he had not put the rest of the kit together as far as the projects metal cabinet was concerned.
I did not make any attempts to repair this kit until around 2012. After getting a schematic diagram from Ramsey, I got the kit going.
While I was working on this kit, I started researching FM transmitters, so I started learning about part 15 broadcasting. I joined forums related to AM and FM broadcasting, some were influences to pirate radio and some were influences to legal radio. We all have to start somewhere.
I’ve always been interested in broadcasting as far back as to when I was a kid. I’m 55 now. Anyways, I eventually set up a little in house radio station where I was it’s intended only listener. As time passed, other people who seen my Ramsey FM100 and the fact that I was sending audio into it and it was playing over a near by FM stereo receiver, though that was really cool.
The antenna was a telescopic whip antenna that was included in the kit, the range was very limited, but it did reach a few near by neighbor’s apartments and they could listen in with a fairly listenerable signal.
That was the start of my station’s existence and although it had very few listeners, we still built up the studio piece by piece until we had a mixer, a dedicated computer with music recorded from LP records and an Behringer MDX1600 compressor/limiter.
While we were playing with this toy, I had learned that the FCC was about to open a LPFM filing period and would soon be accepting applications for a LPFM license.
I registered with radio spark and created a profile, I also went to the FCC website and created an account there and obtained an FRN number, filled out and filed a form 318 application for a Construction Permit.
Things looked good at first and I had looked into a transmitter that was FCC part 73 certified for LPFM use. During the Government shutdown, I had ordered a transmitter from a US owned company. The transmitter I ordered was listed as a certified transmitter by the FCC on it’s website. The shipping schedule was 14 days from the time of receipt. The output power on this unit was 30 or 50 Watts if I remember correctly. Sorry, I just do not want to have to dig for old paper work that amounts to nothing now.
Long story short, I returned that transmitter the day it arrived, lost my CP to a minority group who falsely filed under “Educational Institution” and the FCC gave them 92.9MHz. I did not file as an “educational institution, so they got the CP and it went to HP-NL Inc. of New London, CT a HIP-HOP and RAP LPFM station WDUP FM 92.9MHz
We then came up with the idea of multiple transmitters and using a Barix Exstreamer and Instreamer combo based on information I read about on the web from part 15 websites. I no longer hung out at pirate radio websites because I found and hung out at HB and eventually here at part15.us with intentions of doing things legally.
We actually came up with a cheaper way to do this, but what we needed was transmitters located in various areas of high population. The trick was to get those into apartment buildings where one transmitter’s signal could entertain several families. Private homes were out of the question as they were not close enough together to get more than one family in the signal zone.
So, we reached out to groups who we knew rented apartments in multi-family establishments. We looked at the buildings, the best ones were buildings with two or more floors and as many as 15 apartments in that one structure. My town has a lot of buildings like that.
Now, based on what we read at part 15 web sites, AM seemed to be the most recommended band to use. Heritage Information Radio a part 15 in Norwich, CT at 1700Khz was using AM. We also heard about Wolverine Radio in Griswold CT using Rangemasters. The results for both stations was, if anyone listened at all, it was via a player built into the website or tunein, but no one listened via the AM broadcast band.
The reasons are, both Norwich Connecticut and Griswold where those stations are located is heavily populated and full of RF noise! I am 1/4 mile away from Heritage Information Radio’s location, I am located on a hill over looking the downtown area of Norwich Connecticut. The location of that 1700KHz station is line of sight visible from my location. I tune to 1700KHz using a digital AM tuner and a long wire extending out of my house to an antenna structure on my roof which houses several fixed UHF antennas pointed toward the major television markets for digital TV reception. That would be Hartford CT. Providence R.I. and Boston Ma. and a scanner antenna for my Realistic Pro-2006 400 CH. Scanner. Now that long wire extends about 60 feet into the air in open space, where it attaches to the tower via a ceramic insulator and there is absolutely NO signs of Heritage Information Radio at 1700KHz on my receiver! None! It is lost in the noise floor and having down step transformers near by makes it even worse! I’m stuck near two of them, one on my street and another on the next street over and another up the street 1000 feet or so.
So, we asked people what was our chances of having any listeners if we went AM. We took a survey, we asked a large group of people, and I mean a LARGE group of people, this got us well known in the area as WXTZ. But WXTZ really had no channel at this point. When we were on one transmitter, we used 107.1MHz. However, WFHN from south-eastern Massachusetts was tropo every night and killing that channel.
So, survey after survey kept bringing us to a conclusion, if we went AM, we were dead before we started and we asked young, old, male, female, cat, dogs, hamsters and rats and the answer was, you go AM we won’t be listening to you no matter what you play, we already have WICH AM 1310 and we don’t listen to them either.
So, we had to make a choice, go AM and waste our time, or go FM stereo and have listeners. Call it what you all want, argue with me like Bill Defelice did that AM IS NOT DEAD BRUCE!!!!!
Well guess what? In this area AM IS DEAD IN THE WATER ALREADY!!! Get over it Bill!
So, we worked out agreements with people, we’ll buy what the studio needs to operate, the record albums and 45 RPM records, the mixing console, audio processing equipment, turntables, CD players, Cassette tape decks, reel to reel decks, microphones, 8-track players, you name it we bought it. All our music was bought, we owned the physical media, no music pirating, we licensed the music so we were covered against copy-right violations.
The Ramsey FM 100 was retired from service, the reason being, when we tried to find an open FM frequency, we ran into many problems, Norwich, Connecticut is surrounded by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, the western part of Connecticut and Long Island New York. Every direction you look, there is a station on every FM channel in a 360 degree radius from our location!!! It is a nightmare here for the FM band! 20 years ago you could get stations from over 100 miles away! Not anymore! Now, the band is so congested you can’t get a lot Boston stations we used to get back in the day, same with Springfield MA can’t get those stations anymore either. They are all covered over by Co-Channel or 1st adjacent interference from legal licensed full power stations. God casters are another nightmare or special town licensees buying up the channels with translators such as Bill’s radio station licensed as Town of Monroe Connecticut Licensee, they own 14 translators carrying the SAME crap programming!!
So, we had a problem, no open channels, ZERO open channels! The only one that was quite was 87.9MHz No stations, no chance of us stepping on one of those stations.
We moved to 87.9MHz and called our new network WXTZ 87.9 Norwich. WXTZ is not currently licensed to any stations, we did not ever claim to be licensed by the FCC as WXTZ, we used the whole WXTZ 87.9 Norwich as a branding name and claimed ourselves as a part 15 radio station. We were up to 8 transmitters certified as FCC part 15 type accepted by the FCC.gov website, all strategically located in multi-family apartment buildings.
We had people who listened and we had people who could get the signal in some populated areas of Norwich like a public park with a parking lot where listeners could hang out and get the station on their car radios.
We played rock music mostly right off the vinyl records and we played the WHOLE album! People used to love it when we played Pink Floyd “The Wall” or a night of Black Sabbath albums played from their debut album right up to their last album 13 all played in one long night of music.
All good things have to come to an end, and so, as rumor has it, a local station heard about us from someone who either called or posted on their Facebook page and said do you guys own WXTZ 87.9 Norwich? Response: WXTZ 87.9 Norwich????? Oh Oh, we need to tell the Program Director about this one!!! This PIRATE is stealing our listeners and hurting our sales dollars, because they are operating on FM for FREE and we’re PAYING BIG DOLLARS just to stay on the air and have our sales suffer as a result of lost listeners.
The whole story about my station is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WXTZ_87.9_Norwich
Now, as far as rule changes for FM going to 1 watt goes, as long as Hobby Broadcaster keeps slamming FM as a PIRATE’s heaven and supporting that DEADEND AM broadcast band for hobby broadcasting, FM rules WILL NEVER CHANGE!!! Trust me, not ONCE have I heard him suggest FM be allowed more RF, his answer is always the same, the NAB won’t allow it, the NAB won’t allow it, the NAB won’t allow it, the NAB won’t allow it….someone fix that stuck stylus please!!!!!