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Well, since you asked how it turns out …
First off, with time being at the greatest problem for me these days, I did a quick and dirty fix which I realize is far from ideal. I will work on a better one later. I did use the Radio Shack TV RF Amp with some success. I opened up the Crane FM T and soldered a short length of RG-58 C/U to where the whip antenna is soldered to the circuit board and grounded the shielding. (I had already “hacked” the Crane by adjusting the variable resistor, as posted elsewhere on the internet and referenced on these boards.) The coax feeds the TV amp, which goes into a balun. Admittedly the balun is not perfect since it is a 75 ohm (instead of 50 ohm) to 300 ohm balun. That then feeds an FM dipole (300 ohm wire) which is hung vertically with masking tape to the gypsum board wall.
The transmitter is fed by the sound card of my PC which is currently playing playlists of mp3’s that I ripped at 320k from my CD collection. I am using Windows Media Player 10 on an XP PC. I am just using this to play my music around the house and yard for the present. Not yet ready for community radio. We are in a very rural area, and few (if any) people could pick up the signal.
Range had good improvement and I can get a clear signal in most spots (there are a couple of blanked spots within the house). The signal reaches about 200 feet in one direction and 500+ in another, probably due to the terrain. (It’s hilly and we are on over 20++ acres). I could pick up a very scratchy signal on a very good car radio about a mile away, across the valley, but lost the signal in between where the road was below our house (probably due to shadowing from the hillside).
Audio quality is great, and when the music id on when we have company, the guests don’t realize the broadcast comes from my PC.
In retrospect, I really don’t have a clue about the power output of the Crane, which I originally thought was about 7 – 10 mw. I would guess it is below that.
I did order the QKit RF Amp, as well as another of their kits. I started with the other kit which I have not yet gotten to work (probably my poor workmanship) and haven’t had the time to fully diagnose it or start on the RF Amp. Another time maybe. Stay tuned…