broadcasting to the dummies
Posted on May 7, 2013
With all the commotion about alleged shut downs, inspections and what-not i had a serious thinking session about what to do with Rock 105.3.
Do i want to continue to pump 1 or 2 millliwatts into a 0 db folded dipole and risk a visit or letter in the mail ? Or should i just run a part 15 certified fm transmitter with it’s short antenna (it’s 5 inches) and make due with the woeful 150 feet of transmission range?
The second option sounds pretty safe, however the first had more coverage. Why?
Because it was a Ramsey FM 25B set at 2 mW into coax leading up to a folded dipole 15 feet above the ground.
That set up covered just barely a 1/4 mile to the north of here and 1 mile south, west and east to a factory car stereo. Sounds ideal doesn’t it? But wait a minute, fcc rules for part 15 clearly state that range on a legal (certified) fm transmitter or even home brewed should have a limited range of 250 feet.
In my situation 5 homes surround my home and are anywhere from 12 feet to 70 feet which i like to call my captive audience. Whether they listen or not they are more likely to hear my station no matter how many mW i pump into a dipole or a short wire antenna.
As we have all seen in the past and present actions from the fcc some operators were busted, while some were given some tip’s by the fcc agents and when everything was kosher the agent went back to whatever it was they had planned next.
And it has been said over and over again that some fcc agents are easy going , that they will allow the stations to continue to broadcast as long as the operator made a few changes. One good example is a station in Florida but i will not be naming names here out of respect for the owners of said station.
Some changes were made to that station per request of the field inspector and after those changes met his or her satisfaction, the station was allowed to continue broadcasting.
Other part 15 stations were not so lucky.
So option 2 looks pretty good. It’s safe and i guess we could make a whole new catagory of broadcast modes for our hobby. Call it Minicasting as opposed to Microcasting which seems to have an iffy definition to it. When i hear that word i actually think to myself “yeah they are pushing more than the legal limit” .
I say that because 9 times out of 10 that station is actually pushing 100 mW to 2 Watts on f.m. and before you know it they are on the fcc’s list of violators.
It is my opinion that the field agents should treat every station the same.
One agent should not be allowed to say “eh lower the antenna and i’ll let you go” while another say’s ” i don’t like what i see on the field intensity meter shut it down and hand it over” “you’ve been served” Every field agent should treat each station ,wether it is licensed or not the same way with the same aggression as the next.
Full powered licensed stations break the laws just as much as the pirate’s.
At least some of the pirates and part 15 stations carry some good programming.
So maybe we should all just connect to a dummy load and be greedy with our signals. Keep the signals within our homes and never even mention that we put a lot of time and effort into our tiny hobby stations.
Another thing that bugs me, while part 15 fm is limited to 200 feet and it’s power is measured by field intensity what would become of part 15 AM ?
The rules also mention a limit of 200 feet even though the power is measured differently the limit is still stated in the revision made back in 2000.
What if an agent decided , hey you know what? i think today i will excersize my authority and streatch the truth a bit. Hey buddy , your station is being heard a mile away on 1620 khz i am afraid i am going to have to inspect your station.
Yes just as i thought, you are running too much power. Yes, i see the certification sticker but your limit is 200 feet. Shut it off and fix it or i will take everything you have right here and now.
See we need that kind of enforcement but on the other hand, if all the agents do their own thing regardles off protocol then enforcement will fail and radio will continue to be the big mess it is today.
So with all things considered, i think i will safely broadcast the 200 foot limit and be content with the 25 to 30 homes i hope can tune into my minicaster.
It sure beats russian rulette.