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Author Topic: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?  (Read 11919 times)

Offline jordan

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Suppose I broadcast an hour-long bluegrass music show using a blank frequency in the Knoxville area.  My transmitter puts out only one watt.  I would not be causing any interference to any other station or service.  I would simply be playing music from some of the current bluegrass bands (Flatt Lonesome, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Trinity River, Mountain Faith, Sierra Hull, Balsam Range, etc.).  What would be the chances I would get caught by the FCC?

Offline atrainradio

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 1431 UTC »
From experience, extremely slim chance if you do not interfere with anyone and play clean music. The biggest thing is DO NOT INTERFERE.
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Offline John Poet

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 0315 UTC »
Practically NIL the first few times, operating for only an hour with one watt... unless the FCC were already in town monitoring the airwaves as you did it. 

FCC enforcement actions are dependent on a pirate's repetition and predictability (operating on a predictable schedule).  If they can't make a reasonable prediction of when you'd be on, they aren't going to send anyone.

Before that can even happen, someone would have to make a complaint to them about you.

The chances of getting caught go up with repetition, hours operating, predictability, power level and probably the worst factor--- publicity.  With only one watt on FM, you aren't as likely to generate much notice as opposed to using 10 watts or 100 watts...

There aren't any FCC field offices remotely near you, but others should check the list
http://freeradiocafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3389




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Offline Njmikec

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 1819 UTC »
The other thing to look out for would be harmonic transmissions above and below your chosen frequency.  Not sure of the quality of equipment you are using but the Chinese stuff you can get on eBay is famous for this kind of interference.  A wrongly placed harmonic in a Police, Aviation or Armed Forces band will get you attention quickly.

Offline EliteData

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 1847 UTC »
The other thing to look out for would be harmonic transmissions above and below your chosen frequency.  Not sure of the quality of equipment you are using but the Chinese stuff you can get on eBay is famous for this kind of interference.  A wrongly placed harmonic in a Police, Aviation or Armed Forces band will get you attention quickly.
thats exactly why you build or obtain a high quality RF pass-band filter with high attenuation outside of the pass band (ex. 87-108Mhz), i would use one regardless of circumstances especially with the chinese made stuff since they have little effective to absolutely no band pass filters built on them but then again, if youre operating with relatively low power such as 1000mW and an ERP at the tuned antenna that isnt much higher than that, the harmonics generated would be very low in the first place.
its operating at elevated power levels is where you have to begin worrying about it.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 1850 UTC by EliteData »

Offline digitalmod

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 0016 UTC »
 Good heavens 1 watt on FM band goes almost no where. The FCC operates entirely on complaints . That says somebody makes a call or writes a complaint. They investigate it based on politics of situation.
Money is usually involved or some ties with a political power. FM radio uses very broad band and as such it takes a quiet band or very high power to even be heard at 1 mile. Urban environments are at greatest risks from radio sharks. :'(
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2017, 1319 UTC »
             It really depends upon where you are, and whom the receiving audience is. If you are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out in the boonies, you maybe on for years without notice. However, in a metro area, or even a small town with a station manager, engineer, or a so-called concerned citizen, who is a real douche, chances would be pretty good since the FCC will respond to complaints. And? 1W not reaching anywhere? Really??? In the right location and elevation, 25mW and a well tuned quarter wave ground plane can cover a whole town. Push a watt behind that, and you can cover for miles. This all depends on antenna efficiency, elevation, and geography.  The other thing is, are you choosing a FREQ that is really empty? That's hard to do in many areas. Another thing is which FCC office has a bad reputation. In Alaska, the FCC has a reputation of being really tough up there, even thought most of that state is wide open. Since there's so much air radio depending traffic up there, the Anchorage FCC office wants the aviation band as interference free as possible. So, lots of variables. I'll tell ya what, this so-called AM Revitalization Program of letting every AM station litter the FM band with their own FM translators certainly has not helped things for either free radio, and especially licensed LPFM.
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Offline redhat

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 0736 UTC »
             It really depends upon where you are, and whom the receiving audience is. If you are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out in the boonies, you maybe on for years without notice. However, in a metro area, or even a small town with a station manager, engineer, or a so-called concerned citizen, who is a real douche, chances would be pretty good since the FCC will respond to complaints. And? 1W not reaching anywhere? Really??? In the right location and elevation, 25mW and a well tuned quarter wave ground plane can cover a whole town. Push a watt behind that, and you can cover for miles. This all depends on antenna efficiency, elevation, and geography.  The other thing is, are you choosing a FREQ that is really empty? That's hard to do in many areas. Another thing is which FCC office has a bad reputation. In Alaska, the FCC has a reputation of being really tough up there, even thought most of that state is wide open. Since there's so much air radio depending traffic up there, the Anchorage FCC office wants the aviation band as interference free as possible. So, lots of variables. I'll tell ya what, this so-called AM Revitalization Program of letting every AM station litter the FM band with their own FM translators certainly has not helped things for either free radio, and especially licensed LPFM.

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Offline digitalmod

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Re: What are the chances of getting caught on FM with one watt?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 2238 UTC »
 :o You chances are just about none what so ever. In fact FM band is sorta funny. If you have many strong commercial stations in your area, you cannot possibly interfere unless its somebody next door complaining. The FCC acts only on complaints and these generally come from licensed broadcasters.
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FCC cannot enter your home without a warrant. They could issue a warning, but at one watt, its just not happening. :-X
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