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Author Topic: If you had it all to do over again...  (Read 797 times)

Offline ichthys

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If you had it all to do over again...
« on: November 29, 2020, 0045 UTC »
I'm a technical novice who moved to a remote area a few months ago, and am looking for a new hobby.
Our new town only has about hundred people spread out over a square mile or so.
Other towns with stations are 30 miles or more away.
No shopping centers, only a few open-to-the-public businesses, so there's never been any "official" media here, or other station's ad revenue to hurt.
Part 15 has always been an interest to me, but I've just never pulled the trigger.
Never wanted to raise any gov/radio cluster hackles in the urban places we lived before.
And never really had the space.
I checked the dial here, and FM has a few open frequencies, I think.
There's only 4 AM stations listed on radio-locator unless you click "include fringe stations." But I've never heard any of the fringe AMs in the car.
I like that more people are probably scanning around on FM, and the signal won't completely disappear at dark,
but AM seems like a bigger playground where no one would ever "care" and I might could squeeze out a little bit further in the day. Even if it's only 50 feet "further" that's okay. lol
The goal is mostly to learn, practice some soldering, and surreptitiously see if anyone ever notices outside my yard.
I don't intend to break all the rules like Christian Slater in that movie, but I figure if I do, out here, probably no one will notice before I can fix whatever I broke in the system.

So I'm thinking, for those of you who have played with Part 15 longer than I:
if you knew then what you know now, would you have started out with AM or an FM?
And if you would have a preference, which brand/model of transmitter/antenna/software setup?
I know they both have advantages and disadvantages, and those all depend on geography and other things beyond me.
But I can probably only talk the wife who's funding this new hobby into launching one transmitter at a time. Unless someone has some exceptionally cheap novice solutions. lol

Offline tybee

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Re: If you had it all to do over again...
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 1513 UTC »
Our new town only has about hundred people spread out over a square mile or so...
..AM seems like a bigger playground where no one would ever "care" and I might could squeeze out a little bit further in the day.....
The goal is mostly to learn, practice some soldering, and surreptitiously see if anyone ever notices outside my yard...
So I'm thinking,.range you knew then what you know now, would you have started out with AM or an FM?
And if you would have a preference, which brand/model of transmitter/antenna/software setup?
..Unless someone has some exceptionally cheap novice solutions. lol
It's technically feasible to cover a square mile or so legally with a single part 15 a.m transmitter. See this link https://www.radioworld.com/columns-and-views/readers-forum/letter-richard-fry-on-part-15-am-coverage-area . However, that would be in a wide openarea without obstructions like stores, houses, apartment buildings, or whatever in the way blocking.. attuning your signal. Furthermore, an outdoor install is unlikely to provide a reliable signal indoors, with exception to the very immediate area.

AM versus FM.. AM is definitely the way you want to go if achieving legal range is the issue.15.219 is the only loophole, as it were, of exceeding the set limited field strength.

No matter who you ask concerning transmitter preference, the answer most certainly will be either a rangemaster or a procaster.. Both top dollar certified units. Then of course there's the certified talking house, more bargain priced in the $100 range. The Spitfire is another bargain price transmitter.. REC is then the works with another one..

But you indicate you want to build your own, which sounds really cool. There's numerous kits available, I really don't know what to suggest but I recall an inexpensive kit from eBay, who's someone constructed and provided an in depth and positive review of its performance at https://www.hobbybroadcaster.net/reviews/radio-diy-am-transmitter-kit-user-review.php

Whatever direction you take, enjoy yourself and best of luck.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 1516 UTC by tybee »

Offline ThaDood

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Re: If you had it all to do over again...
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 1942 UTC »
You can do the best of both worlds with AM Part #15, like I am. I'm doing the just under 100mW to a 9ft antenna. How far that gets you depends upon what's around you and soil conductivity. In the Summer, I don't even reach 1 mile in some directions. Winter, I've heard my signal up to 3 miles, but in the middle of a quite, noise free, parking lot, and with the engine off. Any bit of noise would obliterate that. Oh... And that's middle of the day. At night, hammered by night time propagation. That's where the other method comes into play, AM Carrier-Current Coupling. Some are now calling that PLC = Power Line Coupling. I stay away from FM, since the political climate for that just sucks. So, how far does that go? Thus far, this is the worst location for it. Before hand, I did Carrier-Current in a town square, and later, in a suburb. 1.5W carrier was heard in some areas as far as 3 miles, and this is from the street measured. Just how far that went into people's houses and apartment complexes is anyone's guess. Where I am currently, in one direction, there's a brick-wall utility transformer that stops my Carrier-Current station in one direction. So, it doesn't matter if I do 100mW, or 10W. The other direction is a little better at about a mile. I also use a much lower FREQ for Carrier-Current, (Below 1MHz.), and that carries further on the long power lines. What puts people off of Carrier-Current Coupling is coupling to the power lines. I Neutral inject, although myself and another station op are trying to make a Layman's Plug & Play AM Carrier-Current Coupling Transmitter. And, we have a model where this has been done for decades. Wireless FM Intercoms that you make use from your work shop, basement, den, kitchen, garage, etc., that uses the house wiring to carry signal around the house on most NBFM, but some AM ones were made, and FREQ's from 140kHz to 180kHz. Then, there's the posting and links from Boomer's page,   https://www.hfunderground.com/board/index.php/topic,72355.0.html   Lots of good info there! He should have the 1959 article of the AM broadcast band Carrier-Current Baby Monitor. So, How cheap can you do all this? That all depends upon how resourceful you are. So, like to have you on AM. We look for all the permissible license-free loop-holes we can get. Good luck!!!!! OH!!! Here's another DIY link for you from MRAM1500 with his home brew Part #15 antenna for his AM station,  http://mram.us/AntennaStory.html  I may follow his lead myself, if something were to happen to the present copper 9ft antenna that I am broadcasting with.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 0613 UTC by ThaDood »
When asked about White Supremacy, I do not believe in it, since most white people that I know are very much mediocre. Therefore, I believe in White Mediocracy.

Offline ichthys

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Re: If you had it all to do over again...
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2020, 0015 UTC »
Thanks yall! I like the ideas and am looking forward to reading more of them...so I can steal or adapt some probably. I definitely have a lot to learn. lol

Offline Kingbear Radio

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Re: If you had it all to do over again...
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2020, 0024 UTC »
I'd think fewer would care on the AM side these days, compared to FM, where there are lots of turf battles happening, translators wanting to go on, LPFM asking for more power, and I believe that there are "windows" coming up for both LPFM and NCE stations over the next year, so the FM band is going to be chock full. Another side to that is with all the stations clogging the band, fewer may notice a small FM station in the noise of other stations.

AM is good when you have an area with few stations on that band. It's fun to put a station on to broadcast something to your old AM radios and hear when driving to the store, thrilling when you get it all done and get on the air.
K-Bear Radio

Offline Kingbear Radio

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Re: If you had it all to do over again...
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2020, 0206 UTC »
Tybee: Oh God, Mr. Fry, I wouldn't listen to anything he says in his articles, I think he's an agent who has set out to tear down part-15, not build it up!

I had a run in with Fry at a popular kit company's Help forum a number of years ago when he insisted that a station operated in the way people were discussing was not compliant with the rules, with field strength diagrams to prove that, produced by professional antenna modeling software. It got everyone upset. It happened more than a few times there from what I heard from others.

I got into it personally when I thought my station would be fine, installed with the ground wire like others had, and things heated up, because I was prepared to spend money to put a station on, and was holding my ground that it was okay, when he said the FCC might have another opinion, which I took to be a threat, and l looked up his info, thinking to visit his home and challenge him to a duel.

More research and I found out he was actually a solid engineer who had made contributions to radio engineering papers, and had done lots of work for the betterment of broadcasting.

As to why he would work hard to demotivate would be small broadcasters with absolute adherence to the rules, taking all the fun out of it, I have no clue. Are you really an esteemed engineer reduced to doing this, that's pathetic! I chilled then, realizing he was the one with the problem. Why be remembered as a killjoy?

For something peaceful now, it sounds like you've done great work with Carrier Current ThaDood, any idea who was listening, and did you give out a number or other way to contact since it was a legit station? I also like the mram us antenna, that seems like it would be a good thing to try, and cost less than antennas you can buy, and it looks stronger too. I like the traffic box used for mounting, that's great.
K-Bear Radio