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Newbie with several questions

 
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Newbie with several questions
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Ian Kogneato
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Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 32

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Post Newbie with several questions Reply with quote
First posting and I'm sure eyes may be rolling at some of these questions, but I'd really appreciate any help.

Has anyone tried the PCI MAX 2004 from a laptop docking station (which has the slot for a desktop card) ?

If I was to purchase one of those pre-paid cell phones (with a cellphone card) , would this be traceable - if the number was given out over the air? Naturally, information provided at the time of phone activation might be a little incorrect.

Let's say that I'm at a club or any other hangout and someone starts calling me by my 'air name' or is excited and starts talking about the station... is it cool to openly admit... or better put - would this be evidence alone to justify or aid in a conviction?

Is creating a web based e-mail account (yahoo, for instance) the best idea for contact? Call me paranoid, but I wonder if checking this at the local library would insure even better protection (avoiding any personal ISP information).

Now for an even sillier question. For special occasions, I've thought of staying at a high-rise motel (for a night) . Walking in with an antenna might look a little odd. Though I doubt it's possible, is there an antenna that can be disassembled? I'm thinking of something similar to a pool stick cue.

Though I've tried the internet for mp3's, I haven't had much success. Any idea where to find or order radio jingles?

I'm sure this is a commonly asked question, but I couldn't find the answer. Any idea of the penalty for a first time offender of a censored radio station? My setup would be a 15 W Max Booster & PCI MAX 2004.

Let's say that I'm broadcasting from the states ( N.C. ) . If I'm not mistaken, the closest FCC unit is in GA. (correct me if I'm wrong). The travel distance would probably be five hours. Is it safe to assume that the first five hours may be the most safe? Also, do they operate on more of a skeleton crew on the holidays?

Last question. I'd love to do this sporadically and the night before - put flyers out for Mr. and Ms. morning traffic driver & college kids to view and the hopefully become curious enough to listen. Given that the on air time may only be four to five hours, are flyers a bad idea?

I've really enjoyed looking over the board. It's been quite helpful. Thanks in advance.
Sat Oct 09, 2004 7:56 am View user's profile Send private message
DrSandi
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Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Olympia, WA USA

Post Words to the wise for an unlicensed broadcaster Reply with quote
Some real world considerations for your virgin broadcasts:

If you're going to be heavy on the phones, then maybe a pay as you go phone would work for you. It's certainly harder to trace them to your address. While anything is possible under the current regime, it's unlikely that the FCC is going to subpoena your cellphone records to find you. Remember that your Visa card is going to be tough to disguise.

The FCC has a more direct method of finding a transmitter, direction finding. If you've ever aimed a TV antenna to pick up a distant station, you know how to zero in on a transmitter. The FCC has equipment that works the same way, but it's in their SUVs.

They can triangulate on you by zeroing in on you from two or more places. Each time, they draw a line on a map from their location to the spot their antenna is pointed with the best signal. With just two stops, they have two lines that intersect pretty close to your antenna site. Maybe three stops if it's a little soft or it's hilly.

Now they drive to the spot where the lines cross and try it again. They can usually narrow it down to with a building or two. Then they look for an unusual antenna. They also might just sit and watch for people coming and going at times when a new voice appears on the air.

The FCC may also phone your station number if one is given on the air. It's often like whacking a bee's nest with a stick, and they watch for where the excitement is centered.

Once they feel fairly certain they've got the right place, they will probably drive away.

They aren't giving up, they're just getting reinforcements. Expect an afternoon visit with the FCC backed up by your local police department. They will knock on the door and identify themselves. Then they will ask if they can come inside. Ask them if they have a Search Warrant. If they don't, tell them they can't come in. Without a warrant, they can only come in if you say they can come in. Just because they brought the police doesn't mean they brought a warrant.

Whatever happens, they will want to inspect your transmitter. If they don't have a search warrant, they have no right to inspect your transmitter, whether you have one or not.

If you can do it discreetly, stay on the air. They're waiting to see if their visit disrupts the station. If it does, then they've got more evidence that you're running the station. If it stays on without missing a beat, it makes them wonder if maybe it's the neighbors after all.

Once they're gone, reconsider just how important this radio stuff is to you. There will probably be no further repurcissions from this visit, assuming you stop broadcasting from that location PERMANENTLY.

Once you've had the initial Scare Visit, you're a sitting duck for the Business Visit when they arrive with Federal Marshals and more local cops and, most important, a Search Warrant. At this point you are screwed and need an attorney if you're not ready to automatically turn over the $11,000 fine that will be levied. Also, they WILL impound all transmitter gear and any associated audio equipment. I have heard of people who have lost all their computers, their mixer and their stereo gear, CD players and turntables.

My strong advice for ANYBODY who has been visited ONCE by the FCC is to never broadcast from that location again without a license unless you really want to live an exciting life.

The further south you live, the closer the FCC resembles the Third Reich. And when you hit Miami and parts of Texas, you might not be able to tell whether it's the FCC and Federal Marshals or Storm Troopers and the SS.

==
Yes, a nice anonymous e-mail account at Yahoo or Rock.com or wherever keeps you in touch without being too vulnerable.

Now, as for a discreet antenna, try the one at:
http://www.n6mrx.com/Antenna/Pocket%20J-Pole.htm

The plans are for 144 MHz. You want something for the FM band, so all segments need to be 1.5 times longer. This is made with flat twin lead TV cable. You can build this at home and test it out. Then just roll it up and put it in your pocket or in your suitcase.

I know a guy who used this antenna to broadcast from his hotel during a major protest event in Seattle. It worked great and nobody knew Free Radio was broadcasting from 100 feet above the street where the action was going on. Great signal too!

If you're not getting promotional MP3 files already, go to:
http://www.bearshare.com/

It's a great place to get the new music AND the old stuff too.

Flyers are always a great way to create immediate interest. But remember, there are going to be people out there who are NOT big fans of Free Speech that differs from their view of a Free America. They may remember you and describe you to the authorities.

And also remember a VITAL fact. The FCC doesn't come looking for you unless somebody complains to them about your station. It's ALWAYS an interference complaint, but it's almost always because your broadcast offends their Nazi sensibilities. The Right is much more dangerous than the Left if you're an unlicensed broadcaster.

Happy broadcasting, and be careful out there.


Dr. Sandi
Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:25 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ian Kogneato
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Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 32

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Post Reply with quote
Dr. Sandi,

Thank you for the help! Thankfully, the cellphone I'm thinking of is a pay as you go with cash (they have these at the local super stores).

I used to work in commercial radio in the 80's. I also witnessed during the 90's a lot of new f*cc rules that appeared more serving to the major corporations. When an owner can own more than one station within the same listening area, it spell's trouble!

I always wondered about the $11,000 fine vs the slap on the wrist. The big penalty was what has prevented me so far. I'm hoping as long as I keep it 'mild' that I can keep it going for some time.

One last question for you and/or others. I read somewhere on this board that if a person is cited and they change locations that the process has to start over again. Do you or anyone else here know if that is the case within the states?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Also, I haven't tried the mp3 program you mentioned, but I'll give it a try. The file sharing program I've been using seems to have everything (with the exception of jingles). I've found a lot of Rockabilly, Garage, Psyche, Punk, Prog - as well as a lot of modern underground ... in other words, those that aren't into the mainstream should find a lot of rare and/or obscure stuff. www.slsknet.org
Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:11 pm View user's profile Send private message
DrSandi
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Joined: 06 Oct 2004
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Location: Olympia, WA USA

Post More on getting busted by the FCC Reply with quote
Ian (and snoopy people who would read a PUBLIC forun)

As I understand the law here in the U.S., a Search Warrant is a site specific legal tool. It has to be issued for a specific address and a specific reason. So if you move to a new address, the FCC has to once again establish reasonable grounds to search the new place.

Just because they think it's YOU, they still have to get a judge to let them search your place, and that place has to be specied in the address on the Search Warrant. At least, that's my take on it.

I have personally been "visited" by the FCC over an LPFM transmitter that was operating before the construction permit was issued. We had been waiting nearly 2 years and just got fed up with the FCC's sluggish pace. They came out and busted us on a complaint by a local radio station. Since the transmitter was in a locked cabinet and they had no search warrant, they left without it. I am fairly certain they would have added it to their collection if they didn't have to break a lock to get at it.

I answered a letter from the local FCC field office and ripped them a new one for taking so long at processing the LPFM application. Since they really had no legal ground to say we were interfering with licensed broadcasters while on a channel they were eventually going to grant us for LPFM, it probably made it tougher for them to continue their slam dunk process of convicting a pirate who had never applied for a license.

Anyway, something clicked because about 6 weeks later, the FCC finally granted our Construction Permit. It was the FIRST LPFM grant in the state! Sometimes it pays to be a pain in the ass!

As for jingles, I have a TON of them from various sources. Nearly all are in excellent shape. I'm not sure how do deal with this though. There are several people making a nice hobby income from selling legal and illegal copies of jingles. I could make them available, I suppose, but I really don't want to piss off those who are buying all their beer and pizzas from the proceeds of their PAMS/DRAKE/TM/PEPPER etc. dubbing addiction.

Anybody have a suggestion on how to get these into a select few hands without destroying the cottage industry that is jingle recycling? I don't want to bust the marketplace.


Dr. Sandi
Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:42 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ian Kogneato
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Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 32

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Dr. Sandi,

Thanks again for the informative reply. I understand and respect your reasoning about the radio jingles. I did manage to download some generic (no call letters) 60's AM-radio sounding jingles (which was what I was looking for).

Thanks again!
Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:12 am View user's profile Send private message
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