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Would Like To Start FM Station

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Would Like To Start FM Station
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New registered user
New registered user

Joined: 22 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Lombard, Illinois

Post Would Like To Start FM Station Reply with quote
I'm in the Chicago area, and I would like to start my own '60s, '70s and '80's hits station. I would like to use the PCI Max 2005 software to reach at least 20 miles. Are there any legal limitations to keep in mind while doing this? Sorry if I seem a bit awkward, but I'm new to this. I'd appreciate anyone's input. I'd also need a list of components to get started. Thanks.
Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:03 am View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Sir Nigel

Joined: 28 Nov 2003
Posts: 334
Location: us.gif

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Yeah, there are a lot of legal things to consider. The FCC basically has this thing where they don't like you to broadcast anything above a point _something_ of a watt without a license (I forgot how low it is, but it's not feasable). So basically in the US you either get a Low Power FM license, or you become a pirate.

Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:22 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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Regular poster

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Northern California

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I would just like to point out that currently, it is not possible to get a LPFM license. The FCC hasn't allowed applications for new LPFM stations since (I think) 2001 and they haven't announced when/if they'll open up a new application window. Furthermore, if they do allow new LPFM applications again, you'll only be eligible if you represent a community-oriented, non-profit group that has a history (at least 2 years, if I remember right) of community service of some sort. You would also be limited to broadcasting at exactly 100 Watts ERP using an FCC certified transmitter; there is a 10 Watt LPFM service but the FCC has never allowed applications for it.

So short answer is, you're going to be a pirate. The output of the PCI Max transmitter is 0 - 300 mW. To be legal with the FCC, your signal must be at 250 microvolts per meter at 10 meters - since almost no one (in my experience) has a field strength meter, most manufacturers of legal Part 15 transmitters limit the output to 10mW. A 10mW signal doesn't go too far; my part 15 transmitter gets maybe a 1/4 mile radius on a good day. You'll probably want to crank up the PCI max to its full 300 mW which means you be broadcasting illegaly. Will you get caught? Probably not if you use an open channel and don't become too popular. If you are broadcasting a strong enough signal to get a range of 20 miles in Chicago though, I would say that you will certainly be caught.

I personally don't own (yet!) a PCI Max transmitter so I'm just going off of the specs on the website. I am a tech for a licenced LPFM station though so I know the rules relatively well. If I were in your position, I would get a PCI Max and broadcast at a legal power output (~10mW) and take some time to familiarize yourself with radio equipment - build your own antenna or try different antenna positions to see if you can get more range and, if you aren't already a DJ, practice being on air with a mic and different audio software. Just my 2 cents.
Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:43 pm View user's profile Send private message
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