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The PC MAX rules "down-under"

 
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The PC MAX rules "down-under"
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NikosE
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Joined: 02 Feb 2002
Posts: 8

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Hi folks,

This is a brief report on some tests with the PC MAX card, during my recent holidays "down under".

Following my purchase of the PCI MAX unit, I decided to give away my 2 year-old PC MAX, as a present to a friend.

As this friend of mine lives in a smaller city (Hobart, Australia), I thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment with the PC MAX in a less “airwave congested” environment. The few public and commercial FM stations in that area are well spaced apart in the FM band and there is little interference from other radio signals.

My friend’s house is situated half way up Mt. Wellington and has a panoramic view of the western suburbs of Hobart and the coast further to the south. Ideally, for the purposes of broadcasting, the choice of a directional antenna would have been the best. However due to time limitations, we decided to build a quick and dirty “GP aerial”, based on PCS’s “PC MAX guide”. Because the thickest wire we could find had a diameter of only 1.25mm, the radials would bend down from their own weight; so much for the GP aerial. We hung up this wiry “octopus” with a nylon string at the porch of the house.

The PC MAX card was installed in a PC running WIN XP. There were some I/O address conflict problems, but those were resolved by changing the card’s I/O address jumper to another position (340H). The PC MAX software run on WIN XP without a hitch. Finally, the PC MAX was connected to the antenna with 8m of RG-58. Transmitting frequency was set to a free spot at about 97MHz, with the card at maximum output power.

Once we had finished with the setup of the micro transmitter, we got a Winamp (no plugs) playlist started and we took off in the car to see what was the range of the PC MAX. On our way towards the coast, the signal would fade in and out, depending if we were in the TX antenna’s line-of-sight or not. When in line-of-sight, the reception of the PC MAX from the car’s radio was overall from good to very good. The only difference of the PC MAX audio signal with that of commercial stations, was a shallower depth of modulation and a soft hum that could be slightly heard in between music tracks.

When we reached the coast (line-of-sight), the PC MAX’s audio loudness - as could be heard on the car’s radio, was consistently good and comparable to that of commercial stations. We also used a handheld Philips radio to check the signal strength (single red LED meter). Out of the car, the handheld radio - without it’s antenna being extended - would receive the commercial stations and show full signal strength (brightly lit LED). Our micro station would be received when only 1 of 5 elements of the radio’s telescopic antenna was extended. With the full antenna extended, the LED signal meter was brightly lit! The casual listener would not have been able to distinguish our transmission from that of commercial stations that have output power hundreds of thousands times greater.

From a map, we measured the distance between the spot we had stopped to do the portable radio measurements and the micro transmitter. It worked out to be about 10Km. The actual range was greater, as the signal was propagating out in the open sea. Next stop would have been the Antarctic!

We were impressed by the performance of the PC MAX, especially considering it’s micro power and the crappy antenna we were using. Just goes to show that a well-constructed micro transmitter, the height of the antenna from the ground and the lack of interference can give excellent results for line-of-sight reception.

Happy micro-broadcasting,

NikosE
February 2002

Sat Feb 02, 2002 5:41 pm View user's profile Send private message
BigJimW
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Joined: 20 Feb 2002
Posts: 7

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What OS do you run this on?
Fri Feb 22, 2002 1:56 am View user's profile Send private message
NikosE
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Joined: 02 Feb 2002
Posts: 8

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Hi BigJimW,

As I wrote in my report (5th para), the OS used was Win XP. But I have also run the PC MAX software on Win98 and Win Millenium platforms.
Tue Feb 26, 2002 9:26 pm View user's profile Send private message
NikosE
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Joined: 02 Feb 2002
Posts: 8

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Hi Zeus,

Sure, why not? Drop a line to PCS to check for delivery details. From past experience, it takes about 5 to 7 working days for air mail originating in Europe to reach Australia.
Thu May 30, 2002 11:13 pm View user's profile Send private message
mpena93
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Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 2

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I just ordered a PC ISA Max card. I only intend to use this transmitter to send my MP3 music around the house or out to my patio. I know it it is only Mono which I do not mind. I will be using it mostly for playing music around the house when having friends over. I need advice on antenna to use. I am also not sure of the output since I have found it described as having 1000mw or 10mw. Which is correct?
Wed Feb 12, 2003 4:40 am View user's profile Send private message
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