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Free Radio Forum, by John Cruzan 05-95




                            Free Radio Forum

                             by John Cruzan

Greetings everyone, I guess by now you all have concluded that I will be attempting to write a
regular column for the ACE. I can only hope to be able to do as well as my piers, I promise to
give it my best shot. Thanks to Kirk, Rob, and everyone else for allowing me this opportunity.

  The hardest part about doing a column is thinking of a name for it. I chose Free Radio Forum
because it is the name of a message section in my BBS, and I couldn't think of anything better.
So if you would help me out and send me some suggestions, I would be eternaly grateful!

  I would like my contribution to the ACE to spark individual thought, to motivate all of us to
have our own opinion instead of just following the herd. Free radio is built on the idea that
individual thought is far more enriching than mass produced commercialized media. I think all
of us can benefit from exploring new ideas and considering new alternatives. Your ideas and
comments will always be appreciated.
 
 Now on with the show.....

"Suspected" Operator Claims  Another Close Encounter!

  In the past few months we have all heard of recent FCC actions, One suspected operator was
served a search warrant and forfeited several pieces of equipment, (OK it was me!) and yet two
others were visited by FCC employees. 
  Now, one of these suspected operators says he has spotted the FCC once again in his
neighborhood. As the person was returning home on Saturday afternoon April 1st. He noticed a
van very similar to the one the FCC drove to his house three months ago, it was a white mini-van
parked in a residential area about 2 blocks from the suspected operators home. Not really
thinking that this was the same van, the person  returned to check it closer. When he got close to
the van he identified the occupants as the same two FCC employees that had visited him three
months ago. When he made eye contact with the occupants of the van, one of them shook is head
in disgust and said something to his partner. They then turned away and would not look at the
suspected operator again. After concluding that the FCC employees were not willing to
communicate with him, he returned to his home and heard nothing more from them. 
   So the question remains, what was the FCC doing in this area? Could it be that the FCC does
not actually "DF" an illegal operator? This incident could suggest that they  just "stake out"
citizens whom they feel might pose a risk to regulated radio. If this is in fact the case, then by
obtaining search warrants based on affidavits that they have "DFed" and "triangulated" the
signal, would be illegal. Are our tax supported Federal employees "Stalking" potential illegal
operators? or were they just visiting friends in the area? should this person organize a
neighborhood watch program? Someone call Robert Stack! We have an unsolved mystery on our
hands!






Summer Pirate DXing Season is Here!

 Even though the propagation is not at its best and the bands are noisy. I have always seemed to
log most of my pirate radio catches in the summer. One could form many theories about this.
Many pirate operators simply have more time for production and erecting antennas, in the
summer. I would also guess that those pirates who operate from campsites and remote locations
find that warmer weather makes this adventure a little more enjoyable. Whatever the reason is, it
seems that pirate activity surges in the summer time.  Looking forward to the 95 season, I am
excited about what lies ahead.  Who knows we might even be treated to another "Shortwave
Liberation".  

   Insiders tell me that the summer of 95 may bring us the return of some classic pirate stations
that have been inactive for over a decade. They plan to use the same station names as in the past,
but there seems to be a definite format change in the works. I hope to have more on this later. 

   I also have evidence of a few new operators who are planning to make their debut this
summer.  Some of them have some very original ideas toward programming I think they will all
prove to be very entertaining. Lets wish them all good luck!


Product Reviews

  Since I have not yet negotiated my salary with the ACE for writing this article ( I do get paid
don't I?) I cannot afford to purchase and review new products on a regular basis. However if you
buy a new piece of equipment or get a chance to try something out. How about putting your
thoughts down in a couple of short paragraphs and send it to me so that others can benefit from
your experiences.
  This month, Kirk Trummel submits the first Product Review. Kirk tried out the Radio Shack
DSP Noise Reduction System.  Kirk tells me that this unit is great for removing unwanted
heterodynes and adjacent channel interference. I was impressed by what Kirk said of the DSP so
I bought my own and tried it for myself. The following is a combination of both of our
observations.
   I found the DSP to be good for removing unwanted noise, however when the signal I was
monitoring was strong and clear I thought the DSP was more of a hassle than it was a help so I
used it in the bypass mode until I needed serious filtering. In those situations where you have a 
tough DX the DSP really shines. Co channel interference is easily eliminated. When listening to 
weak AM stations covered with RTTY or other data type signals the DSP was very effective at
filtering out these signals. This unit would be great for those who have a radio with limited
selectivity. The unit connects to the speaker output of your radio, you then may listen through
the unit's built in speaker, the external headphones jack, or you may connect your own external
speaker. Controls for volume, bypass, three band widths, and three filters, are all simple to use
and easy to understand.

  The unit is easily over driven, as indicated by a small green LED. If you feed in too much
audio, the DSP actually makes the signal sound much worse. This takes a little practice but I
soon found myself getting acustomed to it. The internal speaker lacks tonal quality, although it
may actually sound better than some receivers' internal speakers. When used with headphones or
an external speaker the over all performance of the DSP is well worth the $79.95 price tag. With 
Digital Signal Processing technology, it might be possible to make a low dollar receiver produce
results that rival the more expensive rigs. I wonder if Radio Shack plans to include this
technology in their future line of short wave receivers?
 The DSP is designed for mobile use and comes with a mounting bracket and DC power cables.
For indoor use you will need to supply your own 12 volt DC power source, which can also be
conveniently purchased at Radio Shack.


Coming up!
  
  In future columns I hope to have a regular section that will provide free radio operators a forum
to tell others why they do what they do and why they do it so well. I recently had the opportunity
to listen to some tapes of K2000, I was very impressed with their quality of production and I
laughed for hours at their comedy. I would love to have the operators of K2000 write to me and
tell me how they do it. And what does K2000 stand for anyway? I have heard of an expensive
synthesizer called a K2000, could this be the secret?

  I would also like to write about topics that explore the basic reasons that free radio exists. Why
do so many people take the risk to broadcast? Why do we like to hear it? If it were legal to
broadcast in this manner would it be so interesting? Does anyone really care?  If you have any
comments on these or other subjects, please share them with me.
 

That's all folks

  Well that's about it for this month, I had a lot of fun putting this together. I hope some of you
will let me know what you think, Do you have any ideas? are there things you would like to see
in print? 

  If you want to contact me, I can be reached via E-Mail on the ANARC BBS 913-345-1978, or
the Free Radio Network BBS 417-624-1809, or write to me at 3111 Martin Drive, Joplin
Missouri 64804.

73FR
John
 


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