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TUCoPS :: Radio :: pir001.txt

Starting a Pirate Radio Station, by Arclight





                       浜様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様
                        Starting a Pirate Radio Station 
                           Chapter I: The Raw Basics    
                                Written 5-13-93         
                                By -=Arclight=-         
                       藩様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様


  Disclaimer: It is illegal to operate a radio staion over 100mw  without a
liscense granted by the F.C.C. (Federal Communications Comission). Doing 
so can subject you to hefty fines, jail sentences, and lots of other bad 
things. So, as before, we will not be held responsible for whatever happens 
as a result of your reading this textfile.  <-Legal Bullshit concluded. Now 
back to the article.


    Have you ever become so disgusted with the shoddy, corporate controlled
radio stations infesting our airwaves that you finally said "Fuck it! Even I
could do better than that."?  Well, now you can. If you thought that all 
radio stations were was 100,000,000 watt, hyper-commercialized money 
machines playing commercials at computer-programmed intervals to stimulate 
you to buy more, you were right. Sort of. Just as there's an underground in 
the computer scene, there are underground radio enthusiasts. Commercial 
broadcasters are despised by them just as much as the operators of Prodigy 
(tm) are by hackers.

    Now then, we'd all like to rush out and buy a TX (transmitter) and 
broadcast merrily away. Unfortunately, you can't do that; you have to build 
it yourself.  But with a little cash, some hard work, and motivation you can 
have your TX and and your stationgoing in less than a month or so. You're 
probably wondering "So how do I get my TX?" If you are not an ameteur 
electronics engineer, the best way to get your hands on a quality TX is to 
write to Panaxis Productions, in Paradise California. The address is listed 
at the back of the file. They can supply you with plans, parts, kits, and 
just about anything you may need to get going in either FM (preferrable for 
portability and size) and AM (longer range, more hassles, yech!)  Otherwise, 
it is also possible to convert HAM radio transmitters to work on broadcast 
frequencies, or build TX's from scratch using, again, HAM technology.

    In any case, you will need more than just a TX (More on that later, so 
don't worry) in order to build a successful pirate radio station. You will 
need a group of dedicated people, a studio, time, money, and of course, 
something worth saying.

    To start with, you must have a quality pirate crew if you ever want to 
get off the ground. You will need people to help write and produce the 
programs, at least one person with technical know-how to keep the equipment 
going, and people who can serve as runners and lookouts during the 
broadcasts. Of course, there is no reason why these people so cannot be one 
in the same, so a crew of 3-4 people is usually adequate. You must have 
people that are dedicated, and that you can trust. Pick close friends who 
work well with each other. and remeber, since many aspects of this involve 
illegal activities, you you must must create and have everyone remember 
believable alibis.

    The studio does not have to be fancy; two tape recorders, a a small 
disco type mixer (such as those sold at Radio Shaft for around $50), and a 
microphone will get you started. The whole thing can be assembled for under 
$150- if you do it right. If necessary, you can even record your shows using 
only a portable tape palyer, though the quality will suffer. Note that it is 
better to record your shows in advance, rather than doing them live, as this 
allows you greater mobility, and will not get all your stuff taken away 
should a bust occur.  Anyway, just start making tapes, recording yourself, 
playing it back, and generally experimenting. This is what it is all about, 
anyway.

    One other thing you will require is a broadcast site, or preferrably,
several. Broadcast sites should be located in high, unobstructed areas with 
good visibility and multipl escape routes. Possible sites include rooftops 
of buildings, hills, and any high places accessable by car or on foot. If 
you have to go on foot, you will have to provide your own power, in the form 
of one or more heavy car batteries. Rooftops usually have 120VAC power to 
use. Note that with FM, any obstructions, such as trees, taller hills, etc. 
will reduce the effective range of your TX significantly. For AM 
boradcasting, the site should be a hilltop with tress nearby. An AM antenna 
consists of a long wire strung between two or more high poles, so it is 
necesary to have trees around. FM antennas are light and portable; they 
consist of copper or aluminum poles and are usually relatively compact.

     Now that you have a little info on what you need, let's take a look at 
how a typical pirate station works. A block diagram of a small FM station 
would look something like this:

                                   Antenna
                                      -
                                      -
                                      -
                                   Feedline
                                      -
                                      -
                                Bandpass Filter
                                      -
                                      -
                                 Transmitter
                                     -
                                     -
                        Tape or Live from mixer board


    The transmitter is not the last step in successfully transmitting your
signal; you may need a filter to control spurious emissions from the TX, and 
of course the antenna is what actually radiates the signal. Good antenna 
designs abound, and many can be found by looking through HAM radio books, 
especially those meant for the 2 meter band.

    Ok, now that the orientation is over, the important question is "How do 
I get started?" Well, probably the best way to get started is to find a HAM 
radio operator willing to help you. (The principles of radio, propagation, 
etc are a little too much to go into in one textfile.) If you know something 
about electronics already, you can probably teach yourself as you go along, 
but it is always nice to have an expert on hand. As far as getting equipment 
together, the fastest and easiest way to go is with Panaxis Productions. 
They have absolutely everything you could possibly want,from plans, to 
parts, to complete kits. They are a little expensive, but they do offer 
quality equipment. They also put out an "experimental broadcasters" 
newsletter, in addition to their line of books on the subject. Another 
excellent source of plans, info, etc is a book called "Radio is  my Bomb" 
from Hooligan Press in GB. It may no longer be available, so you'll want to 
write the publisher for information. The following addresses should get you 
started:



                            Panaxis Productions
                               P.O BOX 130
                               Paradise, Ca
                                  95969


                              Hoolligan press
       1                        BM Hurricane,
                              London WCIN 3XX
                              (May or may not
                                be around)

         That's all for now, folks. Have fun and don't get caught!






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