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TUCoPS :: Radio :: radio.txt

Low Power Broadcasting: what can you get away with without a licence?

     Under FCC Low Power Transmission Regulations, it is legal to
broadcast on the AM band without even obtaining a license, if
you transmit with 100 milliwatts of power less on a free band
space that doesn't interfere with a licensed station.  You are
further allowed up to a 12-foot antenna or the use of
carrier-current transmission (regular electric wall outlets). 
Using this legal set-up, you can broadcast from a 2 to 20 block
radius depending on how high up  you locate your antenna and the
density of tall buildings in the area.
     Carrier-current broadcasting consists of plugging the
transmitter into a regular wall socket.  It draws power in the
same way as any other electrical appliance, and feeds its signal
into the power line allowing the broadcast to be heard on any AM
radio tuned into the operating frequency.  The transmitter can be
adjusted to different frequencies until a clear band is located. 
The signal will travel over the electrical wiring until it hits a
transformer where it will be erased.  The trouble with this
method is that in large cities, almost every large office or
apartment building had a transformer.  You should experiment
with this method first, but if you are in a city, chances you'll
need an antenna rigged up on the roof.  Anything over twelve feet
is illegal, but practice has shown that the FCC won't hassle you
if you don't have commercials and refrain from interfering with
licensed broadcasts.  Naturally, if you insist upon using dirty
language, issuing calls to revolution, broadcasting bombing
information, interfering with above ground stations and becoming
too well known, the FCC is going to try and knock you out.  There
are penalties that have never been handed out of up to a year in
jail.  It's possible you could get hit with a conspiracy rap,
which could make it felony, but the opinion of movement lawyers
now is a warning of you're caught once, and a possible fine with
stiffer penalties possible for repeaters that are caught.
     If it gets really, heavy, you could still broadcast for up
to 15 (probably less, this if from 1971) minutes without being
pin-pointed by the FCC sleuths.  by locating your equipment in a
panel truck and broadcasting from a fixed roof on your antenna,
you can make it almost impossible for them to catch you by
changing position.
     The right transmitter will run about $200.  If you plan to
use carrier-current transmission you'll also need a capacitor
that sells for $30.  An antenna can be made out of aluminum
tubing and antenna wiring available at any TV radio supply
store.  You'll also need a good microphone that you can get for
about $10.  Naturally, equipment for heavier broadcasting is
available if a member of your group has a license or good
connections with someone who works in a large electronics supply
house.  Also with a good knowledge in the area you can build a
transmitter for a fraction of the purchase price.  You can always
employ tape recorders, turntables and other broadcasting hardware
depending on how much bread you have, how much stuff you have to
hide ( how legal your operation is) and the type of broadcasting
you want to do.
     It is possible to extend your range by sending a signal over
the telephone lines to other transmitters which will immediately
rebroadcast.  Several lines to other transmitters which will
immediately rebroadcast.  Several areas in a city could be linked
together and even from one city to another.  Theoretically, if
enough people rig up transmitters and antennas at proper
locations and everyone operates on the same band, it is possible
to build a nation-wide people's network that is equally
theoretically legal.
     Broadcasting, it should be remembered is a one-way
transmission of information.  communications which allow you to
transmit and receive are illegal without a license (ham radio).

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