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TUCoPS :: Radio :: x0020_pi.txt

An Intro to Pirate Radio by Necross Sinister & Thomas Icom


<TITLE>An Intro to Pirate Radio</TITLE>
<H1>An Intro to Pirate Radio</H1>

by Necross Sinister &amp; Thomas Icom<P>
Getting a start in pirate broadcasting is pretty simple. To be honest with
you, you probably have the basic stuff in your house already.<P>
                                   <B>FM Radio</B><P>
FM is one of the easiest bands to pirate in.  You can also transmit here
legally under the right conditions in accordance with Part 15 of the FCC
Rules.  Under Part 15 you are allowed 100 milliwats of output power with a
maximum antenna length of 3 feet.  Under the best circumstances that gives you
a maximum range of about a mile.  If you're in the city, a mile might do it,
but under any other circumstances, you'll need some power.<P>
For starting equipment you'll need a transmitter, an audio mixer, a stereo
system with cassette deck, record player, CD, whatever, a microphone, an
antenna, and possibly an RF amplifier.  The transmitter can be either home
built, or something a long the lines of Mr. Microphone.  I prefer the
homebuilt route as it allows for more flexibility, and low power FM
transmitter plans and kits abound.  The audio mixer is to combine your
microphone input with your music.  It's optional, but it does allow for a more
professional set-up. The stereo system is whatever you can get together.<P>
Anything that plays music will do.  Same goes for the microphone, pick up one
for 5 bucks at Radio Shack.  The amplifier is a bit more difficult.  You might
be able to dig one up at a hamfest, or electronics/computer show, but chances
are you'll have to make one if you want to put some power out.  Get ahold of a
Motarola MRF229 or MRF230 transistor, and use that to build a base amplifier
for your transmitter.  With 100 milliwats input it will put out about 1.25
watts.  A little bit better, and then you can add another AMP to get it up
even further, such as an MRF233 which will output 17 watts with a 1.25 watt
input.  There are also transistors that will boost the output power even
further, although that runs a greater risk of causing interference; attracting
the FCC to you.  For most practical pirate radio uses, 17 watts is all you'll
need.  For an antenna, you can either buy a TV antenna and use that, or just
build a dipole or quarter wave vertical.  No big deal there.  Now, assuming
you already have a stereo system and music, we'll go over the cost of a basic
pirate station.<P>
                               <B>TV Broadcasting</B><P>
The basis for a TV broadcasting station is a VCR and an antenna.  Hook up your
VCR &quot;out to TV&quot; jack to your antenna, pop in a tape, and hit play. Poof!
instant low-power TV transmitter with a mile or so range on whatever channel
is unused in your area.  Now for accessories you might want to get a video
camera for broadcasting &quot;live&quot;, or playing reporter, and then broadcasting
whatever you recorded.  And you also might want an RF amplifier to play with
for extra power.  <P>Get ahold of a 6 meter ham amplifier at a hamfest, and use
that.  You want one that can be driven with 100 milliwats.  Or, you could have
one built using the same Motarola transistors used for our FM amplifier.  The
only thing you have to do is modify the circuit values for 54-88 Mhz. instead
of 88-108 Mhz.  For those of you into do-it- yourself, The June and July 1989
issues of Radio Electronics magazine had an article on building a 2 watt TV
transmitter that runs on UHF channel 14.<P>
                               <B>Pirate Operations</B><P>
Broadcasting without a license is illegal.  If you are busted, your equipment
will be confiscated, and you might be fined.  Also, if you are a hacker, or
any type of non- conformist, or someone whom the big-shots think is
&quot;subversive&quot;, expect mo re severe treatment.  So, to keep from getting caught,
transmit sporadically, and from a mobile location if possible, also never give
out any info over the air which they might be able to track you down with.<P>
Don't cause any interference to a legit station, as this will get you busted
real quick.  One idea which was used to good effect was to tape record the
entire broadcast, and then take the transmitter to a remote mountaintop.  This
way, you get farther with less power, and if they track the station down, you
will only lose your radio if you're unlucky.  If you stake the place out, you
should be able to see them coming and then shut down and get out of there.
But in any event, even if you do lose some equipment, they won't nail you, and
you'll save yourself a fine or worse.<P>
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