Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Top 20 Most Popular Post to Date

Happy Belated New Year from the Part 15 LAB..
is the Section found under Title 47 of the FCC Rules and Regulations..
is defined as a place for experimental study, observation, or practice in a field of study...
But "LAB" in this case is not an abbreviation for laboratory..
Part15 LAB is short for:
'Part 15 Local Area Broadcasting'.

I began this blog in 2014, but in 2015 had pretty much ceased posting, until one day I just happened to look at the statistics and was shocked to see the traffic it was getting. So that influenced me to resume last year and if the stats are an accurate indication it's been more popular than ever. On New Years I had intended to compile an index of the most popular post, but as usual was sidetracked and haven't got around to it until today - So here it is...
The Top 20 Most Popular Post to Date:
Provided in order of oldest to most recent.
(Click on the titles to read, not the pictures)

The 200 Foot Elephant
This refers to the FCCs July 24, 1991 Public Notice concerning range capabilities of part 15 transmitters, The problem is that some of the wording in these types of notices and bulletins tend to be perceived as being a regulation, but it's not, nor is it even accurate.
"Transmitters that are operated inside these tunnels are not subject to any radiation limits inside the tunnel. Buildings and other structures that are not surrounded by earth or water (e.g oil storage tanks) are not tunnels." -- Your kidding, right?

Intended use of Part15 in the eyes of the FCC  Victor H .Fischer was unsatisfied with the limited capabilities of unlicensed broadcasting, so he decided to file a petition requesting that the FCC waive the technical restrictions imposed by Part 15. The FCC responded explaining that "The intent of Part 15 is to provide the radio enthusiast with an opportunity to experiment with radio, and to entertain friends or neighbors within a very limited communication range...". We take an in-depth look at the details of what the FCC said.
It's true that FM has a cleaner, clearer signal with better fidelity and it's in stereo. Whereas AM suffers more from interference, has a less favorable fidelity range, and it's only a mono signal. At first glance it certainly appears that choosing to broadcast on FM would have been the better choice, and in many cases it is, but when broadcasting under Part 15; it's not.

ZenoRadio - Free service for broadcasters  ZenoRadio offers listeners a unique service and offers broadcasters and advertisers interactivity and user information not possible with conventional or satellite radio. This is an interesting and hard to believe it's a completely free service. Keep in mind that this post was written a few years ago and doesn't even mention many new additional features that are now available (also all free), such as call-in talk show capabilities and remote broadcast and more. They have really established themselves in the last several years and an excellent addition to your existing station, so check it out!

This is just a quick introduction (of sorts) for those who never heard of Part 15 Radio Station and would like to know more. Also features some archived videos from ABC, NBC, and CNN on feature stories about Part 15 stations.

Part 15 radio in State Parks
Back in 1998 the Oregon Sea Grant Program along with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department performed a study to determine the pros and cons of broadcasting their state park information by utilizing Part 15 instead of the more expensive TIS systems.

The official results of this study entitled Low Power Radio: An Antidote For Coastal Visitors Looking But Not Seeing! can also be accessed via the supplied links.
Get your free Wall-Sized Map of Effective Ground  Ground conductivity plays a major part in the effectiveness of your Part 15 AM broadcast range (or any other type of AM broadcast). Knowing the ground conductivity of your particular area is a useful indicator to determine what level of signal performance to expect. Via the FCC you can download a high resolution ground conductivity map broke up in 48 parts optimized for printing.

NOUO Notices of Unlicensed Operation
From Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2014, the FCC shut down 7 supposed Part 15 AM broadcasters. Here in detail are those citations.. Compare this to the estimate of 1,000's of FM broadcasters receiving NOUO's in the same time frame. (I've been meaning to again comb through the FCC database to bring it up to date, but haven't yet moved on the tedious task). These citations will illustrate to you what kind of installations are not compliant, and how to stay legal.

Charles Hefti - Car Tunes, and the first(?) stereo broadcaster
The Low Power Hour is a radio program produced and hosted by Carl Blair of KDXradio. One of my favorite episodes originally aired on Dec 20, 2010.. Episode No. 2 features an interview with Charles Hefti, the creator of "Car Tunes," a low power application from the 1960s. Here is my review and general overview of this particular episode to wet your appetite. It's a great story.

Roku - The Poor Mans Barix
The Roku line of products are intended for streaming movies and other content to a tv (which it does exceptionally well), but I have adopted it to experiment in extending my AM signal range by serving as an audio feed (via ShoutCast) to a second remote transmitter.. Thus it can be considered a "poor mans Barix unit".
Here's a quick, simple, and visually illustrated Zara Radio tutorial. There are many more capabilities which you may wish to explore later, as they are not even addressed in this down and dirty tutorial, But for now, the following will quickly and easily get your broadcast underway. Just set everything up as shown in the following images to help you get the feel of configuring the options and some basic features.. Also outlined is how to set it up with WeatherWatcher for automated temperature and humidity announcements..

Here's a nice tool for finding a blank AM frequency, it's produced by the Radio Data MW program. It provides a visual representation of the most current signal patterns of all licensed AM stations in the US and Canada. Using the actual FCC database files it will auto-generate a real pattern plot based on ground conductivity and other factors, and displays aproximated signal level boundaries of the frequency you select in the daytime or nighttime patterns. It's a useful and excellent simple to use tool.

Many of us have heard of the mysterious twenty-two page document used by FCC field agents used as an aid in determining the compliance of part 15 installations, but despite freedom of information request had been withheld from the general public due to concern that "discloser would risk circumvention of the law". But a few years later, after numerous request to multiple divisions, it was discovered there was not just one document packet available but two! And those documents were finally released in 2012, although many portions were blacked out, reminiscent of an X-files fashion. Ahhh.. but it's not so mysterious. Here we take a close look at those documents, or at least those portions which had not been redacted. Nothing spectacular, but interesting nonetheless. 

Regardless of what kind of programming you air on your station, it could stand for a little diversity. But yours is probably amongst the majority of Part 15 crowd, whose station consist of little more than a one man (or woman) operation. The budget simply can not afford to purchase material from outside sources, or maintain a staff to produce it. You can only do so much on your own.. So what's a poor broadcaster to do??
Here's a hellaofa selection that wont cost you a dime.

The nitty-gritty on a part 15 radio station broadcasting copyright music
Does your part 15 station air copyrighted music? Is it a commercial venture, or just a hobby?. Do you pay BMI?.. Should you be? It's a touchy subject to many, but since this blogs objective concerns legalities, it's a subject that needs to be addressed. So here's the nitty gritty..

This is about an esteemed theorist and historian by the name Michael Betancourt, who in 2006, backed by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council prepares to go public with his formulated artistic installation called "Reception/Transmission". I accidently discovered this event browsing one of his books entitled "Structuring time" - This is the most unique use of part 15 broadcasting that I can recall ever hearing about. Noteworthy also was his formulation of the 'Free Art Project' which is credited a being the forerunner of the now established 'Creative Commons' project. I hope you enjoy this and find it as fascinating as I did..

Origins of Part 15 / Closer look at 15.219
The following post contains the most valuable information you will ever find about our hobby. This particularly focuses on the capabilities which had been unintentionally, yet fortunate for us, made possible by the creation of the alternative unlicensed AM broadcasting rule created in 1957 (and almost lost in 1974) which ultimately became numbered as 15.219. But more so, this is actually a complete history of the rules governing unlicensed transmitting on the AM broadcast band since it's inception in 1938, as provided to us (thanks to Ermi Roos) by the ultimate source, John A. Reed, Chief Engineer, Technical Rules Branch of the FCC. The info provided in his letter clearly illustrates that the intent of the Part 15 rules have remained the same since the day they were first established.

Saranade a creepy Part 15 doll
The idea of a doll that talks and sings to you via Part 15 was delightful to me - not that I have any affectation for dolls, mind you, but unique uses of part 15 always catches my attention. Sure, there's been countless toys thru the years which had, and do utilize miniature transmitters, but, a little girls doll from a half a century ago?
Although it appears this doll brings a high dollar today amongst collectors, it may not have been so popular in when it originally came out. It was manufactured by Westinghouse, who had apparently done some heavy promotion of Saranade for about year with the heavy price tag of $40, when they first came out in 1962, but by 1963 the price dropped 50% as they still had 50,000 dolls in stock and were desperately were trying to sell them directly to the consumers by mail order.. Evidently part 15 dolls were not the rage they had hoped it would be in the early 1960s.

This concludes the top 20. Hope you enjoyed and found some of them interesting.
But there's more to be found by selecting from the menu at right or scrolling and clicking 'older post'.

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