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How To Set Up Your Own On-Farm FM Station
Rodney Rogers enjoys the alternative radio stations available through his satellite internet service at home. Now he can listen to them on an ordinary FM radio within about 15 miles of his home via a low power FM transmitter and his own FM frequency.
  After testing a variety of transmitters, antennas and cables, he came up with a combination that delivers quality transmission at a reasonable price. As a sideline business he now offers a 4 amp/12v DC, 1/20-watt transmitter, cable and antenna package for $445 to anyone interested in setting up their own “station” to listen to in the farm shop, tractors or anywhere else near home.  
  Setup is basic. Plug a cable into the headphone jack on your computer, iPod, CD player or whatever source you choose for audio. Hook up the transmitter and select one of the open frequencies between 88-108 on the FM dial. (Type in your zip code at http://radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/vacant to find unused frequencies on the FM dial.)
  Rogers customers have included a missionary in Mexico who wanted to broadcast ministry related information. One was purchased for a community as a communications backup system because it can be run off a 12-volt battery if the power is out.
  Another customer purchased a system to broadcast his viewpoint about a local property tax referendum. He taped a short message with facts he didn’t think were being broadcast through mainstream media, then hired a clown with a sign to walk down main street. The message was to tune to his FM channel that broadcasted his message.
  Rogers notes there’s some controversy regarding freedom of speech and the legality of using a frequency. He compares it to CBs, which were initially regulated, and eventually became self-regulated. He believes there won’t be problems if users have good manners and don’t interfere with local stations.
  He adds that a microphone can be hooked to the system so a wife can pass a message to her husband out in the field.
  Rogers notes that there are cheaper products, and equipment is readily available through eBay and other internet sites. He tested various equipment and believes that his HLLY transmitter paired with 50-OHM cable and a military-spec antenna is a good system for the price.
  In his own testing, he’s gotten reception with no distortion for 14 miles with the antenna on high ground with optimal line of sight.
  “I have acquired a 30-watt transmitter that is somewhat better. But to double your range you have to quadruple your wattage,” Rogers, says.
  Currently he sets up his FM station for one internet station he likes to listen to all the time. But he’s certain there are ways to remotely change the channel or tap into a CD player – during commercials, for example.
  “I just want to share the possibilities,” he says. “It up to the end user, how it might help them, their neighbors and their community.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rodney Rogers, Castle Broadcasting Systems, P.O. Box 717, Smithton, Ill. 62285 (www.castlebroadcastingsystems.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4