The Artisan Radio Blog
July 9, 2020 10:54 Pacific - They Just Don't Get It
A statement was made recently on one of the Part 15 forums that using an ATU on an otherwise Part 15 compliant transmitter was legal.
Not true, except in the case of the Talking House, which somehow got their transmitter/ATU package certified.
You cannot use an ATU on another transmitter. Part 15.219 states that the length of the antenna, ground lead and feedline cannot exceed 3 meters. Unless you're going to use a coax feedline several inches in length, you will violate that rule.
The only issue is whether you get caught and punished by the FCC. In this age of the Pirate Act, I'm not so sure I'd take that chance.
In Canada, using an ATU is definitely outside the rules. The maker of the Talking Sign attempted to get an ATU certified here, and failed.
July 6, 2020 21:51 Pacific - Sarah Cooper
How to mask.
July 6, 2020 10:18 Pacific - Status Quo
Did a quick perusal of the Internet this morning.
One long time broadcaster is "getting out of" Part 15 broadcasting for the umpteenth time, and selling off a bunch of his equipment.
The moderator over at Part15.org has admonished more members on keeping to his narrowly defined "on topic" ideas. No wonder virtually no one posts there any more. Why bother?
The moderator over at Hobbybroadcaster continues to show his fascination with dead celebrities.
Trump is attempting to shore up the only demographic that still supports him, i.e., racists.
Some things never change.
July 5, 2020 21:44 Pacific - Bob Marley
This year would have been the great Bob Marley's 75th birthday. To celebrate this, a new official music video of No Woman No Cry was released a few days ago.
His music is just as relevant today.
July 2, 2020 12:17 Pacific - Why the Black Lives Matter Movement Matters
Tamir Rice, a 12 year old black boy playing with a toy gun was shot and killed in a Cleveland playground a little over 2 years ago by a white police officer who had just arrived on the scene. The officer was never charged.
Meanwhile, 2 days ago, a white couple on their lawn in St. Louis pointed guns, one looking like an assault rifle, at peaceful protesters on the street. Nothing was done about them, and Trump retweeted the video. They claimed that the protesters had broken through a gate and that they feared for their lives, but video showed those same protesters opening the gate before walking through, and it appeared undamaged.
Different justice for different people
This needs to be fixed.
June 30, 2020 15:25 Pacific - Trump Knows Nothing...Nothing (with apologies to Hogan's Heroes)
So Trump is claiming he knew nothing about the Russian bounties placed on U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan, even though U.S. intelligence has been aware of them for months. It defies logic that this information wasn't in his daily security briefings.
Then again, other than the times that he declares himself a stable genius and an expert, Trump claims ignorance frequently.
June 30, 2020 08:51 Pacific - Excellent Analysis of Part 15 AM Range
The graph in the analysis shows that a strictly Part 15 compliant AM transmitter can generate a field strength of over 100uv/m at a distance of roughly a mile. This is with average ground conductivity. Most radios will receive that signal, assuming that the background noise is less.
In fact, many AM receivers have sensitivities under 25uv. And there are many areas where ground conductivity is above average. So it certainly is possible to get much more than 1 mile range with excellent radios in the right locations.
June 30, 2020 08:46 Pacific - Anti-Maskers
Evolution in action.
Nature's way of weeding out the stupid.
June 29, 2020 07:56 Pacific - Hypocrisy
Have you noticed that those who scream Freedom of Speech the loudest when their violence and/or lying is outed by such platforms as Twitter are the ones that coined the term Fake News to distract from the mainstream media (including radio)?
June 29, 2020 07:18 Pacific - Defending the Indefensible
Have you noticed that those who want to keep discussions surrounding Part 15 Radio confined to its technical aspects only are mostly white nationalist, far right wing conservatives?
June 27, 2020 13:48 Pacific - Classical Music Programming
Programming classical music presents some unique challenges in an automated broadcast environment.
Unlike most popular music, classical music pieces are much longer in length, and usually consist of multiple, musically related, parts.
The mechanics are relatively easy, particularly in Zara Radio (our automation software). Put each of the related parts in a single Sequence file, put multiple Sequence files in a Rotation or Playlist file, and let 'er rip. The problem hits, however, if you're attempting to have an hour long program - the music doesn't fit nicely, and can slop over hour boundaries, sometimes by many, many minutes.
Opera is even more problematic. A single opera can be many hours in length.
I had a similar, but less severe problem with OTR. Most OTR programs are less than 30 minutes, however, and I let the 15 minutes or less ones go for now. The approach with OTR was to use one program in each 30 minute segment. Each generally varied in length between 22 to 30 minutes. If the program was less than 30 minutes, I filled the time up to the 30 minute boundary with short classical music interludes (each 3 minutes or less long). All selections were allowed to run to completion, which meant that the hour boundary was 'flexible'. But over the course of the day the boundary was never more than a few minutes past the true half hour boundary, due to the random variations in timings. Good enough, particularly for a non commercial station.
For the new incarnation of the station, I'm thinking of having individual 1 hour classical music programs. Each hour will consist of a singular, main piece, anywhere between 40 to 60 minutes in length. I would then fill in the remaining time to the hour boundary, if any, with selected, standalone, shorter pieces (each 5 minutes or less long).
For opera, I would take a similar approach, but the programs would be 2 hours in length, with any remaining time to the 2 hour boundary filled in with shorter, vocal works (each 5 minutes in length or less).
I'll probably have 1 classical music hour, 1 opera hour, and 5 OTR hours. I intend to keep the 3-8 hour block format intact so that each OTR program is repeated throughout the day. I'm not sure if the musical hours will be random Playlists, in which case they will change throughout the day, or put them into Rotations which will be repeated.
I've got a lot of work to do. Better get started...
June 27, 2020 12:23 Pacific - Outed
I was saddened to read on the Blare Blog that a fellow Part 15 broadcaster and blogger admitted he was a right winger, and presumably a Trump supporter.
Even though I did like him and his writings, I find it difficult to give him a pass, as virtually everyone in the radio world who has similar views has eventually shown themselves to be liars and completely lacking integrity. Like Trump, like supporters.
June 24, 2020 13:10 Pacific - Alternative Facts
It occurs to me, after writing the previous post, that so much of the acrimonious discussion surrounding Part 15 broadcasting is all about bias, ego and one oneupmanship, as opposed to physics and science.
No wonder so many are Trump supporters. They deal in alternative facts.
June 24, 2020 12:37 Pacific - Range (Once Again)
There has been and continues to be all sorts of talk on the range one can expect with legal, unlicensed broadcasting, both here in Canada, as well as the U.S.
Ranges of so many feet, meters, miles, etc. are thrown out with abandon, both on AM and FM, and yet there is almost one thing in common (as Boomer in a post over at the MBCF, formerly ALPB, Forum, states) - there is no frame of reference attached to these ranges. I've attempted to do this by defining the types of radios you can use and their sensitivity, but perhaps there's an easier way.
The legal field strength limit in Canada for FM according to BETS-1 is 100uv/m @ 30 meters. Industry Canada also states that 30 meters is the expected range for such a signal. The frame of reference that they are using is that you require a field strength of 100uv to receive a clear FM signal. Now, we all know that if you have a good radio that has a sensitivity of under 1uv, you'll receive that signal a lot further than 30 meters (1/4 to 1/2 km or more).
It's a bit more difficult with RSS-210 and Part 15 AM, as field strength does not have to be measured; you can use the portion of the rule which limits input to the final stage of the transmitter to 100mw and antenna+ground length to 3 meters (10 feet). Perhaps, as Boomer postulates, when the FCC states that they expect AM Part 15 signals to have a range of no more than 200 feet, they are using some definition of a city-grade signal (3mv/m for primary coverage or even 1mv/m for protected coverage). I haven't done the calculations, so I don't know what the field strength would be of a compliant RSS-210/Part 15 AM signal at 200 feet.
I do know that even when I get up to a mile useable range on a car radio with an AM RSS210 compliant transmitter, there is plenty of noise. In fact, the true noise free coverage tends to be only a few hundred feet, after which noise starts to creep in, slowly at first and barely noticeable, gradually increasing until at some point the signal becomes unlistenable. AM is much different in that regard compared to FM; FM signals tend to be either there, or not there, and the not there occurs very quickly.
So it could be that both parties are correct. Those that contend that you can get a mile or more using AM (true, but it's noisy, and wouldn't be acceptable to a licensed station, it wouldn't be nearly in the protected coverage zone) or those that state that you'll only get 200 feet (true for absolute noise free reception on even poor radios).
Thanks to Boomer.
June 22, 2020 06:54 Pacific - Forums, Moderation and Censorship
This topic was discussed recently on both the Boomer and Blare Blogs, and I thought I'd weigh in.
The existing three Part 15 Forums are all privately owned. Forum members are given the privilege to post to the Forums at the whim of the owners, and these members effectively have no rights. It's not like the Forums are publicly funded with taxpayer money, or are even considered members of the press (which are considered special in the eyes of the law). Thus, there can really be no censorship, per say. If you don't like it, start a blog where you can publish whatever you want, like I and others have.
Moderators are interesting beasts. They exist ostensibly to carry out the wishes of the Forum owners in what can and should be posted. In the case of Hobbybroadcaster and the MBCF (formerly the ALPB), the owners ARE the moderators (and, in fact, the only ones), and you get particularly slanted moderating, based on their own personal opinions and biases. There's no attempt at neutrality.
Part15.org (formerly Part15.us) is a bit different. There, the owner doesn't get involved in the day to day activities, and even the direction to a large extent (except to enforce what is permitted by law, such as copyright). The moderator(s) are pretty much given a free hand. You'd think that this would be a positive, but unfortunately, it all relies on the open mindedness and integrity of said moderators. The current, and I believe only, moderator now there has been around forever, is overly rigid in what he (and he alone) believes a post should contain, as well as the topics to discuss, and you end up in the same situation as the other two. Perhaps worse, as it gives the illusion that the arena is freer, when the exact opposite is true.
I was asked to come in and moderate there, and I did for a while. But the non stop fighting with the other moderator over what could and should be allowed grew tiring. Even though he continuously threatened to leave, I realized that he never would, and left myself.
I feel that I can do more with this blog than there, or anywhere else.
So here I am. You can read the blog, or not. You can respond to specific comments, or not. I can choose to publish your response and/or respond to it, or not. Very simple and straightforward.
June 21, 2020 17:35 Pacific - More Good People Than Bad
The true silent majority.
Pass it on and let it be known November 3, 2020.
June 21, 2020 17:05 Pacific - We're Back Up
For those who are reading this, the blog is obviously back up. We've been doing some upgrades to our computer systems, in preparation for relaunching our combined OTR/Classical Music Part 15 station. Memory was added to both our work and production computers, and we've also added more disk space to the production one.
We're about ready to start cooking up the playlists/rotations for the classical music segments.
Again, everything we'll be playing will be in the public domain in Canada. All performances are over 50 years old as of 2015 (when the laws were changed here to increase that to 75-100 years). All music composers will have been deceased for over 50 years as of that date as well, which is pretty much a given for non 20th century classical music. I believe that the laws were changed in Canada to increase the time after that date, when the replacement to the Pan Pacific Agreement was ratified, but we're taking no chances and using the earlier date. Anything that had fallen into the public domain by 2015 remains in the public domain.
We're removing the worst of the 'dated' OTR shows from the rotation. That includes most if not all westerns, which seem to the big offenders. We will also be removing any shows that contain musical numbers, as we don't want to be concerned about music copyrights, which are complicated.
We can't do anything about the social mores and attitudes that are represented in the remainder of the shows. But as I've posted earlier, "just like watching an old, black & white movie...", listening to them "...can give us an appreciation for how it was back then, how far we've come today, and hopefully, where we need to go. And maybe, be entertained in the process."
June 21, 2020 17:00 Pacific - Something a Little Different
The Boston Typewriter Orchestra
June 21, 2020 14:41 Pacific - Reminiscing
There's a post up over at Part15.org that paints the 'days gone by' in sentimental and glowing terms. I'd be the first to admit that often I look back in time fondly ... for certain things. Unfortunately, time dims the memory of the bad things that went on back then (there were lots), and thinking too much of the past can make you not appreciate the present, which affects the future.
So while I question some of the political correctness of today, including parts of the Me Too movement, I can't ignore past offenses, and why we are where we are. The pendulum has swung back the other way, maybe too far, but eventually it will settle to a more neutral place.
And while I am tired of the all music radio of today, and it's sameness, I do not close my eyes to the biases and prejudices of the radio programming of the past. I can appreciate it for what it is, but can't condone the overt stereotyping, racism and sexism in some of it (not all, fortunately).
Similarly, while I lament the increased background noise on the AM broadcast band, at least in urban areas, I can't argue against all the benefits that come from the technology that generates this noise. I also don't see too many people giving up this technology for better reception on AM, and that includes those doing the most complaining.
To some extent, it's looking back to the past fondly by certain elements in society that has generated phenomenon such as Trump, and the MAGA movement. That past never existed except for a very privileged segment of society that ran things. They want to run things again, but hopefully, we've learned a thing or two since then.
June 21, 2020 14:21 Pacific - Post Tulsa Rally Message
Happy Fathers Day.
June 21, 2020 14:21 Pacific - Entrance Music
Tom Petty's estate has issued a cease and desist order to Trump's campaign; they were playing I Won't Back Down as entrance music for his Tulsa/Covid rally.
Since they can no longer use the song, I've put together a list of music that might contain suitable alternatives.
4. For a song that pays homage to many of Trump's supporters, I recommend The Ramones - Lobotomy.
3. But not all Trump fans are unintelligent - they tend to have other, ah, qualities. Here's The Republican Town Song from Family Guy. It really hits the mark on what makes a Republican these days. Everyone would feel right at home.
2. The NRA/2nd Amendment types would probably go crazy over Tom Paxton - Buy Your Son a Gun.
1. Overall, however, the most appropriate song would be one that described the candidate to a T, in all his glory. Here's Asshole, by Denis Leary. After all, Trump runs as the 'average guy' candidate, one of the crowd (who just happens to be a billionaire, as well as, well, you guessed it).
June 16, 2020 15:02 Pacific - The Ecologically Conscious President
How to bathroom.
June 15, 2020 16:52 Pacific - Ramps
Gotta do something about them...
June 15, 2020 16:49 Pacific - Belated Happy Birthday
Because no one else can do it better!
June 15, 2020 12:52 Pacific - Copyright Concerns
Another reason I've stopped broadcasting for the moment is copyright concerns.
Those broadcasting in Canada over-the-air under BETS-1 don't have to worry about copyright. That has been verified with the major copyright licensing bodies. If you want to stream copyrighted material over the Internet, however, you have to worry about licensing.
Licensing is not required for public domain material, by definition. All of the old time radio shows that we wish to broadcast are in the public domain. However, some may contain musical numbers, and copyright is complicated for music. All the performances of these musical numbers would definitely be in the public domain, as they were over 50 years old at the time the laws were changed in 2015. But there is some question about the rights to the music itself.
Rather than worry about the issue, we've decided to pull any OTR show that contains musical numbers (not incidental music, as that is considered part of the show per say) from the rotation. We will only play shows that contain the spoken word.
In concert with this move, we've also decided to merge Artisan Radio OTR - The Station with our as-yet-to-be-named other radio project. This was going to be another radio station that broadcast public domain historic classical music including opera (all performances over 50 years old as of 2015). We don't have to worry about royalties to composers of this music, i.e., Beethoven, Bach, Verdi et al.
The exact mix of OTR and classical music will be determined once we decide on our revised OTR lineup (see previous blog post for details).
Keep tuned into the blog for more details as they are available.
June 15, 2020 12:14 Pacific - Political Correctness
The webmaster over at Hobbybroadcaster is currently complaining about FEDEX deliveries. I don't know what that has to do with Part 15 broadcasting.
He also complains about political correctness from time to time (why are all the moderators of the established Forums older, right wing males). In this instance, he's concerned that political correctness is causing licensed radio stations to pull back from the Old Time Radio (OTR) format.
I have to admit that one of the reasons I've stopped broadcasting right now is discomfort with some of the OTR shows I've been listening to, particularly the westerns. Perhaps it's what's happening in the world right now that is opening my ears. There were some shows that I wasn't going to play from the get go, such as Amos 'n Andy (literally blackface on the radio) or Life with Luigi (making fun of an Italian immigrant). But it's the casual, systematic portrayal of different races, cultures and faiths in some of the other shows that can be disturbing. As an example, in Have Gun Will Travel, the protagonist Paladin often communicates with his hotel's Chinese bellhop Hey-Boy, who talks in stereotypical, stilted English. Of course, a lot of these ethnic characters throughout the shows are portrayed by non-ethnic actors.
And yet, for all this, I believe that there is still value in a lot of these Old Time Radio shows. Good acting. Interesting stories. Funny situations. One example is the Jack Benny Show. Yes, Rochester, the valet of the character Jack Benny played, is black. But he's portrayed by a black actor, and most of the time he gets the best of Benny in their various adventures.
I think that we need to listen to these shows with the approach that they reflect the attitudes and mores of the times in which they were made. Some, even more than I thought, shouldn't be played over the radio today, and I'm addressing that. But others, just like watching an old, black & white movie, can give us an appreciation for how it was back then, how far we've come today, and hopefully, where we need to go. And maybe, be entertained in the process.
June 15, 2020 12:12 Pacific - Errata
Of course, I meant the transmitter in the previous post to read CZE-7C, not CZH. It's correct in the title.
June 14, 2020 15:30 Pacific - CZE-7C FCC & Industry Canada Certified
The CZH-7C is a Chinese made transmitter along the lines of the CZH-05B (which the Decade CM-10 is based on). To my surprise, I recently read on RECNET that it was FCC certified. I did a search and indeed did find it on the FCC database. It does have an Industry Canada TAC as well, but the Radio Equipment List (REL) database search on the Industry Canada website does not appear to be functioning.
I have no idea how they obtained approval. The documentation on the FCC database shows a detachable antenna (supposed to be fixed). It also has multiple power levels; I'm assuming that it was approved at the lowest power level. I'm having difficulty linking directly to the FCC database, but the FCC ID of the transmitter is 2ASVO05B7CT200. Those curious can look it up for themselves.
June 14, 2020 15:10 Pacific - Part 15 & The Forums
The Boomer Blog in its last (as of this moment) post wonders why there is very little activity on the existing Part 15 Forums. Particularly since Part 15 broadcasting is becoming more popular due to the ongoing pandemic.
All I can say is that they're the authors of their own misfortune. It's the moderators, baby, it's the moderators.
The Part15.org (formerly Part15.us) forum has been overmoderated to the point where people are afraid to post, for fear that it will be deemed off topic. I am somewhat familiar with the situation there, as I was formerly a Moderator, but grew tired of fighting what was acceptable posting and left.
The MBCF Boards (formerly the ALPB) was shaken to its roots when the former Chairman didn't like what was being posted after he walked away with no warning, came back and effectively staged a coup. At that point, most people left.
Hobbybroadcaster, well, it's Hobbybroadcaster. Driven by the ego of the owner/moderator, paranoid about security, including the sharing of information, I could go on but it's all been said before.
I've always said that those wishing to get into Part 15, and even those who are already in the field, need to gather as many facts as they can, try things out for themselves and form their own opinions and conclusions. Don't rely on the Forums. Don't rely on the blogs. There's just far too much misinformation floating about. Even from 'authoritative sources'.
June 14, 2020 15:03 Pacific - Welcome to the Boomer Blog
The Blare Blog recently introduced me to a new blog, the Boomer Blog. Both are highly recommended.
June 10, 2020 12:19 Pacific - Broadcasting Off-Line
It has been posted previously that Artisan Radio uses a Decade CM-10 for over-the-air broadcasting. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with the transmitter that is forcing us to reconsider its use.
Its output strength is weaker than the maximum allowed in Canada under BETS/RSS-210, and unfortunately decreases further as the frequency increases. We are currently using a frequency at the lower end of the band, which is clear (as are the adjoining channels) to ordinary, portable radios. However, there is a weak religious station from the U.S. that is there when listening using a car radio, and this station starts interfering with ours at the fringes of our listening area (now only 100 meters or so). Not an ideal situation.
The only truly clear frequency, as discerned by that car radio is 103.9 (with clear adjoining channels as well). And the CM-10 just does not have any meaningful range in that part of the band.
So we have decided to also suspend our over-the-air broadcasts until we can decide how to proceed. One option that we are seriously considering is to move to the AM broadcast band. Another is to purchase a different, BETS-certified FM transmitter, such as the Decade MS-100 that has the maximum output allowed - that may be problematic for a little while, as the pandemic has increased demand for these transmitters exponentially, and they're out of stock everywhere.
At this point, we're considering the past two weeks a successful test run of the station. We will reset all programming once we restart, which may be a few weeks or more.
The blog will continue on while we ponder what to do.
June 9, 2020 22:02 Pacific - Stream Off-Line
Our Internet stream is currently offline. We continue to broadcast over-the-air. Check back here for further updates when they are available.
June 8, 2020 10:33 Pacific - That Was Last Year...
Trump praises Colin Powell and wife.
After Powell recently scorched Trump in an interview and says that he will be voting for Biden, Trump calls Powell pathetic.
It's not Powell that's pathetic.
June 8, 2020 9:18 Pacific - Misinformation
I've stated numerous times in the past, and on this Blog, that it is pointless to talk about Part 15 broadcasting range without considering the receiving radio and antenna.
And yet once again this is the subject of a posting thread over at one of the remaining active Part 15 Forums, Hobbybroadcaster.net. Ironically, the thread (which has been substantially edited after the fact) is supposedly a rebuttal of a Radioworld article which, you guessed it, also talks about Part 15 ranges.
The thread states that you can obtain up to 1 mile range and maybe a bit more with Part 15 AM, which is true, but also states that the maximum range that can be achieved with FM is 200 feet, which is NOT true. Both theory and evidence from the field proves that with the right conditions, and much more importantly, the right receiver and antenna, you can achieve 800-1000 feet under Part 15 regulations, and many thousands of feet under BETS-1 in Canada. I've done it. You can use Part 15/BETS-1 with the right applications, such as drive-in churches, Parking Lot Radio, or, in my case, Ferry Lineup Radio.
It just goes to show that no matter how authoritative the source claims it is, whether it be Radioworld or Hobbybroadcaster, biases can cloud the facts. The only thing you can do is to get your information from a variety of sources, and make a judgement call on what to believe. Better yet, try it out yourself.
June 8, 2020 8:40 Pacific - Editing Posts
I've noted a disturbing trend on at least one Part 15 Forum. Posts are being edited, substantially changing the content and initial intent, but being left up as if they were original (and, in fact, the original posting date is left intact). How can you trust anything on these Forums if information can (and is) being changed at any time at the whim of the administrator(s). Yes, there is a note at the bottom of the post stating that it has been edited, but you don't know what has changed. Plus, even that note is optional.
We do not modify the content of any blog post, except to change spelling or grammar, and even then it is done within a short period of time upon the post appearing. Other than that, the posts are presented in all their glory as originally intended. If something needs to be updated or clarified, it is done in a new blog entry.
You can trust the Artisan Radio Blog.
June 8, 2020 8:35 Pacific - Not To Be Outdone
Sarah Cooper's How To Bunker
June 7, 2020 19:05 Pacific - Randy Rainbow is a Gem
June 7, 2020 16:20 Pacific - Feeding Audio to a Remote Transmitter
Licensed broadcasters have all sorts of expensive equipment so that they can feed audio from their studios to remote transmitters. Legal, unlicensed broadcasters have to think creatively to do this, as budgets are extremely limited. It helps that we usually have our transmitters close to our studios, but sometimes it's convenient to place a transmitter a little further away.
Bluetooth is one method if your transmitter is within roughly 10 meters (the upper limit of range) of your audio source (usually a computer). However, I've found that such communication can be extremely prone to dropouts and noise. Bluetooth signals are extremely weak, and are really only reliable a few feet from your bluetooth transmitter (it's meant for keyboards, mice, etc.). After experimentation, I've eliminated bluetooth as a reliable mechanism for distributing audio.
Wireless intranet is another potential method. Wireless signals can blanket a household and beyond, as they are much more powerful than bluetooth. You have to have the capability of receiving wireless at your transmitter site, and decoding a stream to the analogue signals that the transmitter requires. I've found that inexpensive solutions (such as using an Internet radio) do a not so great job, particularly in urban areas where there are a large number of interfering signals from other wireless networks; dropouts and reconnects are frequent. If you live in a rural or semi-rural area it might work better. There are expensive solutions to accomplish this, such as the ones from Barix, but again, budget comes into play.
Another solution is to use a Part 15 FM signal to feed another Part 15 AM or FM transmitter. Generally, you would use this method to feed an AM transmitter. This method is much more reliable for short distances, but unfortunately is not legal in Canada. Here, if you are an unlicensed broadcaster you are exempt from obtaining a CRTC license only if you only use one transmitter for each unique broadcast. And a CRTC license is virtually impossible to obtain (except in very remote areas) and very expensive.
I've come to the conclusion that the plain old audio cable feed is the best approach. For long runs, I use shielded CAT5 cable (in one installation 100 feet with no loss of signal - a Decade MS-100 was up on a rooftop). Another instance where old technology is just plain better than the fancy, newer, stuff.
June 7, 2020 13:44 Pacific - Buying a Transmitter
Buying a legal, certified BETS-1/RSS-210/Part 15 transmitter in these pandemic times is very difficult.
Artisan Radio is currently looking for a Decade MS-100 to use as our primary transmitter (we'll keep the Decade CM-10 as a spare). Prior to the pandemic, there were always a couple available on e-bay and occasionally other venues. Just a week ago, one was put up for auction and went for US$480; just before the pandemic hit, I saw an identical one go for much less than US$150. The few certified AM transmitters on the site are all overpriced, and only available for shipment within the U.S. There are no Broadcastvisions or Talking Houses, and even if there were, they aren't supposed to be used in Canada.
The reason doesn't appear to be a lack of supply, per say, but sharply increased demand. Thank the FCC and Industry Canada for making it difficult for businesses that attempt to meet the stringent manufacturing requirements of these devices to survive. The only transmitters that you can get right now are the vastly overpowered, illegal ones from China. The governmental agencies have only themselves to blame for the proliferation of these devices.
June 7, 2020 12:50 Pacific - Law and Order
So now Trump is running on a law and order platform to be reelected. There are two aspects to this. Let's see how he does with law.
First, there are his associates.
He personally was not exonerated in Mueller Russia Probe, and could still be indicted after his presidency. Then there's the
Porn Star payoff. Moving on, forget about Fake News, there's the
Fake Charity. Then there's the
Fake University. As well as
Numerous sexual assault allegations. And finally
Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Maybe he'll do better with order. In his call to get tough on immigration prior to being elected, he
Called all Mexicans crossing the border drug dealers and rapists. Once elected, he
Separated children from families and put them in cages at the border. He has regularly accused the
Central Park Five, a group of latino and black youths, of crimes, even though someone else confessed and was convicted (that confession was confirmed by DNA evidence). He's encouraged police to
Rough up unconvicted arrestees. And most recently, he
Tear gassed peaceful protestors to get a photo op in front of a church (holding the bible upside down).
I guess we know who Trump thinks law and order should be applied to (and to whom it should not be applied).
June 5, 2020 21:46 Pacific - #Babygate
'The Wall' is Built
June 5, 2020 16:33 Pacific - Leadership (cont'd)
This is a leader.
This is not.
June 5, 2020 15:15 Pacific - Using Part 15 Certified Equipment in Canada
The short answer is you're not supposed to.
The long answer is that Industry Canada accepts results from laboratories certifying Part 15 transmitters in their own acceptance process - manufacturers may not have to pay for the testing process twice, once in each country. Why they just don't accept Part 15 certification is beyond me, although there ARE a few minor differences in the rules.
Part 15 FM is identical to BETS-1 and RSS-210 FM in all aspects. Field strength maximums are less than the allowed maximum in Canada, but if something is Part 15 certified, it can be BETS-1 or RSS-210 certified (a field strength less than the maximum is OK).
Part 15 AM is identical to RSS-210 (non-broadcasting uses). BETS-1 (broadcasting uses) IS different than Part 15 - there is no equivalent of Part15.219 (or its equivalent in RSS-210) in BETS-1; instead, AM broadcasting is limited by a maximum field strength, much like FM. However, there are no BETS-1 certified transmitters existing today. Every available transmitter (and some not available), such as the ProCaster, or the Talking Sign, is RSS-210 certified only. Theoretically, you're not supposed to broadcast using RSS-210, but people do, and I have never heard of them running into any issues with the radio police.
I suspect the reason Industry Canada doesn't accept Part 15 certified devices is that they want the flexibility for the rules between the 2 countries to diverge more than they have. It would be nice until that happens, however, for Canadians to have the ability to use Part 15 certified transmitters. All it would take is a simple statement to that effect.
June 5, 2020 14:36 Pacific - Chinese Transmitters
You read about "junk" Chinese transmitters all the time on Pmagart 15-related Forums and web pages. This descriptor is absolutely false, as are most absolute statements found on these venues. Again, keep that b*s* antenna ready while reading those things.
Artisan Radio uses a Decade CM10 for broadcasting over-the-air. It is both BETS-1 and RSS-210 certified for broadcasting and non-broadcasting uses respectively here in Canada.
The Canadian certified CM-10 is essentially a Chinese-made CZH-05B (if you open up the box, the board is actually stamped as such) that has had one transistor removed via a jumper to bring down it's power output, and it's BNC antenna replaced with a fixed, telescopic antenna, again, to make it compliant with the rules. Nothing else was changed. Apparently, on the Part 15 certified model for the U.S., additional resistors were added at the antenna to bring the output down even further to meet their even stricter rules.
It goes without saying that all other aspects of the transmitter meet the guidelines for unlicensed, legal broadcasting. It was certified in an approved laboratory. So much for it being junk.
Yes, a CZH-05B (or the newer CZE-05B) obtained directly from China and unmodified will not meet either U.S. or Canadian field strength rules. But other than that, it's as good as any other certified transmitter available today, probably better than some.
Be forewarned - using these non certified transmitters is illegal in the U.S. unless you do something to bring the output levels down to match their certified cousin and make it compliant with the rules. It is illegal in Canada to use a non certified transmitter, unless you obtain a TAC (Technical Acceptance Certificate) from Industry Canada. It is legal to test a non certified transmitter before taking it to Industry Canada to obtain a TAC.
June 3, 2020 17:47 Pacific - Corona Virus Testing
Brought to you by John Di Domenico.
June 3, 2020 17:37 Pacific - Sarah Cooper's 'How To Bible'
Words Escape Me.
June 3, 2020 11:54 Pacific - Some Social Media Companies Fighting Back
Snapchat stops promoting Trump account.
June 3, 2020 10:19 Pacific - Different Strokes...
Someone set up a Twitter account & retweeted everything that Trump posts on that platform. Here's what happened.
Twitter Suspends Account Within 3 Days
June 2, 2020 22:02 Pacific - 21 Seconds of Silence
Canada's Reaction to Trump
June 2, 2020 11:09 Pacific - Part 15 Broadcasting Range
The range that you can achieve with a legal, unlicensed, radio signal in the broadcast bands, particularly FM, is a subject that is perpetually asked by newcomers to the field. There are a lot of newcomers these days due to the need to communicate combined with the need to physical distance. The subject is also discussed quite frequently by even those who are experienced broadcasters. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions 'out there'.
The Part 15 and BETS/RSS210 rules exist to put an upper limit on the field strength of an unlicensed broadcast signal. A transmitter that is certified has been tested in an independent laboratory setting, and found to meet the requirements of these rules.
There are absolutely, positively no rules that state how far a legal Part 15 signal can go. So when someone states that a Part 15 FM signal can only go, say, 200 feet - any more and your transmitter is illegal - your b*s* antenna should immediately go up.
Now, how far you can really hear a signal depends, for the most part, on how good a receiver you have. That's not entirely true, as other things such as obstructions (buildings, walls, etc.) between the transmitter and the receiver can also affect range. But it's a good place to start.
Imagine someone talking in a room at normal volumes. Those with average hearing ability can hear them clearly throughout the room. Some may have hearing loss; they have to sit closer, in some cases almost beside the speaker, to hear. Those who have better hearing can hear the speaker outside the room, and well into the next one, particularly if you're in the doorway with clear line of sight to the speaker and not blocked by a wall. Those who have excellent hearing will hear them even farther. You can't state that the speaker's voice projects, say 10 meters, because some can hear it much farther than that. It all depends on the listener, and their hearing sensitivity.
Similarly, range in Part 15 broadcasting depends on the sensitivity of the radio receiving the signal; that is, the ability to pull that signal 'out of the air', amplify it and send it to a speaker or a set of headphones. Some receivers have much better sensitivity than others. Standard clock or table radios tend to have very poor sensitivity; portable radios can be poor to average, and car radios are the most sensitive. In fact, many car radios for FM have a sensitivity of well under 1uv (the ability for the radio signal to generate a voltage between the antenna terminals of a receiver of under 1 micro - millionth - of a volt). Good portables tend to be in the 5uv range, but can go up to 15-25 uv). Table radios can range anywhere between 5uv up to well over 100uv - some have been measured over 200uv in studies). With sensitivity, the higher the number, the poorer the ability for the radio to hear.
So, obviously, much like our hypothetical speaker and listeners, your range is going to vary. For the U.S. and Part 15, if you are listening on 'ordinary' table or portable radios, you will be lucky to get 200 feet - you may only get 20 feet with some. If you are listening on car radios, as would be the case for a drive-in church, you'll get much further range (potentially up to 1000 feet with the absolutely best receivers under ideal conditions, line of sight to the transmitter). The Canadian BETS rules allow a higher field strength than in the U.S., so range will be more using a Canadian certified transmitter (in Canada).
We've talked only about FM. AM is more problematic, as there are many more factors involved in determining the range you're going to get, and that's probably best left for another post.
So to conclude, as with most things, don't believe everything you read. Question. Even stuff here. More than anything, you need to experiment to be successful with Part 15 broadcasting. And if you're concerned about range, make sure that you know the kinds of receivers that will be listening to your signal.
June 2, 2020 11:00 Pacific - Lowlifes
I have it on good authority that when Trump tweeted about "lowlifes and losers" on Twitter today that he was with his cabinet and unknowingly looking into a mirror.
June 1, 2020 17:22 Pacific - Cowards
"The coward only threatens when he is safe." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
June 1, 2020 13:21 Pacific - Glacier Mice
Still plenty of unknowns out there...
June 1, 2020 11:46 Pacific - Part 15 Radio and Politics
I've been involved with Part 15 radio and the Forums that supposedly serve it for many years. During that time, I was often admonished for doing such things as decrying the horror of diminishing the free press by calling it Fake News, or pushing back against systematic racism in discussions about rap music.
I mean, why talk about reality when you can discuss long ground leads, or even playing around with your guns?
You can't get away from politics. Wherever you have more than one person, you have politics. It's the real world. And radio is a mirror of that world.
Unfortunately, with most Part 15 communication venues, unless you talk about things that fit within a right wing, older white male dominated fantasyland, you are not welcome.
June 1, 2020 8:50 Pacific - Good Guys and Bad Guys
The conservative commentator Buck Sexton said about the protests, "This isn't going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys." Amazingly enough, I don't necessarily disagree, except that I suspect that we have a far different notion as to who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are.
June 1, 2020 8:42 Pacific - Revolution
As I read about Trump being hustled down to a White House bunker over the weekend due to the ongoing protests outside, I am reminded of a song by the late, great, Phil Ochs, "Ringing of Revolution". It can be heard here, and the lyrics can be found here.
May 31, 2020 17:28 Pacific - Leadership
May 30, 2020 15:45 Pacific - Batch Normalizing Audio Files
One of the biggest problems with Old Time Radio digital recordings is the quality. Sometimes, the physical condition of the original analog recordings is dubious at best - many were rescued from trash bins, as they were deemed to have no value by both the radio stations and sponsors that owned them. The transfer from analog to digital also varies wildly in quality, with a selection of bit rates used from very low to high, and no real standard on volume levels, particularly the older transfers.
Now, there's not much we can do about the physical condition of the original recording, or the bit rate of the digital transfer. But we can do something about volume levels to make them more consistent and suitable for broadcasting (and unattended listening).
I am using the freeware program Audacity to batch normalize the volume levels of the Old Time Radio shows, where necessary, using a feature called Macros (Chains in versions earlier than 2.3.0).
A new macro can be created by going to Tools->Macros (in earlier Audacity versions, File->Edit Chain). A window pops up that allows you to name your new macro, and add Audacity commands. Finally, you select the audio files that the macro is applied to, and Audacity goes to work. The processed files are found in a directory (macro-output) created in the original source directory.
It's as simple as that.
I can see a variety of uses for Audacity macros, as virtually every command available interactively in the program is available for use in macros. The word of the day, as Groucho Marx would say on You Bet Your Life (shameless plug - heard Fridays on Artisan Radio at 2:00, 10:00 & 18:00 Pacific Time) is 'creativity'.
May 30, 2020 15:30 Pacific - Old Technology `
"I like new technology. I love old technology, as it tends to work." : David Chamberlain
May 30, 2020 08:37 Pacific - Why a Blog?
I wanted a platform with which to discuss and comment on the facts surrounding legal, unlicensed radio broadcasting (I will refer to this as Part 15 radio in the future).
I have been involved with Part 15 radio since 2006, when I ran a storefront radio station. In another life, I was (and still am) a computer professional, specializing in project management and software development. This is a good thing, as computers are an essential tool in the operation of a Part 15 radio station, where numbers of employees are limited.
Social Media was not an option for the platform. Aside from family and friend communication (which was its initial purpose), it has evolved into a place where unscrupulous individuals purvey misinformation, outright lies and propaganda for their own, corrupt, purposes (usually political). I do not, and will not, participate in it. As an aside, the under-rated TV show The Orville had an episode that showed a world totally run by social media - a description can be found here. On this world, there were no absolute facts. Users of social media (essentially everyone) voted on what the facts would be. Those accused of wrong-doing didn't hire lawyers, but public relations consultants. Sound familiar?
Anyway, there also exist Forums that concern themselves with the world of Part 15 radio. Over the past years, I've seen them take the same path as social media. The posts, and their contents, are heavily influenced by either 1) ultra right wing conservative moderators who discourage creative thinking or 2) egocentric moderators who think they know far more than they do (heavily inflating their experience to make them sound more authoritative).
There are a few Part 15 oriented blogs that are recommended - the Blare Blog is one of the best. At least with a blog you know what you're getting and from whom. The value of the blog contents is based solely on the knowledge and integrity of the blogger, with no hidden moderation. But blogs by definition are one-way communication. They provide an outlet for the blogger, but no one else.
So here we are. A blog it is. It doesn't matter if nobody reads my musings. The value for me comes in the writing. To get the facts, and sometimes my opinions, 'out there'. And that's all that matters.
Feel free to comment on this blog. But understand that Artisan Radio claims ownership of all communication sent to it. We reserve the right to publish excerpts of the communication in part, or in whole (or to just ignore it). We also reserve the right to make comments on it, to encourage or to ridicule as appropriate
So, on with the show...