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james campbell

vacant fm stations

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ok,I am trying to finalize what station I use for my show. I have a website that tells vacant stations in my area problem is when I tried some of them out it had something on it.I find the best is 87.9 but I don't know if all radios can go that low.

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I used 87.9 last year for the same reason you are describing.After talking to a few people since last fall i found that not all car radios go that low.I am going to change mine just for that reason.

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james campbell wrote:

ok,I am trying to finalize what station I use for my show. I have a website that tells vacant stations in my area problem is when I tried some of them out it had something on it.I find the best is 87.9 but I don't know if all radios can go that low.

That station-locator site is notoriously inaccurate - so much so as to be totally useless. For best results, nothing beats sitting out in the street in your car at night during the hours you'll be broadcasting and manually clicking through the radio dial to find yourself an unused frequency, preferably one without a station immediately on either side of it. To be completely certain, check your chosen frequency at least two different nights before setting it in stone.

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George Simmons wrote:

james campbell wrote:
ok,I am trying to finalize what station I use for my show. I have a website that tells vacant stations in my area problem is when I tried some of them out it had something on it.I find the best is 87.9 but I don't know if all radios can go that low.

That station-locator site is notoriously inaccurate - so much so as to be totally useless. For best results, nothing beats sitting out in the street in your car at night during the hours you'll be broadcasting and manually clicking through the radio dial to find yourself an unused frequency, preferably one without a station immediately on either side of it. To be completely certain, check your chosen frequency at least two different nights before setting it in stone.

Agree, and maybe even drive a 1/4-1/2 mile from your house in multiple directions to confirm that that frequency remains open for as far as your FM transmitter may broadcast. I do this in 2 different cars since they seem to pick up weak signals differently. Might seem like overkill but a FCC crackdown is a quick way to destroy your Christmas fun, and the most likely way they would ever even know about your small display is if somebody complains to them that every night their local mom & pop polka station is not coming in due to some "stupid" Christmas music is overpowering it. Reconfirm this in November since one year I had set my station in the summer, and between then and November, a new local radio station started in our area stealing "my" frequency. Unlikely to happen, but easy enough to double check.

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If it's available to you, this is the best option:

Find another animated Christmas light display in your area that has been using a FM frequency for a number of years. Use the same frequency.

When I started my display 4 years ago, I used the same frequency as a guy who had been doing it for a decade. We have now established 104.1 as the "Christmas frequency" in this area. There are 7 displays that use the same frequency. As well as making sure the frequency is available, using the same channel means viewers can drive from one display to another without retuning their radio.

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Also check the reception both during the day and later in the evening. Some stations change their broadcast strength at certain times during the day.

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Cajun Cheesehead wrote


Also check the reception both during the day and later in the evening. Some stations change their broadcast strength at certain times during the day.

What frequency do you use, As i only live about 6 miles from you !?

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Surfing4Dough wrote:

George Simmons wrote:
james campbell wrote:
ok,I am trying to finalize what station I use for my show. I have a website that tells vacant stations in my area problem is when I tried some of them out it had something on it.I find the best is 87.9 but I don't know if all radios can go that low.

That station-locator site is notoriously inaccurate - so much so as to be totally useless. For best results, nothing beats sitting out in the street in your car at night during the hours you'll be broadcasting and manually clicking through the radio dial to find yourself an unused frequency, preferably one without a station immediately on either side of it. To be completely certain, check your chosen frequency at least two different nights before setting it in stone.

Agree, and maybe even drive a 1/4-1/2 mile from your house in multiple directions to confirm that that frequency remains open for as far as your FM transmitter may broadcast. I do this in 2 different cars since they seem to pick up weak signals differently. Might seem like overkill but a FCC crackdown is a quick way to destroy your Christmas fun, and the most likely way they would ever even know about your small display is if somebody complains to them that every night their local mom & pop polka station is not coming in due to some "stupid" Christmas music is overpowering it. Reconfirm this in November since one year I had set my station in the summer, and between then and November, a new local radio station started in our area stealing "my" frequency. Unlikely to happen, but easy enough to double check.

I pretty much have found two possible stations now.my criteria is 95 percent static on my commute to work.my thinking behind this is maybe even though it may be static in front of my house someone still may have it preset and may pick up a little down the road. Thanks for all the info.

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Also, some radio stations broadcast at more power than what they are supposed to do. Like Christmas light people they sometimes bend the rules. The station I used is shared by a country station and it can be tuned in weakly. However; the station should only be broadcasting half this distance.

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jstorms wrote:

Also, some radio stations broadcast at more power than what they are supposed to do. Like Christmas light people they sometimes bend the rules. The station I used is shared by a country station and it can be tuned in weakly. However; the station should only be broadcasting half this distance.

I thought that may be part of the issue, maybe they should only broadcast in a 50 mile radius. don't know the exact regulation

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I just got my EDM transmitter yesterday got it soldered and just had to try it out...So we made a spreadsheet of all stations from 87.9 to 107.9 and one by one check every single station! So living in the Phoenix area almost every other station is taken... This is not as easy as I once thought it would be!!! We did find one station that is clear along with the station ahead of and after it. Lets just hope it stays open!!! I do like the idea of a "Christmas frequency"... (BTW the transmitter is AWESOME!!!)

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John Slade wrote:

I just got my EDM transmitter yesterday got it soldered and just had to try it out...So we made a spreadsheet of all stations from 87.9 to 107.9 and one by one check every single station! So living in the Phoenix area almost every other station is taken... This is not as easy as I once thought it would be!!! We did find one station that is clear along with the station ahead of and after it. Lets just hope it stays open!!! I do like the idea of a "Christmas frequency"... (BTW the transmitter is AWESOME!!!)

I have often wondered what the members did who live in major metropolitan areas. I can only imagine what Phoenix, LA, New York, Dallas, etc. must be like. I live in a town of 25k people with one FM station, the next closest is 35 miles away and I still only had about 6 or 8 real good frequency possibilities due to strong evening signals. I hope from year to year that when I fire up the MBB I don't find somebody else blasting on some indie station.

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John Slade wrote:

I just got my EDM transmitter yesterday got it soldered and just had to try it out...So we made a spreadsheet of all stations from 87.9 to 107.9 and one by one check every single station! So living in the Phoenix area almost every other station is taken... This is not as easy as I once thought it would be!!! We did find one station that is clear along with the station ahead of and after it. Lets just hope it stays open!!! I do like the idea of a "Christmas frequency"... (BTW the transmitter is AWESOME!!!)


John, I'm down in Mesa (ValVista & -60), I use 99.1 The next closest is The Peak, 98.7 and some latin station at 99.5, then there's KEZ 99.9 I like the idea of a standard station in each city, or area.. as long as you're far enough away from the next guy (couple miles at least), you should be able to use the same freq.. I sat in the driveway and checked each freq from bottom to top of the dial and found several that are good candidates.. You being a little higher elevation might have a couple fewer choices, but use the car radio and check each freq, daytime, nighttime..

TJ

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jstorms wrote:

Also, some radio stations broadcast at more power than what they are supposed to do. Like Christmas light people they sometimes bend the rules. The station I used is shared by a country station and it can be tuned in weakly. However; the station should only be broadcasting half this distance.


Commercial stations are licensed to operate with defined ERPs. If they exceed this they are subject to strict enforcement actions. Knowing the penalties involved I doubt you will find very many that exceed/bend the rules.

What you may be experiencing is varying signal levels based on propagation (ie. ducting) etc which is not uncommon in the FM broadcast band.

If you truly believe thay are broadcasting using excessive power, call your local FCC field office. All calls of this nature are investigated.

Greg

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TJ Hvasta wrote:

John Slade wrote:
I just got my EDM transmitter yesterday got it soldered and just had to try it out...So we made a spreadsheet of all stations from 87.9 to 107.9 and one by one check every single station! So living in the Phoenix area almost every other station is taken... This is not as easy as I once thought it would be!!! We did find one station that is clear along with the station ahead of and after it. Lets just hope it stays open!!! I do like the idea of a "Christmas frequency"... (BTW the transmitter is AWESOME!!!)


John, I'm down in Mesa (ValVista & -60), I use 99.1 The next closest is The Peak, 98.7 and some latin station at 99.5, then there's KEZ 99.9 I like the idea of a standard station in each city, or area.. as long as you're far enough away from the next guy (couple miles at least), you should be able to use the same freq.. I sat in the driveway and checked each freq from bottom to top of the dial and found several that are good candidates.. You being a little higher elevation might have a couple fewer choices, but use the car radio and check each freq, daytime, nighttime..

TJ


What a coincidence... that's the station I was speaking of! :D I did check the station locator site and it shows 93.9 as the best and 99.1 as second best but like you said, its got some space between it and other stations...

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evan.a wrote:

http://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/vacant

It's also best not to pick a frequency that's too close to a strong FM station. You can use this page to find vacant frequencies in your area

I used that same one and over half have something on them,call signs and everything.I did find on the list that is cler for 30 miles all around me so 100.7 is the one

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Good advise about sitting out in your car at night and listen for a quite frequency. I know you will not want to see this next bit. But the ionosphere layers change between summer and winter. I have found that I can hear more stations during the winter than summer. Now this holds true of the VHF band. HF is better during the summer as I remember it.

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I hope that the station I found will still work this winter it is wide open for miles around keep my fingers crossed

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Jim, if the freq you want is clean on both sides (you want 99.5... and 99.3 and 99.7 are clean also) then you should be ok unless a new station starts btwn now and then.. really, if your desired frequency has dead air on either side, you should be good to go..

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There isn't a freq that has quiet on either side? If 97.5 has a station on it, I wouldn't pick 97.7... try to find a block of "quiet" so the one you want is free from bleedover from adjacent stations..

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Guest guest

Maybe folks should petition the FCC to make a standard set of frequencies for such things as our lightshows.

Now I don't know how feasible that would be (or if they'd even listen), but it'd be nice if there were at least several frequencies that could be allocated, a couple on the low end, a couple in the center end and a couple at the high end that would or could be reserved specifically for those wanting to use an FM Transmitter to broadcast their show music to their audiences.

Maybe if enough folks got together they could make this happen.

Just sayin'....

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Orville wrote:

Maybe folks should petition the FCC to make a standard set of frequencies for such things as our lightshows.

Now I don't know how feasible that would be (or if they'd even listen), but it'd be nice if there were at least several frequencies that could be allocated, a couple on the low end, a couple in the center end and a couple at the high end that would or could be reserved specifically for those wanting to use an FM Transmitter to broadcast their show music to their audiences.

Maybe if enough folks got together they could make this happen.

Just sayin'....

Maybe the transmitters should have an auto-frequency finder

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Guest wbottomley

Frank Picozzi wrote:

Orville wrote:
Maybe folks should petition the FCC to make a standard set of frequencies for such things as our lightshows.

Now I don't know how feasible that would be (or if they'd even listen), but it'd be nice if there were at least several frequencies that could be allocated, a couple on the low end, a couple in the center end and a couple at the high end that would or could be reserved specifically for those wanting to use an FM Transmitter to broadcast their show music to their audiences.

Maybe if enough folks got together they could make this happen.

Just sayin'....

Maybe the transmitters should have an auto-frequency finder


+2 for Frank. Man... you're on a roll. :(

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