Re: Small radio station for next gather

19 Jul 1992 10:19:38

> ... radio transmitters
>under a certain power level are allowed to broadcast without any
>kind of a licence. (Five watts sounds familiar.)
>So would there be someone out there who might be able to cook up
>a small radio station so that people at or on the way to the
>gathering could get news?

> Some problems, Ken. First of all, Low power broadcast band (AM
> or FM) transmitters to be 'legally' operated w/o licenses are
> _very_ restricted. Like maybe one tenth of a watt on AM with a 3
> foot antenna. A setup like this might yield a range of 100 -200
> feet MAX. On FM the power and antenna restrictions are even
> tighter. At best, you might realize a range of 200 -500 feet
> from the transmtter to a _sensitive_ receiver. No where NEAR 5
> watts of power.

I've heard different numbers regarding the power output and this
is the first I've heard of a restriction on the size of the
antenna. There has been consensus, however, that such a
transmitter would not have power enough to be practical. I
suppose the FCC itself, being the final arbiter, would be the
one to consult.

> Second problem, If one was to broadcast illegally, it would bring
> the feds down on the gathering and that is something nobody
> wants.

I wasn't suggesting that anyone do anything illegal. Never
would. (Well, almost never.) This was the reason (in the first
paragraph) I asked about the maximum legal power.

> Third problem, How will people know where to tune?

There are some newsletters going out. We could also announce it
here. Local groups could make an announcement at a meeting...
all the same ways that people hear about a gathering in the
first place. Not a big problem.

> Fourth problem: Who would man this station, and what would you
> transmit?

Rob and I have discussed this (and other problems you've
mentioned above). I don't know how much it would matter who sat
behind the mike; I don't think finding volunteers for this would
be a problem.

Some reasons/topics of broadcast that Rob and I mentioned were:
finding lost kids, medical emergencies, non-medical
non-emergencies (''anybody have... a needle and thread, ...a pump
to put air in a tire, in their car to Cleveland, etc.''),
and a few other things. Given the option of knowing if a storm
was coming or not knowing, I would prefer to know it was. The
problem some people had with mass ''tail light inspections''
(mentioned in a previous posting) is what first made me look at a
broadcast option. It would be nice if people could avoid such
hassles next time. And I would think that a large community of
people would encounter many other problems, not to be foreseen
here, which would be solvable by communication.

> Fifth problem (and here is a biggie) portable radios and
> 'boom-boxes' are strongly discouraged at gatherings. They are
> disruptive and compete with the 'home-grown' music of guitars,
> drums and such that abound in gatheriings. It has been decided
> by many a rainbow counsil that recorded (or transmitted)
> music/sound, weapons, alcohol, 'dangerous' drugs, money
> exchanging, and violence are unwelcome at gatherings.

If it's true that recorded (or transmitted) music/sound is
largely unwelcome, then I suppose we'll just have to give up on
the idea. I just thought it could be a help to a lot of people.

BTW, what falls into the category of ''money exchanging''?

> What might work, but would be less universal, would be a CB
> channel set aside for gathering info. The parking lots and other
> 'coordinators' of the gathering often use walkie-talkies for
> communication. I don't know what channel they use.

Wouldn't CBs be considered transmitted sound? Rob did mention to
me that CBs were used for some things at the last gathering.

> Great Idea, but I don't think the gathering is theplace to ply
> such technology. Remember that the rainbow tribe has many in it
> who are staunchly anti-technology anyway.

Sounds like it. But I really wasn't trying to ply technology. I'm
not particularly enamored of technology either. (But if I attend
the next gathering, I'll probably drive a car.) For a lot of
people technology becomes an end in itself. I was only looking at
the station as a way for people to more easily help each other...
you have to know of someone's needs before you can do anything
to help them.

> In order to gather, the gathering must be non-commercial, and in
> order for it to be happy and peaceful, some agreements are
> followed by most people.

Bill, I hope you didn't think I was seeking to commercialize the
gathering. If so, let me assure you that this isn't what I was

> [discussion of the Grateful Dead deleted]
> Peace to you and keep on thinking free.
> Bill Pfeiffer
> Moderator - & The E-Mail Broadcast Digest

| Attilla the Hun must have watched a LOT of Murphy Brown. |

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