Workshop proposal: how to make DIY radio transmitters & history of pirate radio - Hack the media

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hamish campbell

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Oct 17, 2011, 6:17:45 AM10/17/11
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Sakura Saunders from Prometheus Radio if offering to teach us how to
build a pirate radio transmitter...

Quick description:
Micro Radio 101 – Get your hands dirty building a pirate radio
transmitter! This workshop will teach participants to the basics of
soldering together a radio transmitter. It will also discuss the
history of pirate radio and use in activist movements.

Proposed date: In quiet space on Monday 24th - 3 to 6pm - then
informal discussion with Sakura.

anybody interested?

Hamish and Marc


info on Sakura:
http://www.prometheusradio.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5gXYdLxE70

Darren McDonald

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Oct 17, 2011, 6:29:12 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 11:17, hamish campbell <ham...@visionon.tv> wrote:
> Sakura Saunders from Prometheus Radio if offering to teach us how to
> build a pirate radio transmitter...

> It will also discuss the history of pirate radio and use in activist movements.

> Proposed date: In quiet space on Monday 24th - 3 to 6pm - then
> informal discussion with Sakura.
>

Id be very interested in learning about how to build a transmitter,
however the time and date (during the day during the week) will
prevent the vast majority of members from attending, myself included.
What exactly makes it a pirate radio? Surely it's just a DIY
transmitter until it's mounted in a vessel flying the jolly roger?

Not so interested in the politics to be honest, unless it involves
tales of swashbuckling.

Darren

hamish campbell

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Oct 17, 2011, 6:38:36 AM10/17/11
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> Id be very interested in learning about how to build a transmitter,
> however the time and date (during the day during the week) will
> prevent the vast majority of members from attending, myself included.
> What exactly makes it a pirate radio? Surely it's just a DIY
> transmitter until it's mounted in a vessel flying the jolly roger?
>
> Not so interested in the politics to be honest, unless it involves
> tales of swashbuckling.
>
> Darren

Hey Darren

As I'm not the one teaching this workshop I can only forward your
questions to Sakura, but
I know she's been doing this for a while. The politics/piracy bit is
from where she learnt how to this and are part of the workshop
but you won't have to stay for that if you don't want to.
I just think we're lucky to have her sharing her knowledge and time
with us!

Finally for workshop time: Not sure she's available later, I'll ask

thanks for feedback

H

Billy

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Oct 17, 2011, 6:48:28 AM10/17/11
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I'll be along.

Adrian Godwin

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Oct 17, 2011, 7:33:08 AM10/17/11
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Tradition demands that the newly qualified radio amateurs should then
operate a fox hunt to locate the source of interference and demolish
or dib it.

-adrian

Darren McDonald

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Oct 17, 2011, 7:40:35 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 12:33, Adrian Godwin <artg...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Tradition demands that the newly qualified radio amateurs should then
> operate a fox hunt to locate the source of interference and demolish
> or dib it.
>

In the event of a successful hunt, will we have a blooding where we
smear the powdered contents of NiCd batteries on our cheeks?

Nigel Worsley

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Oct 17, 2011, 7:52:58 AM10/17/11
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I think running this workshop may be a breach of section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 ( Intentionally
encouraging or assisting an offence ) Therefore I don't think the hackspace should be seen to be involved
in any way.

See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/27/part/2

Nigle

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:00:14 AM10/17/11
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Where is the crime?

--
>
++++++++++[>+>+++>++
+++++>++++++++++<<<<
-]>>>+++++++.>++++++
+++++.+++..---------
.++++++++++.<<+++.<.

Adrian Godwin

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:00:45 AM10/17/11
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I'm inclined to agree that the hackspace shouldn't permit illegal transmissions.

However the technical matter of constructing a transmitter is
perfectly reasonable, especially for the licensed members. The
techniques are appropriate for adjacent amateur bands (though nbfm
would be preferred).

-adrian

Mark Steward

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:06:50 AM10/17/11
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Though of course all foundation licensees will know that we can't make our own transmitters until we take the next exam.


Mark

Tim Storey

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:06:48 AM10/17/11
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On 17/10/2011 13:00, Adrian Godwin wrote:

> However the technical matter of constructing a transmitter is
> perfectly reasonable, especially for the licensed members. The
> techniques are appropriate for adjacent amateur bands
>

> -adrian
>

+1

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:06:58 AM10/17/11
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+1 to attend

--

Darren McDonald

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:07:36 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 12:52, Nigel Worsley <nig...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> I think running this workshop may be a breach of section 44 of the Serious
> Crime Act 2007 ( Intentionally
> encouraging or assisting an offence )

Hmm, that really depends on the content of the workshop in my opinion,
and how the information is put across.

I'll admit that the mention of politics and *pirate* radio doesnt
agree with me entirely. But the sport lock picking and hacking hacking
workshops could be viewed in a similar way at first glance. But it's
the way in which these workshops are run, i.e. that the workshops are
for fun, education, and have big warnings that we disagree with and
discourage the illegal use of the skills being taught which hopefully
sets them apart from section 44.

Darren

Darren McDonald

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:09:36 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 13:06, Mark Steward <marks...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Though of course all foundation licensees will know that we can't make our
> own transmitters until we take the next exam.
>
> Mark

Speaking of which, is there a plan to run courses/practicals/exams for
the next level?

Nigel Worsley

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:16:48 AM10/17/11
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> the technical matter of constructing a transmitter is
> perfectly reasonable, especially for the licensed members.

Not so.

If the person building the transmitter intends it to be used (by themself or by others) without a license then
they are committing an offense under the wireless telegraphy act. It cannot be licensed and if they aren't
intending it to be used then why are they building it?

Anyone encouraging or assisting in this is also committing an offence if they know this.

Nigle

Tim Storey

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:24:37 AM10/17/11
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they may be building it to learn the principles...

Steff

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:25:28 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 13:16, Nigel Worsley <nig...@googlemail.com> wrote:
>
> If the person building the transmitter intends it to be used (by themself or
> by others) without a license then
> they are committing an offense under the wireless telegraphy act. It cannot
> be licensed and if they aren't
> intending it to be used then why are they building it?

Isn't the hackspace quite often about making things which aren't
actually useful but whose construction is a learning experience in
itself?

FWIW, the Merit electronics set I had as a kid had instructions for a
small transmitter and I'm not quite old enough to predate the Wireless
Telegraphy Act 1949, which I think was the one that outlawed running
unlicensed transmitters.

S

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:26:08 AM10/17/11
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Other hackerspace/workshops exist for the purpose of learning how to
make them, understanding them etc, a nice introduction into soldering
etcetcetc... I haven't heard of anyone being arrested for it. lol

--

Adrian Godwin

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:31:10 AM10/17/11
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For a transmitter built for the broadcast bands, yes, I quite agree.
Constructing an amplifier with the intention of using it to transmit
without a licence is illegal, and you're not going to get a licence
for broadcast bands easily.

But the technical challenge of building an RF amplifier is distinct
from the illegal use of it outside of the license conditions, and a
70MHz or 144Mhz amplifier is very little different from a 100Mhz
amplifier. And transmitters can be built and legally used on those
bands by some people in the space.

I do note Mark's comments that a higher license level is required
though - I'm not up to date with the current licensing, I thought the
differences were entirely related to transmit power levels.

-adrian

Nigel Worsley

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:44:58 AM10/17/11
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> But the technical challenge of building an RF amplifier is distinct
> from the illegal use of it outside of the license conditions, and a
> 70MHz or 144Mhz amplifier is very little different from a 100Mhz
> amplifier. And transmitters can be built and legally used on those
> bands by some people in the space.

True, but the original post said "Get your hands dirty building a pirate radio
transmitter!" so it will be difficult to claim that it was built for legal
amateur radio use!

Nigle

Martin

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:45:15 AM10/17/11
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would love to attend, even if it does mean taking the afternoon off work.  It is important to know about the history of this kinda thing, plus also pretty interesting.  Maybe we could barracade ourselves in the quiet space and set up a station and see how long it takes for the filth to get us :P

spooq

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:46:51 AM10/17/11
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I guess by filth, you mean all the legitimate users of the spectrum
you are pissing off?

Luke

Mark Steward

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:47:01 AM10/17/11
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I believe you can transmit up to 50nW (yes nano) on FM.  However, I think some focus on the legality in this workshop is vital, as the blurb seemed to imply the attendees would be using the equipment.

We've had these discussions for hacking hacking and lockpicking, so it would be silly to get lax for radio, especially given we're a registered RSGB examination centre.


Mark

Nin Lil'izi

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:47:46 AM10/17/11
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I'm interested in attending, providing its confirmed soon enough to
amend my travel plans.

I myself am intrested in earlier workshops. As trains just don't run
late enough to get to where'ever I'm currently inhabiting if I leave
any later than early evening.

Russ Garrett

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Oct 17, 2011, 8:48:13 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 12:52, Nigel Worsley <nig...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> I think running this workshop may be a breach of section 44 of the Serious
> Crime Act 2007 ( Intentionally
> encouraging or assisting an offence ) Therefore I don't think the hackspace
> should be seen to be involved
> in any way.

I have a horrible feeling you might be right.

On 17 October 2011 13:16, Nigel Worsley <nig...@googlemail.com> wrote:

> If the person building the transmitter intends it to be used (by themself or
> by others) without a license then
> they are committing an offense under the wireless telegraphy act. It cannot
> be licensed and if they aren't
> intending it to be used then why are they building it?

Well, building it is fine, but possessing a transmitter with intent to
use it is an offence (s36). Using it is an offence (s35), and
permitting it to be used on your premises is an offence (s37). (The
foundation amateur license doesn't allow you to use a device you've
built on the amateur bands.)

In allowing someone to run a workshop involving building these things,
as a director of the Hackspace it appears that I would be guilty under
s44 of SOCA of encouraging a breach of at least sections 35 and 36 of
the WTA.

More pragmatically, Hackspace is about education. I don't think there
is anything technical which could be learned by building a transmitter
for the FM broadcast bands which could not be learned by doing the
amateur radio license course.

Someone, right about now, will point out that we allow lock picking.
But lock picking is more legitimate (you can open your own locks, and
it is established that you can do it for fun), than building a
broadcast-band transmitter which you can never legally do anything
with.

So I think that it's best if we don't have this workshop in the
Hackspace. I hope people understand my reasoning here.

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Billy

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:00:34 AM10/17/11
to London Hackspace

Fair enough, for avoiding the legal hassles.

Next time that this sort of workshop is proposed, it might be better
to avoid using the language that mentions the legal status of the
uses, and emphasizes the purely technical nature of the idea's.

That said, on a completely unrelated note, i know of a couple of other
places where workshops can take place. Could I, as an individual,
borrow some of the portable soldering/electronics tools we have, to
help a friend work on some soldering practise?
> r...@garrett.co.uk

Jasper Wallace

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:21:23 AM10/17/11
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On Mon, 17 Oct 2011, Mark Steward wrote:

> I believe you can transmit up to 50nW (yes nano) on FM.  However, I
> think some focus on the legality in this workshop is vital, as the blurb
> seemed to imply the attendees would be using the equipment.

Is this how the ipod fm transmitters work? (The things that let you
'connect' your mp3 player to a car radio), or are they just grey imports?

--
[http://pointless.net/] [0x2ECA0975]

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:26:06 AM10/17/11
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The shop where I work sells them straight from the shelf, belkin and
other manufacturers make fm transmitters.

--

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:27:32 AM10/17/11
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In fact jasper, you reminded me that maplin used to sell fm
transmitter kits. labeled as, fm oscillator. definitely covered the
regular wideband fm radio.

tom

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:37:31 AM10/17/11
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i thought they got legalised a few years back if they were under a
certain power?
in any case, theres one in my box. Should the feds come calling could
someone do me a favour and thermite mine into slag?

On Oct 17, 3:27 pm, M <a.turntabl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> In fact jasper, you reminded me that maplin used to sell fm
> transmitter kits. labeled as, fm oscillator. definitely covered the
> regular wideband fm radio.
>

Russ Garrett

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Oct 17, 2011, 10:49:31 AM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 15:21, Jasper Wallace <jas...@pointless.net> wrote:

Yes, they used to be grey imports but they were legalised in the UK in
2008 (iirc). But they are only legal to use if they're CE-marked.

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Martin Klang

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Oct 17, 2011, 12:00:53 PM10/17/11
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Russ,

what if the workshop was to focus on making < 50nW transmitters (with a view to getting ce-cert, if necessary), and how to stay legal?

I think a lot of people are genuinely interested in the technology and how, practically, a radio station works. It doesn't mean anyone's planning pirate broadcasts.

It's worth noting that hobby / community transmitters are not illegal everywhere in the world. De-regulation is taking place in many places (e.g. the USA [1]). The 2006 legalisation of iTrip style devices appears to be a step in that direction for the UK. Low-power, inexpensive radio broadcast, while currently proscribed, is still a valid and useful hacker skill.

There's also the possibility of getting a Restricted Service License [2], which seems to be what some pirate stations have done.

It would be a shame to cancel a potentially awesome workshop on the wrong assumption that its only applications are illegal.

/m

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/arts/25radio.html?_r=1
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restricted_Service_Licence

tom

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Oct 17, 2011, 12:06:54 PM10/17/11
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there is also the other option of Internet Radio..


I did build an "internet radio broadcast station" at one point, it was
a laptop in Access Point mode with a captive portal that would direct
you to a shoutcast stream on the laptop. The AP was open with "FREE
INTERNET RADIO" as the SSID

I guess this might work well now with the advent of iPhones and the
like.
> > r...@garrett.co.uk

Alec Wright

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Oct 17, 2011, 12:20:20 PM10/17/11
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I expect that a RSL is only valid if you use commercially bought
equipment. The point of it is for small-scale broadcasting, not
experimentation.
I'm also pretty sure that a band 2 transmitter, even if under 50nW (it
might be 125nW in the UK?) can't be homemade.
If anyone wants to build their own radio equipment I recommend they do
their RSGB intermediate course, which I'll be doing soon up here in
cambridge. Amateur radio is the ideal hobby if you want to experiment
with radio. And it doesnt prevent you from learning about the history
of pirate radio aswell.

Russ Garrett

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Oct 17, 2011, 12:23:48 PM10/17/11
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On 17 October 2011 17:00, Martin Klang <ma...@pingdynasty.com> wrote:
> what if the workshop was to focus on making < 50nW transmitters (with a view to getting ce-cert, if necessary), and how to stay legal?

I don't think that's either technically (measuring a <50nW EIRP would
be complex in itself), or legally feasible, and nor do I think it's
terribly useful. 50nW gives you a couple of metres range, which has
little practical use beyond the iTrip-style stuff.

> I think a lot of people are genuinely interested in the technology and how, practically, a radio station works. It doesn't mean anyone's planning pirate broadcasts.

If you're interested in the transmission technology you should get an
amateur license. That's exactly what the amateur licensing system is
there for, and it serves a valid purpose in educating people (to a
certain extent) about interference. We run them at the Hackspace,
they're not expensive.

If you're interested in running a radio station then just use the
Internet, or get an RSL.

> It's worth noting that hobby / community transmitters are not illegal everywhere in the world. De-regulation is taking place in many places (e.g. the USA [1]).

That's not deregulation, that's simply changing regulation rules. I
would wager that they still require FCC-approved transmitters for
these low-power transmitters.

> It would be a shame to cancel a potentially awesome workshop on the wrong assumption that its only applications are illegal.

Come on, the workshop was called "how to build a pirate radio
transmitter". I don't think I've misinterpreted that. Its only
applications *are* illegal. You cannot legally operate a home-built
radio transmitter in the UK unless you have a license.

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

M

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Oct 17, 2011, 12:26:14 PM10/17/11
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tom you blow my mind, that's awesome.

--

visionOntv

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Oct 17, 2011, 1:10:12 PM10/17/11
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No problem guys, this was just a proposal, thanks for your feedback,
the workshop is cancelled or will happen elsewhere.

The reason why we couldn't offer any changes to the workshop set up
(as some requested) is that it was a direct and kind offer
from Sakura Saunders, a Canadian girl with a lot of experience in
making alternative radio. I didn't feel I could ask her to adapt her
workshop to the space philosophy (but I understand
the limitations the space have to follow).

So I'll suggest she moves this to Passing Cloud on the same date /
time, people interested can contact us and I'll forward the info.

cheers

Hamish/Marc



On Oct 17, 5:26 pm, M <a.turntabl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> tom you blow my mind, that's awesome.
>

tom

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Oct 18, 2011, 5:34:56 AM10/18/11
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>Amateur radio is the ideal hobby if you want to experiment
> with radio.

you mean "listen to people on the other side of the planet tell
everyone how hard it is to move a ladder over a fence"?




On Oct 17, 5:20 pm, Alec Wright <ale...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I expect that a RSL is only valid if you use commercially bought
> equipment. The point of it is for small-scale broadcasting, not
> experimentation.
> I'm also pretty sure that a band 2 transmitter, even if under 50nW (it
> might be 125nW in the UK?) can't be homemade.
> If anyone wants to build their own radio equipment I recommend they do
> their RSGB intermediate course, which I'll be doing soon up here in
> cambridge. Amateur radio is the ideal hobby if you want to experiment
> with radio. And it doesnt prevent you from learning about the history
> of pirate radio aswell.
>

tom

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Oct 18, 2011, 5:37:06 AM10/18/11
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try it, its really quite easy to set up. I'd love to build a smaller
solar powered version at some point too, using a low power linux box
(like the Linksys Storage Unit I just threw away...)

On Oct 17, 5:26 pm, M <a.turntabl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> tom you blow my mind, that's awesome.
>
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