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Use an iPod Mini to Broadcast Pirate Radio 558

StJefferson writes "Ever want to silence the urban assault vehicle beside you at the stop light, pounding out gangster angst at orthodontia-rattling volumes? Now you can, and here's how, courtesy Engadget."
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Use an iPod Mini to Broadcast Pirate Radio

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  • Atricle Text (Score:4, Informative)

    by PalmerEldritch42 ( 754411 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:03PM (#9595161)
    It is getting slow now, so in case of /.ing, here is the text:

    How-To Tuesday: Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod

    Posted Jun 15, 2004, 11:07 AM ET by Phillip Torrone

    Related entries: Portable Audio, Wireless

    This was going to be "How-To increase the range of your iTrip mini". But after playing around with the new iTrip mini, the FM broadcasting accessory for the iPod (our review here) our little minds got working on some ideas. We thought we might be able to make the range of Griffin's iTrip mini a little better if took it apart and exposed the antenna, turns out we could. And then we thought, hey- we could use a couple iPods to broadcast something we wanted to get out there, perhaps not "should" that is, but could. So that was our motivation, and here's the How-To.


    * 1 iPod mini

    * 1 iTrip mini

    * Optional: Addition iPods, iTalks and iTrips

    Getting Started

    First, to become your own pirate broadcast station you'll need to increase the range and signal of your iTrip mini. Turns out, there is an antennae built inside the iTrip mini. All you need to do is remove the top sticker-like protection which hides the antennae and then using tweezers or your fingernail, pull the antennae out. We've found a 20% to 30% increase of range on average. This likely voids the warranty, so there, we said it.

    Next up, if you're using the iTrip mini, then you know that you can install all the stations on the dial to broadcast on. At first we we're really sure we'd ever use them, but now we have good reason. So make sure you've installed all the stations, on the go you might need them to switch to. Remember, the iTrip is a FM broadcasting device, intended to broadcast 10 to 30 feet to a FM radio.

    Next, choose your broadcast, it can be any song or a spoken word MP3, don't worry we have a few suggestions. A lot depends on the situation you're in.

    Pirate Broadcasts

    We usually keep a couple tracks of silence ready to go, ever get stuck at a stop light for like 10 minutes and the dude in the next car is blasting the radio? With the super easy iPod interface you can quickly get to the station he's on and send over whatever you want, a couple gentle ocean waves or birds usually works out great.

    If you've ever gone to the Gym, or starred in to one from the outside- you'll notice the TVs are muted and set to broadcast on specific FM frequencies, folks then tune in their radio headsets to whatever station to listen to the audio as they exercise. Now we're not suggesting you go around and broadcast over CNN or anything, but we think broadcasting "Aliens have landed today, the President and UN will be making an announcement immediately" could be quite fun. We'll be trying this out with our gym pals who are usually up for a good gag.

    There are other times where you simply need to broadcast back. Let's say you're at the park, enjoying a nice quiet day with your family- then comes along someone blasting the radio. We've found broadcasting a silent track tends to work nicely, sure you need to be within 30 to 40 feet, but no one will even suspect that their FM broadcast is getting usurped by you.

    Advanced Pirate Radio Broadcasting techniques

    We've also discovered another fun example. If you use the iTalk, Griffin's voice recorder accessory with 2g/3g iPod you can record your pirate broadcast on the fly, pop in the iTrip and start broadcasting. Usually pretending to be an omnipotent being and asking folks to build a water proof car, drive across the English Channel with two of every gadget gets some interesting reactions.

    Now, if you really get in to this- you could easily increase the range even more, google around for ways to do this- we're working on a few and will let you know too. You can additionally use multiple iPods, when you're broadcasting something like a silent track, you and a pal can cover more area and really surround the FM receiver. And finally, there are also a lot of other things which use FM that you can discover and broadcast to, happy hunting.

    This concludes our broadcast. Send comments and ideas to torrone@gmail.com

  • the article (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:05PM (#9595189)
    Use the cached Google version [google.ca] while the site is being /.ed.
  • broadcasting over short range to their car radio.

    As I understood it, the broadcasting antenna is placed right next to the receiving antenna, pretty much overpowering any other signal to that antenna
  • Re:Atricle Text (Score:3, Informative)

    by Richardsonke1 ( 612224 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:13PM (#9595282)
    Google Cache []
  • by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:31PM (#9595445)
    What the poster really wants is anti-sound.
    Silence Machine Article 1 [techtarget.com]

    Silence> Machine Article 2 [newscientist.com]
  • by Jorj X. McKie ( 323674 ) * <mckie&amilost,com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:33PM (#9595461) Journal
    Yes, that was Texas. And yes, the stupid law is still on the books. The reason that she got in trouble was that she sold them as marital aids, and gave advice on how to use them. If you sell them as "novelties", you're fine. Dallas has its share of "Condoms to Go" stores, and I'd guess that it would be illegal to sell much of their inventory for its obvious purpose.

    Uh, not that I would, uh, ever go in there... (Looks over shoulder) :-)
  • by Geldon ( 444090 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:35PM (#9595467)
    FCC - The FCC is not going to hunt you down for broadcasting 15 feet with an iTrip. If doing so was illegal, the device would be illegal.

    RIAA - They don't care unless you are broadcasting their music, and unless they have recently copyrighted "silence", you are okay with them. If they HAVE copyrighted "silence", I'm moving to Canada.

    DMCA - WTF? Where did you get that from? How is upping the range of your iTrip by 5 feet considered reverse engineering software?
  • by Ass, Ltd. Ho! ( 714400 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:39PM (#9595506)
    Just so yous guys know, FM as a medium is every bit as good as CD, if not better, in a theoretical sense.

    Most radio stations are playing a CD over the air. How the fuck, Mr. Moron, are you proposing that modulating, broadcasting, receiving, and demodulating that signal is going to *improve* it. Theoretically, it could be as good. In practice, that is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE YOU FUCKING MORON.

    Jesus fucking christ. Everyone on slashdot is a goddamn idiot.

  • not pirate radio (Score:5, Informative)

    by akb ( 39826 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:45PM (#9595549)
    To call this pirate radio is insulting to real radio hackers. Increase the iTrip's range 20 or 30 percent, ooooh wow. That's what a whole 100 feet? When you can get 20 mile range by putting a hand made antenna in a tree connected to a hand soldered rig causing no interference to any other spectrum users (like you can learn to do from these [freeradio.org] people) I'll be more interested. And I won't care whether or not it involves purchasing the current fad consumer device like the iPod.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:00PM (#9595684)
    I called 911 and get, I not am sh1tting you "we're really busy right now"

    It's called prioritizing. "Deal with shooting or deal with guy who's being followed by some teenager punk. Hmm." "I am not sh1tting you", 911 is heavily abused. Sample calls, according to dispatchers I've spoken with: "Hi, do you know the number for ____?" "I lost my dog..." "Can you give me directions to...", then the ever-popular hangups, which of course they have to investigate, tying up an officer's time. Then there are shut-in bitches who tell war+peace about the neighbor's [dog barking/yard mess/porch lights on/you name it]. The list goes on, and on, and on.

    Most police departments are also pretty short-staffed these days. Bush is mostly responsible on two counts; 1, for cutting back on federal funding for local emergency staff- police, EMS and fire all have been hit hard in almost every town throughout the US. 2, a large percentage of Guard and Reservists are (surprise!) also town/city fire fighters, police, EMS, etc.

    I later went back to look at the laws in my state governing self-defense.

    How about looking up the noise ordinances, instead? Most cities and towns have 'em. NY, for example, is getting very tough on noise complaints (I believe you dial 311, ie the non-emergency number?) Borrow a neighbor's video camera (they'll be happy to oblige if it's annoying them as well) and videotape the clown going by- be sure to get a closeup of his face, and his plates. Call the NON EMERGENCY ie business number for the local station, ask to set up an appointment with an officer or detective. Problem solved and out of your hands.

    Next thing I know the guy is chasing me around trying to run me off the road.

    Um- duh. Get away from him, file a police report later with the plates and vehicle description. You've also hit upon why I carry a Bronx Calling Card, aka 3-D-cell Maglight, in my front door pocket. I have been doing so ever since someone told me they'd "fucking kill me" at a stoplight when I told him he his highbeams were stuck on. This was, incidentally, in downtown Larchmont, NY(very swanky neighborhood), the guy was not driving a riced out POS, and he was white.

    One of many reasons I moved out of NY state- everyone's a prick out to kill you at the drop of a hat.

  • Re:FreeCache (Score:3, Informative)

    by pyrrhonist ( 701154 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:01PM (#9595695)
    It's a shame that people still resort to posting FreeCache links, in situations where it will not work. From the FreeCache FAQ:
    What files are being served by FreeCache?

    FreeCache can only serve files that are on a web site. If the link to a file on that web site goes away, so will the file in the FreeCaches. Also, there is a minimum size requirement. We don't bother with files smaller than 5MB, as the saved bandwidth does not outweight the protocol overhead in those cases.

  • by Macadamizer ( 194404 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:26PM (#9595871)
    "If that guy who chased you to the police station *had* gotten his hands on you, there's no way in hell you'd win with self-defense, even *if* your candy-ass won the fight. Because *you* started the fight. *You* got out of your house and followed a complete stranger to his house (is that legal?-- stalking?). *You* started acting crazy toward him with your horn-honking. *You* were a willing participant in whatever shit was going to go down next-- just because you hadn't thought it through doesn't mean you weren't."

    Just one point -- mere words -- even honking your horn or flipping someone off -- is inadequate "provocation" to nullify a self-defense argument.

    Now, if you were to pull a knife or gun on someone, well, then you lose the right to sell defense. But words -- no matter how annoying or offensive -- are NEVER sufficient provocation for one to lose their right to self-defense.

    Now, I agree that someone who does this sort fo thing probably deserves to get thier ass beat, and would likely get throw in jail because the cops don't want to have to sort this sorta thing out, but if you ended up in court, you could still prevail on self-defense unless you did more than yell and scream and annoy the other guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:35PM (#9595936)
    Here's a link [dafh.org] to another little low power FM broadcasting setup, using higher quality hardware.
  • by chmod ( 46600 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#9596191) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but thanks for playing our game. Your description is completely incorrect my friend. FM has the "capture effect" wherein only ONE signal can be properly decoded.

    Which ever signal is strongest at the receiver will "win" and be heard. If the signals are too close in strength, you won't get either properly.

    With a commercial transmitter putting out several KW's but being 50 miles away and you putting out 100MW but being several yards away it is quite possible you will win out.

    BTW, this is exactly what these products do. You don't need to be on an unused frequency (trying finding one of those in the Bay Area) Of course it helps quite a bit if the commercial signal is weak and easier to overcome.
  • by Quash ( 793610 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @06:28PM (#9596273)
    Want a *real* FM Transmitter that can pull this off? The iTrip is fine but it doesn't compare, even closely, to the power of the Crane.. especially when tweaked. Crane FM Transmitter http://www.ccrane.com/fm-transmitter.aspx Tips on Tweaking (shh, don't tell the FCC): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 0E6I1N/104-6157464-0778362?v=glance&vi=faq&me=ATVP DKIKX0DER
  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @06:42PM (#9596364) Homepage Journal

    Power budget analysis:

    • five meters away instead of 37,000 km: +137 dB
    • penalty for off-axis antenna: -20dB
    • Forcing you to listen to my audiospam instead of XM: Priceless

    The satellite might have a few dB of advantage considering relative power, but I think the EIRP of those birds is pretty low ... certainly less than +50dBm ... so even if I'm using a true QRPppppp (say one milliwatt) transmitter, I've still got 67 dB on the satellite

  • by certsoft ( 442059 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @07:00PM (#9596480) Homepage
    100mw is not permitted for FM unlicensed radio transmissions per part 15 of the FCC regs. For part 15 they go only by field strength at a certain distance from the antenna. 100mw into anything better than a dummy load will be way over the limits. Even the 25mw transmitters sold by Ramsey Electronics will exceed the limits in most cases.
  • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @08:08PM (#9596879) Journal
    Interesting suggestion, though sad that you'd have to do this. I suggest, however, that you get 'speed humps' instead. I know the name is a bit... funny, but they're basically like speed bumps, just wider and more gently sloped. They don't jar the car when you're going at slow speed, just when you go fast. Ordinary speed bumps make the car bounce at any speed, and would be annoying for residents as well, I imagine.
  • by Cheerio Boy ( 82178 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @08:25PM (#9596950) Homepage Journal
    If you output enough wattage it overwhelms the receiver and bleeds over into the audio amplifier. So this technique would be valid with more power.

    Ask any CB'er who has a linear amp. ;-)
  • Re:Uh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @10:44PM (#9597483)
    I think there's a limit on how loud an FM broadcast can be. And what's the point of changing the frequency of a square wave? A square wave is the sum of all frequencies already, IIRC.


    A square wave is the sum of the fundamental and all odd harmonics.

    It's a pulse that contains all frequencies.

  • More like EMP (Score:2, Informative)

    by OceanWave ( 192467 ) on Saturday July 03, 2004 @12:12AM (#9597790)
    I have a lot of the loud bass guys driving through my neighborhood on a regular basis. Since I started recording my band with microphones, I did not appreciate the extra $300 in dynamics control equipment, I had to buy, to keep their noise out of the record (as much as possible). And, forbid that they blast those things through the neighborhood at night (often).

    (a) Overloading their system with RF. Me and my dad--at the time--had a 600 watt RF amp for ham radio. I could hear him on my telephone when he was transmitting (and my stereo). I would bet that a signal well below the F3 parameter of their speaker boxes--usually ported--would ruin the drivers, if they got enough of it. Just add it to the signal...most radio receivers--and the speaker--will filter that, anyway.

    (b) For the "extreme edition"...make sure you get all your computers 20 miles a way, along with everything else you care out (even pictures on the wall). I heard a story of someone shorting out a cyclotron magnet...or the power supply that went to it.

    Rules are: You have to ramp them up slowly, and down slowly, in regards to the magnet input current. A fast change will create an expanding or collapsing field, which can store quite a bit more than a capacitor can; and is not limited to an electrical connection. The magnetic field can effect a lot of devices, just as a nearby lightning strike can.

    In the case of the cyclotron magnet. The power supply shorted...All wiring, in the immediate area, was vaporized. This included the thick stuff thay used to hang the pictures on the walls.

    In a bang everything melted, or fell to the floor.

    Interesting to see how one of those would do, if configured for that very purpose.

    On the original post...this works great if they are "listening" to the radio (bothering the neighborhood with the radio). But, if they use a CD player, jamming the frequencies just won't help, unless you pick option (b)...and please make sure you get your TV, computers, video games, wife's jewery, etc. out of the house, beforehand.

    And, I can provide (c):

    If you have a car of your own...get a few high SQL to input power treble drivers (and MONSTROUS ear protection). Put those in your car, with an oscillator you can tune from 3 to 18 kHZ. Find one of them? Pop on the protection, and give them 800 watts of something that will make you sick or give a headache at 1 watt or less.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.