Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

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mrmodulation
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Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 am

Over here in the land down under we can apply for HF domestic broadcasting licenses for around $500 per year :D

The cost includes the application fee and 1 year on the license, you are allowed 1Kw carrier power and the antenna must be as vertical as possible.
I have an application in that is being processed now for 5Mhz and the site is located around 3000 feet above sea level in Lithgow NSW, I have
been sent MP3 air checks for my friends station that is in western sydney and the recordings are amazingly stable considering they were sent from Japan!

Most of the guys here are using modified AM Ham radios + linear amps and Ham band verticals, we have a 6Khz bandwidth limit so it fits the bill quite nice,
I am building my TX an all singing Class "F" PWM Fire Box and strangly enough there are no technical specifications for maximim positive modulation :mrgreen:

I don't need to have an FCC compliant device just have to get it Proofed by a designated RF Engineer.

It would be interesting if you guys could get an experimental HF domestic license and broadcast out of your backyard like some here do.

Clinton VK2FTDX

w4cl
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by w4cl » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:18 pm

No we don't here in the US. The minimum power level to be licensed as a HF broadcaster (outside of Amateur Radio) is 50 kw. That plus shortwave lost favor right after WWII here with the proliferation of AM and later FM stations and then TV. We have over 10,000 AM and FM stations licensed in the US currently. You could say there is a radio station on every corner! Shortwave receivers are not purchased by the public here in the US. 90% are purchased by hams. There is hardly any interest in shortwave broadcasting even though the US is one of the few countries to allow commercially owned HF stations. Some have tried it, but have gone dark or went with paid religion/militia.

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Deep Thought
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:58 pm

Adding to what w4cl posted, it is technically illegal to broadcast via shortwave to any area of the USA from any area of the USA, which has further restrained shortwave here.

47 CFR § 73.701(a)

47 CFR § 73.788(a)

The minimum power is for DRM at 10 KW FTW... :mrgreen:
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mrmodulation
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:19 am

Hi W4CL and Deep Thought,

That's a shame that you guys can't do Domestic HF or Shortwave, I wonder how much it would cost to obtain a 50Kw SW ticket over there?
It's almost unobtainable here without resorting to expensive ITU applications and then the local A.C.M.A. (Ozi FCC) charge is bases on population density of the area the transmitter is located + a fee per broadcast hour :(

About 10 years ago the local nationoal broadcaster (ABC) shut down there Shortwave transmitter station up in Darwin NT, i knew a couple of engineers that worked up there and as they removed the equipment i was offered 2 near new PWM Telefunken 500kW Transmitters. I would have liked to take them up on the offer but each unit would have required an 18 wheeler to move them.

They eventualy smashed them up and sent them to scrap with less that 50 hours on each :x

Sad, sad, sad

Clinton VK2FTDX

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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by w4cl » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:32 am

Even though the rules do not allow intra US shortwave broadcasting it happens all the time (WBCQ in Monticello, Maine being one of the biggest blatant offenders under the guise "free radio for the people") and the FCC looks the other way. Several years ago, the FCC went to the handful of HF broadcasters and asked them did they want any rule changes (domestic HF being one of them) and they all said no, sumizing that if the FCC started a rule making procedure, they might get some rules they couldn't live with and since the FCC really doesn't enforce the rules they have, they didn't see much need in it and the FCC silently agreed with them. Overall, the US HF broadcasters are some of the least complained about broadcasters among all US broadcast services even though many have programming that could be termed subversive by some. Because they serve such a small audience (less than 2% of the total US population) and as long as the stations technically stay in compliance, the FCC pretty much leaves them alone. And the stations pretty much do stay in technical compliance with their programming running all over the place from the political (left and right but mostly far extreme right with some bordering on armed resistance to the government, what we call "militia." Timothy McVeigh who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 was one of those) to religion that runs the gambit from legit to total huckstering fraud with pirate radio style programming to fill in the holes on some stations.

It is pretty eclectic. I guess it could be termed, radios version of the old Wide West. Most of the non religious stations run on single frequencies with retuned single frequency MW broadcast transmitters. WBCQ runs 4 liberated OLD and I mean OLD 50 kw MW broadcast transmitters (Harris MW-50, and several Collins models of varying vintage and conditions) all on single frequencies. WRMI Miami runs a 50 kw single frequency modified MW transmitter. The vast majority of religious broadcasters run frequency agile 100 kw SW transmitters (Continental) with WYFR Okeechobee, Florida running something like 14 frequency agile transmitters. Religious broadcaster WWCR runs 4 frequency agile SW transmitters. Religious broadcaster WMLK Bethel, Pennsylvania reportedly has an old BBC 250 kw rig that basically came in pieces in a box from Italy that they have never successfully got on the air. Other than VOA abroad, the US government has no other HF broadcasting.

Licensing fees here are not determined by power output but by station class. Even AM and FM broadcasting isn't but a couple thousand to file and I suspect HF is only a couple hundred at best because there is no demand for it.

There are currently no "mainstream" broadcasters participating in HF broadcasting in the US. And that is it in a nut shell.

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Dave Loudin
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by Dave Loudin » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:53 am

HF broadcasting frequencies do go through international coordination. I thought the FCC charged for this based on the number of hours coordinated.

50 hours and the scrap heap? :shock: :shock: :shock:
What's that do....?

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mrmodulation
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:25 am

mmm very interesting, I think it might be worth the effort to look into this. Compaired to what we have to go through here for a license 50kW seems easy enough. I just did a quick search on wiki and there are 23 licensed and 12 defunct stations Listed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave_ ... e_stations

An older type 50kw Class E PWM Broadcast rig on an old AM mast would do well on 5 Mhz. I wonder what deep thought knows about this?

Clinton VK2FTDX

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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by w4cl » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:44 pm

I don't know about coordination costs, but it can't be that steep if Allen Weiner can afford it for WBCQ. He basically sells ad time $1 US a minute. You add up his electrical bill for four ancient frequency locked HIGHLY modified MW transmitters with a transmitter site that can't get three phase service and a format that can best be called, "free speech radio," with Brother Stair bank rolling a lot of his air time, WBCQ would have gone under years ago. Of course, he is a radio purest, wanting glowing tubes, and no automation for his station.

While I applaud his attempt at keeping radio pure (God knows I am so beyond sick of cookie cutter radio that I actually don't mind paying for satellite radio), that isn't the format nor the service I would be playing radio with a signal that is tuned for the US. Most religious programs and even the militias avoid him now. He freely admits his bread and butter is the "low [no] cost" pirate "free speech radio" types. But many of those people also avoid him because they feel he isn't "pure enough" to the free speech radio cause because he has to run the religious programs to keep the power on amongst a host of other issues with the free speech folks that makes most professional broadcasters laugh out loud. IMHO, not the way to run a station, but it is his dream and he is free to live it anyway he wants. He owns it lock, stock and barrel.

Full disclosure, I do listen to WBCQ at times just to check out the other side of radio. It is a nice diversion at times from the CC's of the world.

Truth is I see a lot of potential with WBCQ, but that station is Weiner's life and he is perfectly happy with it just the way it is. God bless him.

Problem is, in this economy, HF broadcasting in the US isn't something you want to be starting, and if you are in it, you better either have deep pockets of income or holding on tight for dear life.

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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:50 pm

Clinton, here is the FCC HF Broadcasting page with the currently licensed stations and parameters:
http://www.fcc.gov/ib/sand/neg/hf_web/welcome.html
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mrmodulation
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:52 am

Now that's What I Like to see, Old AM Broadcast gear going to good use instead of being sent to scrap metal :D
I like the big console in the studio and the Cart machines...

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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by K9EZ » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:02 am

mrmodulation wrote:Now that's What I Like to see, Old AM Broadcast gear going to good use instead of being sent to scrap metal :D
I like the big console in the studio and the Cart machines...

WYFR, Lake Okeechobee, FL:

https://picasaweb.google.com/kwinrich/WYFR#
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mrmodulation
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:44 pm

Hi Kent,
I had a look at the pictures of WYFR and WOW :shock:

This reminds me of the O.T.C. station I used to live near as a kid, I love the Belair AM Modulation Monitors, The big Transmitters and the rombics...

Nice to know this kind of gear is chugging away no matter how old it is...

Thank you Kent,

Clinton VK2FTDX

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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by K9EZ » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:55 pm

You should see the antennas. Pictures dont do them justice.

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mrmodulation
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Re: Super Cheap Short Wave broadcasting...

Post by mrmodulation » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:33 am

Kent,
those pictures look very similar to what was up at the O.T.C. (Overseas Telecommunications Commission) station just up the road from where I lived and you are right the pictures do not do justice to these monster HF arrays. They need to be seen in real life to get the real prospective :shock:

I have contacted some guys that worked for the O.T.C. and I am hoping to get some pictures of the set up there, I remember they had AWA communicator SSB rigs rated at 30Kw and 40Kw plugged into Huge Rombics and Log Periodic beams :D

Clinton VK2FTDX

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