Many people still assume that an FM broadcast station consists of rooms full of equipment costing tens
of thousands of dollars. The Micropower Broadcasting-Free Radio Movement has shown this to be untrue. Micropower broadcasting uses FM transmitters whose power output is in the range of 1/2 to 100-150 watts. Such transmitters have a physical size that is not much greater than that of your average brick. Combined with other equipment including inexpensive audio mixers, consumer audio gear, a power supply, filter and antenna, these transmitters enable any community to put its own voice on the air at an average cost of $1000-$1500. This is an affordable figure within the range of most communities. All of the technical aspects of putting together a micropower broadcasting station are covered in the following material. It is important to note that the main argument the FCC uses against micropower broadcasting is its claim of interference with other broadcast services. Interference is a valid concern. By using equipment that is frequency stable and properly fitted with harmonic suppression filters, along with good operating procedures and standards, the FCC’s argument can be effectively neutralized.
Further, the technical aspects of micropower broadcasting require some basic knowledge in the areas
of electronics and broadcast practices. Hopefully, this primer will be able to convey some of this knowledge to you. If you are unsure of your abilities, try to find someone who has the technical experience to help you. Radio Shack sells some introductory books on electronics. The ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League – www.arrl.org) handbook, published every year, is one of the best books available for radio theory. Although some of the content changes every year, the basic theory sections remain the same. Copies of past years handbooks are fairly easy to find at used book stores. There is a wealth of information available on the internet. Just enter “electronic tutorial” as a search term in Google or another search engine. As this movement grows, a network of people with the required technical skills will be formed to assist in the process of empowering every community with its own voice. If you are a person with engineering or technical experience, please contact Free Radio Berkeley to become part of this network.
Micropower Broadcasting – A Technical Primer