Wired News covers the Radio Re-Volt project at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. Right now the Center is conducting workshops where participants build very small transmitters into boxes or other fun objects, like toy trucks or stuffed animals.
Even though Wired mistakenly calls them “single-watt” transmitters, these are pretty much legal low-power transmitters, putting out only a few milliwatts. But with some careful mods and a good antenna you could probably easily exceed Part 15 limits.
Even though their range is only 200 feet to maybe a quarter mile, I think it’s still an exciting idea to just hand out transmitters. I’ve always thought that these legal ultra-low-power transmitters are perfect for broadcasting in densely populated areas, such as large apartment buildings or dormatories.
That’s essentially the approach advocated by “mini-radio” pioneer Tetsuo Kogawa. Kogawa started experimenting with very low power and easy to build homebrew transmitters in the 1980s, believing them to be well suited to Japan’s extremely dense cities. It’s my understanding that low-power FM broadcasting (from milliwatts to a few watts) is largely unregulated in Japan and that there are thousands of such stations are on the air in cities like Tokyo.
As part of the Radio Re-Volt project, the Walker Art Center is holding a conference called RAD: Radio, Access, Democracy at the end of the month. I’ll be going along with John
Anderson of DIYmedia.net. Kogawa will be there, so I hope to meet him and maybe do an interview. In any event, I’ll be filing reports here and on the radio show.