Archive | December, 2004

Anti-Inauguration Pirate Broadcasting on AM in DC Gets Dimed by CNN, Moves to FM

Last week CNN.com ran an article on pirate station WSQT broadcasting at 1680 AM in Washington DC and making calls for massive protests against the Bush inauguration in January. The station was apparently discovered by a CNN reporter, who called the FCC for a response to the station. This tipped off the FCC, which didn’t yet know about the station.

As far as I can tell, no other news outlet has reported on the station.

In response to getting dimed out by CNN, the station posted an article to radio.indymedia.org on Sunday stating that they’re moving their signal to FM because the setup is much more mobile:

The FM rig and its antenna set up and break down in seconds. The nature of FM(VHF) signals and their small antennas allows security steps to be taken that are impractical on AM.

Even if the FCC manages to capture one of our rigs, we have a bottomless ability to make more.

Unfortunately, this situation is just another example of why mainstream press coverage is not necessarily a good thing for an unlicensed station.

One thing that I am curious about is what kind of transmitters they’re using, since they both told CNN and posted to radio.indymedia that:

The big AM rigs with their 10 mile reported range(and a suspicious, questionable report of a skip heard in the UK) cost maybe $40 plus some time in the dumpster fetching parts, and the 3 mile range FM rigs maybe $15 for what the dumpster cannot provide.

I’d love to know how they’re making AM transmitters with a 10 mile range for $40. I can only guess, but that would have to be bigger than 100 milliwatt Part 15 transmitter to get that kind of range consistently.

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Sorry for Mediageek Outage

Some of you may have noticed that mediageek was out Thursday through Monday. This was the result of the commercial DSL line that feeds the mediageek server being cut abruptly. Mediageek is hosted on a community server that got DSL from a local ISP, which is basically a reseller of SBC DSL.

The local ISP notified our sysadmin, Zach, just about 10 days ago that the DSL service was going away, but without giving a firm date. Zach tried to negotiate with the ISP, even offering to buy a T1, but got very little response. So when service went down abruptly early last Thursday, he was prepared, but not quite ready.

Thanks to the generosity of a local tech firm, the server is back connected to the internet while we wait for new service to be installed by MacLeod USA.

Other websites hosted on the server, like the U-C IMC, were back on-line Friday. Mediageek took longer because my domain registration is with a different company that was on holiday until today.

Big thanks go to Zach for getting the server back on the ‘net within 12 hours. He has been the tireless sysadmin and host of the U-C IMC website since inception, and mediageek for the last 2 years, and has kept it going through hack attacks, website spam, and crazy service outages. It’s dedicated geeks like Zach who keep Indymedia and independent websites running, and they deserve our continuing gratitude.

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