despite what you might think i did not write this. I am writing a manifesto for social radio, and I came across this. I know who wrote it, I remember it been written, I can not get over how sharp it still is. INTRODUCTION
- This is a second edition of a pamphlet which we brought out first in 1992. The first edition was concise and contained all the relevant information needed to get you interested in starting your own free radio station. The first edition was not an original idea. A magazine distributed through the anarchist press with the same name “Radio is my bomb” has been very popular with those interested in setting up radio stations. Our first edition did fairly well . Many thanks goes to those at “Catharsis” zine for standing in the photo-copying shop for hours on end to bring out the first edition. Some critics of the last edition said it was too technical and didn’t explain itself very well. ?? This was true for those without a good knowledge of basic electric’s. For this edition I have tried to broaden out the issues involved and also give insight into each subject and the technical detail. This book will also look at new areas such as the history of free radio and the history of politics in radio specially focusing on propaganda during the cold war and world wars. The technical area won’t have many new features. It covers basics such as equipment; studios; transmitters; aerials and relevant accessories. It will have the usual hints and tips picked up by stations in the past learning from our mistakes so you have the privilege of not doing the same. This book has been written with no intention of profit or financial gain. Although there is no copyright it would be hoped that any one reprinting this publication should not intend to profit from it. It is also hoped that stations using the information herein do so with the intention of setting up a free radio station. Those who see radio as a means to sell commercial products (which most of us can’t afford or don’t need) are not doing free radio justice. Now there’s not much we can do to enforce this but we do hope your commercial station and all its tacky DJs gets raided on its first day on air. Also, a severe WARNING going out to any fascist groups interested in setting up a radio station. It’s not hard to track down a signal and don’t be surprised if a few free radio activists come around, and sort you out. Also covered in this book are details on how to track down unwanted stations; how to effectively jam these stations and how to listen to the police in times of raids. This book will hopefully give the relevant information to those interested in setting up a free radio station and the chance to put radio back in to the hands of the people. So read on and enjoy this book. Learn from it and put the ideas and your own ideas into practice. If it does not interest you, pass it on to someone who might use it. Information is power RADIO IS OUR BOMB. -Billy 10-6-94 HISTORY OF RADIO At the time of starting this book radio is one hundred years old to the day 9-6-1894 to 9-6-1994 . At a time of industrial change with massive moves forward in agriculture and science, radio experimentation began. Most of the work was attributed to an Irish-Italian scientist called Gugliemo Marconi. His mother was Irish and his father was Italian. Many of his early experiments were very basic but they were revolutionary in the world of communications. The early experiments consisted of large plate-like capacitors, with a voltage being created on one plate and the electricity sparking over onto a plate of the same size about one centimetre away. This was obviously not a great distance and had been noticed by other spark created on the first two plates could be received on this plate with very poor signal. This would be similar to the effect that a hair drier has on a television when it is turned on in close proximity. Before radio the only way to send messages over long distances at the time was by wire using languages similar to Morse code. This wasn’t too much trouble for communications between cities over land, but it did become a problem over sea. The need for radio became greater. In the next ten years many advances had taken place, by 1901 Marconi picked up a Morse signal sent from Canada to Cornwall, thus proving long distance radio communications to be practical. At this stage things changed and this is what history books don’t tell you. Radio up until then had been struggling as a viable scientific experiment. It would be similar, to the amount of funding available to science now, such as teletransportation because nobody believes in it. But as soon as Marconi proved it was viable, the military and governments showed amazing interest in radio, and the power it would give them in wars communicating with there own troops and brainwashing the working class with patriotism. Radio didn’t have a chance, Instantly the ruling class had control over its use and even up until the late seventies members of the public had to have a license to own their own radio receiver. During war times amateur radio operators had to hand in any equipment that could be of use to spies , some were even fined or sent to prison for not complying with this. Post world war one, a boom time industry just couldn’t cope with the demand, consumer luxury goods was what people wanted and radio receivers went into mass production, they became cheaper and more accessible throughout the thirties and forties and the wireless became a standard piece of furniture for every household. This was a major plus to any society whether capitalist or communist, they had control of the most common means of entertainment and the audience had to buy the receivers from their factories and the pay a license fee to use it. They had no alternative to state radio, their news, politics and documentaries were censored by the state and most of the time the music and entertainment was censored too. The state also had a medium that could promote its values and morals, to an audience that didn’t have to be literate all that was needed was to listen and believe, because there was no alternative. The only alternative to state radio was services from other state radio stations . This wasn’t a problem if the neighbouring state had political agenda which was very similar to the one in which you were living . But this did become a problem if a foreign station had an opposing view or political agenda . The politics and ideologies of the Soviet Union was seen as a threat by western powers, and western politics and ideologies was seen as a threat by the Soviet Union . So both sides spent many years trying to jam out each others services, the British and Americans called the Soviets jammer the “Russian Woodpecker” because of the sound it made , it was similar to listening to a strong Morse code signal interfering with the broadcast you wanted to listen to. I don’t know if there is any statistics available to prove if listening to radio Moscow could make an impact on a persons political views. But I spent many of my childhood years sifting up and down the short-wave bands, occasionally listening to radio Moscow and Radio Sofia and yes I turned out to be a Socialist, but many of my comrades never even heard of Radio Moscow so maybe there’s no link at all. This jamming also occurred during World War II. Nazi Germany and the allies both produced propaganda for audiences at home and abroad. They in turn jammed each others broadcasts in a propaganda war. One famous but not so popular Irishman William Joyce made many broadcasts for Nazi Germany on Nazi controlled radio Luxembourg 208m MW. To my knowledge he was shot for treason or something like that, but as I explained earlier in the introduction this is what happens to fascists when they go on radio. IRISH RADIO HISTORY In 1964 things hadn’t change very much in radio. The sixties was a time of teenage revolution . But this life style was not represented very well on national radio like the BBC . There was a bit of tokenism to the music of the time , and one or two Beatles songs a day seemed to be enough to keep everyone happy . Radio Luxembourg had been liberated from the nazi’s after the war, and it had programmes which were more oriented to the youth . This was great and had a broadcast area of most of Western Europe . The record companies EMI , DECCA and PYE had a monopoly on all the music played on the station, and this annoyed Irishman Ronan O’ Rathaly when he approached them with a recording of a band he was managing at the time. They wouldn’t give him any airplay so he decided to bring the recording to the BBC. The BBC said that British radio wasn’t ready for this type of band, because they were black. Annoyed at this pure racism Ronan said that he was going to set up his own radio station . Everyone at the BBC laughed at this stupid Irishman who thought he could set up his own radio station. Ronan with the help of some friends in America, bought an old ship the MV Mi Amigo and it sailed into Greenore harbour in Co. Louth, to be fitted out with transmitters, studios and aerial mast . Just before Easter 1964 it sailed out into the Irish Sea, and on Easter Sunday morning Radio Caroline was born. Broadcasting legally from International waters Radio Caroline could not be closed down. The station got its name because Caroline was the most popular British girls name at the time. The stations popularity grew very fast reaching a peak audience of twenty six million listeners in Britain which was close to half the population. And with having no governing laws the station could advertise commercial products and make a lot of money. This was possible because there was no legal station allowed to advertise by law. The government lashed back with a law, the Maritime Radio Bill. This prohibited any British citizen to work for or supply food, fuel and programming to an offshore radio station . This did hamper the station a bit because they had to go to Holland to get fuel and food. The station got regular visits from free radio enthusiasts who tripped out in small boats to get a tour of the ships. The DJs on the station called these guys Anoraks because of the clothes they wore and the term Anorak is still used today to describe a free radio enthusiast. With the success of Radio Caroline, many other stations arrived on air operating from ships and disused forts and oil rigs in International waters. Radio London and Scotland and others did cut into Carolines audience but this was a good thing; more stations, more choice meant more freedom. Even Screaming Lord Such of the Monster raving loony party had his own station on a disused fort in the Thames estuary . Most of these stations fizzled out when legal independent stations became popular in the early seventies. But Radio Caroline survived through the good and bad times and is still broadcasting today on short-wave from Ireland and is supported by money raised from sales of T-shirts, books and tapes, its still an interesting listen, you can find it most weekends at around 6.2 MHz short-wave. Britain still has a free radio movement. Most cities are served by one or more stations which broadcast at sporadic times from locations like tower blocks, evading the DTI who are very determined to rid the airwaves of these pirate stations . Ireland has a very strong history of free radio. The first station known to broadcast illegally was in 1916 believe it or not . The station was set up by James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising , when Ireland declared independence from the British Empire. It wasn’t the same as radio as we know it today. But with the resources available at the time it was very effective, the British had laid siege on Dublin, the capital city, which the rebels had taken over. So all the news that could reach the outside world was controlled by the occupying British forces, leaving the rebels open to total massacre and the world wouldn’t have learned of anything until it was all over. On Easter Monday when the rising took place, one of the first objectives was to take control of the School of Wireless Telegraphy at the corner of O’Connell street and lower Abbey street , where there was a ships transmitter that had been put out of action at the beginning of the war. The transmitter was got into working order and an aerial was erected on the roof , but this had to be done under sniper fire from the British, and the operation took some time . On Tuesday the station began transmitting communiqués over the names of Connolly ,Pearse and Plunkett , with news that the Irish Republic had been proclaimed in Dublin and that its forces had captured the center of the city . The station went on sending out its bulletins in Morse code and the message got to America. The Hearst’s New York American had the headline REVOLUTION IN IRELAND , SAYS CHIPER CABLE , and the Sun had REVOLT IN IRELAND. This was a considerable time before the official news came through from London . On Wednesday transmissions became impossible and the transmitter was carried across the road in an upturned table under heavy fire from British troops , to the G.P.O where it must of perished in the fire when the G.P.O burnt down when the rising was crushed. The main leaders of the rising including James Connolly were executed by the British , except for Devalera because he was an American citizen , and he went on to form the Irish Free State some years later . Due to the fact that James Connolly had been executed, many of his ideas were lost and the citizens army were disbanded so the future of Irish politics became more republican than socialist. And because of this, Ireland through the next 50 years became a state dominated by the catholic church , so we got rid of the British rule and replaced it with Rome. Throughout the fourties and fifties Tony Boylan operated many small medium wave stations from his parents home and then his own home , at the start of the seventies he ran a radio campaign against Ireland’s entry into the European Community. In 1964 Radio Baile Atha Clitha (Gaelic for Radio Dublin). This station came on air in 1964 on very low power playing a song seven drunken nights by the Dubliners , this song had been banned by the state radio service Radio Eireann and substituted with an edited version the five drunken nights, because of the language contained in the last two verses. This station didn’t last long because the transmitter burnt out or something like that. But a radio station called Radio Dublin did come on air shortly after set up by a man called Ken Sheen . This fact is sometimes distorted by the stations new manager Eamonn Cooke (the captain Cooke) who would wish people to believe he set it up himself. The Captain Cooke did take over the station sometime in the early seventies and gave it the boost it needed . Being a television repair man he was able to build more powerful medium wave transmitters . Broadcasting on 253 MW, the station hit the big time around 1978 , moving from weekend services to all week and twenty four hours a day, which wasn’t even available on the state radio service RTE ( Radio Telefis Eireann ). With higher power and good reception around the city , the station interested advertisers to take out ads on the station . This was in direct competition with RTE so the DOC ( Dept. of Communications ) were sent in many a time. These raids were often violent smashing up equipment with sledge hammers leaving very little evidence for future court cases. Nobody was ever imprisoned for this although there was a fine of a few pounds from an outdated law, the 1926 Wireless Telegraphy Act. Radio Dublin was joined by other stations Big D , ARD, Radio City and some more smaller and sporadic stations. The rivalry was often not so friendly, and turned into feuds at times , fighting over stations who poached each others advertisers. One time one station accused another of petrol bombing a station members house, as far as I know this was never proved, but somebody must have thrown the petrol bomb. Raids continued throughout the late seventies, accumulating to a massive demonstration by thousands of listeners of all the stations. Politicians saw this as a great political football, kicking it around at election time promising voters that their favourite pirate station would be legalized. But this was the usual party political bullshit , nothing was done about legalization until 1988, ten years later. 1981 saw the arrival of the “super pirates. “These were Sunshine Radio 101 and Radio Nova 88 FM. These were run by ex-radio Caroline DJs Robbie Dale and Chris Carey, using kilowatt FM stereo transmitters and studios that made the smaller stations set ups look like”Noah’s ark ” to quote Derek Jones station manager from Radio Valerie, a short wave pirate. These super pirates also brought the most awful thing to Irish radio, the mid-Atlantic smooth DJ accent. This spread through radio like the plague. And to this day, DJs on bedroom stations around Ireland are still trying to imitate them. Somebody should have a quite word with these assholes and convince them that there is nothing wrong with their own native accents. The super pirates were very professional and did great job winning over multi-national advertisers from the state run services, leaving the smaller ads to the old style pirates. One thing the pirates did achieve was they forced the state run radio authority RTE to open a second service oriented towards the youth. This service came on air in 1979 and became a successful rival to the pirates. There was a few small raids in the early eighties on the super pirates, but the authorities lost the cases in court due to loop holes in the law which didn’t define exactly what a transmitter was. This law, which was long out dated, was in need of an up date and it was on the cards for along time. 1988 saw the introduction of the new Broadcasting Bill, it was passed through government with no opposition. It clearly set out the laws on broadcasting and introduced heavier fines of £10,000 and or three years in prison as a maximum. This scared the shit out of the super pirates and they closed down fairly quickly. Most of them believed they would obtain licenses when they were issued. This didn’t happen at all. The government issued licenses to groups of people who had nothing to do with radio in the past. This was a license to print money through ads sales and many of the share holders were friends of the government. These laws didn’t silence free radio, it just got rid of the profiteers who were giving free radio a bad name. Radio Dublin stayed on air throughout the change over and they got raided to make an example of them. But they challenged the constitutionality of the charges and the case is still on five years later. Other new stations emerged after 1988 these were a new breed of kids, nearly all of them under the age twenty five. These stations were totally different to the commercial stations who closed down because they couldn’t make money out of radio any more. These new stations were operating from their bedrooms and disused garden sheds in their parents house, out of ten stations only one was renting its own studio space. The new breed of pirates were everything radio wasn’t in the past few years , with no rent to pay for studios the stations didn’t have to advertise and not only did the DJs work for no pay, but in every station they paid the station a collective subscription of £2 IR per member. This money went towards updating equipment and paying for electricity bills. The new stations were generally friendly to each other they would occasionally ring each other up asking for reception reports on the signal and asking for loans of equipment when they accidentally blew transistors while trying to tune up more power in their transmitters. The stations met a few times in Radioactive 101’s premises (because it was in the city center) to discuss things like what frequencies could be used and mainly to pass on info about other pirates who were suspected of stealing transmitter equipment and speculating when and where the police would hit next. Most of all these were a bunch of guys and two girls who shared the same hobbies and interests and little much else. After that, a lot of time was spent slagging off each others musical interests which was good because that meant that Dublin was getting a diverse musical service. This was a good bond of unity and it still exists, which will be good strength for solidarity in a raid campaign by government. Radio Dublin who were mentioned earlier and another large station DLR 106 FM once proposed that a united front should be formed, and that a combined station would work on its own, being relayed by the fifteen or more transmitter sites being used by the pirates. This was seen as a good strategy against the government as it would be impossible to close down every transmitter in one swoop. But when this proposal was taken back to the stations it was overwhelmingly rejected by all the stations as they would loose their identity in the big station. Radio Dublin did join forces with DLR for two weeks, but this failed as the love songs and rock music didn’t mix. Hope this helps you with your free radio movement, any questions, queries or complaints, direct them to Billy or snail mail us at: P.O. Box 3327, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland. Back to top Radio is our Bomb – Part Two SO YOU WANT TO SET UP A FREE RADIO STATION? This is probably going to be the most enjoyable part of getting radio station up and running. The buzz of going on air for the first time, will rarely be equaled. This is from my own experience and it may differ in other radio stations. There’s so much excitement about because everybody is taken aback by the fact that youmainlyic and service is so different. Give it about twelve months and the public will take you for granted as if you’re part of the system and they’ll only miss you when you’re gone. These next few chapters will hopefully give you the necessary knowledge and encouragement to set up your own station and the knowledge of our experience to keep your station running. The first question you should ask yourself is why should I set up a free radio station. The second question should be do I need to? The first question you’ll have to answer yourself, and the second I will try and help you with. Maybe you can go about it another way, it may be only necessary for you to join your nearest “community” radio station get a show that you want to do, and if you’re happy that you have total editorial control, well then there’s not much point in going to the bother of setting up a station. But if you don’t get satisfaction from community radio or it doesn’t exist in your area, don’t be put down by this. This is where most people start and you might meet like minded people who have been thinking on the same line for years. You may also live in a country where it is totally impossible to set up a station There’s two ways around this. One, you could set up your studios and make your programmes as usual and have them played on loud speakers in your college campus or on a cable network around your area or secondly you could send your programmes to a neighbouring country to be aired and to be received in your country. If you live near a border of another country you could possibly still broadcast on the FM band, but if the border is too far away, it would be better to broadcast on MW or short-wave. This has been done in the past quite effectively, and the audience doesn’t have to know where the transmission is coming from. The good thing about this is it is totally legal and you can’t get caught, but the station in the neighbouring country might get caught. That type of broadcasting although safe, is not always practical and there could be delays in programming when tapes don’t arrive on time. So if you do decide to go on air from your own state, find out the laws and look for any possible loop holes which you could use. Also check out the level of fines and prison sentences and find out how many people have been sentenced for radio related “crimes” if any ( it’s very unusual that this happens). The next thing you must decide is who is going to be involved in the station you set up. You could go it alone, but there would be a definite lack of input unless you own a music library and like sitting on your own in a radio studio all the time. So you will most likely want to involve other people. They shouldn’t be hard to find most people will jump at the chance of working on a free radio station. But you should be cautious how you advertise that you want to involve other people, a small ad in a news paper could be a bit risky as you would probably have a lot of reply’s and it would be hard to vet the lot of them individually. This is important because you could find yourself meeting a few fascists or undesirable groups who when not let join would tell the authorities where you are and who you are. The best way to get around this is to work on a network of friends of friends at the start and then if you need to use the public meet them individually in a neutral area like a cafe or pub. If you don’t like the look of them you don’t have to make yourself known. With that out of the way you should now consider what way you are going to organize your group. You should start off by holding regular meetings and discussing what type of station you want. You should delegate work to individuals who are capable of the work given. These jobs could be gathering of equipment, raising finance, recruiting volunteers and you will always need someone with a strong technical knowledge to set up the equipment. At a later stage when you do get on air, these same people can be used as day representatives. These representatives would be responsible for running each day when your station is on air. This would relieve the recruitment person of a massive job of filling the schedule when vacancies arrive. The next important step is to choose the location in which you wish to broadcast from. This will be related to the area you wish to serve. The first rule of radio is that height is closely related to distance of broadcast area. So when you are choosing your transmitter and studio location, height is the most important factor, so choose a tower block or a hilly area. If this isn’t possible, improvise by using a tall mast for the aerial ( at least 15 ft ) on top of any building. As you won’t be advertising when you get on air and most likely will not have any form of financial support, it is good practice to start collecting weekly subscriptions from your membership even before you go on air. This will probably be your only source of income so keep it for basic necessities such as rent; electricity etc. One great trick is to erect your aerial on an unused building close to where your station is and run the aerial cable down the gutter into your transmitter site. This will most likely confuse the authorities if they come to investigate your station. Another handy tip is to conceal your aerial in a plastic pipe this won’t affect your signal and will look like a ventilation shaft . It is also handy to choose a site for your transmitter where in a raid situation it could be thrown away thus avoiding charges for possession of illegal broadcasting equipment. Other security conscious items should be considered such as keeping your knowledge of your location to the workable minimum and most definitely not public and using coded rings to gain entrance into the studio. Design your own procedure to be followed in event of a raid and ensure that everyone involved in the station knows what to do if there is an unexpected knock on the door. At this stage you should have chosen a name for your station. Before you come on air start an promotional campaign telling potential listeners who you are and where you can be found on the FM band . The next step can be hard and this is obtaining the transmitter This has proved the most singular stumbling block in getting a station on air in the past. This has been changing recently with the availability of D.I.Y kit form transmitters these usually serve the micro power area of . 5 watts to amplifiers of 100 watts. Smart kit in England and Free Radio Berkeley in the USA are doing a great job in making these kits more accessible and with plenty of back up information. Free Radio Berkeley is also working on a network of engineers and technicians who will be available to assist groups in building kit styled transmitters when they arrive in your country. The main reason they are sent in kit form is that they are not illegal until they are assembled and can be legally posted to any where in the world. These kits range in cost From £5 to £70 depending on the supplier and the type of transmitter, but this a very cheap start and a great way to learn about the principles of radio . If you ever do receive one of these kits and you aren’t competent that you could assemble it yourself ask around for an electronics expert to build it for you , and watch how it is built so you will know how to do it next time. If you think that you wouldn’t be able to remember all that technical info in one session, grab a loan of a camcorder and video the essential parts and then you could copy this and send it on to other groups in the same situation. You can also see transmitters advertised in buy and sell newspapers and small ads in your local papers, keep your eyes on the radio section and see if anything turns up. If nothing turns up you could put an ad in the wanted section and if you want you could use the local phone box as a reply number to avoid the authorities turning up at your house asking why you wanted to buy a transmitter. Hoping that you don’t have too much trouble in getting a transmitter on air and working , read on through the next chapter with technical information on all aspects of radio stations such as studios, transmitters aerials. TECHNICAL SUPPORT Depending on what type of station you are going to run, you must decide what type of studio you are going to use. You may want to operate your station from the passenger seat of your car, while you are parked on the side of a hill looking over a city. This sort of set up would depend totally on 12 volts i.e. off the car battery, or you may decide that you want to have all your studio components to run on their own batteries. The most important part of any studio is the mixer, this will control the levels at which all the inputs go out at. For outdoor operation you will have to find a mixer that has a 12 volt power socket or runs on internal batteries (tandy and radio shack have a good range of these mixers). The studio components (i.e. tape decks and CD players) should be walkman types connecting the ear phone sockets or line out sockets to the input sections on the back of the mixer. This is all very simple, but you would be surprised that some DJs don’t know this basic stuff. If you are using the ear phone socket to connect to the mixer you will have to set the volume on the walkman to near minimum to obtain a line level, failure to do this will cause unwanted distortion. When operating from a car or other road vehicle, the transmitter will not be very far away and this could cause hums and buzz’s on the output, so keep all studio leads as short as possible and well screened. If this doesn’t clear up unwanted hums try to earth the mixer to the chassis of the car (check the polarity of the chassis before doing this it is usually negative). Also when operating with a transmitter so close to the studio, CD players can do some weird things like make the motor go backwards or it can stop intermittently during play this can even happen working with transmitters of power as low as one watt. To get around this check that the SWR of the aerial / transmitter is safe and the problem should be avoided SWR will be explained latter on. So good luck with your passenger or back seat studio you will be amazed what you will be able to get out of it and the listeners won’t even know the difference. If you decide to operate your studio from your bedroom or kitchen or somewhere more elaborate than that, then you will have the advantage of more stability and space. You will also be able to use separate components from your HI FI unit. This will save you lots of money off your shopping list for studio components. If you are working in a group you can each sacrifice a CD player or tape deck and if you want you could use the record players as well. The only component that won’t be readily available will be the mixer, you should go for one that can be expanded to take extra microphones and extra components, these are widely available from specialist electronic shops and range in price from £100 to £300 depending on what you want. Most mixers will have a record out socket on the back this can be directly connected to the record in section on the back of the tape recorder, allowing programmes, jingles and station announcements to be recorded off air to be played back at any time, it would be advisable to use a tape player that has continuous play facility, as a pre-recorded program can be looped over and over to fill in time when a volunteer doesn’t turn up for his /her show. The leads connecting the studio components to the mixer are usually of the phono to phono type, these hold up good under broadcasting conditions, but always check that they are well screened and as short as is workingly possible to avoid hums and buzzes. The output from the mixer can be directly connected to most transmitters, as they accept standard line voltage, this will work correctly but can be a little raw and constant supervision of studio levels must be kept to avoid OVER MODULATION. This can cause your signal to splat which means break up and sound shit or cause your frequency to drift. This can be avoided by using two different components, one is a standard graphic equalizer that would be used as a separate in your HI-FI and the second is a compressor this acts as an automatic level control, when set right will stop any over strong signals going into the transmitter. Both of these operate as linear pieces of equipment plugging the output from the mixer into the input of the graphic or compressor and the output from that into the input of the transmitter. These two components can also be used together in line with each other. When choosing a mixer, you should check which type of record decks it accepts. There are two types: magnetic and ceramic. This will have to match the type of cartridge your record player has. Some mixers will be capable of both types, but some are only capable of either. Every studio will need some form of monitor, so the presenter can hear what is going out. There is two ways you can do this, one is to amplify what is going out of the mixer using an amplifier from your HI-FI, this will work well but the second way is much easier an better. Just tune a radio to what is going out and the presenter can monitor what us really going out on air. It is advisable not to have the monitor too loud as it will cause a feedback with the microphone when it is turned on. It is also a good idea to get the DJs to bring their own headphones because they will treat them with more care, in our experience they are the most common piece of equipment that breaks down due to them being moved around so much. If you require extra microphones and there isn’t enough sockets on your mixer, you can use a sub mixer with four channels on it and the output from the sub mixer can be plugged into the microphone input on your main mixer this will allow you to have four microphones at different levels connected to the mixer at one time making it very handy for doing interviews and plays. This is all I can think of that could be of help with studios, it is not very detailed and most of the equipment is available at your nearest HI-FI shop so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting it together, it would be a good idea to put the studio together even before you get the transmitter so you can get some practice. TRANSMITTERS This is the little box that some times has a fan in it that makes a hum. And DJs always ask what I do with it if the police come in. Well, to them that’s all it is, but to the technically minded this is the most important single piece of equipment in the whole radio station. A tape deck can breakdown, a mixer can breakdown and you’re still on air, but if the transmitter goes, you’re off until it’s fixed. So always have a back up and don’t keep it in the same building, as in a raid you could loose both transmitters . One major rule with transmitters is if it is working ok then leave it alone. So many stations have to take a break every so often because somebody said if I move this little thing here I can get more power out of your transmitter, and bang goes the output transistor and you have to wait two weeks for parts. If you want to do this type of work do it on your back up transmitter, it causes less trouble. So with that out the way we can explain a bit about transmitters. Transmitters (txrs) are the only component that is illegal and it doesn’t have to be turned on to make it illegal. In most countries around the world it is an offense to simply posses a txr, so be warned and read the relevant laws covering this. Txrs can range in size and power, the ones you will be most likely to use are micro power txrs, these range in power from 1 watt to 100 watts. This sort of txr is big enough to cover any large city depending how your aerial is set up, and shouldn’t cost more than £200. A txr should always be connected to an aerial or a dummy load. This will help avoid the transistors blowing. As I explained earlier txrs accept standard line inputs meaning they don’t need amplifiers to drive them. This is because there is a modulator at the first stage of the txr. This stage is followed by a stereo encoder (if fitted) this encoder mixes the stereo onto the oscillator. This is where the frequency of the signal is created and there is usually a variable capacitor in this stage which will be able to change the frequency you want by a few MHz either side. The next stage is usually a buffer this doesn’t increase power, it stabilizes the oscillator preventing the frequency from shifting when amplifier stages are connected on in series after. The amount of amplifier stages can differ in different txrs but it usual follows a sequence of 1 watt stage, 5 watts stage and then on to the output stage of about 15 to 50 watts. After the output stage there is nearly always a filtering stage which isolates harmonics from being allowed onto the aerial and an antenna tuning unit (A.T.U) which tunes the aerial to the txr. All of these components and stages are concealed inside the shielded box, and unless something is wrong should never need to be adjusted. Changing the frequency of a txr is not as simple as changing the frequency you are listening to on a receiver, like moving the dial. It’s a lot more complex than that and should be only tackled by a person who is confident. I explained earlier that there is a vari cap on the oscillator board, when this is moved clock wise or anti clock wise the frequency can be changed a few MHz up or down. And this will appear to have changed your frequency on a nearby radio but there maybe no power going out. Next you will have to tune up each amplifier stage to the new frequency, this is done by plugging a 40 watt light bulb or power meter and dummy load into the aerial socket. Start by tuning up the first amp stage through to the last and repeat this a few times, always stopping when you get maximum readings from the light bulb or power meter. And then moving on to the next stage, always trying to obtain maximum readings. At this stage your transmitter will be working at full power on the new frequency it is sometimes advisable to turn down the power of the output stage by about 5%, this will give a longer working life to your output transistor as it wont be run at the max level all the time. Transmitters should always be kept in dry and cool areas, if your txr does not have a fan supplied and seems to get hot when on for more than five minutes, you may need to put a fan on close to the transmitter to keep it cool. The aerial should always be fed by 50 ohm coaxial cable, this is different to the type used for televisions and can be bought at any good electrical shop and is about 65 pence per meter. Co-Axial cable is available in different sizes depending on what sort of power it is going to handle, the heavier the cable the better as it will let less radiation leak from it causing less local interference. There hasn’t been much research into the effects of radiation emitted by radio stations, but when using micro power txrs there is little chance of getting any health complaints. This does not mean it is not dangerous, there is just no proof that it is. It is still possible to get electric shock from the radiation of a micro power txr, it is called RF burn and it is not very pleasant at all. Working with low wattage’s such as 15 watts won’t kill you, unless you get a burn while working on a difficult roof and die from the fall. It is then advisable to turn off transmitters before doing any aerial work, and to also note that even when the transmitter is turned off there can be a static charge built up in the aerial, so always short the aerial to the pole before commencing aerial work. One time when I was working on an aerial at night (which is nearly all the time because the neighbours can’t see me) my brother nearly fell off the roof when he saw the sparks coming off the aerial, it was like lightening. So be safe when working on aerials and roof tops, the world needs free radio activists so don’t take risks and kill yourself. Aerials or antennas are not difficult to make from scraps of aluminum and wood and they do work quite well. But most aerial suppliers will be able to supply you with commercial broadcast band aerials. Make sure you get an aerial that is designed for broadcast and not one for receiving, as it will probably be not matched to your transmitter and this could damage your txr. The one you will be looking for will need to have 50 ohm impedance. A common type is a folded dipole this type is very stable and will cover the broadcast band of 88 to 108 MHz, it will also increase your signal by 3 times, this means if your txr has an output P.E.P (peak emission power) of 30 watts, using this type of aerial you can get an E.R.P (effective radiated power ) of 90 watts. Also using two or more folded dipoles in parallel connected together with matchers the E.R.P can be increased. Folded dipoles are only one type of aerial, you could also use a half wave dipole or a beam depending where you want to beam the signal. If you decide to by an aerial from a registered dealer be cautious not to give your real name and address, as the authorities would only have to look up who has bought a broadcast band aerial and the knock on your door and catch you. One last note is that you must never turn on a transmitter when it is not connected to an aerial or dummy load. You can also check if your aerial is working ok or matched to your transmitter correctly by plugging a S.W.R meter in series between them and this will give you a reading whether it is safe to leave the txr plugged into that aerial any longer. There is many books in most libraries which go into further detail on these subjects and you will find plenty of valuable information in them. Another place you will find the best information on transmitters is in your local amateur radio club. These people have all the information you will need to set up a free radio station, but it is unlikely they will share this information with you (because they are usually a bunch of middle aged middle class wankers who always side with the state on everything to do with radio). So the only way around this is to join the club as a SPY and don’t tell anyone about your free radio ideas, because you will also find that nearly all the workers from your local FCC and Dept. of Communications are members of these clubs as well. As they will probably not suspect you at all, they will let you in on information about their work and you might be able to find out how much they do or don’t know about the free radio movement and if you’re lucky you might even find out when and where the next raid will take place. There is another advantage to membership of this type of club, you could show your license to neighbours when they complain about how terrible your aerial mast looks and that you are interfering with their televisions, when they see a license for radio experimentation it will make you look legitimate and they’ll get off your case. Where if they didn’t see a license they might pursue the matter with the TV cable company who in turn will inform the authorities of suspect goings on in your area. JAMMING If you decide that you don’t have very much to say on radio and you would rather see another station silenced, because the service is racist, sexist, fascist or sectarian, you can stick a transmitter on the frequency of the station you don’t want and broadcast away blocking out their signal in your area. This can be made more effective by a network of transmitters around a city, all blocking out the same signal and it would also make it harder for the station you are jamming to find the jammers, because of the number of transmitters in use. It is also handy to put out a test tone or a recorded message on a loop tape, telling the listeners who want to listen to the service why it is being jammed. RAIDS It may never happen that the police will be banging down your door accompanied by the FCC or DOC. But it is still important to be prepared for this. Look up the laws in your country and learn them off, look up the laws on arrests and warrants and know your rights and distribute this information to all the DJs on your station. In most countries there is a right to silence, DJs should be encouraged to excursus this right, to prevent themselves from incriminating others. It may also occur that the police fucked up on something like the warrant and the case is dismissed, but something that was said to the police during an arrest could influence the case. Remember that it is up to the police and the court to prove that you are guilty, its not your job to prove that you are innocent, so use your right to silence. It also makes great radio when the microphone in the studio is put on full during a raid this could help build up public support. It may also help your case if you taped the raid on a dictaphone, when played back it may prove that the police broke the rules of the warrant and search. It would also be a good idea to build a homing device into your transmitter, this can be easily done with a 1 watt kit and rechargeable batteries, the signal could be tracked down to find out what government building it was sent to. Hope this helps you with your free radio movement, any questions, queries or complaints, direct them to Billy or snail mail us at: P.O. Box 3327, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland.