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Smartphone station automation? SCASP II

For me, using obsolete technology to feed my transmitter started with my first effort.  A discarded auto reverse mono cassette recorder fed a 13 minute prerecorded message into a hand made AM transmitter. 
     That transmitter insisted on a frequency of 790 KHz (even though it was using a 1000 KHz XTAL!) but when my car radio tuned in my shaky, flaky little set up, I was hooked.
     After several auto reverse units and dozens of worn out audio tapes, the process continued into the digital audio realm, where the options are manifold.
     I gave my efforts the nickname SCASP, for Scrap Computer Audio Source Project, and happily plowed through a variety of oldies but goodies.  An early web documentation of my first efforts can be found at the original S.C.A.S.P. page as part of an archive of one of my first low power radio sites.
     An old PC chassis running a DOS audio player on a RAM drive, a discarded Palm Pilot with a (gasp!) 256 MB mini SD card, a Dell notebook running Windows 98, an early model 512 MB capacity MP3 player and now, in an embarrassing testimonial to first world problems, I find myself with a surplus (?) expired contract smartphone.
     My old (?) Samsung Omnia was an early Windows phone 6.0, from way, way back in 2009. Blocked by the provider from accessing WiFi without a service contract and featuring an easy-scratch screen that now looks like it was worked over by Freddy Krueger, this little handset had become a paperweight - in other words, perfect!
     The four attributes that put this little chunk of technology in the SCASP category were
  • The means to manage files by way of an SD card socket - content! 
  • An external power source by way of the charger/adapter 
  • An audio out connection, by way of the earphone connector 
  • A programmable audio player with playlist capability
     After loading the files into the SD chip, using a USB card reader/writer, even the native Window Media player can be used to create a play list.  Connect the audio to the transmitter and it's on the air.
     What undiscovered bit of SCASP magic is collecting dust at your QTH?  I guess I could rename it SCRAP, for scrapped cellphone recycled audio programmer!

Who are you?

This poorly organized Internet existence, lacking direction and sporadically maintained, got its first page views back in July of 2006. In those eight short years, some patterns have emerged, patterns that start to describe who visits lowpowerradio.blogspot.com
     We don't do user interaction here and even if we did, the non-participating vastly outnumber the interactors so that would be a poor judge, anyway.
     Happily, none of these patterns are of any commercial value and don't really reveal much of anything about a specific individual. Instead, these patterns are more the simple things, the kinds of things we like to get to know about the people in our neighborhood.
     Here are six things I've learned about our visitors.
  1. You have a job. Seems like a silly thing to say, but that's the only thing I can think of that accounts for the fact that traffic goes way up on the weekends and is particularly low towards the end of the work week. 
  2. You're mainstream yet tech savvy. 80% of you come from a desktop Windows environment. Less that 10% of you visit using a Mac. In spite of the dominance of the Windows platform, less than a third of you visit using Internet Explorer. 
  3. You get here using Google and you're looking for something specific. Google brings three times more of you than all other methods combined. 
  4. You like to read. You stay for quite a while when you land here the first time and a third of you come back. When you come back, you stay 38% longer that you stayed on your first visit. 
  5. You like what you find here.  Most of you go at least three pages deep. A small group of you stay more than 30 minutes per visit. 
  6. You are global. Really global. As the visitor map shows, you come from everywhere. Some of you might be using a means of connecting to the web that obscure your specific location and that's fine, I'm not looking for specifics. In general, you're global. If anything would have surprised me in 2006, it's that people come here from all over the world. I am amazed and very humbled by that.
     Thank you for visiting and thank you for your support over these past eight years and, Google willing, many more...

Will the AM band ever get a low power service like LPFM?

In his July 2014 article Low-Power Radio Is Incomplete, Don Schellhardt gives us a concrete... maybe.
     "...Last decade, in response to a Petition for Rulemaking by The Amherst Alliance, The LPAM Network and others, the commission opened Docket RM-11287. Public comments were sought, and received, on possible licensing of low-power AM stations. Ultimately, however, the petition was neither granted nor rejected...
     ...In summary, all of this unfinished business can probably be resolved within two years, or less, if the commission is motivated and supporters are vocal."

      We do know our opponents are very vocal:       There are many nay-sayers out there who are ferociously guarding a band that, for all intents and purposes and with just a very few notable exceptions, is utterly commercially dead, because:
  • No one under 40 can tune the AM radio still found in the majority of automobiles 
  • It is now impossible to buy an AM radio off the shelf of any general merchandise store 
  • Those who do tune the AM band find an ever-repeating wasteland of dreck
      "Saving" the AM band for the likes of fifth-tier sports yackers, recycled politics or one more lovelorn advice show, all with advertising loads seemingly specially designed to drive away anyone to did happen to tune in, seems like the desperate grasping of the owners of a failed medium.
      Don Schellardt offers a variety of interesting reading on the topic, including his comments on commercial low power services
      Will our venerable AM band find new life in a diverse, low power commercial environment or will it be "saved" by the likes of the NAB and turned into garbage?  The answer might be up to us!

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