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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!

10 Watt AM transmitter available through Amazon

AM Traveler's Information
Station Transmitter
According to the manufacturer, "The MTS10W Transmitter is a 10 watt AM Broadcast band synthesized transmitter that covers from 530 kHz to 1700 kHz in 10 kHz steps.
    The transmitter frequency is set by running a configuration utility on a personal computer connected to the unit.
     The power level which is continuously adjustable from 0.1 to 10.0 watts is also set using the USB configuration utility.
     Additional features in the USB configuration utility include a visual indication of modulation, a display of the transmitters forward and reflected power to the antenna system, selection of which audio input is active, selection of which mode the audio selection is in, and a display of the DC input voltage to the unit.
     The MTS10 employs a Class D RF amplifier and a Class S modulator which yields outstanding power efficiency and reduced operation costs. The efficiency is for a fully modulated output is 82% minimum and can be as high as 92% depending on frequency and the antenna characteristics.      
     Multi-Technical Services (MTS) was founded in 1984 by Lyn Williams and Gary Pleasant to provide custom product design and small lot manufacturing services for several electronic companies in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park.
     The MTS broadcast product line now includes NOAA Receivers, Distribution Amplifiers, and several more specialty items. Commercial products include TIS transmitting systems, networked digital audio work stations, and the on-air program audio console for NOAA Weather Radio."
Could this AM Traveler's Information Station Transmitter be the right unit for you? Try it at no risk with Amazon!

Best low power, Part 15 compliant AM transmitter?

Many of our visitors are interested in experimenting with low power radio while staying within the limits of the law.  It's fun to broadcast to your neighborhood without having to look over your shoulder for that tinted-windowed FCC SUV heading down your block.
     As we have shared in previous posts, it's generally agreed that low power AM broadcasting under Part 15 has the best opportunity for useful legal range, due in part to the opportunities for experimentation under the "100 mW power input and 3 meter antenna" subpart in the regulations.
     Happily, there is a nice selection of certified Part 15 AM transmitters and Part 15 compliant (meaning the transmitter complies with the letter and spirit of Part 15 without being certified by the FCC), AM transmitter kits on the market today.
     Of course, quality and compliance can be expensive and kits require a significant investment in time and a certain skill level to complete, so, which AM transmitter is best?
     I think we can all agree that "best" means range - so, of the popular AM transmitters on the market today, which has the best range?  Sure, you can research online but all I've ever been able to find is a wide range of opinions and hyperbole and very few facts.
     Wouldn't it be great if an unbiased report were created, where sensitive measuring equipment was used by skilled operators to test a collection of transmitters in a straight up, head to head, identical conditions comparison where we could learn once and for all which transmitter would deliver the best bang for the bucks (or effort)?
     Enter the Hobbybroadcaster.net AM Transmitter Challenge, a Herculean effort undertaken by the talented and dedicated Bill DeFelice and a cadre of capable assistants who put in the time and, from the sounds of the report, no small amount of work in designing, coordinating and delivering the final word on legal low power Part 15 compliant AM transmitter range.
     So, which one won?  You'll need to visit Bill Defelice's most excellent web site dedicated to legal, low power radio experimentation, www.hobbybroadcaster.net, and find out for yourself.
     Check out The AM Transmitter Challenge on Hobbybroadcaster.net and start planning your Part 15 compliant operation today!
     A huge lowpowerradio bog "Thank You!" to Bill and his team for their selfless efforts in fianlly settling this contentious topic with a repeatable, fact based approach to range measurement.

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