The how big, how long and how many of ground radials.
While grounding for low power AM is an oft-debated issue, one thing we all agree on is that burying copper is a pretty expensive activity.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a limitless supply of free copper, just waiting to be dutifully buried!
My new treasure trove might just be available in your town, too.
What is the secret to unlimited free copper for ground radials? It's our local cable TV franchise, or more correctly, the dumpster behind our local cable TV franchise office.
My current QTH is a small town of about 30,000 and we have a local cable brand here with a retail office and an installer shop.
It turns out that when you buy cable in the quantities that a cable TV company buys cable, the cost of the labor to troubleshoot cable is far, far higher than the cost of replacing cable.
Consequently, the current practice is to rip out and replace any run that might be even slightly questionable.
What do they do with the old cable? Labor costs, again - the least expensive solution is to pitch it in the dumpster.
Because our cable TV provider also offers VOIP, here's lots of old multi-conductor telephone cable in the dumpster, too!
All this to say that the discarded old coax is a bonanza for those of us who wish to bury it. Using the shield as the primary conductor and laying out as many feet as you want to carry home is sure to help your signal, so give it a try.
The usual provisos apply here - no B&E, trespassing or other skulduggery, I just walked up to the dumpster in the alley and grabbed all I wanted.
Wait until after hours (to wait until after the installers have cleaned out their trucks) and then check your local cable installer or franchise dumpster - the cash you save might be your own!
Low Power Radio on Amazon (Radio News was removed by Google)
Low Power Radio on Amazon.com
James Cunningham regularly published booklets of radio instructions, schematics and station plans, intended to help missionaries set up gospel radio stations.
Titles included Low Power Radio Broadcasting and The Big Antenna Book
At one point in time, James also manufactured and sold transmitters, carrier current load tuners and other assorted sundry hardware items.
One surviving document tells the story of the Cunningham Transmitters Model CM 30 - 50, an AM transmitter manufactured for export.
The low power AM transmitter schematics to the right all come from Low Power Radio Broadcasting, Missionary Edition.
- Information about the 100 mW transmitter is found on page 14
- Information about the 10 watt AM unit is listed on page 37
- Information about the 3-12 watt AM tube transmitter is on page 28
- Antenna tuning tips are on page 15
- Carrier Current Couplers are featured on page 30
Many of the left menu links still connect to archived copies of other projects and information. For example the two-part series titled "Solving broadcast problems" discusses how to deal with the kinds of RF / audio chain problems common to low power broadcasting efforts.
You'll find lots of interesting articles and comment on topics like carrier current, antenna tuning and general low power radio information.
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