FM Transmitter That Plugs Into PC And Transmits to House Appliances?
December 13, 2003 3:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a gadget - essentially a low powered stereo FM transmitter I can plug into the sound output of my PC and broadcast the music on my harddrive to the various clock radios and stereos around my house. I guess a 30m range would be ample (although it does have to get through some pretty thick walls). So far the closest thing I've found are tiny battery-powered transmitters designed to plug into a CD-walkman and sit next to your car stereo while you drive - pretty useless for my purposes. Does anyone out there know of a suitable transmitter? And here's the crunch - do you think it would even be legal in Australia?
posted by Jimbob to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Those wee battery-powered jobs are more powerful than they look - I have a Belkin Tunecast and have no problems transmitting to the whole house from the computer in the basement. The (rechargable) batteries need changing about once every ten days, with moderate use, but it only cost £20.

So, it might be worth checking out the Belkin or similar before shelling out for a more powerful solution - although I have heard good things about MyFMStation.

It's also worth considering the neighbours - I've had complaints from next door when using the little Belkin, so if you're broadcasting on a frequency used by radio stations locally, a transmitter with more range might have the street up in arms.
posted by jack_mo at 7:59 AM on December 13, 2003

thanks, I'm also in the market for some kind of computer-to-stereo solution. right now, i'm running a wire from LINE OUT but all I'm getting is buzz and hum.
posted by muckster at 8:38 AM on December 13, 2003

Wow, that's odd jack, my tunecast can't reach more than 3-4 feet.

There's a pretty high powered home FM solutioin sold in the states for a couple hundred bucks that is technically illegal per FCC regulations because it can work for hundreds of feet (or I guess multiple tens of meters). I can't recall the URL, but I remember when you go to check out, you have to click a few "yeah, I understand this has 2 watts too many to be legal for home broadcast and I swear it is only for research purposes."
posted by mathowie at 9:14 AM on December 13, 2003

This place seems to have some relevant stuff. I don't know where they're located, but they're selling in Euros... however, they don't seem to have any prolem shipping to the States so I assume Australia wouldn't be a problem.
posted by weston at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2003

Some of the devices at "My FM Station" look good, Jack_mo - the USB one is pretty much what I'm after. Time to start saving ;)
posted by Jimbob at 2:37 PM on December 13, 2003

This is what you want. I can't say anything about its legality in Australia, but it's legal in the US. We have one and our signal reaches about 1-2 blocks. If you are on Beacon Hill in Seattle and you hear something unusual, it might be us. (However, there was a pirate station on the same frequency with much more power, seemingly located on First Hill or the CD, so if you hear rebroadcasts of anti-war rallies, it's them. Our signal is music with an electronically-generated voice announcing the songs. And ours is legal, while theirs was - is? - pretty dramatically not.)
posted by litlnemo at 7:39 PM on December 13, 2003

Jimbob, there is a lower limit of power, below which there is no requirement for licensing in Australia. Unfortunately, I could not find it either here or here, where I would expect to. Places like Tandy sell UHF transceivers that fall below this limit, so do not need licenses and I am fairly sure that, provided you stay under the minimum power with your transmitter and do not cause interference to those around you, you should not have a problem. Of course, if you don't cause any interference, nobody will know anyway. The main thing would be to check the frequency of any local stations and stay well away from them - the lower end of the dial is probably safer in this regard. Really, it is no different in principle to running a wireless network around the house. It is also an excellent idea, as I have been trying to think of a way to do much the same thing myself.
posted by dg at 3:22 AM on December 14, 2003

If you plan to use one of the transmitters from myFMstation, be careful, as they only operate in the peak range for FM stations in Australia and you may run into problems with interference if they are able to transmit outside your house. Of course, if your neighbours share the same taste in music, they may thank you rather than complain :-)
posted by dg at 3:39 AM on December 14, 2003

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