AfterDawn: Tech news

Low-power FM transmitters allowed in UK

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 26 Nov 2006 16:17 User comments (15)

Low-power FM transmitters allowed in UK The communications regulator in the UK, Ofcom, is legalizing the use of low power FM transmitters that are designed to make digital music on an iPod or other MP3 player playable through a car radio. While these small devices have been widely available, their use in the UK has been illegal due to the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949. However, the "ban" has not been lifted on all of the available devices.
Under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, the use of radio transmission equipment without a license or an exemption is forbidden. This made popular devices such as Griffin's "iTrip" illegal because of their possible ability to interfere with broadcast from legal radio stations.

Some of these FM transmitter devices, which can be tuned to spare frequencies, will become legal from December 8th. Ofcom will also remove the need for a license to use Citizens' Band radio. All approved transmitters will carry a CE mark indicating approval for sale in the European Union.

BBC News

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15 user comments

127.11.2006 6:50

Same has happened in Finland. Those FM transmitters have been legal since September I believe.

227.11.2006 6:53

wow all this time i thought i got detained at heathrow for the kilo up my butt, turns out it was my illegal iTrip!!! (then i find out that in europe they use the even radio frequencies!)

327.11.2006 7:25

1949? so a century old law is preventign the use of techongly? 0_o Logic.......wheres logic *brain explodeds*

427.11.2006 18:02

hey zippy... nevermind just can't bring myself to point it out ;-) lol

528.11.2006 7:40

really im suprisedbecause if you sit in a car and atach a fm transmiter then pick up your I-Station you can record the fm transmition with out dmrs involved.... kewl they are alowing them but hey what about the wireless head phones they transmite on fm as well........?

628.11.2006 10:51

duckNrun well sometimes my IQ is so low its hard to take me seriously :P

728.11.2006 17:31

They're mad because the radio stations are losing money over a device with a 10' broadcast radius??!! I'd be more afraid of TV remotes and garage door openers! Our FCC is pretty selfish about this stuff too though... I use wireless lavalier microphones a lot when working, and I've gotten in trouble for interfering with other wireless communications... even though the mics were set to almost -30db gain and running off AA batteries. And hasn't anyone evewr heard of tape deck adaptors? sheesh!

828.11.2006 17:41

CiDaemon how many cars have tape decks now adays? it is almsot standard tho...mmmm BTW ever tried to boost the gain on wireless phones and such? I a in a trailer wiht metal siding and it plays havoc with wireless devices (900Mhz phenthe most but I have a wireless 2.4Ghz cable TV video serto setup runs about 15ish feet from the TV in the house to the window here in the trialer I been tryign to boost its reciveing some it has a 2 or 3 inch straight metal pole thing in side it the base has 2 antennas) Not really sure how to go abotu boost it I have had mixed results with the phone but I put a 3 or 4 inch cell phone antenna on the 445Mhz remote it has a metal wire as a antenna so I put the cell phone antenna off it sticking out the front its boosted it alot I no longer have to stick my hand out the window to change channles but have to move it around till it starts working,I put a quarter on ti and bam its working nearly perfect now *L*

929.11.2006 18:42

Signal Boost methods commonly used:
**These all pretty much violate FCC rules. I didn't tell you to do it, whatever it is.**

1) Find a signal gain pot. Turn it waaaay up. If it gets distorted, slowly turn it down.

2) Expose the antenna. A lot of phones/etc. cover up their antennas with layers upon layers of plastic, lowering the signal strength. A pocketknife will solve this.

3) Replace the antenna. (or augment it). If you can expose the bare metal of your antenna but still aren't satisfied with strength, attach a thin, non-insulated wire loop to it using clips or solder. For the best boost using this method, attach one end of the wire loop to the top of your existing antenna, and one to the bottom. Or, just tear the whole #$%$ thing out and start over with your own wire.

4) Play around with it. There are thousands of factors that change signal strength and resonance of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. radio waves). The quarter trick you mentioned works like this-- you never know what something will do. Buy yourself a box of paperclips and have at it.

And, as a closing remark, my car has a tape deck. Boo-ya.

On a weirder note, so does my bicycle.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Nov 2006 @ 18:42


1029.11.2006 18:54

to bad I don't understand any of it :P

what cheap things(antennas) can I buy yo boost a signal with,its not like I am tryign to brodcast it a mile long I just want a working phone to work 3 or 4 feet into a large metal box *L* :P

Copper grounding wire sucks as a antenna this much I know.

could I use wifi antennas to help them any? it seems to me most antennas are to small or buried in a phone.

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

1129.11.2006 19:16

Sorry, it seems my inner audiophile somehow escaped from his padded cell ;).

Copper wire is under-rated. It makes a decent antenna--most FM antennas are copper. Let me see if i can illustrate better what you can do.

The first thing; you mentioned that antennas are often "buried in a phone". Unburying it would increase signal strength. If your phone has a plastic antenna sticking out of the top (a "stub" or extendable antenna), just carve away at the plastic until you expose the metal (the actual antenna).

Wire loops make a great antenna booster (or replacement antenna). If you have a piece of wire (preferably insulated, but VERY THIN INSULATION) about 10" long, you can bend it over to make a 5" loop, right? see my crude drawing.

both ends of the wire --> ============> <-- 180' bend in the wire

if you attach one end of the wire to the BOTTOM of the existing antenna (i.e. the part closest to the device) and the other end to the TOP (the tip of the antenna), you can increase the signal, if it is being restricted by an antenna that is too short.

If you attach this wire to an exposed antenna (i.e. a metal stick or bunny ears) it will work. If you attach it to the plastic casing around an antenna (like the cell phone mentioned earlier) then it will do nothing. So first, you may have to cut away the plastic to reach the metal inside.

Some phones don't even have an extruding antenna- it's inside. Many modern phones are like this. To get to the antenna, you would have to take the phone apart. Not usually a good idea.

A lot of cell phone manufacturers make external booster antennas that work with certain phones.... but be ready to pay $50 US or more.

A wifi antenna is no better than any other antenna--it's just a loop of wire encased in plastic. The trouble with using a wifi antenna is that you would have to expose the wire leads and somehow atttach them to your phone/other device. It's much easier to fashion one out of wire.

With a lot of transmitting devices, the signal strength is adjustable using a "pot" (short for potentiometer, this basically means a knob). If you can find one inside your device, turn it waaay up to boost the wattage going to your anteanna, and therefore increasing signal strength.

*phew*. Going to bed now.


1229.11.2006 19:21

I am use to takeing things apart and soldering so its no big deal,the 2.4 ghz phone I had has spring type antennas in it not wire ,prehaps the copper wire boosters were to weak for it since they have kinda think insulation on it its ground wire after all :P

find this "knob" I must *naws and drools n phone*

Mmmm this no open...maybe I should do it in the morning... *L*

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Nov 2006 @ 19:23

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

1330.11.2006 20:19

flynn's going to be quite happy about this... ^.^

141.12.2006 21:11

Who's flynn?

And why would he be happy now?


152.12.2006 6:17

he's one of AD's english members.

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