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> Computer broadcast gizmos, broadcast radio off a computer
30'sNut
post Mar 3 2009, 10:55 AM
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Hello all,
Recently I heard that it is possible to get hold of a plug and play device that will enable one to broadcast music from a computer to an A.M radio. I would love to be able to do that, as my house is full of working vintage radios, absent of decent music. How would one get hold of these gizmos down here in New Zealand. If someone knows what they are called, it would be helpfull also!
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dismuke
post Mar 3 2009, 02:04 PM
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QUOTE (30'sNut @ Mar 3 2009, 04:55 AM) *
Hello all,
Recently I heard that it is possible to get hold of a plug and play device that will enable one to broadcast music from a computer to an A.M radio. I would love to be able to do that, as my house is full of working vintage radios, absent of decent music. How would one get hold of these gizmos down here in New Zealand. If someone knows what they are called, it would be helpfull also!



There are several varieties that you can buy from various places on the Internet. Do a google search on "am transmitter" and "personal am transmitter" to get started. There are some old time radio websites that also either recommend or sell some - so also try a search for "old time radio" "am transmitter" Use the quote marks in your search to get better google results.

Basically, there are three types you can buy: 1) kits that you have to assemble and solder together yourself, 2) the same kits as in number 1 but which somebody else has assembled and offered for sale at a markup and 3) higher end models which are usually pre-assembled. I am pretty sure that there is more than one company out there that offers each of the above types.

Now, here is my experience with one: I purchased for about $80 US one of the kits that somebody else assembled. I did not wish to blow my money on one that I would have to assemble based on the results I got from a previous attempt to build an FM transmitter from a similar kit and, despite my being VERY careful and slow putting it together, I never did get to work. When I got my AM transmitter, it DID work. The only problem is that the range was HORRIBLE - I basically had to have the thing sitting right on top of the radio I wished to broadcast to. Turns out that one also needs an antenna for the thing to work which was NOT included in the kit. Antennas for the AM transmitters are more complicated than the ones needed for AM transmitters. I went online to learn how to put such an antenna together - and, well, the instructions were WAY too technical for the level of knowledge I had and, quite frankly, is not an area of study where my acquiring that level of knowledge would be anything other than an unpleasant chore. If you have more knowledge of electronics than I do and enjoy tinkering with such stuff, that may not be a similar obstacle for you. Basically, what I wanted was something that would work as soon as I opened the box and plugged audio into it - NOT a do it yourself project which is why I avoided the kit in the first place.

If you are wishing for something that will just work out of the box, make sure that that you get from the seller some sort of antenna that goes with it. I have seen higher end models for sale for a few hundred dollars. I am not sure what the antenna situation is for them.

There are several old time radio websites on the Internet and I wouldn't be surprise if there are message boards for old time radio as well. That might be a good place to ask around for recommendations as I do know that many people who collect mp3s of old time radio broadcasts enjoy listening to them on vintage radios. I suspect that such people constitute the primary market for such transmitters and the people who frequent those sites will probably be in the best position to give you practical advice.
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gregoryagogo
post Mar 3 2009, 04:45 PM
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Great idea!! I have a little FM devise. This just hooks up to the audio output jack and transmitted a very weak FM signal... I'm glad they make an AM one!!

I used to hook up a cassette tape (remember those?!) deck to the phono jack on my '41 Philco and play period music and radio shows through it.


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Terry
post Mar 3 2009, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE (30'sNut @ Mar 3 2009, 04:55 AM) *
Hello all,
Recently I heard that it is possible to get hold of a plug and play device that will enable one to broadcast music from a computer to an A.M radio. I would love to be able to do that, as my house is full of working vintage radios, absent of decent music. How would one get hold of these gizmos down here in New Zealand. If someone knows what they are called, it would be helpfull also!


AFAIK, no one in NZ sells AM 'senders'. Dick Smith Electronics sell FM versions. You may have to import one. I use a 'home brew' AM transmitter,

http://www.box.net/shared/737iouqf5q

It is connected to the line out of the sound card.

This was based on a project in the May 1989 issue of Electronics Australia magazine, in their Vintage Radio series. You wouldn't be able to buy the parts, but if you have a spare valve radio then it could be canibalised if you are au fait with electronics. I could send you a photo copy of the article if you are interested.

The original design had a telescopic antenna from a transistor radio, but I use a longer wire that goes around my 'hobbies room' to give greater range. It couples to the oscillator output circuit via a small value capacitor so as not to load the output too much and cause frequency shift.

I tune it to around 550KHz on medium wave, right at one end of the tuning scale so as not cause interference problems with neighbours.

I usually use it with a Walkman when I'm working in the garden or the garage etc so I can listen to Radio Dismuke wherever I go around the house smile.gif

For a bit of fun I sometimes dig out a 1932 EKCO bakelite cathedral TRF receiver that my gran had from new, Radio Dismuke sounds grand, and it makes a good story to say how good these old sets are for still being able to pick up the old stations out of the ether....................
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Tim in Bovey
post Mar 3 2009, 10:04 PM
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Of course the FM devices are more popular simply because they can be in stereo, are easier to built and tune, and have good range. Finding an already built GOOD AM band unit is difficult. If you like to remain in the AM band, AND the vintage feel, I CAN recommend a nifty build it yourself TUBE unit built on a 1930's Philco design. It costs about 40 dollars, assembles easily literally on a small wooden board, and has good enough range to put the AM signal throughout your typical house. The antenna amounts to a length of wire. They are fun, vintage, and sound good. They are sold by tubesandmore.com. If you go to the site, scroll down on the left and find the kits link, then click on transmitter. I have used this transmitter to broadcast audio from darn near any audio source that is powerful enough to drive small speakers including an ipod, a computer, a cassette deck, and the headphone jack from my stereo.
Tim in Bovey
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