Anti-Inauguration Pirate Broadcasting on AM in DC Gets Dimed by CNN, Moves to FM

Last week CNN.com ran an article on pirate station WSQT broadcasting at 1680 AM in Washington DC and making calls for massive protests against the Bush inauguration in January. The station was apparently discovered by a CNN reporter, who called the FCC for a response to the station. This tipped off the FCC, which didn’t yet know about the station.

As far as I can tell, no other news outlet has reported on the station.

In response to getting dimed out by CNN, the station posted an article to radio.indymedia.org on Sunday stating that they’re moving their signal to FM because the setup is much more mobile:

The FM rig and its antenna set up and break down in seconds. The nature of FM(VHF) signals and their small antennas allows security steps to be taken that are impractical on AM.

Even if the FCC manages to capture one of our rigs, we have a bottomless ability to make more.

Unfortunately, this situation is just another example of why mainstream press coverage is not necessarily a good thing for an unlicensed station.

One thing that I am curious about is what kind of transmitters they’re using, since they both told CNN and posted to radio.indymedia that:

The big AM rigs with their 10 mile reported range(and a suspicious, questionable report of a skip heard in the UK) cost maybe $40 plus some time in the dumpster fetching parts, and the 3 mile range FM rigs maybe $15 for what the dumpster cannot provide.

I’d love to know how they’re making AM transmitters with a 10 mile range for $40. I can only guess, but that would have to be bigger than 100 milliwatt Part 15 transmitter to get that kind of range consistently.

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