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Author Topic: Drive In Church Service?  (Read 1029 times)

Justin Quinn

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Drive In Church Service?
« on: April 03, 2020, 09:33:13 am »

Any suggestions on how to pull off a drive in church service for Easter?  I called around to a few companies trying to rent an AM/FM transmitter but I'm waiting to hear back.  I'll admit that I don't know much about the AM/FM RF space.  I called the FCC asking for guidelines and my rep said "I don't know" so that was helpful  :-\ .

Any one know of units to buy if we can't rent, know of places to rent from, or know FCC laws we need to consider before doing this?  Obviously we'll broadcast on an open frequency.

Thank You in advance.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2020, 11:38:12 am »

Any suggestions on how to pull off a drive in church service for Easter?  I called around to a few companies trying to rent an AM/FM transmitter but I'm waiting to hear back.  I'll admit that I don't know much about the AM/FM RF space.  I called the FCC asking for guidelines and my rep said "I don't know" so that was helpful  :-\ .

Any one know of units to buy if we can't rent, know of places to rent from, or know FCC laws we need to consider before doing this?  Obviously we'll broadcast on an open frequency.

Thank You in advance.

Williams is doing both of these;
FM T55 WC1
FM T55 WC2

They operate in the Assisted Listening range so not direct FM radio receiver.  They also have their Wavecast capability available.  Probably not what you are directly looking for.

I do not know current availability.

Lee
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 12:12:55 pm by Lee Buckalew »
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Kevin Graf

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 01:16:49 pm »

Do any of the local parking lot Hot Rod show's DJ's use FM transmitters?
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John Hiemburg

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 01:24:04 pm »

Any suggestions on how to pull off a drive in church service for Easter?  I called around to a few companies trying to rent an AM/FM transmitter but I'm waiting to hear back.  I'll admit that I don't know much about the AM/FM RF space.  I called the FCC asking for guidelines and my rep said "I don't know" so that was helpful  :-\ .

Any one know of units to buy if we can't rent, know of places to rent from, or know FCC laws we need to consider before doing this?  Obviously we'll broadcast on an open frequency.

Thank You in advance.


We were looking into that for our Easter services here, the trouble was any equipment we could find wouldn't arrive until after Easter. There's a local guy with a license and a 15w transmitter, but not portable so we'd have to shuttle audio to him...


We decided to stick with live stream and pre-deliver communion sets to families (with easter baskets for the kids).
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2020, 02:25:12 pm »

I'm afraid I can't help you with equipment, but this page has a fairly clear explanation on the rules:

https://www.prometheusradio.org/alternatives

Quote
Regardless of popular misconceptions, it is not legal to broadcast on FM at low power, or at any power, without a license from the FCC. It doesn’t matter if you are less than 100 watts or less than 1 watt. That is why the FCC has been trying to institute LPFM – to provide a legitimate license to very low power operations.

The only exception is that you are allowed to broadcast on FM without a license if your transmitter produces about 1/25th of a watt, or 25 milliwatts. This is only enough power to go about 100 feet, under the best conditions.

It is actually not the power but the field strength that the FCC measures. The way the FCC checks for compliance with the law is whether you exceed a measurement of 250 microvolts/meter at 3 meters on a field strength meter, which is a tool that is specifically designed to measure the strength of electromagnetic fields.

My gut feeling is that this "exception" wasn't originally so much to allow such broadcasts, but to eliminate the need to police every device that might produce low-level interference with licensed use of the spectrum. That is, if the interference is below this threshold, it's not enough to be burdensome for the licensed broadcaster or receivers of the licensed broadcast. So I'd say it's more of a loophole than an exception -- a loophole that many have taken advantage of, and that the law ("Part 15") does now address.

For actual licensed usage, there's Low Power FM (LPFM) Broadcasting. One thing to keep in mind is that licenses tend to be for a specific transmitter location, so just because you have a license and a transmitter doesn't mean you can move it from place to place without the FCC's blessing. And LPFM licenses are issued for "noncommercial educational broadcasting only." https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/lpfm

Disclaimer: I'm not an RF expert or an attorney.
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Justin Quinn

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2020, 04:39:02 pm »

Do any of the local parking lot Hot Rod show's DJ's use FM transmitters?
Ha, I'm glad that the local car show DJs stopped using consumer Hi-Fi equipment, I've never seen one using FM.
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Bill Meeks

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2020, 08:26:35 pm »

I have absolutely no idea whether these things are actually legal or not (the vendor says it is, and I quote "100% legal"). I've heard these at Christmas when the family tours around neighborhoods to see all the "Clark Griswold" Christmas extravaganzas with digitally-synchronized light displays some folks put up. The sound is okay, but the range is definitely limited.

https://wholehousefmtransmitter.com/fm-transmitter-for-xmas-and-christmas-lights-to-music-display-like-light-o-rama/

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Tim Weaver

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2020, 12:59:44 pm »

Maybe call a local radio station and see if they are interested in doing a remote broadcasst from your service? Could be good for them as well. You might offer to pay them the money you would otherwise spend on renting equipment.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 11:01:27 pm »

Using a part 15 transmitter should be pretty easy-though the 200' distance limitation is pretty limiting.  We were looking at doing just that-but the more we looked and discussed the more it felt like the service would be more gimmick than functional.  Ultimately, the church will be no more together in vehicles with windows rolled up than in their living rooms watching a live stream.  Kids are going to want to play with their friends and not understand, etc.

I did hear of a church not too far from us that was able to use a drive in movie theater that was still operational.  Something like that would involve far less in logistics and maybe worth the novelty factor.  Otherwise, my two cents is that it's an idea that sounds cooler than reality would be.
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: Drive In Church Service?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 11:01:27 pm »


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