Sunday we did another workshop, this time it was a FM transmitter building workshop. I was initially introduced to the workshop through Adam Hyde, and then I helped a little at one at ISEA in San Jose, taught by BYP member and collaborator Lotte Meijer.
The workshop is meant to show how easy it is to work with electronics and get on the air. The transmitter plans that I used are from plans that Tetsuo Kogawa has published and used for many years in his exploits with community based radio in Japan. I realized after reading through his site, that I actually saw some of his work back in San Francisco, when he did a project with Paper Tiger Television who were a big influence on me. I used to use their editing suite back in the old ATA days.
Anyway, back to the workshop details, we had a really good turnout, and everyone was super enthusiastic. It was very, very hot, with the humidex it came close to 37 C! maaayybe not the best for soldering, but it worked out well. We had a little trouble at the very end, of course with the transistor, and the whole collector - base - emitter orientation, but we managed to figure it all out and we had 100% success with the transmitters!
Someone along the way pointed out that it felt like sewing communally, maybe we’ll have soldering parties in the future instead of quilting. Most folks had no previous experience, and I think everyone walked away unafraid to get their hands dirty in the future!
I did learn that Industry Canada does not allow any form of low power transmission on the air, which is too bad. Again, it falls back to government trying to clamp down any experimentation by the public. There used to be laws allowing for emissions under a certain power level, but these have been erased. Yes, there needs to be regulation of the airwaves, but the power of connecting people through radio is simply too powerful to only allow broadcasting businesses and not community people to access this power. Maybe we’d all be better off with a thriving underground system of radio pirates rather than a nation dedicated to Facebook. Tetsuo has written extensively on this, and I encourage you all to go out and have a read. I’m open to discussion on this issue, and I welcome comments on this…