NEW PROJECTS - OCTOBER 2013
LIVE WEATHER RADIO
The Live FRS Radio turned out to be a fail. it generated very little interest. I decided to scrap the project for another service - Live Weather Radio. Now local visitors to the live police Scanner page can click the WX button above the media player, just like your WX button on a scanner, for one touch NOAA WX-M20 local weather radio. This scanner also programmed with local Storm Spotters / Storm Chasers ham radio frequencies. When severe weather strikes, the weather scanner will be tuned to storm spotter activity.
LIVE WEATHER RADIO
LIVE FISH TANK CAM
Not exactly a radio related project, but livecbradio.com has a new live streaming video project. Live Fish Aquarium Cam. it's an Android smart phone mounted to the side of a fish tank, with a very angry fish living inside it. (Large Red Devil Cichlid) The goal of the project and camera placement, is to give an underwater like view of the inside of the tank. An up close and personal view of the fish.
Streaming live video with an unused smart phone can be clever. No need for a computer, web cam or wired internet connection. The android phone accepts wifi connection in the house and the camera is built in. Three birds with one stone. If the live fish tank cam generates a reasonable bit of interest, I will upgrade the phone to one with better video quality, as well as a wide angle lens that will extend the view inside the tank.
LIVE FISH TANK CAM
LIVE FRS RADIO PROJECT BORN
Listen to Live FRS Radio. If you like to listen to women talk on radios, this is your outlet.
FRS RADIO TINKERING
FRS Radios, those little walkie talkies you see at the grocery store. When these things first hit the market, quality seemed poor. Range was terrible. You had to spend over fifty dollars to get a decent radio. Those that bought the cheap ones tossed them in a drawer. The FRS band was dead for years.
Years later they have the bugs worked out of the FRS radios. The cheap radios have better performance and reliability. Range has improved drastically by circuit quality, without increasing power. They actually work fairly well, as I will demonstrate.
A few weeks ago I pulled an old FRS radio out of the drawer. I powered it up and immediately heard people talking. Interesting. I changed channels and heard other people talking. More interesting. This gives me an idea for a project. I pulled an old 512mhz limit police scanner out of the closet and hooked it to a line of low loss coax to the roof. Now all I need is an antenna. A quick calculation told me I need an antenna around six inches long, to be tuned to the center of FRS frequencies. I cut a six inch antenna and radials. I soldered the antenna and ground radials directly to an SO-238 connector. I then made one ground radial vertical, allowing me to zip tie the antenna to a three foot wooden dowel rod. Sturdy enough.
I went up on the roof, clamped the wooden rod to a fixture and plugged in the coax to the antenna. Antenna is around 40 feetfrom the ground, house on a hill that is 60 feet taller than surrounding areas. It's up there. I can see for miles from the perspective of all livecbradio.com antennas.
I programmed the 14 frequencies in the first bank of the scanner, so the FRS channel numbers correspond with the scanner's channel numbers. I started scanning. Immediately I am hearing radio traffic. The scanner has a signal strength meter. The people talking are full scale on this meter. Where are they? After a half hour of listening, I figured out they are nurses talking on FRS radios from the care facility, half a mile away from the antenna. Full scale reception at half a mile of distance, their radios inside building.
After about an hour I heard two people talking mobile to mobile. The one told the other to pull in to a certain convenience store. I measured the distance from that school to my house via google maps. 1.2 Miles.
That FRS scanner has been going for a few weeks now. I have heard some strange things. The usual "can anyone hear me?" I hear people using FRS Radiod as a household intercom. The nurses are on there 24 hours a day. "Karen, we need some more cinnamon rolls down here in the break room". I have also heard the voice of middle aged housewives, saying "Is anyone out there?", in a tone like they are looking to tease men. I'm sitting there thinking, I can not believe I am hearing this.
Ironic this new FRS Radio explosion in my area. Five years ago there were people talking on cb radio 24/7, while FRS was a blank. Now local cb radio activity is a near blank, while FRS is more active. This has me tempted to make a "Live FRS Radio" page with it's own live audio.