The Low-Tech Solution to the High-Tech Police State: Pirate Radio
There’s an old joke from the Soviet Union: “you can say anything you want- once!” The underlying meaning, of course, is that after you said it, you would never be heard from again. That is the implicit threat that we face every day, so it seems we’re constantly walking on eggshells. Certain words were not allowed to be said, and certain facts are not allowed to be expressed.
You have an employee who’s constantly sandbagging and incompetent, but you’re not allowed to discipline him or fire him, because he’s a “minority,” and you don’t want to get slapped with a discrimination lawsuit. So instead you tolerate his sub-par performance, and hope he’ll go somewhere else on his own volition.
But of course incompetent, sand-bagging people rarely move on; they are like fat parasites, in that once they find a nice host they never go away. You’re not allowed to talk about the crime statistics by ethnic groups, illegitimate children by ethnic groups, or anything else that might be construed as race-based observations. You’re not allowed to talk about crime rates by political groups or political affiliation. We’re not allowed to expose racist actions by protected ethnic groups against unprotected ethnic groups or demographics (white males). We’re not allowed to speak out against socially abnormal agendas like gay marriage or gays adopting straight children, nor against pedophiles working in our schools and universities.
No, we’re never allowed to say what we really want to say. You go to “alternative” news sites, blogs, to get alternative, unvarnished truth that the mainstream media won’t dare to mention… But do you get the whole, unvarnished truth? Even at such sites as this one, there is still a level of… caginess… regarding what is said. Even here, a supposedly “anonymous” blog, I must couch my words very carefully, lest I get a visit from the secret service or the FBI for saying what I really think.
The reality is that the laws on the books are designed to suppress free speech. Anything which might be construed as challenging the gov’t automatically gets you deemed as a terrorist.
If you really want to push the envelope and speak of revolution, overthrowing the government or in any way holding the corrupt government to account, you will quickly have the secret service and/or the FBI coming down on you like a ton of bricks.
Indeed, that is the entire point of the NSA surveillance program! “Intimidation” is the name; keeping you afraid of speaking out is the game. And since the vast majority of us do our communications not through face-to-face conversations, but through electronic means, that huge net is always ready to scoop us up the moment that we start to question, plan or commence organized resistance to tyranny. Efforts to obtain some semblance of privacy from the NSA automatically makes you a target for the tyrants.
For people to be aware of what is happening, those who are awake and aware of the situation must be able to talk plainly. People need to KNOW the truth about what their government is really doing, without finding out only when they’ve been sold down the river by “their guy.” The government is doing everything they possibly can, to bury the truth; prosecuting whistleblowers, lying, cover-ups, killing journalists critical of them… But we MUST expose them. If nothing else, the public need to know who to stick with the pitchforks (or plug with firearms) when things get “exciting,” and it is absolutely ESSENTIAL bypass mainstream media. Such efforts need to address not only national criminal activity (such as by the den of thieves and whores in D.C., but also the local ones, in your own back yard.
What does it mean, to expose them?
That means calling out corrupt politicians on their crimes. It needs exposing the names of crooked and murdering cops in your local jurisdiction, corrupt judges that ignore the constitution or facilitate child-kidnapping operations (CPS, anyone?), corrupt media who either lie or cover up the truth, corrupt school officials who protect pedophile predators on their staff, and so on… Do it in a public venue that everyone can hear.
Forget about going to your town hall or city council meetings, because they’re controlled by the same corrupted government whores and thieves you want to expose.
Forget about your local media because it is too heavily monitored and therefore too afraid to speak plainly.
Forget about the Internet; most people are busy living their lives, and while they may have time to listen to the radio or have a TV playing in the background, they won’t find you. If they DO find you for local truth, they’ll also know who you are, and you are therefore exposed to retribution from the same criminals that you’re trying to expose.
You need something that public can listen to without inviting additional risk to themselves, for listening to you.
You need to be able to say what needs said without interference by the corrupt establishment, or corrupted media corporations. And your audience needs to be able to receive the information, without risk of retribution from that same corrupt establishment.
Your town, needs a REAL “town crier.”
What is the solution?
Sometimes the response to high technology is low technology.
If you do some research you’ll find out the setting up an FM station through legal channels is extremely expensive, heavily regulated, and quite arbitrary in rules and actual practice. In other words you have to grease a lot of palm’s to get anything done, and then they can still shut you down at anytime they want. What other options are available?
The answer is “pirate radio.” An effective pirate radio station appears relatively easy to setup, and can be effectively done as little as a few hundred dollars, with a transmission radius of a few miles. For a few thousand dollars, you can put one together that will have the transmission radius of 10-15 miles, depending on things like transmitter power, antenna length, height above the ground, and so on.
Are there problems with this idea? Of course. For starters the FCC does not like pirate radio stations; they consider it a nuisance, when they would rather be spending their time on other things. If you have a transmission station, eventually they will find you and demand that you shut down the station. Depending on how many agents they have in your particular jurisdiction, this may take them several months. They have no legal authority to obtain a search warrant; only the ability to issue a cease-and-desist order. Finding a radio transmitter is not a particularly difficult task; radio vans using direction-finding equipment can pinpoint your location in short order, a matter of minutes. But it is for a stationary transmitter. If you transmitter happens to be mobile, DF equipment cannot pinpoint your location.
And here’s where it gets interesting; a mobile transmitter can be installed inside of any car, with a transmission radius of 2-3 miles, with gear that would fit into a medium-sized gym-bag. A large transmitter with sufficient power to be able to transmit over a 20 mile radius can fit into an SUV, van or motor home, allowing for mobile operation. If you do it while applying sufficient operational and personal security protocols, you can say any damn thing you want and they can’t stop you.
Building a pirate radio is surprisingly simple, rather cheap and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. A person who has some basic electrical understanding, the ability to follow instructions and has a modicum of manual dexterity can build a transmitter very easily. If you don’t even want to take that on, you can buy it from transmitters literally off of Ebay, or Free Radio Berkeley. The ones from Berkeley have excellent prices for fully assembled units. There are a variety of websites which go into detail how to put together a small station, there are plenty of videos on youtube, and even local groups that can help.
In my examination, what are the limitations of a mobile system?
- Lower power FM transmitters usually operate on 12 or 24 volts. The cutoff before 12-volt systems are too small, seems to be at ~50 watts of transmission power, which can equate to a transmission radius of ~5 miles on flat ground up to ~13 miles if you’re 50 feet above the surrounding terrain (see here for more details on how to calculate range). When I say the 12-volt DC system is “too small,” it’s merely that larger transmitters use higher voltages, making direct power feed from your cigarette lighter problematic due to wire sizes inside the transmitter (higher voltages allow smaller wire for the same overall power consumption).
- Antenna location: while a very effective antenna can be made to look like a high-quality CB antenna, they are NOT the same. Only a technically savvy person will know the difference, so you could mount one on a rig (with a decent CB radio on the dash) to provide plausible deniability if you’re stopped. Avoiding probable cause is important, here. The bigger problem, as the range chart (here) shows, is that height is the key to good range. FM operates by line-of-sight. Over the horizon transmissions just don’t work. So the higher you are, the further you can transmit. The tradeoff is transmitter power versus height. It takes a $1500 transmitter (at the radio Berkeley store) and 50’ of above-ground altitude, to do what a $450 transmitter can do if on a mountain 1000’ above the surrounding terrain (ceteris paribus). Clearly, there are trade-offs between transmitter power, height and cost. You’ll have to judge for yourself what is the best compromise.
- A higher power transmitter (>50 watts) will require 120VAC or 220VAC power- like you have in your house. This will require a dedicated static inverter (full sine wave operation to avoid radio interference, or RFI) wired into your rig, fed from a bank of batteries and charged from a dedicated charging system. Again, doable, but not particularly easy. Costs for a static inverter from Amazon or EBay run around $200-300 for an oversized unit that will handle a lot of abuse, for a long time.
- Having a mobile system allows one to stay in a specific location for a short period of time- maybe a few hours, or so… If you’re transmission are going to garner the attention of .gov thugs, then plan on shorter stops, or preparing transmissions on your computer, saving to a memory stick/SD card and transmitting while you’re driving (as a prerecorded show).
- Pirate radio stations tend to gather a following of loyal listeners, because they’re on 24×7. This is also what makes them easy for the Feds to find; you’re like a big neon sign that never goes off. If your broadcasts will be gathering unhealthy attention from .gov people, the choices are to go “hit-and-run,” transmitting for short periods of time hoping that someone will hear you, or having a specific time that you’re on, consistently, so that your (hopefully growing listenership) will tune you in at the appropriate time. The former approach is inconsistent; the latter allows the .gov people to know when to look for you using DF trucks- which is why we’re talking about mobile applications, right?
Anyway, I hope this has given you something to think about. I find it deliciously ironic, that this high-tech spy grid the NSA uses, now makes pirate radio- around for nearly 100 years- the logical solution to bypass their surveillance.
Here are some quick links, that might help you as you explore this opportunity. The forums are obviously set up by younger people, but the technical information is solid and useful, even for someone who doesn’t have a background in this area. Also are a few links for some equipment, and free software to help produce a quality radio show.
Finally, please allow me to indulge myself, by posting a quote which really gets to the heart of why we should look at pirate radio:
[W]hile the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.” —V for Vendetta
Also, please do a bit of research on the laws and power the FCC has. I think you’ll be surprised at how poorly funded they are, and how little they have in the way of true power… They are the Barney Fife’s of law enforcement, today.
[Edit] Ham-radio operators typically despise those who don’t join “the club,” by getting a government licence and then talk on equipment that the general public knows nothing about (much less owns and operates). If your comment is along the lines of “that’s silly, just join out ‘club’ so you can debate politics with like-minded people,” you’ve not only missed the boat, you fell off the friggin’ DOCK. The idea is to disseminate information to the public in such a way that they incur no risks by listening, using gear they already have (like the radio in their car or house). Trying to BS me on technical issues, will also get your comments trashed tout d’suite.