It’s cold and you’re stuck in the car with all of the windows rolled up, looking at the thousands of Christmas lights blinking. You have all of this visual stimulation and you kinda hear Christmas music being played outside but it’s all muffled because of everyone is talking inside the car and the heater is cranked up.
At PlanetChristmas, back in the 90’s we figured out a way to build an FM radio station playing all of your favorite Christmas music. Of course you have to remember, it had a range of only a few hundred feet, but when you’ were watching the lights, you could listen to the same music being played outside and on your fancy radio in the car.
The radio station was really a small transmitter available from Ramsey Electronics. I originally built the FM transmitter from one of their small kits (the FM-10A which cost about $35,) but my biggest problem was output frequency drift. I’d set the unit to transmit at 98.7 in the morning and depending on the weather, temperature, phase of the moon or who-knows-what, the transmit frequency would drift to something like 98.4… the problem is digital radios can only tune to odd numbered frequencies… so people would end up hearing awful sound.
I then purchased Ramsey Electronics fancy, pre-built transmitter (the FM-100 which cost about $500) and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. You just plug it into 110VAC, give it a music source and dial the output frequency you want, no matter what the weather is outside. It takes care of all of the other magic and stays locked to the frequency you select. Highly recommended, but a little pricey if you are on a small budget.
There’s an even better FM transmitter now for less than $150. Think of a reliable device about the size of a deck of playing cards. It’s called the WholeHouseFMTransmitter and is super easy to use. It comes with all sorts of audio and power connectors so no trips to Radio Shack should be needed. Just tune into a clear frequency and you should be good to go. One suggestion though. The antenna is a piece of wire hanging from the unit. Stretch out that antenna fully and orient it in the same direction as a typical cat antenna (meaning pointing straight up).
The music played around the old PlanetChristmas display when the display wasn’t active was from 5 GBytes of MP3 music… all digitized from about 60 Christmas CD’s I’ve bought over the years. OtsJuke was used as the jukebox with roughly 60 hours of music before it repeated itself. Otsjuke took care of mixing the songs, inserting PlanetChristmas commercials and processing the audio for maximum punch while broadcasting. Nice program and highly recommended.
Home broadcasting equipment can be found at the following:
- Whole House FM Transmitter at www.wholehousefmtransmitter.com/
- HLLY Electronics at www.hllyelectronics.com
- L.D. Brewers internet radio site at www.ldbrewer.com
- Broadcast Warehouse at www.broadcastwarehouse.com
- Hobbyton at www.hobbytron.net/fm_transmitter.html
- Pan-Com International at www.panaxis.com
- The FM Store at www.fmstore.com
Want to record a PlanetChristmas Promo?
How do record a promotion for PlanetChristmas Radio?
PlanetChristmas has a 24 hour micro-radio station. Now is your chance to record a promo that will be played between songs! Simply record the script below using your voice on you PC and email it to PlanetChristmas.
“Merry Christmas from (your name) in (city, state and/or country). Ho, Ho, Ho!”