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Experiences With The Whole House 2.0 Transmitter

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Experiences With The Whole House 2.0 Transmitter

I picked one of these up used on e-bay for a good price.  It's the right size for what I want to use it for, and it is Part 15 certified.  It is also RSS210 certified in Canada - RSS210 is pretty much identical to Part 15 but for one small caveat.  RSS210 cannot be used for broadcasting - for that, you need to use BETS.  The basic technical requirements for BETS are the same as in RSS210, but BETS allows 4 times the field strength of RSS210 in the FM broadcast band.

And here is where it gets complicated.  There is no BETS certification.  You can only get RSS210 certified transmitters.  If Industry Canada stops around to inspect your broadcasting studio, you have to show BETS compliance only.  If your transmitter is RSS210 certified, then by default it is BETS compliant, and you are also allowed to increase your field strength up to 4 times that of RSS210.

With the legal stuff out of the way, I was very impressed with the sound quality of the Whole House 2.0.  I really couldn't tell the difference between it in mono mode and my Decade MS-100.  I used a quality USB AC adapter (not one of those dollar store el cheapo's) to power it via its USB port and I noticed no hum (you can also use batteries or plug the USB into a computer, but I didn't attempt either).  I do all my audio processing external to any transmitter I use, so I didn't even bother to use the AGC.  Much has been made about this transmitter being prone to overmodulating, but I didn't find that was the case.  The input control on the Whole House is fairly coarse, so I just put it on the setting where it started to distort, and then backed off the volume on the audio chain side.  In doing that, I was able to get a clean, undistorted signal transmitted that was as loud as anything else on the FM band.

Now, the Whole House comes with an antenna extension kit for countries other than the U.S. that may have more liberal rules. In another review, with that kit installed, the field strength of the transmitter was 1000uv/m at 3 meters - exactly the maximum allowed in BETS.  I don't have the required instruments to measure field strength, but I did notice a definite signal increase with the antenna lengthened, and it appeared to approximate the range obtained by my BETS compliant Decade transmitter.

The build quality of the Whole House is definitely not up to the standards of the Decade, or my other FM transmitter, the Landmark FM-350 (both Part 15 and RSS210 certified).  It is made out of lightweight plastic, and looks and feels cheap.  But then, it costs a fraction of the Decade and the Landmark.  I noted that the LCD panel was not fitted on straight, but I don't know if that was a vagarity of my particular unit, or standard across the product line.  I also don't know how long the transmitter would hold up under continuous 24/7 transmitting - you certainly wouldn't want to give it a bump of any kind.

It was fun to test this out, but I don't think it will replace my Decade.  I wanted to put a transmitter on a window sill, but the lengthened wire antenna is very long, and it just won't fit vertically extended (my townhouse complex doesn't allow any sort of outside antennas).  I think I'm going to put my Decade on the 3rd floor on top of a dresser overlooking the window and see what kind of range I can get there (it's pretty poor right now on the first floor).

All in all, the Whole House is a great transmitter for those who want to get into FM microbroadcasting on a limited budget, either in Canada or the U.S. (those in the U.S., of course, can't use the antenna extension kit legally).  New ones go for about $150 on e-bay at a buy-it-now price, and the seller also usually has several on auction that go for anywhere between $100-$150.

I'm probably also going to sell the one I have in the near future.

Reply to #1 wholehouse 2

If this is a 2 model and not 3, instead of the lengthing of the antenna wire leave it at the 6" length it comes with and inside the battery compartment if you look carefully in the top right corner you will see a switch.....this is a power selector switch and in the high power position with the stock antenna should bring you to the 1000uV/meter@3 meters without the inconvenience of the long wire.

Mark

Transmitters should all come

Transmitters should all come with audio AGC-limiters I think, it's one of the last great glaring needs in the market of small hobby transmitters. First it was frequency stability way back, then we got crystal control, then good FM stereo and we got new chips. The biggest complaint I see these days in the media is about distorted, overmodulated signals that overlap others, lots of articles mention this.

ALC is on every cheap video camera now, and some of them work well with music. At least transmitters could have some kind of an LED that flashes with overloads.

I have seen the new Whole House on FMazon, with lots of glaringly good reviews, and I don't believe, so it's good to see a real user's opinion.

Thanks Mark.  I wasn't aware

Thanks Mark.  I wasn't aware of that switch.  I'll try it and compare the range to what I got with the lengthened antenna wire & my Decade.  This might just work out yet.

Nate, I don't necessarily

Nate, I don't necessarily disagree with you.  But if you do audio processing (compression, limiting, etc.) before the transmitter like I do, AGC isn't really necessary.  It's just necessary to make sure that you're not overdriving the transmitter with the input - once that's set, everything should be OK.

All the reviews I've read indicate that the AGC on the Whole House 2 doesn't do much, if anything.  I just wanted to point out that it wasn't something that I was concerned with, and didn't attempt to try it out.

I'd like to see some sort of

I'd like to see some sort of auto level control, and maybe with higher quality transmitters in the hobby line it could be switched on or off, like if you had external processing.

They seem to blame the operator in the media when our higher powered brothers overmodulate and interfere, and I think there's some of that, but I found it can be hard to set the right modulation levels on FM. AM seems to hit the wall faster, where the signal will clip and you can hear it and it will spread out on the radio 2-3 channels away.

I'm not at beginner level, but I still have trouble with setting FM at times. With a highly modulated signal, the tuners seem to take it in all different ways, you can have it extremely high on one radio with low distortion, but another radio will sound bad. Worst case was a distant radio where the signal sounded like it disappeared into static on high audio, like the signal wasn't even there, but song fades were excellent as the audio came down some!

New operators might not even know that licensed stations process real hard, and there's no way to be even half as loud without limiting, at least that's what I've found, and it depends on the recordings, new or old, and type of voice.

The way I got to the bottom of it was to hook up a decent tuner to the audio in on the computer, then open audio editing software that has peak meters in it, like Audacity, Audition, Sound Force. The tuner is set to a strong local station then input set to peak at 0db. Tune to your transmitter and see what you have, try different program material types, just get the feel of it through listening and adjusting, and you'll kind of get an understanding of what a good level is and sounds like.

Reply to #6

Nate Crime.....Some transmitters DO have compression/limiting on dynamics.

On AM the sstran transmitters have onboard compression which is adjustable....also http://www.ebay.com/itm/AM-Stereo-C-QUAM-Transmitter-refurbished-/131527... a look at this.

On FM the Panaxis ACC-100 which is now sold by Progressive concepts has a separate on board compressor/limiter which can be added to the mono model or included on the stereo model. Also the Ccrane FM 2 model has on board limiting if you look at the spec sheet for the chip they are using. A lab review of this can be found at Hobbybroadcaster.

But it's easy to get a used compressor like the small Alesis and put it in between the sound source and the transmitter.

 

Mark

The Whole House 3.0 also has

The Whole House 3.0 also has a secret High Power Mode for Canada too Hold down the cycle button + Mute fore about 10 seconds or until you see the lightning bolt.  You'll be in High Power Mode.  I'm thinking it would be 100mW but I'm sure that little "Secret power mode" is for Canada lol.  Hope you folks in Canada have a great time with that.

 

Some of us are petitioning the FCC for 1 Watt max for non licensed part 15 stations.  I do believe 1 watt is a safe standard as you have to keep these cheap Radio's in mind because they will receive any STRONG FM station throughout the entire dial.  Had a Panasonic Boom Box that done that on commercial stations when I lived in Lansing, Michigan.  Knowing this I know for a fact 1 Watt will interfere with a cheap boom box for about 10-20 feet from it before it goes normal.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

"Some of us are petitioning

"Some of us are petitioning the FCC for 1 Watt max"

Wish you luck! you're up against the big corporations who have lots of money and a lot more influence. But you are right, 1 watt and a good antenna system will screw up everyones cheap clock radios all around you. A good reason why you have a big mountain to climb in your fight for that much power to be legal.

Although, in New Zealand, that is the legal limit but you have to inform the government where you are and your frequency and you can't interfere with other radios or you have to turn the power down or stop.

Mark

Mark that is what we're

Mark that is what we're adding to the petition.  first when I talk about 1 watt I'm talking an Indoor Antenna aka Rubber Duck, metal whip.  With thoas antenna's you CAN got 1-2 miles on the Ground Floor (That is plenty of power to have fun and not raise hell).  You should get listeners at that power as it will cover your neighboorhood, outside strip mall, business loop, camp ground, fairground.  Its more than fair to allow the stock rubber duck antenna and 1 watt.  I don't think in my opinion people should be running ground panes on FM because this is what gets MOST people in TROUBLE even @ 250 Uv/M power.  Someone see's an outside antenna and has the slightest bit of interferience they instead of asking Johnny Smith "Can you please turn down your transmitter's power?" will call the police and complain "Hey Johnny Smith is cutting in on my reception and I know where he is!!"  Then its only a matter of time till you get a swat team at your door with guns blazing.

 

I also think NO FM Transmitter should be sold to anyone under 18.  They should show ID to the company they are buying it from or have a way to verify their age.  Again Johnny Smith starts swearing over the air and he's just some punk from the gutter.  So there should be some common sense when giving a transmitter to a kid.  They in my book should NOT be allowed to have them.  They are for Adults not children.  (Unless the under aged person is a Ham Operator).

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

Shared Experience

At KDX Worldround Radio we use a Wholehouse 2.0 FM Transmitter as our audio editing channel, monitored a few feet away on a C.Crane Radio Plus, and the audio quality compares with a C.Crane FM Transmitter which has also been tried.

The carrier signal strengths between the two transmitters are identical when viewed in the next room on our spectrum analyzer.

Adding a 1/4-wave vertical antenna to the Wholehouse 2.0 has almost no affect.

The secret switch, which on our Wholehouse 2.0 was concealed by a round paper sticker in the battery compartment, when switched gives a sizable boost to the signal strength.

Carl Blare

Well I hope that only

Well I hope that only allowing transmitters to be sold to people over 18 would help, it might stop some punk kids, but you know others are going to pay off their older brother to sneak a transmitter to them or put it on mom's money card, look at how many kids can get cigarettes these days! All a kid has to do is give some of his allowance or birthday money to mom and say buy this, and I think that any kid who is resourceful enough to even think about broadcasting AM-FM probably would be smart enough to score a transmitter.

I started doing radio underage, way under, getting kits to build my own from Radio Shack, and parents didn't even know what I was getting into. I've been a lifelong radiohead since then, something I go one and off with, and it always calls me back.

That's the thing, maybe kids should be allowed to start with a kit, and low power only, like where I put together a tiny transmitter and could hear it on the stereo in the house, and go out to dad's car and listen outside. That was a cheap thrill that probably shouldn't be denied a kid, and a good foundation on how to learn and manage your radio station properly, using just enough modulation to keep the volume high, without overloading, the less chance of harming other stations around you. By the time you get to adult power leveels, you'll know a lot about radio and what it can do.

I heave heard that some of the FM modulator chips do have limiters, but haven't seen specs on how much they actually control the sound, and how accurate to 100 percent modulation they are.

There could be some kind of indicator, like a tri-color LED, I've seen them on junk store tape decks from 20 years ago, green for normal, yelllow getting close to full, and then red flashes for overload, very simple, if makers could adapt that to transmitters.

There's a company called Vastec that's doing things using an all digital mini FM transmitter at vastint.com, the hifi-fmt, available on Ebay. It's a transmitter that uses digital signal processing to generate the signal, and allows the maximum modulation to be set exactly, it just won't deviate past what you set it for, apparently. The skill level is that anyone can set it up and use it, but intermediate do advanced users will get the most out of it.

Well, it turns out that the

Well, it turns out that the switch was already in the high power position for my Whole House 2 transmitter, but I also screwed up the attaching of the long wire extension antenna.  So the end result was that the transmitter was at 1000uv/m @ 3 meters already, and that compared with the range obtained from the Decade.  I guess I could attempt to reattach the extension antenna, but then that would likely put me over the legal limit for Canada (and it's inconvenient to have that long wire at the best of times).

My guess is that the previous owner immediately removed that sticker and bumped up the power.  That's the problem with 'secret' power switches and adjustments - they're never secret for very long, and it's very tempting to use them where you're not supposed to.

I still think that I'll keep the Decade.

Yes I remember the kits as a

Yes I remember the kits as a kid and getting other people to help me with putting one together since I don't see well.  It also gives a person a basic understanding of how to read a schematic diagram.  You'll be surprised now a days folks passing collage classes on how to repair computers, but they can't read a schematic diagram.  My stepson who took corses at Granthem can't read a schematic diagram and build a FM Transmitter.  I told him before I got mine Hey I have a project for you I'm gonna have you build me a Ramsey FM Transmitter and I'm gonna buy it.  I tried to pull up some schematics and he had no clue.  I even said Hey I'm gonna buy a Belkin and have you modify it with the speaker wire so I can actually transmit.  Even showed him the video on Youtube.  He still didn't know if he could do it.  I told him that I don't know who his electronics teacher was but you should know how to mod the Belkin for if I were sighted I could do it.

 

Kids now days aren't as responsible as they were in my day.  However some are.  I saw on Youtube a kid with the Sainsonic AX-05B and he actually knew how to not over modulate it.  He probably was 12-13 at best.  Very surprising to me.  His Dad must have taught him well.  I also seen one who had one and was talking about games but he knew his was not certified.  This was when it had the BNC connector and before it was revised.  He too was very good about telling others Don't Turn the volume past the screw on the left corner and keep your computer at 50% or just below it and you won't over modulate it.  I can tell when I over modulate mine.  the S words will Hiss on the side while the mono voice in the center does not.  I lower the modulation and the SSS sound is gone.  Some punk would not care and God knows.  Yes the newer units do have some over modulation protection, but you still have to use common sense when you operate it.  You can still overmodulate the AX-05B you have to be careful with it.  If you are careful it sounds very professional and does not cause havoc.  Mabe I'd start a child with a Belkin (unmodified) Tunecast and teach hom how to first not overmodulate it.  Then give him maybe a C. Crane.  It only goes 30-50 feet at best without the mod.  Then if he's good I'd graduate him to the Whole House, Ramsey or SainSonic AX-05B.  the more powerful ones you should not give them right away.  I do have to say though tht the father of both children has taught them well.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

Oh yea I forgot about what i

Oh yea I forgot about what i was gonna say about the modulation meter idea.  My old JVC tape deck had that.  Green was good and Red your getting over.  0dB was the center and then it had +3 and +6.  If it faintly flashed to +3 it was accpable.  But the object was to get the modulation just below where that +3 flashed.  Pretty cool.  So too it could be on these transmitters.  Doesn't the Ramsey have that?  the C.Crane though low power has a red light on the FM2.  The Whole House only has the lines that tell you how high you have the input level set to.  As far as the AGC of the 2.0 it does not work per a scope shown on Youtube.  The 3.0 has it right in the chip not separate but God knows how that actually works.  I'm sure its better than nothing.  Even that Belkin Tunecast has a limiter but it sucks.  That transmitter is about the worst thing I've ever heard.  The older ones were not bad only they only went 10 inches from the receiver's antenna no kidding.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

Reply to #13 wholehouse 2

Artisan, The wholehouse is not in the league of the Decades....the CM-10 included which I have and use. I'm sure that with a little duct tape and a small windowsill you can install the Decade just fine....or maybe if you have the newer one, not the plastic case model you sold me, it may be kinda heavy...a stool or table near the window would work and the antenna would extend up in front of the window.

But the CM-10 would be perfect! Where there's a will there's a way!...or so I've heard. Good luck.

 

Mark

 

The SainSonic AX-05B is the

The SainSonic AX-05B is the same size as the Decade for those that don't know.  Depending on how big your window is you should get the SainSonic AX-05B near it too.  I think the Whole House FM Transmitter 3.0 is a harder plastic but it was the reason I didn't want that transmitter.  Me being legally Blind if I were to have accidentally dropped it one time that would be the end of it.  I'm sue the SainSonic would break too if it fell on the TNC connector.  But I'm not planning on dropping it.  But say if it happened if it fell straight down say from a desk to the floor and didn't hit the connector or the two volume nobs you may have a chance it didn't break.  But again accidents do happen and I'm a big fan of a metal transmitter also because it keeps interference from getting into the TX.  Good ham gear is made of metal too.  I don't see too many plastic ham gear unless its very hard plastic like the Motorola HT's.  I'd love to see Motorola start making part 15 FM transmitters it would be mint and very durable too.  They do stand behind their equipment probably better than SainSonic would.  If that transmitter went bad good look getting it fixed I say cuz I'm sure they would tell you to buy a new one.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

Whole House Mk 2 FM-Tx

<p>I tried this unit in its "as shipped" condition and was rather disapponted. Then I found the "Secret Switch" mentioned a few times on this site and used it -&gt; o.k city-range increased to about 50 yards (on an unused frequency) but the transmission went into the mains and got hum-modulated. Then I put 3 AA cells into it - while still using a Samsung charger as 5V power supply -&gt; results became a lot cleaner. Then I used a lappy (connected to its own high-quality power supply) as a power source -&gt; now the signal is not only strong but also clean and hum-free ;)</p><p>I find that the AVC inside this transmitter is barely good enough to prevent essing on mono but on stereo transmission I had to reduce the input to 3 bars on the display and cut all audio above 14kHz with the in-built equalizer in the lappy to avoid essing on speech. Note that an FM tuner needs 20dB more signal strength at the aerial to reproduce a stereo broadcast with the same s/n ratio as a monaural one.</p><p>The batteries inside the unit are not used, actually they could be flat - it's just their metal mass that offers a good counterweight to the 5/8 Lambda aerial wire (hung from the ceiling). The USB charger is also poisoned by the RF and modulates my signal with hum and sizzling. The lap-top computer (which also provides the audio signal) does not seem to suffer from the stray-RF and does not detract from its quality. Under the abovementioned conditions the Whole House&nbsp; 2.0 is very satisfactory indeed...</p>

What we know now we didn't know then

Artisan said:

"I picked one of these up used on e-bay for a good price.  It's the right size for what I want to use it for, and it is Part 15 certified.  It is also RSS210 certified in Canada - RSS210 is pretty much identical to Part 15 but for one small caveat.  RSS210 cannot be used for broadcasting - for that, you need to use BETS.  The basic technical requirements for BETS are the same as in RSS210, but BETS allows 4 times the field strength of RSS210 in the FM broadcast band.

And here is where it gets complicated.  There is no BETS certification.  You can only get RSS210 certified transmitters.  If Industry Canada stops around to inspect your broadcasting studio, you have to show BETS compliance only.  If your transmitter is RSS210 certified, then by default it is BETS compliant, and you are also allowed to increase your field strength up to 4 times that of RSS210."

We now found out different LOL!

Sometimes when these old threads come up again what was assumed then has changed as we gather new facts.

Still hard to believe we missed that with RSS-210 about the field strength if FM modulation and odd frequencies and BETS-1 certifying.

 

 

Mark

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