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Thread: Weirdest Topic Ever

  1. #1
    Darth Vader glemon's Avatar
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    Weirdest Topic Ever

    I am up in my computer room, we have a little 9" old style CRT TV in there, it has a built in VCR that no longer works, when I am in the room at night and everything is quiet I sometimes hear talking or music. Very quiet, but audible, I always figured it was the kids TV in the other room, it is coming out of the old TV, which is plugged in, but is not on, and does not have a radai, I put my ear up to it and heard the call letters of a local FM station. I know my dad had a radio that would pull in a stations and you could listen in an earplug without batteries, but this is still too weird. Explanations or similar stories? ? ?

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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Sounds like the components are in there that form a rudimentary radio receiver. When I was a kid (around 8yo) we all started hearing voices as we sat around the Kitchen table one night. At first we thought there was someone outside our kitchen window talking, but after a while, we found that it was a radio station that was emanating from a certain point on our kitchen table. It was a formica top table with a metal rim around it. The sound was coming out right at the point on the edge of the table where the two halves of the table come together. It was the weirdest thing. Probably something like THIS going on.
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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Any chance your FM station also broadcasts in AM?

    With AM, all it takes to make a crude receiver is something that acts as a rectifier, which can be just a poor connection of copper wire. Copper oxide (that brown stuff that forms when copper is exposed to air for a long time) is actually a semiconductor of sorts, so can form an AM detector.

    Lotta years ago, I ran a headphone extension the length of the house (from the console stereo in the front room to my bedroom in the back); and it would pick up the local AM radio station. There have also been stories over the years of people whose braces would pick up (AM) radio stations, though some sort of contact acting as a detector.

    "Back when". a first electronics project might be a crystal diode radio receiver with no power supply and the only active component being a crystal with a "cat whisker" probe. The other components were just to allow it to be tuned (rather than just responding to the strongest signal).
    Google for "cat whisker diode" and you'll get lots of hits. Here's one I particularly enjoyed, talking about how POWs in WWII made radios from rusty razor blades
    http://www.ehow.com/how_8669810_create-diode.html
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    If my memory serves me correctly, FM radio broadcasts in the same basic frequencies as old analogue TV, or rather they use what was originally intended to be channel 1. probably something is a little bit leaky in the power supply allowing enough power for the tuning circuit to pick up and amplify signals which are very close to what it is designed to pick up.

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    Moderator Mickey Richaud's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Yep. The low end of the FM band is 87.9MH. I think TV channel 6 is somewhere around 88MH. At least I do remember being able to pick up channel 6 back in Shreveport at the low end of my FM receiver.
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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Err, ummm, exactly what are the voices from the box in the darkened room telling you to do?
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    Great Pumpkin DNK's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    For some reason I am thinking the movie Poltergeist
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    Darth Vader glemon's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSmit View Post
    Err, ummm, exactly what are the voices from the box in the darkened room telling you to do?
    "Buy more British Cars" "Buy more British Cars"

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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by TR3driver View Post
    Any chance your FM station also broadcasts in AM?

    With AM, all it takes to make a crude receiver is something that acts as a rectifier, which can be just a poor connection of copper wire. Copper oxide (that brown stuff that forms when copper is exposed to air for a long time) is actually a semiconductor of sorts, so can form an AM detector.

    Lotta years ago, I ran a headphone extension the length of the house (from the console stereo in the front room to my bedroom in the back); and it would pick up the local AM radio station. There have also been stories over the years of people whose braces would pick up (AM) radio stations, though some sort of contact acting as a detector.

    "Back when". a first electronics project might be a crystal diode radio receiver with no power supply and the only active component being a crystal with a "cat whisker" probe. The other components were just to allow it to be tuned (rather than just responding to the strongest signal).
    Google for "cat whisker diode" and you'll get lots of hits. Here's one I particularly enjoyed, talking about how POWs in WWII made radios from rusty razor blades
    http://www.ehow.com/how_8669810_create-diode.html
    Instructions:
    http://<a href="http://www.youtube.c...74vXCou57s</a>

    Kinda cool:

  10. #10

    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    poltergeist-theyre-here.jpg

    Are there any tall radio towers nearby?
    there was a FM 1 and a FM 2 band, I should know this??? think we are using FM2 88-108. FM 1 / TV Channel 1 / Military FM were all close together and caused lots of interference between each other so the Military got that spot to themselves.

  11. #11
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil View Post
    When I was a kid (around 8yo) we all started hearing voices as we sat around the Kitchen table one night.
    Same here but I'm on meds now.

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    Darth Vader glemon's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    I did know about the cat whisker radios, my grandfather told me about building one in the early 1900s

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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Up here in the Schenectady (Albany - Troy) area of NY, we've had a Channel 6 since the 1940s (when they moved up from Channel 4). Until the switch to digital, one could get the sound on 87.7 FM. After the switch to digital, they tried to continue broadcasting audio on 87.7 until the FCC decided against it for whatever reason.

    For whatever that's worth.
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    First time I encountered something like this was somewhere along I-20 coming out of Atlanta, Ga heading West. I heard it as plain as day coming out of my CB radio, people talking! The CB radio was turned off! There's a place driving from I-95 to Myrtle Beach that, at times, will actually turn the truck radio on for a few seconds, even lights up and as fast as it came it shuts off. Really scary the first time it happened. There is a super high emission of electrical energy around that area of some kind. I often wondered if it was harmful. Could have been ghosts, there was a civil war battle there a "few" years before I got there! PJ

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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    When I used to race at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway,
    one of the local radio stations would come over the PA system.The tower was
    nearby.

    - Doug
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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by AngliaGT View Post
    When I used to race at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway,
    one of the local radio stations would come over the PA system.The tower was
    nearby.

    - Doug
    We had the same at a church I served - Taxi Calls! coming out of the sound system
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    Darth Vader glemon's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Ok, based on others experiences maybe it wasn't the weirdest topic ever, but fun to hear the other stories, I don't have any radio towers within several miles, but the station I appear to be getting is a strong local signal, I have since monitored it a little more closely, doesn't happen all the time, guess conditions must be right. I remember I had an old AM transistor radio as a kid, would try to see the farthest (distance) station we could tune in, always seemed to work better, Kansas City (200 miles or so) was easy, sometimes further away on a good night.

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Doesn't have to be all that close by. The station I picked up with the headphones was relatively low power (5kW IIRC) and the tower was 10-15 miles away (well outside of town and on top of a hill).

    AM does carry a lot better at night. The signal literally bounces off the ionosphere, allowing it to carry around the curvature of the earth. ("skywave effect")
    In fact, small stations like that one were required to cut back on transmission power at night, to avoid interfering with other stations. (The station engineer was a friend of mine, I tagged along more than once when he drove out to check the power.) Some of the bigger stations had a "clear channel" license (not to be confused with Clear Channel Communications) that allowed them to stay at full power (generally 50kW, again IIRC) and could be heard for hundreds of miles. On a clear night, I could get the station in Atlanta, over 500 miles away, on my antique (even then) tube radio.
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by glemon View Post
    I remember I had an old AM transistor radio as a kid, would try to see the farthest (distance) station we could tune in, always seemed to work better, Kansas City (200 miles or so) was easy, sometimes further away on a good night.

    All I remember is "Maude's Gospel Singing Convention" or something like that.

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    Great Pumpkin DrEntropy's Avatar
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    Re: Weirdest Topic Ever

    Built a cats whisker radio when I was about ten or eleven, had a Hallicrafters SX-99 in my bedroom, too. Could find AM stations from all over the east coast and midwest. On other bands I had more fun, got QSL cards from BBC London and Radio Moscow.

    I admit, puberty onset skewed my curiosity into other areas... and an AM transistor radio was much more portable and cooler than the Hallicrapters to most girls at the time.

    Still have the Hallicrafters, kind of a curio now, tho.
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