Thursday, October 28, 2010

While tuning around 1600 kHz I heard a very weak AM signal ...

Q Larry, K0LWV, asks, “While tuning around 1600 kHz I
heard a very weak AM signal that appeared to be repeating
an announcement about a house for sale nearby. Is this
kind of thing legal?”

A So-called “Talking House” transmitters generate the signals you are hearing, and they are becoming popular among realtors.

When a house comes on the market, the seller’s real estate agent may install one of these transmitters to continuously broadcast a sales pitch about the home. The sign on the front lawn invites drivers to tune to a particular frequency to hear the broadcast. Talking House transmitters are FCC Part 15 devices that do not require licenses to own and operate. (They are in the same class as AM and FM “wireless microphones.”) The Talking House units typically operate above 1600 kHz and have an output of 100 mW or less. Their range is limited to about 1500 feet. Believe it or not, some hard-core broadcast-band DXers attempt to receive these signals at much greater distances, although their success varies!

From QST January 2001