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Radio Redditch vs TomTom MP3 broadcast

Redditch has a new radio station called Radio Redditch. It broadcasts on 87.9Mhz FM (VHF). I am a fan of local radio stations and I think Redditch is in an ideal situation for a local radio station. There are a number of radio stations that can be received in Redditch, but before Radio Redditch none really provided the local focus on Redditch. The main stations are:

  • Touch FM – Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Cotswold
  • BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester
  • BRMB – Birmingham
  • Radio Wyvern – Worcester

The issue is the frequency that they’ve been allocated 87.9 Mhz which is the one frequency that up till now I’ve been able to use my TomTom MP3 radio broadcast.

Radio frequencies are managed by Ofcom and it seams that the number of available frequencies is reducing.

I have a TomTom GO 730 which includes an MP3 player which can broadcast to an in-car radio using a low power FM transmitter. This provides similar functionality to the iPod fm transmitters that were one of the driving forces behind the change in law to allow low power transmitters in 1996.

These transmitters work quite well as long as there are no other transmitters in range on that same frequency. If there is another transmitter then the signal becomes garbled or you may end up with a situation where part of each signal is being received.

The TomTom allows you to select any frequency in the FM range, but normally a frequency at the extreme of the FM is the best bet to avoid the commercial radio stations. This is particularly important when driving around (as you are likely to be doing if you have a TomTom) as whilst you can usually find a gap locally chances are some other radio station is likely to be at or near that frequency. 87.9 FM is the very bottom of the range so is not used much by commercial radio stations, although that seams to be changing.

Low power transmitters are very convenient if you can find a free frequency, but finding that free frequency is getting harder, which is a shame so soon after they have actually become legal. Hopefully in future car stereos will act as a virtual bluetooth headphone or similar, but until then low power transmitters can still be useful as long as you can find a free frequency in the area you drive in the most.

Good luck to Radio Redditch in its future plans to obtain a permanent broadcast license.

4 Responses to “Radio Redditch vs TomTom MP3 broadcast”

  1. Stewart Watkiss (stewartwatkiss) 's status on Wednesday, 04-Nov-09 23:40:55 UTC - Identi.ca Says:

    […] Radio Redditch vs. low power radio transmitters (iPods / TomTom) http://www.watkissonline.co.uk/wordpress/?p=2279 […]

  2. » Radio Redditch and Kingfisher FM – Trying to get a full time radio license for Redditch - Watkissonline Says:

    […] I’ve been listening to Radio Redditch recently after I discovered the station broadcasting on the same frequency as my TomTom MP3 in-car radio transmitter. See: Radio Redditch vs TomTom MP3 broadcast […]

  3. Stewart Says:

    For more on the official status of in-car radio transmitters see Short distance broadcast to be legal in the UK – e.g. Tunecast which I posted back in 2006.

  4. Stewart Says:

    I have since got an in-car radio transmitter for my new iPod Nano 5G. Although it will almost certainly suffer the same problems at the bottom end of the spectrum if Radio Redditch or Kingfisher FM start transmitting again, the iPod transmitter works great at the top end of the FM frequencies (107.x).

    I think that part of the problem I have with getting a good signal is that the TomTom doesn’t work at the top end of the frequency range as it does at the lower end. The TomTom does work at the top end, but the quality is very poor, which may be due to it’s limited signal strength and the position of the sat-nav in relation to the radio aerial.


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