NikosE, Australia (PC MAX is
not called ISA MAX)
This is a brief report on some tests with the PC MAX card, during
my recent holidays "down under".
Following my purchase of the PCI MAX unit, I decided to give away
my 2 year-old PC MAX, as a present to a friend.
As this friend of mine lives in a smaller city (Hobart, Australia),
I thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment with the
PC MAX in a less airwave congested environment. The
few public and commercial FM stations in that area are well spaced
apart in the FM band and there is little interference from other
My friends house is situated half way up Mt. Wellington and
has a panoramic view of the western suburbs of Hobart and the coast
further to the south. Ideally, for the purposes of broadcasting,
the choice of a directional antenna would have been the best. However
due to time limitations, we decided to build a quick and dirty GP
aerial, based on PCSs PC MAX guide. Because
the thickest wire we could find had a diameter of only 1.25mm, the
radials would bend down from their own weight; so much for the GP
aerial. We hung up this wiry octopus with a nylon string
at the porch of the house.
The PC MAX card was installed in a PC running WIN XP. There were
some I/O address conflict problems, but those were resolved by changing
the cards I/O address jumper to another position (340H). The
PC MAX software run on WIN XP without a hitch. Finally, the PC MAX
was connected to the antenna with 8m of RG-58. Transmitting frequency
was set to a free spot at about 97MHz, with the card at maximum
Once we had finished with the setup of the micro transmitter, we
got a Winamp (no plugs) playlist started and we took off in the
car to see what was the range of the PC MAX. On our way towards
the coast, the signal would fade in and out, depending if we were
in the TX antennas line-of-sight or not. When in line-of-sight,
the reception of the PC MAX from the cars radio was overall
from good to very good. The only difference of the PC MAX audio
signal with that of commercial stations, was a shallower depth of
modulation and a soft hum that could be slightly heard in between
When we reached the coast (line-of-sight), the PC MAXs audio
loudness - as could be heard on the cars radio, was consistently
good and comparable to that of commercial stations. We also used
a handheld Philips radio to check the signal strength (single red
LED meter). Out of the car, the handheld radio - without its
antenna being extended - would receive the commercial stations and
show full signal strength (brightly lit LED). Our micro station
would be received when only 1 of 5 elements of the radios
telescopic antenna was extended. With the full antenna extended,
the LED signal meter was brightly lit! The casual listener would
not have been able to distinguish our transmission from that of
commercial stations that have output power hundreds of thousands
From a map, we measured the distance between the spot we had stopped
to do the portable radio measurements and the micro transmitter.
It worked out to be about 10Km. The actual range was greater, as
the signal was propagating out in the open sea. Next stop would
have been the Antarctic!
We were impressed by the performance of the PC MAX, especially
considering its micro power and the crappy antenna we were
using. Just goes to show that a well-constructed micro transmitter,
the height of the antenna from the ground and the lack of interference
can give excellent results for line-of-sight reception.
If you're in the market for a PC FM trasmitter, get the PCIMAX
Marko and crew just updated the drivers, and it works sweet! I
get over a half a mile signal with the card, not using the amp!
I did a little field test with this, using my car. I heard it over
a HALF A MILE away! And I have YET to start the 5 watt amp I bought
in the package!
Best investment I have done with the ol' PC since I can remember!
Rock solid transmitting and range. It does sound like a pro FM station!
I will certainly recommend to others. A MUST HAVE in your PC!
UPDATE: We fired up the amp the other night. And lets just say,
I am speechless. Easily a solid 10 mile radius of signal coverage.
Field testing the signal for myself today, I heard for myself, after
taking a cruise in my car, what this thing can do (PCI Max card/5
watt Amp/Comet Antenna package). I heard the rock solid transmittion
3 towns over!
The description of it being good for museums is an OVER KILL! At
the high power setting, and without the amp, they'll still be able
to hear you 3 museums OVER!
Marko, you got a winner with these PC Transmitter cards. I hope
you sell a million of them.
PLAYBOY magazine, June 2002
This is the article that was published in the June issue of the
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