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Car Radio Transmitters

Turn every car into mini, traveling radio stations
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

In many parts of the country, the selection of radio stations is just not adequate. For people who don't have the ability to listen to a tape or CD or have already exhausted their selection, there should be a way to listen to what other people in the other cars are listening to.

Each car should transmit a weak radio signal of whatever they are playing over the stereo (as long as they're not listening to a radio station, or course), so other's driving near them can pick up the signal and listen along. You could pull up near other cars, take a listen to what they're listening to and stick close if you like what you hear. This would also work if several cars are caravaning somewhere. If one car has a cool CD, they could listen to it, and as long as the other cars stayed fairly close, everyone could listen to it at once.

I'm not sure exactly how this would work, but I imagine every car stereo could be assigned one of a number of radio frequencies to broadcast over (minimizing the chances of getting two cars near each other of the same frequency muddling the signal for those trying to listen to just one of them). This frequency could be displayed fairly large on the back and sides of the car for others to tune in over the radio to listen in.

This adds all sorts of new listening options while traveling long distances. There could also be a feature built in that would add microphones to allow people to talk to people nearby over the radio. I realize that feature is similar to using a CB radio, and that it already exists. I just think this would be another cool thing to add to the stereo radio transmitter as a different way to do the same thing.

[This idea also depends on most people still listening to tapes and CD's on their stereo. If everyone is trying to listen to everyone else and not playing anything, then there would be nothing to hear.]

smizzou, Aug 01 2001


       O PeterSealy, interference doesn't Bake this. Jeez. But smizzou, you'd have to work out some sort of networking protocol to keep nearby cars playing all sorts of different choons from overrunning each other's signals. Could be done, though, and it's a neat idea. In the US the FCC would probably rupture its regulatory body trying to write new rules.
Dog Ed, Aug 01 2001

       What he said. I DON'T want to listen to other people's music. Some of us can settle for silence.
StarChaser, Aug 04 2001

       Then, perhaps, Starchaser, we could get everyone to broadcast silence on their car radio transmitters. That way you'd be happy, happy, happy. It seems a bit complex but, where there's a will . . .
bristolz, Aug 04 2001

       This would probably be considered music sharing. Record companies would probably buy some law making people who do this sort of thing criminals... Nice idea though.
sdm, Aug 05 2001

       Don't worry Dog Ed. The FCC already has all they control they need to keep this idea from taking off (too bad, really, since it IS a neat idea).   

       Printed on nearly every electronic device I own: "This device complies with Part 15 of FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) this device may not cause harmful interference and (2) this device must accept any interference that may be received, including interference that my cause undesired operation."   

       Is it me or do the two conditions seem rather unfair? Smizzou's idea appears to fall into the first subsection, although it's basis for existance is stated in the second. Ahh, what the fine print giveth, the fine print taketh in the very next sentence.
Lucky_Setzer, Aug 05 2001

       Bristolz, I'd be happy if they just kept their music to themselves. Is it -really- necessary to play something stupid with a lot of bass loudly enough that people 100 yards away, on the second floor of an office building, in a room with no outside windows, get headaches?
StarChaser, Aug 05 2001

       It was my understanding that [smizzou]'s idea wasn't a forced listening, it was a, "hey, I can kinda hear what that guy a car over is listening to and I was wondering what it really sounds like so I'll tune into his car" type of idea. If that is so then if you didn't want to listen to what everyone is playing on their CD players or Tape Decks then just roll your windows up and turn what you want on (or off as the case may be.) If you can’t tune into the guy’s transmission, you should know that they aren’t listing to a CD and that you should be able to tune into the radio station that they are listening to. Also, I was thinking that it might be kind of unsightly to have stickers on the front/back of the car to let everyone know your broadcasting station. What if all cars of the same color/model have the same broadcasting station? I know that there are tons of black ford pick-ups on the road, but as [smizzou] said, it is just for a short distance and not over the rest of the state. What are the odds of sitting next to two or more black ford pick-ups in traffic and then, what are the odds of both of them listening to a CD?   

       On a side note, there was a whole slew of ideas for car features in Mad Magazine way back in the 60’s. One of the ideas was to be able to tune into a neighboring car’s radio. I always thought it was a good idea so [smizzou], I give you a baked good!
barnzenen, Aug 06 2001

       This sounds a good idea that would allow you to hear another's choice of music and maybe better understand your fellow commuter. It even might promote "road togetherness" and commuter communities.
Aristotle, Aug 07 2001

       It's just as likely to promote 'He's driving a [insert model of car] *and* he's listening to [insert genre of music]. No wonder he's driving like a jerk.'
angel, Aug 07 2001

       "Why do VW drivers always listen to feckin' Travis?"
-alx, Aug 07 2001

       I crashed a VW once when a Ricky Martin song came on the radio. I still don't know whether there was any link...
lewisgirl, Aug 07 2001

       I think most of us have a similar hard-wired response to Ricky Martin. I express mine in a less destructive manner, however.
-alx, Aug 07 2001

       Possibly bieng baked now - This is exactly what "Bluetooth" technology is trying to do - form dynamic pico-networks of devices (e.g. car stereos) that exchange any information that is relevent to them as they see fit.   

       I've seen a demo (probably of the smoke+mirror variety) with a car stereo that has no music storage of it's own, but instead detects all of the bluetooth-enabled devices (portable cd players, phones, pdas, watches, shoes, etc.) carried by the passengers and streams whatever music those devices have stored on them. For safety reasons, however, bluetooth cannot stream Ricky Martin tracks.   

       The only limitiation would be the transmission distance between the network nodes (i.e. cars). And you'll not one of these in halfords real soon. It's called bluetooth because of some bizzarre nonsense to do with a scandic king. Or something.
danilo, Aug 07 2001

       What's wrong with Travis? Just cause one side of the pond has had for years, doesn't mean Yanks can't enjoy 'em! I rather fancy those guys. They can take a Britney Spears' song and make it sound like something you'd actually want to listen to (it's true!). Can't say the same about Ricky Martin's songs though. They're beyond all hope.
Lucky_Setzer, Aug 07 2001

       There isn't anything really wrong with Travis. But that's damning them with faint praise, innit?
-alx, Aug 07 2001

       Actually the idea of listening in on what's on the radio is really easy at short distances. Almost every radio receiver takes the frequency that it is tuned to and remodulates it to a new, fixed frequency called the intermediate frequency (IF) before actually demodulating and decoding the radio signal. Like with most consumer electronics, very little effort is spent on shielding the circuitry from radiating electromagnetic waves (radio waves). All you would need is a directional antenna that you could aim at the car in question, and a receiver tuned to the IF of that car's radio.   

       This would not work for stored music devices such as CD players, though, because there is no IF to listen for. All the signals would be in the baseband (actual audio frequencies) where the engine electronics would make too much interference to get a clear signal.
BigBrother, Aug 08 2001

       I just thought of this idea..only to find that I was beaten to the punch. However, my idea was for cars to re-transmit whatever radio station they were listening to, so that you get decent radio reception all the way up the highway between cities.
simonj, Aug 25 2003


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