Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Well, this was supposed to be a comments entry, but it got so long I figured it could just be its own post. Ellewiz asks just what kind of FM transmitter I'm using, as her Monster Cable one doesn't work so hot.

I'm using the Belkin one. I can't remember which one it is exactly, but it's the cheapest Belkin one you can get, for about $35 that only broadcasts on 88.1 - 88.7.

It's not that hot, either, and it runs on its own batteries, which is less than desireable because they can die on you and leave you stranded with just the radio and the one CD left in your car on your hour commute home. But the one nice thing about it is that it's on a bit of a cable (like 5 inches or so), so I can stick it under my leg while I drive. It isn't powerful enough on its own to beat the Chicago area radio chatter (I probably drive through about 5 low-band radio station broadcast areas on my way to work alone, each one competing with my little FM transmitter), and all the power lines I drive under wreak havoc with the signal. But the human body makes an awesome radio conductor, just like it aids reception (y'know how you get stations in better when you make contact with the antenna to adjust it?), so it also conducts as well. So, basically, if I kinda sit on the transmitter (since I can't hold it in my hand for an hour while I drive), I get way better reception. It's starting to make my leg a bit sore though.

My buddy has the iTrip, which is nice in that it can choose any channel (even though the higher you go in the band, the stronger the radio channel's signal is, so it's kinda self-defeating), but it also draws from the iPod's battery power, so if your iPod is running, so is your transmitter, which is nice.

Another buddy of mine uses yet another brand of transmitter, but I forget which one it is. Basically, we're all trying to overcome the spottiness that we get in the reception due to the Chicago radio traffic.

Tonight I'm going to look for a new car stereo that has a headphone IN jack so I can try just connecting my iPod that way, so I get perfect reception.

In the future, I would recommend never spending another dime on a Monster cable, as not only are their products just as bad (or worse) as everyone else's, they charge too much money, and they're litigious as hell (suing everyone and their Mom, including clothing stores, that use the name "Monster" in their company name).

Check out Alpine decks with the AI heads -- that's what I ended up getting, and there is an iPod interface that plugs into the dock connector, powers/charges the iPod, and allows you to control it from the cd deck (with song titles on the display and all).
I found a company that evidently makes the connectors for the BMW radios, and they now make them for just about all makes and models.

They're about $190, which sucks, but I couldn't find that Alpine radio. I went to their site, watched the demo, and then had to jump offsite to an actual retailer. If the thing only costs like $150, I'll get that instead, but if it's the ones that cost $250 or $300, I'll just get that iPod connector.
I'm finally going to get some use out of the useless cassette deck they included with my Honda, and use the cassete deck connector thingy for my iPod. As soon as I get around to, you know, buying it.
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