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Communications

Google Building a 100kW Transmitter at Spaceport America (hackaday.com) 75

szczys writes: Google is building a 100kW transmitter at Spaceport America. As is becoming the regular source of early info, this comes via an FCC filing in which Google has asked the agency to keep the project secret. The signal strength itself isn't [groundbreaking] until you learn this is a directional antenna. Some of the most powerful FM radio transmitters get to 100kW, but those are omnidirectional. This is a highly focused directional antenna and that makes it sound like a big piece of Google's hushed Broadband Drone program.
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Google Building a 100kW Transmitter at Spaceport America

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  • No, HALF a watt. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:22AM (#51636571)

    According to TFA, the highly directional antenna gives a peak effective power of 96kW along its lobe, but total radiated power is 500mW -- half a watt. So the comparison to "powerful FM radio transmitters" is kind of silly. In fact, it's even sillier than that, because FM broadcasts (at least here in the US) are around 100MHz, and this transmitter will be in the range of 70-80GHz, with completely different propagation characteristics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was wondering what they were going to do with 100kW through a highly directional antenna, supply satellite TV to Mars?

  • Fried birds falling from the sky, for example.

    http://deadlinelive.info/2011/... [deadlinelive.info]

    • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:31AM (#51636651)

      You must get really tired of frying the side of your head with your cell phone, then; its maximum transmit power is more than one watt, and if you're holding it to your ear, you're intercepting close to half of that power.

      This isn't a high-power transmitter. This is a low-power, but hyperdirectional transmitter. Think cantenna on steroids.

      • You must get really tired of frying the side of your head with your cell phone, then.

        In the days of analog-only cellular, I DID (somewhat) fry the side of my head with a cell phone. I was using my boss's (fairly) small hand-held unit - this was shortly before digital cellular came along IIRC. Whenever I used the phone for more than a minute or so, I would get a diffuse itching feeling inside my head near the phone antenna. When I switched sides, the itch moved to the other side, consistently and repeatedly.

        I know, I know, correlation isn't causation, etc, etc, but this was utterly consisten

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Not to play grammar nazi ... but you're interSECTING about half of the radiated power. You're certainly not interCEPTING half of it.

        This assumes cell phones use omni-directional antennas which I rather expect is the case. If your body intercepted half the radiated power then holding the phone to your ear would result in a lot of dropped calls in mediocre coverage areas.

        • Eh, maybe. I guess I was thinking of "intercept" in the sense of "x-intercept" on a graph. You're in the way of about half of the radiation, but you're absorbing only a tiny fraction of that. As you say, phones wouldn't work well if it were otherwise.

  • Tinfoil hat (Score:5, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:34AM (#51636681) Homepage Journal
    And you guys made fun of my tinfoil hat! Who is laughing now???
    • This talk of solar power drones providing Internet Access does sound... tin foil like... doesn't it. Seem to recall a project called Google Street View where they came up with the idea of mounting cameras on cars and driving around every road in the world taking pictures. Also found it interesting that all the wifi data was war driven at the same time, not just the GPS coordinates of everyone's home routers, but captures of the traffic as well. So I guess my question is, while it's nice to have that broad b
    • And you guys made fun of my tinfoil hat! Who is laughing now???

      Everyone not wearing inductive wrap that locks-in the cooking juices.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:48AM (#51636811) Homepage

    As is becoming the regular source of early info

    What?

    The signal strength itself isn't [groundbreaking]

    Not as [groundbreaking] as your bizarre use of [square brackets], certainly.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is {this} better?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Square brackets are used by hackaday to highlight people's names/handles, so there is no confusion.

      So clearly, in this case, [groundbreaking] is just someone's name.

      • by szczys ( 3402149 )
        You're right that we use square brackets on Hackaday to indicate usernames. However, in this case I think I left out a word in my submission and the /. editors added it using the square brackets to indicate the change.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I suppose it was a quote. Then the use of the brackets would be quite customary. They are used to indicate a word that originally wasn't in a quoted statement, but was implied by context and added to the quote to restore the meaning of the statement. For example, see the Harvard style guide for quotations [leeds.ac.uk] for reference.

  • Google: we want a 100kw FM directional station.
    FCC: is this for your internet by drone idea? ooh! what kind of futuristic drones are you working on!!
    Google: [furiously crumples plans for directional lynard skynard as a service broadcast] YES! uh, you betcha it is!
  • The second link above points to a /. entry from almost a year ago entitled:

    Google's Solar-Drone Internet Tests About To Take Off

    "About to"?

    What is this some kind of Duke Nukem thingy?

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      "About to"? What is this some kind of Duke Nukem thingy?

      Google doesn't exactly have a reputation for vaporware announcements... More like the exact opposite - They release fairly mature services at the drop of a hat. And sure, many of those fail, but enough don't that we've come to take Google for granted as just shy of "infrastructure" in terms of their importance to the proper functioning of the internet.
  • He built in New York and Colorado Springs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • It's probably more like 100mW with a 2 meter dish that gives 60dBi of gain at 80GHz.

    • "It's probably more like 100mW with a 2 meter dish that gives 60dBi of gain at 80GHz."

      can i have that again in proper units such as libraries of congress or blue whales?
      • It's probably more like 1/15000th of a microwave oven with a volkswagen-sized dish that makes the signal ONE MILLION TIMES STRONGER when the signal is going SOOOOOOOPER FAST.

  • Some of the most powerful FM radio transmitters get to 100kW

    The Sutro Tower (San Francisco) has a couple of stations transmitting at 5MW. See this chart [sutro.org]. Sutro is by no means the "most powerful" tower, either, at only 24MW ERP.

  • ERP is Effective Radiated Power. In the direction of maximum beam of my laser pointer, I get a spot on the order of 1 " in diameter 200' away. This means that most of the 5 milliwatts the laser puts out is contained in a spot of on the order of one square inch. This intensity is brought about by the columnation or directivity of the laser itself. It's a puny 5 milliwatt transmitter with a high gain antenna. In order to get the same intensity from an isotropic antenna (one that spews equally in all dir

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