107.9 FM -- End Of the Dial -- Hacker Radio

Building an FM Radio Station For Hackers Everywhere

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We've gotten 107.9FM Hacker Radio. This log details how we built it! More updates to come within the week! The Kickstarter: wasn't a success... but we didn't give up and we eventually just did it anyway!!! I'm filling in the project log. So far I've entered a year of back logs! Stay tuned! I still need to enter logs up to Feb 2018(omg.... )

Well it's a long hard road, but we have the tower(Thanks Ferret/Saint), the plans(Thanks Saint), the engineering stamp(Thanks Ferret), the FCC approval(thanks Ferret/Saint), the FAA approval(Saint), the concrete(thanks Jack6), the concrete forms(Thanks Lowes/Hook), the gravel, the antenna(thanks Temtel), released the call sign from a naval vessel(thanks Hook), and the content(Thanks to the very open and friendly community of hackers!  Hacker Public Radio, Frontalot, Thoughty2, many others).

Now we have a miserably certified FM transmitter(Saint), an ENDEC II EAS(Pete Tridish/Saint), and an awesome heliax equiv cable(Pete Tridish/Saint).  We're up and running with ASCAP(Jack6)... though we do all orig content or we play public domain(mostly on principle).

  • 2 × Rohn 25g tower segments 10'
  • 1 × Rohn 25g tower topper 9'
  • 3 × COPPER CLAD GROUND ROD 5/8' X 8' WEIGHS 8 LBS. ROHN PART NUMBER: GR8C --- (vertically sunk over 6" deep on three sides next to tower legs. Connected as straight as possible to tower leg by a grounding wire)
  • 12 × Galvanized bolts, lock washers, and nuts To hold the tower segments together
  • 10 × feet of #4 Stranded Bare Copper Grounding Wire ROHN PART NUMBER: ROHN CW4ST (Attaches as vertically as possible to tower and to grounding rod)

View all 13 components

  • Forms and Contractor Obtained!

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 17:17 0 comments

    Oct 25th, 2014

    I went out and got Lowes to donate a couple sheets of 3/5" plywood for our forms! Very good of them!

    I also ran into an old childhood friend. He owns a construction business. He's willing to supervise our work for free advertising! We now have a licensed and bonded contractor! Yay for Weatherall Construction!

    It's good to have friends!

    -Jon Cowie-

    "Jon is a native of Helena, Montana. Jon is an industry professional with fourteen years experience in the field. He has worked in varying fields in construction giving him a broad background of extensive experience. Jon has also owns a decorative concrete business giving him a competitive edge in contracting, being able to provide quality specialty services at a fair price to his clientele. He comes from an artistic background using that experience to provide a unique custom home or project for each client no matter the budget." (from

  • Gah'ram Tower Engineer!!!

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 16:57 0 comments

    We need a structural engineer to look at my plans and stamp them. I have personally created all of the AutoCAD drawings and the wind/stress calculations. All he needs to do is stamp it! I can't meet the engineer any more on his terms. We lack the money to properly pay a structural engineer. All I can offer is $400 and six months of daily advertising! What more is there?! How can I raise these funds?! We have everything else. We just need the tower stamp so we can get the city building permit! It seems we have steps 1-5 and steps 8-12 complete! The engineers just keep falling through!

    1. Get written permission from a land owner to erect tower
    2. Get FCC permission to use 107.9FM in our area
    3. Get FAA permission to erect a tower within 10 miles of an airport.
    4. Get FCC construction permit
    5. Draw up tower plans
    6. Get plans reviewed and stamped
    7. Get Transmitter/EAS
    8. Generate content
    9. Gather at least $400/mo in sponsors and advertisers
    10. Obtain the tower
    11. Obtain the concrete/rebar/sand/forms for foundation
    12. Find a Licensed and Insured contractor willing to fulfill the plans

    Ghah! This wasn't supposed to be the hard part!

  • Gerba Gerba

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 16:40 0 comments


  • Uneasy Morale

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 16:29 0 comments

    September 12th, 2014

    I've got to move forward somehow. We need that ASR# from the FCC to put up our new tower!

    Turns out we have to give "local notice"

    Obligatory advert. in the paper:

    Montana Advanced Robotics and Computer Science is proposing to install a lattice FM radio tower at Site Number MTHL31337, located at 30 S. Ewing St Helena Mt, 59601; 46 35 6 north 112 2 16 south. The height of the tower will be 30.0 feet (9.144 meters) above ground level (1281.2 feet or 390.5 meters above mean sea level). No marking or lighting is proposed for the tower. Interested persons may review the application for this project at by entering Antenna Structure Registration (Form 854) file no. XXXXXXX. Interested persons may raise environmental concerns about the project under the National Environmental Policy Act rules of the Federal Communications Commission, 47 CFR 1.1307, by notifying the FCC of the specific reasons that the action may have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Requests for Environmental Review must be filed within 30 days of the date that notice of the project is published on the FCC's website and may only raise environmental concerns. The FCC strongly encourages interested parties to file Requests for Environmental Review online at, but they may be filed with a paper copy by mailing the Request to FCC Requests for Environmental Review, Attn: Ramon Williams, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. A copy of the Request should be provided to Mike Santy at 30 South Ewing, Suite 200, Helena, MT 59601 Published Sept. 12, 11, 2014

  • Whaw Whaw Whaaaaaaw

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 16:01 0 comments

    Sept 8, 2014

    The Kickstarter campaign wasn't even close to successful. I don't have thousands of friends and I didn't get anyone famous to post about it. This is a big setback... but I'm no stranger to winning in adverse conditions!


    Posted by Montana Ethical Hackers ♥ Like

    The project was not successful. However, we're not going to turn around and run home with our tail between our legs. We're building the damn thing one way or another. We will start a second one to simply put the tower in the ground before icy November hardens it beyond digging. We'll get out there with men and pickaxes and jackhammers(lots of thick rock) if we need to. We have the tower and the people. Perhaps this was too much at once to finance. We'll finance it in three stages. First step: get the tower into the ground and put up a perimeter fence(around $400). Second step: Get/build the transmitter, EAS(required to buy), and start broadcasting(around $2000). Third step: Build a nice radio station room(around $2000).

    Thank you for all of your support! Look for us in the VERY near future! I'm doing FAA and FCC stuff right now to extend our building window.

  • Ninja Wink from Temtel and Cpt. Hook!

    Saint Meh09/01/2015 at 15:51 0 comments

    August 28, 2014

    Holy shit! Help from a couple Ninjas! The Ninja Network works!

    Temtel, built us a J-Pole radio antenna. It's specially tuned to 107.9FM. We now only have to buy a 75W transmitter!

    Temtel is awesome:

    Temtel - for listening and for being one of the most decent and genuine people I know.

    Pics or it didn't happen:

    Hook later(at an undisclosed date) carted this all the way up from California to Montana! ^_^ He was "in the area". Never far apart those guys...

  • Nerd Power... ?

    Saint Meh08/29/2015 at 20:00 0 comments

    Aug 14, 2014

    So I sent an email to the Nerd Fighters--Hank and John Green.

    I'm hoping they'll mention us to their fans... It would ensure the success of our Kickstarter campaign. We didn't get a response back.

    Hi Hank and John,

    I'm Jonny Santy and I'm an old-school nerdfighter:

    I run a hackerspace and I'm a computer security adjunct for the UM branch in Helena MT. I only have crazy hair when I'm in a professional environment. The above pink spikes were due to a student making off-comments towards an effeminate man.

    I believe in continually challenging our beliefs. In order to do that, I need to get our voice out there. My hackerspace, Montana Ethical Hackers(MEH), is making a radio station. We have approval from the FCC for the station and we have approval from the FAA for the tower location. I'm crowd-funding our project and I would be interested to know if you could support this awesomeness by either saying something about us, tweeting us, or even making a video regarding the difference between a cyber criminal and an ethical hacker. We have created a season of "Tick Tock Tech Talks", where we quickly explain technology in an exciting way. We'd love to have you guys on the show.

    A little bit about MEH

    We're a tongue in cheek hackspace which uses humor and our minds to fight world suck. We have 40 members, though only half of them are actually active. We also have a few thousand square feet of office space and a desire to do good in the world. We're the first hackerspace within 480+ miles of us and the first one within Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. We're to a point where we are vaguely stable.

    Both you and my hackerspace were in the same publication of the Montana Journalism Review. I thought your article was extremely well written. I have to confess, it made me envy your writing skills. In fact, I hesitated to expose my own clumsy writing to you. Therefore, I will borrow other people's words when I can: <-- Your article <-- MEH's Story

    What we need

    Aside from publicity, we would like to play some of your songs. As an experiment, we're trying to run this radio station on nothing other than author permission and Creative Commons. I would only need your permission in an email. An email worded as simply as "Hey! Yeah, you could use my songs for up to two years." would be sufficient.

    We're also looking for name drops. We have some from MC Chris, Dr. Demento, and MC Frontalot. It would be really cool if you could say something like "This is John/Hank Green Broadcasting from 107.9 in Helena MT. Don't Forget To Be Awesome." We will be broadcasting Nov. 15th.

    Thank You Already

    Regardless of your decision, I would like to thank you two for creating Nerfighteria and generally not forgetting to be awesome. I met my girlfriend on the Ning and, after two years, we could still not be more in love with each other.

    Here is a link to my kickstarter:

    I hope you can seriously consider helping us out.


    Saint AKA Jonny Santy -- President of Montana Ethical Hackers

    PS: I have attached a preview of our mini segment "False Advertising." This is a tiny sample of the content we have already produced for the station. We're still getting the hang of audio equipment, but it still sounds alright.

    PPS: I sent a very similar copy of this email to Hank. I worry that it might have gotten buried in his inbox. I haven't found John's email address yet. If I can't find a suitable public announcement with his email, I will respect his privacy and not email him.

  • Kickstarter

    Saint Meh08/28/2015 at 20:51 0 comments
  • Tower shipped!

    Saint Meh08/28/2015 at 20:17 0 comments

    August 7th, 2014

    Ferret spent the morning and some of the afternoon calling different truckers and trucking companies who were headed through Florida. DHL managed to do a less than load and packed the tower in with some other stuff for $461

    Mischief managed! Bill of Lading:

  • We Haz a Tower!

    Saint Meh08/28/2015 at 19:50 0 comments

    July 17th, 2014

    We now have a 30' Rohn 25g Tower! Yay EBay! Now we just need to ship it from Florida to... Mon.. tan... uhh... shit. That's pricey.

    $247.00 USD1$247.00 USD
    Shipping and handling$0.00 USD
    Insurance - not offered----
    Total$247.00 USD
    Payment$247.00 USD

    Payment sent

View all 25 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Gather Your Inspiration

    Building a radio station without initial capital isn't for the weak of purpose or faint of heart.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Build Support

    List your stakeholders. Get people on board. This will take 100% of you and then %40 more than that.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Get FCC permission for the band

    You'll need to get permission to use a frequency. This is different than your construction permit. We obtained 107.9FM in Helena, MT.

View all 13 instructions

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