Talking House Transmitter
to reviewing a few of the technical aspects of the Transmitter.
Talking House Transmitter is a powerful tool
when you use it to its fullest potential.
believe that understanding a little bit more about how it operates
will help you create the perfect message that will sell the home,
sell yourself, and generate a steady flow of leads. This issue
of our newsletter is devoted to reviewing a few of the technical
aspects of the Transmitter.
We feel we’ve
produced one of the best Operations Manuals available for any
piece of technology. So, we don’t intend to re-hash information
that is available to you in the Ops Manual. Our goal is to give
you some further
background information that helps you achieve the highest quality
sounding messages on car radio’s in your target listening areas.
Transmitters are very user-friendly. Our newest models have been
designed with some unique “bells and whistles” that make them
a powerful marketing tool. We strongly encourage you to take the
time to learn all of your Transmitter’s features, so you can fully
utilize the power of the entire program.
are a few of the neat “features“ you should
be sure to read about in the Operations Manual:
Two-Part Message System. This feature can
save you the time and trouble of re-recording the part of
the message which contains your free offers, and contact information.
The two-part message feature basically splits the 5-minute
voice chip into two-parts. It allows you to record a part
of your message once, and lock-it-in. You won’t need to change
this part of the message as you move the Transmitter from
house-to-house. Plus, this feature also
allows you to sell ad time on your “radio network”, and
lock-in the ad message from your paying advertisers. Finally,
it allows you to easily use our Celebrity Impersonations.
So, it is definitely worth learning how to use!
OK, this is not really a separate Transmitter “feature”.
It is possible because of the above mentioned two-part message
system. But it is so neat, it is worth mentioning. A wrap
around message gives your messages a very professional sound,
and will really impress your prospects. Basically, it is
an easy way for you to have an introduction and a final
word on the message that you’ve pre-recorded into message
position #1. The information about the specific listing
appears in the middle. This approach to a message is sometimes
called a “Donut”. Look it up in the Ops Manual. It’s
easy, and it’s impressive.
a Message. As we hope you are aware, the
Talking House Transmitter allows you to broadcast your message
in several ways:
a message in your own voice, using the hand-held microphone.
a prerecorded message directly to the Message Chip,
from an external audio source such as a CD player or
- By broadcasting
directly from an external audio source, which allows you
to utilize a longer pre-recorded message that exceeds
the Message Chip storage time on your Transmitter.
last two options are accomplished by using the input jack
on the back panel of the Transmitter. This jack can be used
to put a professionally produced message in Position #1,
including our Celebrity Impersonations. Many agents have
found that a professionally produced message about themselves,
their free offers, and their contact information has improved
their response rate (i.e. number of calls). It also allows
you to run a patch cord from a secondary source that can
be used to broadcast a much longer message. Many agents
have actually produced “radio show” type broadcasts around
special events or the holidays.
people like to hear what not to do. So, here’s a list of ”don’ts”
put the Transmitter on the front wall of the house (back 10-15
feet from the front wall is best)
spread-out the antenna along a baseboard (it’s a good idea
to use masking tape to stretch is up vertically)
put the Transmitter in front of a window (again, 10-15 feet
back from the front wall and any window)
install the Transmitter near a florescent light
choose a frequency already being used by another broadcaster
install the Transmitter in the basement
inadvertently insert the microphone cord into the “line input”
plug it in before you stretch-out the antenna
Yard Signs Are Printed with 1610AM
Although setting the frequency you are broadcasting
on is easily accomplished using the up or down buttons on the front
panel, the procedure to determine which frequency will work best
for you, in your particular area, is more involved. The Transmitter
is programmed to 1610 at the factory, so it will calibrate to this
frequency the first time it is “powered-up”. The reason for this
is simple. We needed to choose some frequency, and since in many
areas of the country 1610 works well, this is the one we chose.
If it works well in your area, you may not have to go any further
to find a suitable frequency to broadcast on.
However, do not be confused
into thinking that the Transmitter is “picking a station” for
you. You have to decide what frequency is the best one in your
area, and then tune the Transmitter to that frequency using the
front panel buttons. And then, the transmitter will “calibrate”
itself to the frequency you’ve selected. This is also why the
yard signs are printed with 1610. If we left the signs blank,
it would be much more difficult to line up four decals for the
frequency you find works best in your area. Instead, you simply
need to change one or two numbers with the decals we provide.
If you are not able to
use 1610 because it is already being used by another broadcaster,
or there is interference on it, you must perform an Outdoor Frequency
Test for your area. This is covered, in detail, in the Operations
Manual. But, not to worry. When executed properly, this is a one
time test that only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. We can’t
stress enough how important it is to take the time to do this
test, and find the best frequency for your area.
often get asked the question whether or not it is possible to
purchase a “better” antenna for the Talking House Transmitter.
The fact is the wire antenna that comes with the unit is the perfect
antenna for our Transmitter. The antenna is probably the single
most important component of any transmitter, big or small. It
is well worth understanding how an antenna works on a radio transmitter,
so you understand how to get the best reception.
a radio transmitter is not “plug & play” technology. There
is a lot more going on than simply pushing “play” and listening.
However, better understanding how the antenna on the Transmitter
works may help you understand why problems occur, and what you
can do to help solve them. It is critical, though, that you always
feel comfortable picking up the phone to call us if you feel you
or The Tuning Process:
As soon as
you plug-in a Talking House Transmitter, you will hear a motor
sound and notice that the display panel is flashing “cal” indicating
that the Transmitter is automatically tuning itself to the pre-selected
frequency. It is very important that you don’t touch the Transmitter,
or the antenna wire, during this “calibration” process. When the
Transmitter is “calibrating”, what it is actually doing is “loading
the antenna”. While the electronics used to achieve this function
are somewhat technical, the concept is fairly easy to understand.
a tuning fork as an example. A tuning fork will resonate, and
emit an audible tone (frequency), when you strike it against a
hard surface. It is said to be “resonating” at that frequency.
This is why it is very important that you don’t touch or move
the antenna wire on the Talking House Transmitter after it has
The signal does not come out of the tip of the wire. It radiates
along the entire length of the wire. This radiation of magnetic
waves is how the signal is pushed through the air. If you touch
a vibrating tuning fork, it will quickly change the frequency
it is vibrating at, or stop it all together. For the same reason,
this is why you should not touch our antenna after the Transmitter
Signal Distance and Reception Quality:
you from receiving a good clear signal on your car radio is really
dependent on what takes place between the transmitting antenna
and the receiving antenna. This is governed, for the most part,
by a few basic environmental parameters. These parameters are:
It is critical that you choose a frequency that is open and
clear. That is, one which is not being used by another licensed
broadcaster already transmitting on that frequency. You cannot
compete with something else on a given frequency.
of sight: Having a clear line of sight, and/or, building
materials that don’t hamper radio waves will help you achieve
a good clear signal at the curb. This is why during your frequency
testing stage you want to get the antenna wire outside a window,
just until you confirm that you have good reception with the
frequency that you are attempting to transmit on. After you
have found the frequency that works best in your particular
area, one that gives you a good clear signal for the distance
you need, you can then bring the Transmitter antenna inside
the house to find a good location to transmit from. That is,
one that permits the signal to “escape” the home.
waves pass easily through:
insulation, vinyl & wood siding,
asphalt roofing, garage doors, etc.
Radio waves have difficulty with:
stucco, concrete, steel, glass.
sure you have a good frequency, one that delivers a good,
clear signal at the curb with the antenna wire outside the
walls of the house, you are better equipped to find a location
inside the home that delivers the same quality reception.
“Radio-Wave” Interference: You can have reduced range
if some other devices that create “radio-wave” type signals
are interfering with your chosen frequency (e.g. a neighbor
running a welder in his garage, neon lighting or electrical
transformers on the utility pole, etc). You can also get this
type of interference from inside the home from things like
computers, air conditioners, vacuum motors, etc.
Because the AM band uses the earth to “bounce off of”, so to
speak, the more distance you can put between the antenna wire
and the “ground”, the farther the signal will travel outwards.
This is why attics and 2nd floors work so well, and basements
don’t. Having the antenna wire up off of the floor and unobstructed
will transmit a signal much farther than having the antenna
lying at floor level.
mentioned, the goal of this “tutorial” is to give some basic
background information that may help you improve the quality
of the reception on a car parked in front of one of your listings.
We can’t emphasis enough that we want you to call us if you
are not satisfied. We can often identify the problem quickly
and easily, and increase the sound quality with very little
effort on your part. So, don’t hesitate to call us when you
have questions. We love to hear from you.
Q: “I'm a new customer setting up my first Talking
House Transmitter and I was wondering if it's really necessary to do an
Outdoor Frequency Test? Can I just choose an open frequency on my car's
A: Not only is it necessary, it's actually vital to the
success of your whole marketing effort that you do the Outdoor
Frequency Test. It's that important.
Here's why. As you know, the Talking House Transmitter
operates on the AM band. What you may or may not be aware of, however,
is how the AM radio waves broadcasting from your Transmitter actually
work. Our type of Transmitter uses what's known as ground radiation, or
“ground waves”, to send a signal. This means that the AM waves literally
bounce off the ground in order to travel out to the world. A larger,
more powerful AM transmitter may also bounce its signal off the sky, and
then out to the world.
Because the ground plays such an important role in the
Talking House equation, the physical height you place your Transmitter
inside a house, as well as the actual mineral content of the soil in
your geographic location, are what ultimately determine the right AM
radio frequency for you to use. So, it's not just what's available on
the AM dial in your town.
Make sense? In fact, in some parts of the country such
as the Southwest, where the soil content in the same city can vary from
rock to clay to sand depending on what part of town you're in, the test
results may vary, listing to listing. Which is another reason why it's
critical to have more than frequency option ready to go at your
And again, in addition to making absolutely sure you
execute a proper Outdoor Frequency Test, you want to remember these
other guidelines for successfully setting up your Transmitter, as
explained in your Talking House Operations manual:
- Your goal is to find at least 4 or 5 good
frequencies that you will be able to use in your area. By taking the
time now to find more than one frequency, you won't be caught off guard
when setting up at a specific location and your favorite frequency
doesn't come in clear at that location.
- There are very few commercial radio stations
assigned to frequencies between 1600 AM and 1700 AM. Therefore, this is
the best place to start looking for the best frequencies.
- At night, many more distant stations can be picked
up and can interfere with your signal. If you're planning to be heard at
night, it is best to make sure that your chosen frequency is available
both night and day. Do not expect to get quite as good reception at
night as you will during the day.
- The frequencies that are the most crystal clear on
your car radio are the best to use. (After all, that's what people
driving by will hear, right?) Do not use a frequency if any of the
- you hear another voice or music on the station,
- there is lots of whistling, static, or other interference, or
- the signal fades in and out.
To make the Outdoor
Frequency Test easier to perform, many Talking House users find a friend
who's willing to help. The friend can be the one inside the house
changing the frequencies on the Transmitter. You can be the one in the
car listening to each frequency, and determining which ones have the
best reception. You can be talking to each other on your cell phones.
This will dramatically cut down on the time it will take to do the
Outdoor Frequency Test.
Tips From Our Head Technician
up a Talking House transmitter is as easy as 1,2,3.
the past five years or so, I’ve been helping real estate agents throughout
North America with any technical problems they might have regarding
Talking House transmitters. The most frequent problem —poor signal strength—
also happens to be the easiest to solve, in most instances. It’s often
caused by laying out the antenna and plugging in the AC cord in the
wrong sequence, which knocks the transmitter out of calibration and
seriously reduces the signal distance.
optimum signal strength, just follow —in the exact order given— these
three easy steps…
out the antenna,
Plug the power supply (the AC power pack) into a wall outlet.
Then and only then plug the other end into the Custom Power Unit
on the back of the transmitter.
Yes, this may
seem peculiar, but the transmitter prefers it this way, so who are
we to disagree?
Then, after you get everything set up, make sure to tell everyone
in the Talking House you’re
selling not to touch the antenna. Or the transmitter either. And tell
them why. After all, if your Talking House transmission isn’t the
best it can be, the results won’t be either. If the signal strength
still isn’t as strong as you’d like, our Outdoor Antenna might be
House agents sometimes ask me:
“Where’s the best place to put the transmitter in the house?”
tell them: “The best place is actually in the garage.” That’s because
AM radio signals have a hard time going through brick, steel, or stucco
walls…and especially through glass, such as double-paned windows.
You usually don’t have any of these materials to contend with in a
garage. Even if it’s a brick garage, the radio signal can usually
pass through the door and roofing materials easily. So you can get
a strong signal out to the curb in front of the house. What’s more,
the transmitter is out of the way —perhaps you can put it on a shelf
—so no one will touch the antenna by accident. What if there’s no
garage? Try the attic. And if there’s no attic, place the transmitter
in the living room or in a bedroom —perhaps a second-floor bedroom
—that faces the street.
Tips From Our Head Technician - 2
a number of questions after my article in the Jan/Feb issue about how
to get better reception. So, we decided to go into a little more detail.
Setting up a Transmitter that gets crystal clear reception on a car parked
in front of one of your listings is easy. Just follow these three simple
an open frequency. Talking House Transmitters have a patented
tuning system designed to perfectly tune the output at every AM
frequency. However, to work best, the frequency you choose must
be free and clear of any commercial or government radio broadcasts.
Open and available AM frequencies vary by area. Therefore, it is
up to you to find an open frequency. This is easy to do! There are
very few commercial radio stations assigned to frequencies above
1600AM. Therefore, simply park your car in front of a listing. Tune
your car radio to 1600 on the AM band, and go up one frequency at
a time (1600, 1610, 1620, etc.) writing down any stations that are
available. A frequency is open if all you hear is loud static-no
voices or music.
Finding a completely
open frequency is your most important task. However, it's not always
easy to tell if a specific frequency is completely open. So, in some
rare situations, you will need to do an Outdoor Frequency Test. This
is also easy to do. With someone's help it should only take about ten
minutes. The goal of this test is to get the antenna outside the house
in order to eliminate interference from the building materials of the
house itself. Simply open a window toward the front of the house, set
the Transmitter on the windowsill, and hang the entire antenna wire
out the window. Be sure not to let the antenna touch the ground! And,
plug-in the Transmitter only after you've got everything set. Now, coordinate
checking open frequencies between your car radio and the Transmitter.
The frequency that is the most crystal clear is the best to use. And,
it should be the best to use throughout your area, so you only need
to do this test once.
Choose the best location inside the property.
In general, it is best to put the Transmitter toward the front of
a house, and on the second floor. But, not right on the front wall
of a house. Here 's why: AM radio waves have a hard time going through
brick, steel, stucco, and even glass. Plus, AM radio waves, literally,
bounce off the ground as the means by which they broadcast their
signal. Therefore, the higher off the ground you get the Transmitter
and antenna, the further the signal will travel. This is why 2nd
floors and attics work so well. Plus, by positioning it 10 to 15
feet back from the front wall of the house, it gives the signal
more opportunities to find its way out. The garage is often a good
alternative, too, if you put it high up on a shelf. Because of the
problems with glass, never put a Transmitter right in front of a
Stretch-out the antenna first, then plug-in the Transmitter.
For optimum signal strength, it's extremely important to stretch
out the antenna first, and then plug-in the Transmitter. And, when
you do plug-in the Transmitter, plug the power supply (the AC power
pack) into a wall outlet first, and then plug the other end into
the Custom Power jack on the back of the Transmitter. After the
Transmitter has calibrated, make sure to tell the client not to
touch the antenna. Explain that if they do touch the antenna, it
will knock the Transmitter out of calibration. Encourage your client
to tune into the broadcast on a regular basis on their own car radio
to check that the signal is calibrated and broadcasting clearly.
Show them how to unplug and re-plug the power cord at the back of
the unit so they can re-power and re-calibrate the unit in case
the antenna is touched, and the unit is knocked out of calibration.
you follow these simple steps, the signal should be crystal clear at
almost any location.