Talking House Transmitter THE TECHIE ISSUE

Talking House Transmitter


Devoted to reviewing a few of the technical aspects of the Transmitter.

The Talking House Transmitter is a powerful tool
when you use it to its fullest potential.

We 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.

Talking House 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.

Here 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!

     Wrap-around Messages. 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.

Downloading a Message. As we hope you are aware, the Talking House Transmitter allows you to broadcast your message in several ways:

  • By recording a message in your own voice, using the hand-held microphone.

  • By broadcasting “live” radio.

  • By downloading a prerecorded message directly to the Message Chip, from an external audio source such as a CD player or boom box.

  • 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.

These 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.

Installation don’ts

Sometimes people like to hear what not to do. So, here’s a list of ”don’ts”

  • DON’T put the Transmitter on the front wall of the house (back 10-15 feet from the front wall is best)

  • Don’t spread-out the antenna along a baseboard (it’s a good idea to use masking tape to stretch is up vertically)

  • Don’t put the Transmitter in front of a window (again, 10-15 feet back from the front wall and any window)

  • Don’t install the Transmitter near a florescent light

  • Don’t choose a frequency already being used by another broadcaster

  • Don’t install the Transmitter in the basement

  • Don’t inadvertently insert the microphone cord into the “line input” jack.

  • Don’t plug it in before you stretch-out the antenna

  • Don’t forget to tell the family not to touch the Transmitter or the antenna.

  • Don’t forget to remove the key from the Key-Lock on the back panel so your message and frequency can’t be tampered with.

  • Try not to install it on the first floor. If you have no choice but a first floor, put it up as high as you can on a shelf, and extend the antenna even higher using masking tape.

Why 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.

Antenna Tutorial

We 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.

Unfortunately, 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 need help.

“Calibration” 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.

Let’s use 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

calibrated. 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 has calibrated.

Maximizing Signal Distance and Reception Quality:

What prevents 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:

  1. The selected frequency. 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.

  2. Line 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.

    Radio waves pass easily through:
    conventional drywall, fiberglass
    insulation, vinyl & wood siding,
    asphalt roofing, garage doors, etc.
    Radio waves have difficulty with:
    stucco, concrete, steel, glass.

    By making 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.

  3. Other “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.

  4. Height: 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.

    As we 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 radio?”

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 disposal.

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 following occur:
      • 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.


Helpful Tips From Our Head Technician

Setting up a Talking House transmitter is as easy as 1,2,3.

For 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.

For optimum signal strength, just follow —in the exact order given— these three easy steps…

  1. Lay out the antenna,
  2. Plug the power supply (the AC power pack) into a wall outlet.
  3. Then and only then plug the other end into the Custom Power Unit jack
    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 needed.

Talking House agents sometimes ask me:
“Where’s the best place to put the transmitter in the house?”

I 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.

Helpful Tips From Our Head Technician - 2

Great Reception Revisited!.

We fielded 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 steps:

  1. Find 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.

  1. 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 window.

  2. 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.

If you follow these simple steps, the signal should be crystal clear at almost any location.