Another in an ongoing series of posts about useful electronic gadgets and gimmicks, presented as a service to you, our Faithful Readers:
Most of you probably know that I am, indeed, once again gainfully employed. Overemployed, even, with 3 or maybe 4 (depending on how you count) jobs that I am doing right now. All of them involve some driving – the closest one is in Boulder, 20 minutes away, the furthest is in South Denver, about 50 minutes in good traffic conditions.
As such, I decided that if I was going to be spending that damn much time in my car, it was about time to stop listening to podcasts on my headphones, and get into the FM Transmitter game.
I had tried one of these several years ago, and was, well, underwhelmed with its performance. But I decided to see what improvements the market had brought.
And, indeed – it’s a new morning in America, if we had been suffering through the long night of unusable FM transmitters. I ended up, after doing some Amazon reviewing, with Monster’s Radioplay 300 Transmitter, available from Amazon for $25.67 with free Super Saver shipping. What an amazing thing! It has 3 presets, which you can program to any station you like – I waited until I was in metro Denver and scanned through the spectrum, finding one frequency in the 80’s, one in the high 90’s, and one above 105 MHz that didn’t have stations on them. And the Radioplay 300 has been fantastic – it drowns out any shadow signals your radio picks up from nearby stations, and works great from the relatively rural Longmont all the way into Metro Denver. Only one time have I had to change the station due to interference.
The only downside is that it doesn’t charge my Sansa c260 mp3 player, so battery power is still a concern if I were to use this on a long road trip – the Sansa’s batteries still go 12+ hours, but it’s at least plausible that it could run out on a really long day. I would have preferred a Sansa-specific one, like this one from Satechi, but given the configuration of my stick shift and the cigarette lighter in my car, the much smaller-profile Monster seemed safer, so that’s what I stuck with.
It’s a bit of a kluge-around solution to the problem of mp3’s in the car, but works pretty well, and for $25, you really can’t ask for much more!