How to Listen

How Do I Listen to 3ABN Radio on My Cell Phone?
The easiest way is to purchase a Smartphone or 3G phone with unlimited data or 3G packages for surfing the Internet. If you decide to do this, before committing to the purchase, confirm that your carrier has broadband or RTSP 3G access in the area where you want to listen. If the proper access is not available, there would be no need to go ahead because you won’t be able to listen. Most cell companies are in a rush to provide this service, however, and it shouldn’t be long until it is available in your area.

Some mobile phones have an audio speaker to listen directly from the cell phone but many of them do not have good quality.  If the quality isn’t good enough for you, you can purchase special speaker systems that will work with your mobile phone.  You can also attach special earphones to your cell phone.  In either case the audio quality will improve.  Test until you find a sound that you like.

You can use headphones that connect with a wire, or you can connect without a wire through something called Bluetooth. Your wireless provider should be able to provide them, or you can check with an electronics store and see what they offer. You can also listen to 3ABN Radio through your cell phone directly from your vehicle’s speakers. Instructions for doing that will follow a little later.

To find out how to get the service from your wireless carrier, here are questions for you to ask them:

  • Do you have broadband or RTSP 3G access for cell phones? If the answer is no, then go no further. For this to work you need access to broadband or RTSP 3G (there are different types of 3G technologies so you need to be sure they use the one we use).  If the answer is yes, continue.
  • If you already have cell service, ask, Does my cell phone have the ability to get on the Internet and listen to live streaming radio stations using Windows Media, QuickTime, Real Audio, WinAmp or RTSP 3G?
  • If not, ask, What is the cheapest cell phone I can buy that will let me do that?
  • How much does it cost to get their service? Be sure to confirm they are quoting unlimited data or RTSP 3G access to the Internet. With the major carriers in Southern Illinois, for example, there is the basic cell service cost plus a monthly charge of $20 to $45 to give you unlimited data/3G access to the internet. This is an example, only. In your area it could be more, or less expensive. Important: Do not confuse this with the data/3G plans that only allow you to get and send email, pay bills, etc.  Many of those cannot stream radio stations.
  • If all is agreeable up to this point, ask them to guide you through the process from there. Make it clear you want to listen to a live radio station that is streaming Windows Audio, QuickTime, Real Audio, WinAmp and RTSP 3G through the Internet on your cell phone; you are not asking to download anything.

Remember that the cell service providers usually offer a free trial period. If you get the phone and it doesn’t work to your satisfaction you can return it within a certain number of days and you will not be obligated further. Be sure you understand the time limit and other parameters involved.

How Can I Connect My Cell Phone to My Car Speakers?

This is a little more complicated and each circumstance may be different. Here is the simplest outline we can give; it will probably give you enough information to figure out your situation.

There are two ways currently that you can play your cell phone through your radio speakers: 1) Connect a wire between your phone and radio, or, 2) purchase a cell phone, or extra hands-free device, that has a mini-radio transmitter that broadcasts its sound on an FM radio frequency. Your car radio will then receive the signal and send it to your speakers like it does a regular over-the-air radio station. (Remember Mr. Microphone?) Ask about Bluetooth technology and see whether it will work for you.

Remember to connect your cell phone to your car battery via the phone charger using the cigarette lighter or auxillary power outlet. Otherwise, your listening will run down the phone battery fairly quickly.

Connect with a Wire
Connecting the phone to your radio through a wire is simple in theory, but you may have to ask for some advice from technical people at the cell phone company or an electronics store. Here are the basics: Get a wire that will connect into the jack where you plug in the cell phone headset (microphone/earphones). Some may also have a separate auxillary outlet.

Now this is where it may get a little dicey; plug the other end into your car radio. Sounds easy enough, but, exactly where do you plug it in? you ask. If you are fortunate enough to have a newer radio that has an auxiliary input (used mostly for iPod/mp3 players up to now), plug the other end of the wire into the auxiliary input for the radio. On the end of the wire that plugs into the radio auxiliary input, you may need to put an adapter if the plug at the end of the wire doesn’t fit the auxiliary input jack. This is where experts at the phone or electronic stores are helpful if you don’t know the different sizes.

If you don’t have an auxiliary input, but do have a cassette player, you can get an adapter that fits into your cassette player. It looks like a cassette with a wire attached to it. Put the “cassette” into your radio, plug the wire into your phone (you may need an adapter for your cell phone jack), set your radio to play the cassette player, and start listening.

If your car radio doesn’t have an auxiliary input or a cassette player, you will not be able to directly connect them by wire. Instead you will need a special broadcast system either from your phone or a hands-free external holder. See the instructions for Mini-radio transmitter.

Mini-radio Transmitter
Some cell phones have mini-transmitters in them so you can play the sound through your car radio to use as a hands-free device. When you are buying a cell phone ask if the phone you are interested in has that feature. If not, and you are not willing to pay the price of getting one, there are after-market cell phone hands-free devices that will do the same thing. Attach it to your dashboard, put your phone in it, and it works the same way. Bluetooth technology may be usable here, too. Ask your wireless provider for suggestions.

Either way, you will want to set your phone to 3ABN Radio, or put it in the hands-free device, and turn your radio on. That’s all there is to it. The phone or hands-free device should have instructions as well.

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