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Messages - BoomboxDX

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General Radio Discussion / Re: HD FM Audio Drives Me Nuts
« on: December 11, 2019, 0507 UTC »
The HD and analog paths are processed very differently.  Any lossy codec as a rule does not like clipped audio, as it contains more harmonic energy that it must process, with varying success.  Instead, look-ahead limiting is used, but as a consequence, produces some intermodulation distortion.  The analog path is processed conventionally.  The codec for HD also makes use of spectral band replication, which can cause all sorts of wierd artifacts on its own.  It all depends on what data rate the station has set their importer/exporter up for, and this is largely determined by how many HD sub channels they have.

There is a long standing theory that American DAB (HD) has a self-noising property.  Some more detail can be found here http://ham-radio.com/k6sti/hdrsn.htm

Also within the last few years, the Arbitron PPM system has been toyed with by several manufacturers in an attempt to boost the host stations' ratings.  They do this by making the PPM signal louder, and in many cases unmasking the tones.  It seems to be most noticeable on dry voice, and makes the announcer sound as if they are in a broom closet, or talking through a paper towel tube.  The device responsible for this is made by Telos, called the voltair.  https://www.telosalliance.com/25-Seven/Voltair

It's a race to the bottom.  The voltairs running on large corporate stations here have made the stations unlistenable for me.  My favorite station here switched on HD about 18 months ago, and I immediately noticed their audio quality drop.  Everything got sort of fuzzy sounding.


But do stations use Voltairs on their HD channels?

The fallacy about the 5G story is that it is probably not practical the way it is described.  The high data rates described require even higher amounts of eNB (the cell site xcvr) baseband connectivity.  The short range of the RF transmissions means you need many more eNB sites than 4G...again requiring more baseband connectivity.  The physical supporting infrastructure costs to fully provide 5G coverage are staggering.  Most industry people think that 5G will only be fielded to urban areas where the density of the population can make the investment worthwhile.  Suburban and rural locations will likely only get 4G coverage.  5G will be primarily for the cities.  Even the CEOs of wireless providers have implied this.

Verizon has been bragging about how they have wired a dozen or so football stadiums for 5G.  The trade publications say that they havenít been able to provide full coverage, even at the football stadium level.

Keep in mind that the 5G spec includes multiple frequency bands and many data rates.   Not all 5G systems are equal.  Some 5G implementations are much less breathtaking than others.  T-Mobile is looking at using 600 MHz for their system - their data rates will be  lower than those  in the high GHz range - but their equipment wonít be on the bleeding edge.

Interesting info here. This leads to a question: how much power is needed to operate a 5G system -- with all of its extra cell sites -- compared to the present system? Is anyone in the industry taking this into consideration? Right now the electric grids are almost maxed in some areas.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Russian EW
« on: December 09, 2019, 0743 UTC »
According to one of the linked vids, Russian EW, as a whole, is pretty advanced. Even shuts down Aegis systems, apparently.

ETA: Of course, that could just have been Russian propaganda.

Here's a Popular Mechanics article on Russian EW, including a mention of the Murmansk-BN system:

General Radio Discussion / Re: New Tecsun Portables to be last?
« on: December 06, 2019, 1847 UTC »

This story appeared on the SWLing Post website, besides detailing the upcoming release of the PL-990 and H-501, there is a hint that they maybe the last of the high end Tecsun portable/desktops.


Hey Santa, that H-501 looks like it could use a loving home.   ;)

Sad, in a way, if the rumor is true. That would leave the Sangean 909 and a Grundig? I wonder when the HF Transceiver companies decide to pull the plug? The hobby can't be expanding to justify new, high-end radios for many more years.

It's all about greed and control,  http://www.radiosurvivor.com/2019/11/27/the-demise-of-radionomy-marks-the-end-of-free-streaming-for-internet-radio-broadcasters/

It always has been.  The music industry is a headless laviathan, and this new ruling probably means that a lot of small operators are going to have to shut down.  Everyone else will just make their streaming servers private and remove them from any public directory services like shoutcast or dir.xiph.org.  In an era where the only version of a song you can buy is a watermarked MP3, it serves the music industry right to sink with their own ship.  Piracy is going to come back with a vengeance.


The subscription model is taking everything over, from news to music to books to movies -- a lot of older industries like the movie theater, free OTA broadcasting and newsprint are headed the way of the dodo -- some quicker than others. Of course, one always paid to get into movie theaters, but you didn't pay monthly (whether you went or not). That will change. Eventually.

It's sad that internet radio is sinking like a stone, unless you're part of one of the big companies. In the 1990's one of the hawked benefits of the emerging "information superhighway" was that there would be all this free access to information, and the radio aspect would be free, also. That changed fairly quickly.

I'm astonished that stations don't that already.
They do here.  The amount is calculated on the stations turnover, I think. The bigger the station, the more they pay.
Even ordinary businesses that have a radio on in their office/shop have to pay as it's considered a public performance.
That way,the musician gets payed  multiple times.

Way back in the 1980's. one of the big pirates here offered to pay performance rights in an attempt to appear legal but it was refused.

Stations pay BMI, ASCAP, etc., but this proposed law is a different deal. This would require stations to pay considerably more money per play than they pay now -- which, from what little I understand, is a lot less than digital royalties are.

If passed, more commercials, talk and religion (and other brokered radio) coming to the airwaves near you.

General Radio Discussion / Re: FCC approves all digital AM
« on: November 26, 2019, 0407 UTC »
Quote from: redhat
the key language here is 'voluntary'.  There is no mandate to go to digital, and in my view for any station that would be suicide.

Yes but all the puppets will goto it anyway.. All the ones running IBOC will probably be the first.....

I wont listen to them if they do that so if they wanna lose listeners let them.....

The ones who were running IBOC probably gave up on it for valid reasons, one of them being that the equipment finally broke down and/or wasn't cost effective.

If a local station happens to go all-digital I'll listen -- there are several stations that used IBOC in my metro, and they had decent formats (sports, South Asian, classic country, etc.). I'm not holding my breath for them to turn the digital on, though (see my previous sentence about equipment breakdown and cost effectiveness).

MW Loggings / Re: KFAB 1110 AM 0425 UTC 25 Nov 2019
« on: November 26, 2019, 0403 UTC »
KFAB 1110 usually is heard behind KBND here in the PNW -- you usually can tell by the slapback echo on Coast to Coast.

Great catch, though. The Midwesterners and Plains States stations aren't super common out here, being that they have two mountain ranges to cross.

General Radio Discussion / Re: FCC approves all digital AM
« on: November 24, 2019, 1337 UTC »
Won't be much change to the band. Not many stations on the AM band use IBOC HD now. I don't see much change happening.

A handful of stations, in major metros, at best, may take the option.

Just imagine the havoc wreaked when the new 5G cell system goes down in a Carrington event. Gazillions of cell sites, all fried. And I doubt they can back all that up. They apparently have enough problems trying to back up the present cell system during extended blackouts.

General Radio Discussion / Re: All Digital AM broadcast
« on: November 21, 2019, 0344 UTC »
No, we don't want a dead AM band, but it's kinda like a tree... you prune out the dead wood and the tree is healthier.
You gotta wonder how financially viable are stations that run 44 or 26 watts or 6 watts of power in the evening.
All it does is add to the QRM and render the  frequency useless.

True, but they generally don't have listeners in the evening... Radio in general usually doesn't, comparatively. Numbers apparently drop off after 7 p.m. or so, according to radio experts I've interacted with on a different forum.

My concern is that everywhere in the world -- Europe especially -- that the MW band has been 'pruned', it disappears. The Americas are basically the last holdout for a fully used MW band, and even at that, countries like Mexico are giving up on MW -- only certain stations are allowed to continue on indefinitely -- until they decide to leave the band, or simply leave the air altogether.

As for the 44 or 6 watts, such low powers are obviously (in many recent cases, anyway) placeholder, for licensing reasons... A station in my state just dropped night power (and day power, also) after getting an FM translator which covers the same area at a couple hundred watts. They're just holding place legally.

The band is aging out, and it will gradually 'prune' itself, regardless of what we radio enthusiasts think. I just find suggestions that we need a thinner band to be counterproductive in the long run -- to me it sounds like wishing for the die-off to happen prematurely.

It will happen, just the same, though... On that I think we can all agree.

General Radio Discussion / Re: All Digital AM broadcast
« on: November 16, 2019, 1035 UTC »
I don't agree with the notion that the AM band is better off with less stations. A dead medium is less useful in the eyes of government than a slowly dying one.

I know a lot of DXers complain about the plethora of signals they have to dig through to hear that rare one on the other side of the continent, but do we really want a dead AM band?

In most of Europe right now, there are no MW stations. Is that the kind of band we want?

General Radio Discussion / Re: Play me some Jones
« on: November 12, 2019, 1001 UTC »
Alex Jones is on some AM stations. He was on several I'd hear during the evening up until at least a couple years ago.

The fact that the radio in the video is a Panasonic wouldn't necessarily make it spur-proof. It's probably single conversion, as many other AM/FM's are.

Or you might have picked him up on a station from Florida on 790 (according to his affiliate list -- no idea how current his list is), if you heard it at night.

Either way -- interesting catch. I've never heard SW on an AM/FM radio on the AM band, except a long time ago, a friend's home stereo would pick up Radio Moscow sometimes, very high up in the AM band -- it was an obvious image or spur (mixing product of some type).

General Radio Discussion / Re: All Digital AM broadcast
« on: November 02, 2019, 1109 UTC »
Let 'em do it if they want. I don't think there will be an AM band in the US without analog. Some stations here and there who believe they have the HD audience would go all-HD.

And like Redhat mentions, a lot of stations switched off their HD / IBOC. Obviously they didn't see the audience for it.

Both local stations that had HD on AM dumped it two years or so ago. It's too bad, in a way, because they sounded good on HD, but they made a business decision apparently, and radio stations will make business decisions because they are primarily a business...

Which means if they don't think that HD will increase their audience, or serve their audience, they won't go there.

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