Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Adrian Korol, Richard Cuff, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:
Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel picked up around the world (Radio Nacional)
Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel broadcasts on the short wave on Wednesdays from 21 to 23 UTC and on Saturdays from 21 UTC until 03:00 on Sunday on frequency 15476 Khz (USB).
Due to improvements in the audio chain and transmission line and good propagation, we are receiving messages from listeners who had not been able to listen to it for decades and also reception reports from countries such as India, Iceland, Japan, United States, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and all the National territory.
During the summer we broadcast a program called “Uniendo Voces”, a production of the Joint Antarctic Command, the University of Quilmes and RAE, with the presentation of Juan Carlos Benavente.
We also share with you videos and posts in which listeners from around the world share their reception of LRA36. [Continue reading…]
Morse Code Clock For Training Hams (Hackaday)
It might seem antiquated, but Morse code still has a number of advantages compared to other modes of communication, especially over radio waves. It’s low bandwidth compared to voice or even text, and can be discerned against background noise even at extremely low signal strengths. Not every regulatory agency requires amateur operators to learn Morse any more, but for those that do it can be a challenge, so [Cristiano Monteiro] built this clock to help get some practice.
The project is based around his favorite microcontroller, the PIC16F1827, and uses a DS1307 to keep track of time. A single RGB LED at the top of the project enclosure flashes the codes for hours in blue and minutes in red at the beginning of every minute, and in between flashes green for each second. [Continue reading…]
The Changing Face of Tabletop Radios (Radio World)
While some still offer OTA reception, the specialty segment is dominated by online connectivity
There was a time, of course, when radios were fixtures in people’s homes. But according to Edison Research’s “Infinite Dial 2022” report, the percentage of U.S. homes with “zero” radios inside went from 4% in 2008 to 39% in 2022.
Among the radios that remain, clock and emergency radios have the best chances of justifying their presence to internet-centric consumers. But good ol’ fashioned tabletop radios? AM/FM receivers housed in eye-appealing laminated wood cases with big speakers and hefty knobs?
Mass-market companies such as Panasonic and Sony have abandoned such products. But specialty/quality brands such as C. Crane, Grace Digital, Sangean and Tivoli Audio have not.
These brands bring fresh approaches to the tabletop radio segment through innovation and the harnessing of streaming technology. Still, it’s an uphill battle in a world obsessed with all things internet.
There are several reasons conventional AM/FM tabletop radios have been disappearing from homes.
The first and most obvious is that even by the beginning of this century, radio had long ceased being a destination medium around which the family gathered to listen. In recent decades, the more common uses were morning wakeups, rush-hour commutes, sports on the go and weather emergencies, all well-served by portable radios, though there was still some degree of at-home listening. [Continue reading…]
Who Benefits By Removing AM From Cars? (Radio World)
Three perspectives on this hot potato threat
Car manufacturers claim they cannot suppress noise getting into the AM signals in their electric vehicles. This article presents the viewpoint of three people who beg to disagree.
Tom King, the chairman of Kintronic Labs Inc., is an expert on AM transmission and noise interference. His company manufactures most of the phasing cabinets for directional arrays on AM stations around the world.
Saul Levine is a veteran independent Los Angeles broadcaster and president of Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters. And I am the newbie, moving mountains to get an AM and FM translator combo on the air in the L.A. Culver City market. I’ve been a ham operator since age 14 and in broadcasting since high school — a voice actor, air talent and engineer in major markets, landing in L.A. years ago to change ailing KIIS to top 40.
So I have a vested interest.
The AM Improvement Working Group under the AM and FM Audio Broadcast Sub-Committee of the National Radio Standards Committee is in the process of preparing a white paper, “Radio Noise and Its Impact on Radio Services Operating Below 30 MHz.” [Continue reading…]
Ford said to be dropping AM radio in its 2024 Mustang (Tech Spot)
In brief: Ford’s next-generation Mustang is set to enter production later this month with some major changes in tow, and not all of them are desirable. Sources familiar with the matter told Ford Authority that the Blue Oval automaker is ditching AM radio in the upcoming 2024 Ford Mustang.
Last summer, the publication said Ford was removing AM radio from its 2023 F-150 Lightning due to interference with the EV’s drivetrain.
As The Drive highlights, EVs from several major automakers including Audi, BMW, Tesla, Volvo and Porsche have already shed AM radio. Reps for BMW and Volvo told the publication they don’t include AM radio because of audio quality problems related to electromagnetic interference from their vehicles’ drivetrains.
That said, plenty of other automakers have and continue to offer AM radio in their EVs without issue. Furthermore, the 2024 Mustang isn’t an EV so that concern is null and void. [Continue reading…]
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Maybe the reason that car makers are dropping AM radios from new cars is that AM radio isn’t as popular as it was compared to FM and AM radio doesn’t pass their costs vs perceived benefitS test.
Then there are the stations themselves. Many AM stations simulcast on FM and even those with only low power FM translators tend to emphasize that they are on FM ahead of AM.
The Changing Face of Tabletop Radios (Radio World)
Technisat, a German company shows how far radio receiver technology is ahead of the above article. https://www.technisat.com/en_XX/DIGITRADIO-650/352-10996-23298/?article=0000/3980 (YouTube video). It is only missing Digital Radio Mondiale and its ability to receive all frequency bands below FM.
Germany has extensive DAB+ broadcasting increasing the range of programs available. Unlike the USA, Germany has Government and commercial funded broadcasters.
I note that the graphics displayed in the DAB+ mode are transmitted in time with the program. In your article the images come via the internet which can be considerably delayed compared to the sound.
The reason these car manufacturers can get away with radiating rubbish is the the Federal Communications Commission (USA) regulations on unintended radiation are exempted for all transport vehicles! So we move from air pollution to electromagnetic pollution with no control
Also the capacitor in gasoline engines was to stop arcing across mechanical points on the bottom of the distributor (which also causes interference) which was to switch on and off the primary current through the ignition ‘coil’. The capacitor is a low voltage. For the high voltage end it is resistance ignition leads and the capacitance in the spark plugs. After all the capacitor would have to withstand many thousands of volts.
Modern gasoline engines do not have mechanical points. They use a magnetic pick up to find the time to fire the spark plug and a silicon controlled rectifier or a transistor switches on and off the primary ‘coil’ current.
Glad to see some experts weighing in to say it’s entirely possible to make AM radio work in EVs -even though anyone around these technologies can intuitively tell you it’s possible. There’s no intrinsic reason that motors and motor controllers can’t be sufficiently shielded to prevent unintentional radiation, or that that the 100% predictable RFI could not be cancelled out with digital signal processing (this isn’t white noise).
The biggest reason actually seems to be that they don’t want old-school external antennas on EVs. That makes sense because every bit of wind drag reduces range -HOWEVER; they solved that in the 1960s with antennas that can extend and retract.
The resistance to all 3 of those solutions are just an unwillingness to invest any money in making AM (and eventually FM too) work. Couple that with the tendencies of bean-counters at these companies who salivate at the idea of possibly getting a bite of that indefinite subscription money from people who purchased their cars. They tried and failed at that with XM radio years ago, but are looking to on-demand music services as a nice financial boost. This isn’t about “radio” vs “digital” -this is about “broadcast” (to everyone) vs “subscription” services (for a fee).
There seems to be a cultural difference across the pond here. In several EU countries, they are investing in digital broadcasting. You only put up that kind of money if you foresee a long future for broadcasting. Over here, we have major broadcasters putting broadcast sunsets in their long-term plans instead of investing in new tech- see: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-cbc-digital-streaming/
The Table top radio article. Missed the point. Why should a radio have to use the internet to display pictures on a screen. Is it in time with the program? There is always variable delays in the internet where as analog radio has virtually no delays. Digital radio including HD radio has delays. How ever real digital radio ie DAB+ and DRM can transmit slideshows of images and indexed text. Not mentioned. Even DRM can transmit images to large screen displays slowly, then display it. The broadcaster does know how long it will take to deliver the images.
Removal of AM from vehicles
Firstly remember that the telcos in the USA for their own commercial gain have resisted activation of the FM receiver in virtually all mobile phones. Apple has not activated it because they own itunes.
DAB+/FM receivers are common in Europe where broadcasters are switching off AM and just using DAB+ and the internet. For example Teslas sold in Europe & Australia are equipped with DAB+/FM.
DAB+ radiate power is radiated power of the signal, where as HD radio the digital signal power is a few percent of the FM power, resulting in a much smaller coverage area than FM.
Most new cars have a bluetooth tranceiver to communicate with a phone. Often phones are in the worst location as a receiver without an external antenna.
Interference suppression in gasoline engines is achieved by using a resistance of a carbon track within ignition leads and a capacitance to act as a gentle low pass filter.
The inverter used in cars is not dissimilar to motor control of large variable speed motors in industry. They cut up variable width pulses of current. This produces lots of interference. A filter is used to smooth out the pulses into a sine wave. So if the inverter and its filter is contained in a diecast box, the cable to the motor is shielded 3 phase motor.
If the car industry can move from the internal combustion engine, then the broadcasters can convert to pure digital DRM where almost the entire signal contains data including error correction. Around the world when analog Band 1 TV has been shut down 47 – 88 MHz is left unused. It means that a single DRM transmitter can radiate at least 6 channels containing 3 programs. A DRM transmission in this band is 100 kHz wide compared to 200 kHz for FM, and 400 kHz for HD radio. There are enough channels available for all existing AM/FM broadcasters. High powered band 1 DRM transmitters can cover a radius of 100 km, where as mobile phone base stations have a coverage radius of around 10 km. High speed 5G is only 0.9 km radius.