Axios: Congress moves to preserve AM radio in cars

(Source: Axios via Dennis Dura)

Scoop: Congress moves to preserve AM radio in cars (Axios)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to make it illegal for carmakers to eliminate AM radio from their cars, arguing public safety is at risk, Axios is first to report.

Why it matters: AM radio is one key way that government officials communicate with the public during natural disasters and other emergencies.

    • Officials worry that if drivers don’t have access, they might miss important safety alerts.

Context: Some manufacturers are eliminating AM radio from their electric vehicles (EVs) because of interference from the electric motors that results in annoying buzzing noises and faded signals. [Continue reading at Axios…]

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11 thoughts on “Axios: Congress moves to preserve AM radio in cars

  1. KY4XJ - Paul

    Existing low power Department of Transportation Traffic (DOT) stations are amplitude modulated and broadcast in the medium band. With change to FM only the nearest/high-powered station would capture a receiver which defeats the purpose for those DOT broadcasts. (E.G. The Hampton Roads metropolitan area has low power AM traffic broadcasts that alert motorists of backed up conditions in this area and help to route traffic over/through alternate bridge/bridge-tunnels. When I am most hurried, I tune that in before I choose a preferable travel artery. This is perhaps not so important for motorists who are not familiar with navigating local routes. These stations also alert motorists to crashes or hazards. But, while most traffic is local; visiting traffic is local too. So everyone in traffic can benefit from DOT AM broadcasts.) Simply converting DOT AM stations to FM – that wouldn’t always work.

  2. mangosman

    In petrol engines the main cause of interference is the ignition system. To overcome it they put in ignition leads which contain a carbon track instead of wire. In addition if the distributor has physical ‘points’ ie contacts which open each time a piston reaches the top also has a capacitor across it. It could be faulty. contains a map of the regions and what bands are licenced in each one.

    9V1WL. In 2009 Australia was the first country to permanently transmit DAB+ at high power. Only the capital cities + Gold Coast Qld, and Mandurah WA have broadcasts. All transmitters use existing TV transmitter towers. In capital cities, the antenna is around 200 m above the ground, and the effective radiating power of 50 kW. These transmitters along with a few very low power repeaters cover 60 % of our population. In those areas virtually all AM & FM transmissions are simulcast in stereo on DAB+. Around 18 programs per transmitter.

  3. Des Walsh

    Designers of modern cars with the myriad of digital devices are ignorant of AM radio ( long and medium wave ) design. Even my 14 year old Nissan Micra suffers from several interference on AM. A ticking noise
    is produced such that a single tick is produced for every few metres travelled , then on medium wave but
    not long wave a a rough wobbly carrier is produced about every 20 kHz across medium wave . Add to that several carriers, some stable , some drifting . So a moderately strong signal is needed for tolerable
    reception , no such transmitters in Ireland anymore !
    In Spain there still are many medium wave stations on the air.
    By the way did RNE5 ever transmit on longwave ? A transmitter in Logrono was listed on I think 207kHz
    so that must have been maybe 20 or 25 years ago .
    Transmitters and masts for AM radio should be kept in reserve in case FM and especially digital
    systems fail or are hacked . Des Walsh

  4. Mario

    It’ll never happen in the majority of cars to be produced in my opinion. Why this idea to remove AM radio from automobiles ever became an issue is puzzling. Maybe it’s just part of the trend that includes banning gas stoves and other intrusions into things of daily life that are working perfectly well and don’t need to be fixed.

  5. Hosein

    Years ago, when I was a child, my father bought a multiband radio from a retail store and installed it in his car with a 1.5 meter spring antenna. When his car passed under the high-voltage power towers, a very loud noise was emitted. He was very interested in long waves. When he reached a high hill with his car, he would receive radio from Tajikistan with excellent quality. I remember the thunder and lightning and even the flashing lights of the intersections would make noise on the received station. It seems that the time of death of long wave transmitters has come. Sometimes listening to a noisy radio from thousands of kilometers away is much more enjoyable than listening to a high quality internet radio station.
    Hosein from Iran, 73

  6. 9V1WL

    Good idea. FM is fine if you in the EU where there is an FM or DAB Tx on every second hilltop. In countries like Australia, USA, and continents like Africa and South America, that have vast expanses of thinly populated land, MW AM is the only viable option.

  7. Mark O'Byrnes

    Well that is good, pity E.U politicians did not and do not care about preserving AM.

    The car manufacturers will argue that with the advanced computer systems and electronics in electric cars that it’s not possible to have Am in cars, they’ll get away with it.

    1. Jason VE3MAL

      Broadcast engineers should counter that by saying “okay, if that’s the case, then you better make your radios receive DRM too! You know, just in case ;)”

      It’s a baloney excuse anyway.


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