Category Archives: HD Radio

Radio Waves: The Gamut All Digital at 4 Years, Glory Days of Pirate Radio, AIR to Kashmir, and Podcast Collaborations

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 Eric Jon Magnuson for summarizing these news items for Radio Waves!


Hubbard Is Four Years In With All-Digital AM. Here’s How It’s Doing. (Inside Radio)

It has been just over four years since Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD, Frederick, MD (820) powered down its analog signal and began operating as a digital-only AM station under experimental authority granted by the FCC. Since then, new FCC rules permitting all-digital AMs industrywide have broadcasters taking a closer look at WWFD as they consider options for struggling AMs.

WWFD posted a 1.5 share (12+) in Nielsen’s Frederick, MD spring survey with a weekly cume of 3,300. Before it went all digital, Dave Kolesar, Senior Broadcast Engineer at Hubbard and the station’s PD, says it was a ratings no-show, “a wasted signal.”

The idea for making the all-digital leap came around Christmas 2016 when Kolesar concluded that a music format on AM – even one as differentiated as The Gamut’s expansive playlist – was “pretty much a nonstarter that exists for the purpose of having an FM translator. In all-digital mode, the AM signal has the capability of becoming relevant again” with digital sound quality, and artist and album title and album artwork displays.

According to Xperi, about 35% of cars on the road in the DC market are equipped with HD Radio receivers. Yet only a small fraction of listening to radio in the market is to AM radio. The station focuses on the one-third of the market that could enjoy a music format that looks and feels like any other service in the dashboard. The strategy involves using the FM translator as promotional vehicle for the digital AM frequency: “when you’re outside the coverage area of our 94.3 FM signal, tune into 820 and hear us while you’re driving around,” Kolesar explains. [Continue reading…]

OPINION: Remembering the glory days of pirate radio 55 years on (Eastern Daily Press)

Radio DJ Tom Edwards looks back at his youth spent broadcasting off the East Anglia coast

Although I’ve lived in Lincolnshire for nearly 30 years having been born and educated in Norwich, I will of course always be a Norfolk man. At 77 years of age now I’ve been a broadcaster for 57 of those years.

During Easter of 1964 a somewhat mysterious radio station came on the airwaves playing non-stop music and the presenters seemed to be just ad libbing at the microphone in contrast to the rather staid BBC light programme which hardly played any popular music. The station turned out to be the now famous Radio Caroline, which was transmitting from a ship off the East Anglia coast.

I was a Bluecoat at Pontins holiday camp at Pakefield and the site had a Radio Pontins Tannoy system so I asked the boss for some money to buy some 45 hit singles which he agreed to and so started doing record requests for the happy campers.

Other stations, whether they were ships or wartime fortresses, suddenly began to appear right around the coast of the UK. Apart from Caroline there were other stations including Radio London, Radio England, Radio270 and Radio 390.

The more I heard of these stations, which were becoming so popular with an estimated audience of 22 million, the more I wanted to be out there at sea with them. I wrote and sent tapes of my Pontins shows to all of them. While on a few days off in Norwich, a man called Reg Calvert called me and said he liked what he heard and offered me a weekend try out on Radio City. [Continue reading…]

AIR’s Station At 9,000 Feet Along LoC In Kashmir Broadcasts Programs For People Living Across Border (India Times)

Surrounded by the barbed wires, dense deodar trees and Pir Panchal mountains in the backdrop, this is the All India Radio (AIR) Srinagar’s Radio Station which has been set up close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Rustum area of J&K’s Uri sector.

Set up in November 2020, the station has been built 9,000 feet above the sea level.

The radio station has been set up with an aim to provide access to the Kashmiri people living on the other side of the border to listen to their favourite programs.

“The local news, music programs and especially Pahari and Gojari programs are aired from this station for the Kashmiri population living on the other side of the LoC,” said Qazi Masood who heads the station in Uri. [Continue reading…]

Podcast Collaborations: The positives, the pitfalls, and the public interest (Public Media Alliance)

Three top public media podcast executives discuss with PMA the benefits and complications that come with collaborations, and how ultimately, they can help public media organisations fulfil their public service obligations.

As the podcast market globally becomes ever more saturated and competitive, PMA invited three top podcast executives from three leading public media organisations to discuss how collaborations might provide the pathway for public media organisations to remain the premier podcast producers. It came after a talk about podcast collaborations at Radiodays Europe in Malmö, Sweden in May 2022.

They spoke to PMA’s Editorial Manager, Harry Lock.

Harry Lock: Could you give me some examples of podcasts which you’ve worked on where you collaborated with another organisation? How does it actually work logistics-wise? 

Arif Noorani, Director of CBC Podcasts: Hunting Warhead is a collaboration we did with VG, Scandinavia’s biggest newspaper, on a story they’d spent more than two years on (it was nominated for a Prix Italia.) Production wise – CBC led the podcast and embedded a VG team member in the production team providing contacts, research and notes on scripts.

We have three international co-productions with the BBC World Service – launching in the next year. It’s an equal joint effort – Jon Manel, commissioner for the BBC World Service and I co-lead all aspects of the project. We think the combined heft of CBC Podcasts and the BBC World Service was attractive. We meet weekly and more (along with Whatsapping each other if it’s urgent) to discuss production, content, rollout and all the business side of things. We have one point person between the production teams and the BBC/CBC to keep it streamlined. To make this work, you have to have lots of trust between all sides, and a shared vision of the type of content you want to make (in this case journalistically-driven serialised narrative storytelling rich in characters and heartbeat). Jon and I have informally collaborated for a few years so that really helped. We’ll also combine our audience building, digital and marketing efforts in the launch and rollout.

Andrew Davies, Digital and Engagement Editor, ABC Australia: Co-productions and collaborations with external organisations/partners is still a relatively new area for the ABC in podcasting. There have been a number of collaborations between Radio National (ABC’s specialist talks network) and the BBC but those have mostly been radio focused. The ABC’s Audio Studios team did a co-production with WNYC Studios a few years ago with Short & Curly, our very popular ethics podcast for children.

More recently we’ve worked with Arif and the CBC Podcasts team around the release of series two of our popular Stuff The British Stole podcast. That involved the CBC team helping with audience building (through cross-promotion, publicity, marketing and digital/social content) in the North American market. That was a really successful collaboration and we were excited to work with the CBC as we knew they recognised not just what a great show it is but also wanted to help it reach a bigger audience. There were a large number of people involved from both broader teams but I want to echo Arif’s point about having clear point people on both sides to keep things streamlined.

Tim Watkin, Executive Producer of Podcasts & Series, RNZ: RNZ Podcasts has produced 46 podcasts in partnership with 38 different organisations. That includes other broadcasters and media, production houses and funders. Collaboration can take many forms.

The most common form of collaboration for RNZ is where we make a podcast alongside an independent production company. For example, Eating Fried Chicken in the Shower is a series that was pitched to us by an independent producer, Charlie Bleakley, and host James Nokise. RNZ paid for the series but was very hands-on, more than a mere commission. We provided a supervising producer, sound recordist on location, draft audio edits, studios for the final mix and promotion. [Continue reading…]


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Can you help Rob identify two mystery signals on the 20 meter band?

I received the following message from my buddy Rob (NC0B) who is trying to identify a couple of signals on the 20 meter band. Rob kindly gave me permission to post his email here on the SWLing Post with the idea that someone may be able to help him solve this:

The following is a description of two odd digital signals observed on 20 meters with transmission modes I do not understand. They may not amateur transmissions, but I have no way to decode them. They stick out like a sore thumb on 20m in the Extra portion of the phone band. The time of day on August 20th was between 11:50 AM and 12:00 PM MDT.

Two weeks ago I was in QSO on 14,170 kHz and occasionally there was the same 10 kHz wide digital signal but centered on 14,171 kHz. It sounded like the old Russian jammers buzz saw modulation. Those signals from decades ago were much wider, and or course we didn’t have high resolution spectrum scopes back then. Today the same transmissions occurred several times, and more than once a minute for about 5 seconds each. In total the transmissions may have occurred on and off for about 10 minutes.

Then after a few 10 kHz transmissions a different signal came on the air a few times with what looked like a digital modulated carrier plus digital sidebands on each side of the middle signal.

Look at the attached JPG file and I’ll try to make sense out of it:

The waterfall image lasts about 50 seconds on the Icom IC-7610 set on slow. There are two different signals to differentiate in this image. The signal I observed two weeks ago and today is 10 kHz wide and today spans from 14,178 to 14,188. It shows up in green on the band scope, and just under it in blue on the water fall for about 3 seconds of the approximate 5 second transmission. You can also see at the bottom of the waterfall the previous transmission that has about 4 seconds worth saved on the waterfall running off the bottom. The horizontal span of the scope was set to 5 kHz per division.

Once the 10 kHz wide signal started, I went to Dual Watch so I could listen for KL7QOW on 14,170 kHz for a sked, and hear the buzzing signal on 14,183 kHz in SSB mode. That frequency placed the carrier position of the SSB 2.8 kHz bandwidth in the center of the 10 kHz wide signal.

Soon after I started observing the relatively flat spectrum of the 10 kHz signal, a new digital signal appeared about 3 kHz lower in frequency. At first it had a much stronger center modulated carrier about 2 kHz wide and then two symmetrical digital signals on each side within about a 6 kHz total bandwidth. I wasn’t able to capture the best picture of the 2nd signal as it appeared to be tuning up. The amplitude difference between the central signal and the separate sidebands initially was about 15 dB. Vertical divisions are 10 dB.

On the waterfall you can see the second type of signal is centered on about 14,180 kHz. The modulation depth of the outer pairs of signals were not constant, possibly due to selective facing. QSB was quite significant at this time at least to Alaska. You can see there was a short break of a few seconds in the 6 kHz wide signal. Every time I have seen the 10 kHz wide signal its amplitude across the transmission bandwidth has been fairly constant, always of short duration, and repeating several times within 10 minutes before terminating.

Does anyone have any idea what either of these transmissions are? I have heard of email digipeaters, but I would not think their bandwidth would be this wide.

Rob, NC0B

SWLing Post community: Please comment if you can help Rob ID these signals!

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CIDX Special Event Stations and QSL information!

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver DialMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Sheldon Harvey, who shares the following announcement from the CIDX:


CIDX AMATEUR RADIO CLUB STATIONS ON THE AIR JULY 17, 2022

CIDX has two amateur radio club stations that are activated from time to time on the ham bands, usually to mark special events, club anniversaries, etc.

VE2AQP is our eastern Canada amateur club station callsign, located at CIDX eastern Canadian headquarters in Saint-Lambert, Quebec

VE6SWL is our western Canada amateur club station callsign, located at CIDX western Canadian headquarters in Sherwood Park, Alberta

CIDX is planning to activate the stations in July to mark the 60th anniversary of the Canadian International DX Club.

VE2AQP will be active from Montreal, Quebec, operated by CIDX World of Utilities editor Gilles Letourneau, VE2ZZI, on July 17th from 1800 UTC to 2200 UTC around 14240 kHz USB, plus or minus, depending on activity and the conditions on the band,

VE6SWL will be active from Lamont, Alberta, operated by CIDX Vice-President & Verie Interesting editor Mickey Delmage, VE6IDX, also July 17th from 1800 UTC to 2200 UTC around 14265 kHz USB, plus or minus, depending on activity and the conditions on the band.

VE2AQP will be active again on July 31st at 2200 UTC to August 1 at 0200 UTC on 40 meters around 7150 kHz LSB, plus or minus, depending on activity and the conditions on the band.

CIDX will be issuing special e-QSLs for contacts with either or both CIDX club stations. SWLs are also welcome to submit reports should you log either or both stations. For those receiving e-QSLs who are not CIDX members, a free sample copy of “Messenger” together with club information will accompany the e-QSL.

CIDX will activate the two CIDX amateur club stations at various times throughout the balance of 2022 to mark CIDX’s 60th anniversary. Notices of future operations will be posted on the CIDX Facebook group and the CIDX IO Group.

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Exploring HD Radio receiver availability

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mangosman, who notes that since a number of SWLing Post readers are in North America, he’s curious if readers could read through and add to his list of HD Radios. He notes:

There was a HDradio trial in the FM band in India early 2021. The report shows the receivers used. I wonder if they are currently available in the USA?

I searched the receiver manufacturers’ websites with the following results.

It was not an easy task particularly for car radios so there could be omissions.

HDradio’s list of aftermarket car radios

Kenwood KDC-BT758

https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/NEX/AVIC-W8500NEX#Tuner is the only current model of car radio I can find that will receive HDradio When you click on a particular model many of the links go to the manufacturers’ website but not to their product HDradio is very difficult to find.

HD radio’s List of Home radios

Sangean. HDR-15 is manufactured

Sangean SG114 clock radio is on the manufacturers’ website but not HD radio’s website

Sangean HDR-18 is manufactured

Sangean HDT 20 Tuner is on the manufacturers’ website but not HD radio website

Sangean SG108 is on the manufacturers’ website but not HD radio website

Sparc ITR-1  Not on manufacturer’s website

Sparc SHD-BT1  Out of stock on the manufacturers’ website

Now, Viewquest only makes DAB+ radios and not HDradio versions

https://hdradio.com/get-a-radio/portables/ there is only Sparc radio which are all out of stock.

HD Radio’s list of Portable Radios

sparc-shd-tx2 Out of stock on the manufacturers’ website

AudioVox HDP01A This company was renamed Voxx international in 2012 and no longer makes radios.

Sangean HDR-14

Phones

Beatboy was an HDradio with a phone added. It is not a smart phone  https://www.carousell.ph/p/boxed-beatboy-basic-phone-243342561/ a free give away in the Philippines. Internet searches of the Philippines broadcasts shows evidence of HDRadio but all the references are old. Considering that xperi charges broadcasters for the use of HDradio standard, I wonder if they have all dropped it. It is not mentioned on the www.Hdradio website.

On phones I found this https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hd-radio/id333257742 Don’t get excited, look at the comments in 2012!

If you can find any other new HD capable radios which are currently available to consumers please post.

-Mangosman

If you can help add to or correct this list, please comment!

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Sangean HDR-16: Benjamin pleased to see re-mapped front panel buttons

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benjamin, who writes:

I recently started looking into smaller HD radios and most recently have been looking at the HDR 14 and 16. In the process of doing my homework it looks like there was a very recent change to the HDR 16 that is a major pro.

The new version now has the MENU and INFO keys sharing a single button and the former INFO button now being remapped as a PAGE button.

Just like the HDR 14, the new 16s have a total of 40 presets 20 on AM and 20 on FM. It looks like they may have also changed the back light but it is hard to tell on the video that I saw. It makes me wonder if there were any other changes made under the hood that could affect either positively or negatively the HD reception as well as analog.

Here is a link to the YouTube video that I found the change through.

Thank you as always for all of the wonderful information you provide on your blog. I will be curious to see if there are indeed any other differences to this radio and maybe somebody else already has one that can comment pro or con about it.

Thanks, Benjamin for sharing your findings. If you’ve recently purchased an HDR-16, please comment!

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The new Sangean SG-108 portable HD radio

Many thanks for SWLing Post contributor, Zack Schindler, who shares the following:

Sangean released a new MW/FM/HDRadio this year, the SG-108: https://www.sangean.com/products/product.asp?mid=261&cid=3

It seems to be identical to the HDR-14 except for the color https://www.sangean.com/products/product.asp?mid=230&cid=3.

I wonder if the receiver is any better than the HDR-14? I have an HDR-14 and am amazed by its performance every time I use it.

Thanks for the tip, Zack! I, too, love the HDR-14. I also love the fact the SG-108 still uses AA batteries as well.

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Parks On The Air: Finally biting the CW bullet!

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my Social DX goals was to activate a Parks On The Air (POTA) site in CW (Morse Code).

Mission accomplished!

Yesterday, I mustered up the nerve and drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway (site K-3378 in POTA).

My wife and kids were knee-deep in another project so I planned to go solo until my dog, Hazel, caught wind I was leaving with my radio backpack in-tow. Always ready for a hike or road trip, she jumped in the car the moment I opened the door.

I’ll admit it: I was nervous. I had the same jitters I had the first time I spoke in front of a large crowd.

In the end, though, I really had nothing to fear. The POTA community is a very kind, courteous, cohesive and supportive group of radio operators.

I picked the Blue Ridge Parkway as my first site not only because it’s so convenient to where I live, but it’s also one of the most activated parks in the POTA program. I knew a BRP activation wouldn’t attract a mad pile-up of park hunters because everyone in POTA has this one in the books already.

My full radio kit–including my KX2 transceiver, KXPA100 100W amplifier,  two antennas, Heil headset, two battery packs, chargers, and all accessories–is packed in my Red Oxx C-Ruck and always ready for action. I grabbed the full kit, although in truth I only needed the KX2, my CW paddles, coax cable and antenna.

Conditions were rough yesterday. Propagation was pretty good, but there were pop-up thunderstorm everywhere in the region, so the bands were very noisy with constant static crashes. Herein lies one of the great things about CW: you can use a filter width so narrow that it doesn’t affect you as much as it does operating phone.

Because I had limited operating time, I deployed the Wolf River Coils TIA portable antenna. It takes me all of 4 minutes to set up.

I got on 40 meters, started calling “CQ POTA” and the next thing I know I had 13 stations logged.

My nerves dissipated quickly after I logged the first couple of contacts and I was even looking forward to stations answering my call. The operators were also incredibly patient with me and two of them even followed me to higher bands and made contact there.

Hazel the dog staring at my portable logging computer.

Hazel was a bit upset this activation didn’t include a hike, so several times she insisted on “helping” with the logs as I sweated it out!

All-in-all, I logged 17 stations in one hour on three bands using about 10 watts of power.

Elecraft KX2 Whiterock CW paddles Red Oxx C-RuckI deployed my station quickly, and I packed it up quickly. A pop-up thunderstorm, once again, chased me off the air. That’s okay, though, because I was already feeling pretty chuffed about bagging my first CW activation.

If I’m being completely honest here in front of my community of radio enablers, as soon as I arrived back home, I started mentally putting together a super-compact CW activation kit built around an LnR Precision MTR3B transceiver. I’ve always wanted one of these little CW-only transceivers to carry in my EDC bag for impromptu field radio fun, but never could justify it. Until now! 🙂


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