Tag Archives: AM

FCC might reduce AM clear channel power

(Source: Tom Taylor Now)

Are the protected night signals of monster 50,000-watt AMs “an anachronism?”
And is the FCC poised to do something that will frustrate late-night DX’ers? The Commission tries again to balance the role of Class A signals like KMOX St. Louis/1120, designed to serve listeners hundreds of miles away, with the desires of local AMs. The “skywave” debate is decades-old – but particularly urgent now, given the rising noise floor from all kinds of interference. The Commission just issued a “Second further notice of proposed rulemaking,” noting the rise of “FM stations, satellite radio and other media.” The first notice drew “a voluminous and diverse set of comments,” with some pointing out that “AM skywave service is sporadic and unreliable, often subject to overwhelming environmental interference, and unlikely to consist of programming tailored to the needs of distant communities.” But then there are questions about hurricane and other weather/safety warnings. In this notice, the Commission has ideas about changes to daytime, “critical hours” operation after sunrise and before sunset, and “nighttime hours.” One observer tells this NOW Newsletter says that cutting through the thicket of details, “It’s clear that there will be a further reduction in protection to the clear channel Class A stations, particularly at night. The main questions are how much protection they will retain.”

Click here to read at Tom Taylor Now.

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Are we entering the age of atomic radio?

(Source: arstechnica via Scott Schad)

A new antenna using single atoms could usher in the age of atomic radio

The team tested their device by recording themselves singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

JENNIFER OUELLETTE

In the 1950s, atomic clocks revolutionized precision time-keeping. Now we may be on the verge of so-called “atomic radio,” thanks to the development of a new type of antenna capable of receiving signals across a much wider range of frequencies (more than four octaves) that is highly resistant to electromagnetic interference.

An antenna is typically a collection of metal rods that pick up passing radio waves and convert their energy into an electrical current, which is then amplified. One might argue that the good old-fashioned radio antenna has served us well since the dawn of the 20th century, so why do we need anything to replace it?

According to David Anderson of Rydberg Technologies, those antennae are wavelength-dependent, so their size depends on whatever wavelength of signal they are trying to measure (they need to be about half the size of whatever wavelength they are designed to receive). That means you need antennae of several different sizes to measure different radio frequencies.

Anderson is a co-author of a new paper posted to the arXiv describing a novel alternative to conventional antennae, based on vapor cells filled with a gas of so-called “Rydberg atoms.” That just means the atoms are in an especially excited state, well above their ground (lowest-energy) state. This makes them especially sensitive to passing electric fields, like the alternating fields of radio waves. All you need is a means of detecting those interactions to turn them into quantum sensors.[…]

Read the full article at arstechnica.

Click here to download the research paper: An atomic receiver for AM and FM radio communication (PDF).

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Radio World: “Who’s Got the Biggest, Meanest AM Flamethrower?”

(Source: Radio World)

More broadcasters than you might realize are helping keep the ionosphere warm (and the power companies happy)

In the May 9 issue of Radio World, I reported on a recent power upgrade at TWR’s Bonaire AM facility that brought that station close to the half-megawatt level (440 kW), allowing the station to make the claim that it is the most powerful medium-wave (MW) operation in the Western Hemisphere. After the dust settled, I thought it might be interesting to poke around a bit in the data available to see if they have a close (or even not-so-close) contender for second place for this title.

With only a few exceptions, U.S. stations have been capped at 50 kW since this power level was authorized by the Federal Radio Commission in the late 1920s. Powel Crosley Jr.’s WLW 500,000 kW 1930s “experimental” operation is one very well-known example, as it received a lot of publicity during the five years or so during it operated before being powered down. However, there was another much less well-known superpower operation during that period (it actually beat WLW to the punch by putting 400,000 Watts on the air about three years before Crosley was ready to belt out his hundreds of kilowatts).

[…]Surprisingly, there is one U.S. AM station that has the necessary paperwork and equipment to operate at 100 kW full-time. However, it’s not listed in the FCC’s AM database. I’m referring to the VOA’s “Radio Martí” in Marathon, Fla. which operates on 1080 kHz.

The VOA station (it sports no call sign) appears to be the only operation in its class in the U.S. and Canada, but it if you cross the border into Mexico, you’ll find “muchas estaciones de radio” that emit lots more than a puny 50,000 “vatios.”[…]

Click here to read the full story at Radio World.

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TWR’s Boniare MW station now most powerful in Western hemisphere

(Source: Radio World)

TWR’s Bonaire Facility Gets 440,000 Watt Makeover

In an era when most operators are reluctant to spend even very modest sums maintaining AM broadcast facilities, a southern Caribbean Island medium-wave broadcaster has “gone for the gold,” rebuilding its transmission facility and boosting power nearly five-fold from 100 kW to 440 kW.

The rebuild was more of a “second coming” for the 800 kHz facility, located in Bonaire, an island that is part of The Netherlands, situated about 100 miles off the Venezuelan coast. The station is owned and operated by Trans World Radio, one of the world’s largest evangelical media organizations.[…]

Click here to read at Radio World.

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The new Tivoli Model One Digital has AM (for Australians only)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following article from The Sydney Morning Herald (my comments follow):

Australians like AM radio, but it’s just about impossible to find a good quality digital radio with AM. Lots of digitals get FM, so why no AM?

It’s because Australia is an unusual market for radios. We’re not like Asia, Europe, Japan and America where practically all radios are designed and manufactured. These places have large populations in high densities, and one population hub is seldom far from the next. The range limitations of both digital and FM are seldom an issue.

But in Australia we have digital broadcasting only in the capital cities, meaning Brisbane’s digital radio stations are 900 kilometres from the next nearest in Sydney, leaving about 800 kilometres of dead air between. Digital can’t even hold between Sydney and Canberra. FM lasts a bit longer, not much. But with good old AM you can listen to Darwin from the Nullarbor Plain when the conditions are right. Through vast tracts of Australia if you don’t have AM you don’t have radio.

So Gary Tye’s challenge when he took on distribution of the Tivoli brand was to convince people in Boston that Australians will actively seek out and buy a digital radio with AM. They took a lot of convincing.

And so the $449 Tivoli Model One Digital is now available with AM, as well as FM and digital. But only in Australia. Caravanners around this wide brown land will rejoice; there’s at last a good sounding digital radio that will work anywhere.

[…]The sound quality is, as a very honest department store salesman observed, good but not great. I remember the original as being better. The bass can become ragged down low and the definition gets a bit fuzzy at high volumes, but for filling a study, a kitchen or indeed a caravan with good music the Tivoli does an entirely respectable job. It’s not on a par with a Wave Radio but it costs half as much and sounds better than the vast bulk of radios, be they digital or analogue. And it has AM.

It also has Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Wi-Fi to get internet radio. There’s Bluetooth and you can hook in your phone or music player with a cable to the 3.5 mm auxiliary input.

Click here to read the full article at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Thanks for the tip, Dennis!

I owned the original Tivoli Model One and loved it. I recently gave it away while thinning the herd here at SWLing Post HQ. Though it was an elegant, simple radio with excellent audio characteristics, so is my Como Audio Solo which essentially replaced the Model One.

While the Model One Digital is appealing in many respects, reviews are lukewarm at best. Customers complain about the proprietary app, the audio being too heavy on processed bass and the overall performance not matching that of its predecessor.

While the Model One Digital is a “WiFi” radio, it doesn’t seem to connect to any of the streaming radio station aggregators we radio enthusiasts rely on to tune to our favorite obscure local stations on the other side of the planet. It appears to only connect to paid music streaming services and one’s own local digital library (though please correct me if I’m wrong about this!).

Post readers: Any Tivoli Model One Digital owners out there?  I’d love to read your reviews!

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