Re: Sangean HDR-14 UL HD AM/FM Radio - What do you think?

Michael Schuster

WFAS-AM (1230 KHz) in White Plains, NY - a low-power daytime station with almost no audience, inexplicably converted to IBOC "("HD Radio") digital-only MA3 mode on May 22. Perhaps Cumulus is testing the waters in a low-risk situation.

Their transmitter is about 18 miles from me as the crow flies.

Knowing this change was coming I benchmarked the useable signal on a few of AM-HD capable portables (Sangean HDR-14 and HDR-15, NiceTex "SPARC" SHD-TX2) in analog mode early last month, and then did the same after the conversion. In analog mode the audio was very staticky but as intelligible as any fringe area station. Of course the digitall audio is significantly more intelligible - at the cost of the artificial-treble expansion sibilance characteristic of HD-AM.

The problem is, even with all of the transmitter power invested solely into the digital signal, and unlike WWFD in Maryland, this particular station makes the worst-case scenario for an analog-to-IBOC conversion. In various parts of my house I can either hear ony digi-noise (i.e. the HD detector is not even triggered), otherwise there may be an HD "lock" but no audio, or still elsewhere the digital audio kicks in (and out) only after an extended period of buffering.

This is barefoot ... adding just about any externally-coupled loop or ferrite antenna makes a world of difference as one might suspect.

Tune in in 6 months or so for the post-mortem ...

Join to automatically receive all group messages.