Bring back AM stereo CQUAM (1 Viewer)

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,566
2,682
Salem, OR
FM TUNERS in cellphones are a joke. Piss poor antenna in the headphone, and poor reception received makes broadcasters look like the culprit.
Yet even in their worst configuration they produce better stereo sound than most AM radios you can get your hands on for under $100.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
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West Central Michigan
H:

Tuners in phones were the brainchild of a PHONE company, not the radio industry. The phone industry was under fire from people who were too incredibly stupid to realize that streaming radio was "data" in use, which cost them their plan and money.... so, the campaign was conceived. I suppose if one wants FM within a few short miles of a tower, the mediocre tuner put in the multi hundred dollar phone may do one well. Selection of stations? Insert buzzer here. Ability to listen without headphones? Insert buzzer here. Idea for FREE promotion of Sprint and Nextel when others have the same capability but don't push it due to it's mediocre quality? Insert BELL. It's corporate America coming to the rescue of idiots, at the cost of the "image" of broadcasting's overall quality to broadcasters who care. Small FM's today are 6kw if built in the past 15-20 years. Older than that, small market ones are 3kw. Signal on a headphone which is NOT a tuned antenna is only a lucky by-product of the old walkman days, not an exact science. The difference back THEN was that the walkman wasn't trying to be a phone. The OLDER tuner in a WALKMAN STYLE radio would kick the donkey out of anybody's cellphone tuner today. Why? 1) It was made with a REAL tuner, not a "chip" before Chinese Junk was the norm and 2) It was MADE to be a radio, not a compromised device.

Ikki: The Sansui is a good tuner. I use one IN my studio to monitor our AM stereo sound in my speakers and headphones, daily, but it pales next to a Carver TX-11A for Am stereo reception overall which we use to feed our AM stereo online product. I've had the Sansui 99-series as well, It's very nice. Or, grab a Sony ST-JX221 when they come up. Usually from Canada on Ebay, and you can switch the 9kz tuning steps to 10 khz with a couple of button presses. Even the inexpensive Radio Shack TM-152 does a decent job of rendering good AM as a dedicated tuner. It's not the best, but it can handle being under our 5kw and still be a good "standby" tuner for our streaming. An MCS (JC Penny) 3050 tuner will give you AM stereo, but only about 5khz wide, squashing the quality sound most of we, the broadcaster want to provide to you. I've used, owned, and tested many of the tuners for our use. We settled on the Carver, until an established AM broadcasting network manufacturer adds the title of "new manufacturer of wideband AM stereo/FM stereo radios" to their lineup. They're working on it. The company backing the effort has its roots in very hiqh quality broadcast components for the RF part of AM, and understands the need of AM to remain the force for communications that it is. They're hoping for this year for a rollout of at least one model. IF broadcasters back it, so will listeners. I'll keep Satguys posted as I hear more, but there are places to research this via the FCC website under docket 13-249 and it isn't hard to find.
 

Brian1430

Member
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 26, 2015
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Durand, Wisconsin
I guess I'll jump in on this topic. Some background information, I own WRDN in Durand, WI. I purchased the station in 2011. It had been on and off air for nearly 10 years and had been left for dead when the owner was allowed to move the FM to the Minneapolis Market. With a ton of hard work, the station became viable by 2013 and has continued to grow each year since then. We have had many listeners, and local governments write comments to the FCC on the proposed rules and in 2012 I had the chance to meet with Commissioner Pai to talk about the station and I delivered to the Commissioner over 30 letters,(some handwritten), telling him how important to our community that the station was back on air and some had even told the commissioner it was the first time in years they had tuned into an AM station.

I think the debate over IBOC vs CQuam needs to settle down in my opinion. Last year I was able to see results of the all digital tests that was conducted by NAB and others. Nearby in Hudson, WGDY would switch from the hybrid mode(analog and digital) to just digital mode. The results were impressive. First there was NO splatter to adjacent channels. The signal was within the 10khz requirement that analog has to follow. Second in areas of the Western Twin Cities the all digital signal was BETTER than the analog signal. It sounded robust and there was no background hiss or static. I was floored when I heard the station. Yes there is more testing to be done especially at night, but according to one of the engineers that has worked in AM radio for years and was part of that testing, says its POSSIBLE that all digital would HELP stations like mine at night and MAY give my listeners better reception at night. Its worth exploring.

I have also listend to Cquam stations. Packer's station sound absolutely AWESOME! I would love to have my station sound that good in Cquam! I have heard other Cquam stations and they do sound much much better than a "traditional" AM station.

I believe there is room for both all digital broadcasting, and Cquam. There is a proposal that stations could move to the expanded band BUT they MUST be ALL Digital, NO Hybrid mode. I think this suggestion should be explored with this addition. While the commission is hesitant to require receiver manufacturers to have minimum standards, to me it would make sense to have the new digital receivers not only decode IBOC but Cquam too. Then broadcasters would have a choice..go all digital, go Cquam or just stay the way you are. The smaller guys like me or Packer would be Cquam as its affordable and the big guys could do the digital. Then it would be up to broadcasters big and small to promote the new receivers to their listeners. We sell the CCrane radios here at the stations(even the wifi radios too as we stream). Bottom line we have to work together and stop the infighting.

My 2 cents...we now return you to your regular post.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,566
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Salem, OR
Ability to listen without headphones?
How else do you listen to content from your wireless phone? Do you carry around battery powered Blu-tooth devices?

Do you suppose that they could have put an AM receiver on a chip?

Practicality can't be summarily ignored.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,659
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West Central Michigan
I wouldn't want an AM chip in a phone, either. Even given the hypothetical ability to design an antenna internally that would work (laugh laugh).... Compromising to make a device multi-functional tends to reduce effectiveness of at least one of the intentions. Again, the consumers will blame the BROADCASTER when the tuner doesn't work or works poorly, not their "hoity toity" new phone.

I can tell you of only ONE time I regularly see ONE person use headphones on their phone, that's at a local restaurant on this person's lunch. Aside from that, I'd lay odds, most of our readers don't carry headphones with them everywhere WITH the phone... thus making the point that FM chips in phones will, most times, be unusable due to lack of signal without the 'phones.

We see people use phones for GPS, messaging, facebook, and (GASP) talking..but...if media is used from a phone, indeed, it usually IS by bluetooth these days. One of the marketing ploys of Nextel/Sprint whose advertising we refused via network barter was for "emergencies." Fat lot of good it would do to have an FM chip for a local station and you forgot...and left your headphones at home.
 

Brian1430

Member
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 26, 2015
11
16
Durand, Wisconsin
The difficult question is how do you get from where we are to where you want to be.

Will DXing necessarily go away with digital?
Not hard. If commission mandates the receiver change and the change to all digtal on expanded band it will happen. as for dxing..frankly i could give a crap about that. qsl cards dont pay a single bill, nor does someone who is dxing going to support my local sponsors so I could care less about it.
 

Scott Greczkowski

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I never use headphones to listen to music on my phone. I just use the speaker. For me its used for sound not for a surround sound hifi setting. :)
 

Titanium

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May 23, 2013
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Sounds like a perfect solution to drive a nail into the coffin lid!

If the change is mandated, most casual AM band listeners like myself will be lost. I have many analog radios installed and at least 5 portable units. Would I replace these receivers to occasionally listen to AM band? No
 

ikki

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[QUOTE="

I believe there is room for both all digital broadcasting, and Cquam. There is a proposal that stations could move to the expanded band BUT they MUST be ALL Digital, NO Hybrid mode. I think this suggestion should be explored with this addition. While the commission is hesitant to require receiver manufacturers to have minimum standards, to me it would make sense to have the new digital receivers not only decode IBOC but Cquam too. Then broadcasters would have a choice..go all digital, go Cquam or just stay the way you are. The smaller guys like me or Packer would be Cquam as its affordable and the big guys could do the digital."

[/QUOTE]

The only change to your proposal I would make is to also allow broadcasters to use DRM. On shortwave the audio sounds amazing. (Radio New Zealand and back in the day Radio Canada International.)
 

ikki

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Why would DRM make the audio sound better? Isn't DRM Digital Rights Management? Or is DRM something different here?

Digital Radio Mondiale (abbreviated DRM; mondiale being Italian and French for "worldwide") is a set of digital audio broadcasting technologies designed to work over the bands currently used for analogue radiobroadcasting including AM broadcasting, particularly shortwave, and FM broadcasting.

DRM is more spectrally efficient than AM and FM, allowing more stations, at higher quality, into a given amount of bandwidth, using various MPEG-4 audio coding formats.

Digital Radio Mondiale is also the name of the international non-profit consortium that has designed the platform and is now promoting its introduction. Radio France Internationale, TéléDiffusion de France, BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, Telefunken(now Transradio) and Thomcast (now Thomson Broadcast) took part at the formation of the DRM consortium.

http://www.drm.org/
 
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harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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I'm a little perplexed about the Rights Management (digital or otherwise) issue as it applies to broadcast. I remember On TV and similar services that used decoders and/or special antennas to control reception of signals broadcast in the standard TV band. Were policies prohibiting this instituted somewhere along the line?
 

Trip

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I'm a little perplexed about the Rights Management (digital or otherwise) issue as it applies to broadcast. I remember On TV and similar services that used decoders and/or special antennas to control reception of signals broadcast in the standard TV band. Were policies prohibiting this instituted somewhere along the line?

Nope, the rules are still on the books, just that it wasn't profitable. There's even a company (AirBox) doing it today in select markets.

- Trip
 

Troch77

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 4, 2015
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Southern PA
I think it fairly safe to say the
FM audience is going on a downhill spiral.

With Pandora, iheart, itunes, Google play , Satellite
And not to mention most cars also have Bluetooth and LTE .

I don't think the "New Age" puts much value in FM radio anymore, let alone AM radio.
And I'm 38 and I can't remember the last time I used FM to even listen to music.

My Google maps shows me Traffic reports, and so far it's been spot on and extremely accurate right on my navigation screen.

I don't think too many people would be heartbroken if AM went away.
And FM is headed that as well, even Satellite Radio is hanging on for dear life.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
 

ikki

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AM (Whether digital or analog) is very useful for conveying emergency instructions and information. The frequency band offers the ability to cover a large area, and thus its unlikely the band will be going any where in the next 40 years. The modulation may change but that band wont.

Personally I would like to see the big players exit the industry. I would be more then happy to buy an existing AM station and run it, I however will not pay the inflated prices currently being asked.
 

Titanium

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Emergency usage of the AM band is useless if no one has a radio to receive the new format. Once again, as a casual AM band listener, I won't be upgrading the cars, truck, RV, snowmobile, home stereo, office radio, clock radios and several portable radios to be able to receive a new modulation type just in case I want another information source. Likely just turn to another band or to find information (via FM, OTA TV, smart phone, FTA satellite, etc).

Dual illumination (including analog) makes sense if AM band is indeed to be continued to be used as a tool for emergency broadcasting. Hundreds of millions of analog AM band radios are in use or sitting in drawers and available for tuning to emergency broadcasts. How many CQUAM or DRM radios are in North America?
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,566
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Salem, OR
With Pandora, iheart, itunes, Google play , Satellite
Keeping in mind that one of the primary missions of commercial broadcast radio is to keep people informed in the event of an emergency situation, which of these, which do you expect to remain operating during a disaster?

Unless you live in a major metro area that has local reports on SARS, you can't realistically count Satellite Radio for local help and instructions.
 

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