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 Post subject: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Well, this is kind of a bummer for us radio collectors BUT it was destined to happen. IBOC for AM will go away and AM carriers will be made all digital is the proposed change. How will this impact our hobby? I like to believe as always we will adapt, just like having a missing part on a classic radio. My thoughts are we simply decode with a digital, take analog audio to a small analog AM transmitter for part 15 use to play on any classic radio.

http://news.michmab.com/fcc-seeks-comme ... nsmission/

https://www.radioworld.com/tech-and-gea ... m-proposal

https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/digital-radio


Steve


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 4:01 pm 
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In some ways I have already adapted. I use an in home AM broadcast unit for testing and allowing people to see how to tune the old TRF units I have. Otherwise the RFI in and near my house is excessive.
But, all new cars have am/fm radios so this would make car radios (am) inoperable ?

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 4:04 pm 
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decode with digital!

Are you nuts... DAB radio has been knocking on the door here for many years.


You want a report.
Cut off the top and the bottom of the audio signal - and that's what you are left with.
or... put your best AM receiver in your grandma's closet, and close the door.

MP3 for sheepel.
Digital TV for sheepel.
Digital radio for sheepel.

It's all about bandwidth (selling off portions of the radio spectrum) and the dollar.
Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 4:11 pm 
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Being a microproccesor guy (retired) I thought this would be an interesting new subject to learn. But when I waded through some technical detatils and came across an 11 bit scrambler used, I thought WOW, this is thru the roof mess.
.
https://www.sigidwiki.com/images/f/f5/HD_Radio_AM.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 4:33 pm 
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Methinks that would go over with the public about as well as digital SWBC did. Buy a new radio just to get "AM" or migrate to FM sat or internet. I suppose something will eventually change in AM band but I don't see any proposal yet that clicks.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 4:36 pm 
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I don't see it happening.

Joe Public isn't about to go out and buy a new AM radio just to listen.

I'd guess 99% of AM listening is done in vehicles to get traffic and news reports while driving. All this will do is upset millions of people who aren't about to buy a new radio for an existing vehicle.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
I don't see it happening.

Joe Public isn't about to go out and buy a new AM radio just to listen.

I'd guess 99% of AM listening is done in vehicles to get traffic and news reports while driving. All this will do is upset millions of people who aren't about to buy a new radio for an existing vehicle.


Completely agree. How many people have run out to buy HD radios? Probably close to zero. They are expensive and without much payback. If it wasn't for car use HD radio would be dead. My car came with an HD Radio receiver and I routinely listen to an HD2 station in my area while driving. At home I can simply stream this station from the iHeartRadio App if I need to listen, which I rarely do. And if my car didn't have the HD radio I would simply stream that station with my cell phone. As most radio listening is done in the car nowadays I imagine the car manufacturers can dictate the future of this medium.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 5:49 pm 
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
I don't see it happening.

Joe Public isn't about to go out and buy a new AM radio just to listen.

I'd guess 99% of AM listening is done in vehicles to get traffic and news reports while driving. All this will do is upset millions of people who aren't about to buy a new radio for an existing vehicle.


From Wikipedia:

By May 2018, HD Radio technology was claimed to be used by more than 3500 individual services, mostly in the United States. [5] This compares with more than 2200 services operating with the DAB system.

HD Radio increases the bandwidth required in the FM band to 400 kHz for the analog/digital hybrid version. This makes adoption outside the United States problematic. In the United States the FM broadcast band channels have a spacing of 200 kHz, as opposed to the 100 kHz that is normal elsewhere. The 200 kHz spacing means that in practice, stations having concurrent or adjacent coverage areas will not be spaced at less than 400 kHz in order to respect protection ratios which would not be met with 200 kHz spacing[6]. This also leaves space for the digital sidebands. Outside the US, spacing can be 300 kHz, which causes problems with the digital sidebands.

The FCC has not indicated any intent to force off analog radio broadcasts as it has with analog television broadcasts,[2] as it would not result in the recovery of any radio spectrum rights which could be sold. Thus, there is no deadline by which consumers must buy an HD Radio receiver. In addition, there are many more analog AM/FM radio receivers than there were analog televisions, and many of these are car stereos or portable units that cannot be upgraded.

So this pretty well puts to bed the questions of AM BC band and IBOC Digital crap. Some of the AM stations running IBOC have quit running it.
John k9uwa

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 9:05 pm 
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In other words, the FCC didn't care about obsoleting all of the analog television sets and broadcast equipment made since 1938, but since there is no "financial incentive" to do away with analog AM, it won't happen.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 9:38 pm 
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Geezus, nobody reads.

Quote:
asking that the FCC allow AM stations the option to operate an all-digital facility.


It's not mandatory, and how many of the 4700 AM stations do you think will bite on it? I sincerely doubt that a complete changeover will occur anytime soon. Our radios will be usable for quite some time to come.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2019 10:11 pm 
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Tim Tress wrote:
In other words, the FCC didn't care about obsoleting all of the analog television sets and broadcast equipment made since 1938, but since there is no "financial incentive" to do away with analog AM, it won't happen.


That is probably a good part of it. However consider this an NTSC TV signal is 6 mhz wide. Today we get 3 totally different "Channels" from that same transmitter. That would not be true when it comes to a 10 khz spacing of AM Broadcast band signals.

This article is an excellent review of AM band IBOC and Plain old Ancient Modulation. The guy who did the experiments and wrote the article is in Northern VA.
https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-business/iboc-at-night-five-years-later

I too have complained to WOR over their useless IBOC transmissions killing adjacent AM radio stations. The same for WBZ. responses from both stations but so far no joy they are still running their crappola IBOC. Interesting he says that KDKA 1020 and WHO 1040 were both wiped out by WBZ 1030 even though his digital receiver never locked in on WBZ.
"Conclusions

The late John Battison once mentioned to me that he thought the “HD” in “HD Radio” stood for “highly disappointing.” After my experimentation with the Radiosophy receiver, I have to agree."

The article says that some 302 AM radio stations out of 4700 in the US are running IBOC and only 202 of them run it at nite. It is gradually dying we can only hope it dies sooner rather than later.

Definitely one excellent article about IBOC HD-AM radio.
John k9uwa

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 1:16 am 
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Well I guess we can compare AM to (wired) telegraphy. The telegraph held out quite a long time till there was wireless, television, maybe even microwave links and more. Telegraphy was closer to 100% reliable when wireless was not, it had a solid reputation and a solid infrastructure before the competition, and apparently held on into obsolescence. Wireless telegraphy does still to this day exist, but not as a commercial or military mode of operation, at least in this country. I should pursue some of it myself, to prevent forgetting the skill, just as soon as I get around to it.... One disincentive to digitizing AM BCB is, besides the costs, I don't think there is a great demand for that portion of the spectrum by other services. That I know of or can imagine.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 1:47 am 
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Yes, bandwidth is the major problem. It takes 60 kbits to provide a CD quality signal using AAC+. Current 20 kHz bandwidth limitations allow the use of 20 kbits to 40 kbits, and as the article states, they interfere with adjacent channels. Expanding to 30 kHz channels allows 40 kbits to 60 kbits. In practice, these rates are often compromised by redundancy. The constraint of not disturbing the current frequency allocations will remain a limiting factor. As John says, that wasn't an issue with transforming TV to digital.

Digital is going to happen, the question is who is going to lead. Up to now it has been the US, but there are 3 dozen countries using AAC+ now, some of whom would like to take the lead, China most prominently. The BBC does a lot of experimentation which is helped by having a large internet presence to acquire user impressions of various codecs. The current request is for the FCC to allow stations to experiment, but I think the original request was for just the use of MA3 (using AAC+). Someone needs to step up and set a standard that will be accepted internationally. I think this will require a leader that looks beyond current channel spacings.

The BBC claimed last year that most listeners now listen on digital, but most of that is on FM. There are rumors the BBC could abandon AM altogether. The narrower EU channel spacings (9 kHz) are an obstacle to quality digital.

I don't think too many people miss the old analog TV arrangement. I was an early adopter of DirecTV when they joined with RCA (remember them?) to create a TV with a satellite receiver built in. They were delinquent in providing more than a handful of HD channels, but there was a dramatic difference. Digital AM needs to have that difference too.

John


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 2:39 am 
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Superretrodyne wrote:

I don't think too many people miss the old analog TV arrangement.

I'm sure there are many rural residents who either don't have CATV, or can't or won't pay for satellite delivery, that would disagree with your assessment. At least analog transmissions -snowy though they might be- would be receivable in areas that now are not by digital.

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 2:52 am 
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Also, consider the regulatory and ownership structure of radio in someplace like Europe or China vs the US. In the first two areas, ALL stations are owned by the central government and broadcast according to the wishes of media bureaucrats in capital cities. That also means that there are fewer stations overall, since there is only so much variation on programming that a govt broadcasting agency can come up with. Stations are completely supported by tax dollars. When Norway switched off analog radio, they only had to deal with five stations on five frequencies that were fed from a central broadcasting studio complex in Oslo.

In the US, there are far more stations, and nearly all are privately owned, except for "educational" stations on the low FM band that are generally run by universities. And even there, having a station run by a university, usually to serve as training facilities for broadcast journalism majors (or in some cases as fundraising outlets) is VERY different from direct govt control.

Even today, with most radio stations being owned by a handful of big corporations, there are still small outlets in rural areas owned by locally prominent families, stations serving a limited area. And then there's the fleawatt low power FM outlets in remote towns that operate for only a couple hours on Sunday to bring church services from the cities to isolated ranchers. Compare that to Norway, where you have the exact same five stations on the exact same freqs no matter where you go.

The costs of upgrading 7000 or so transmitters is simply too cost prohibitive. Even with OTA TV, most cities had only 5 or 6 OTA stations, covering a much larger area. And even then some rural areas shut down "repeater" transmitters because upgrade costs were too steep, forcing locals to erect expensive antennas on towers meant for ham radio for maybe a few hours of programming under favorable conditions.

And of course, money. UHF TV sat on a lot of bandwidth that simply was NOT being used AT ALL. That bandwidth could be used far better by other services. Who would want 530-1710 khz, or 88-108 Mhz, anyway? But when you start talking north of 500 Mhz, you are talking WiFi and Bluetooth territory, and an area that was going pretty much unused. When the ATSC standards for US HDTV were being developed, it was discovered that the old VHF freqs were poorly suited for HDTV. But nobody wanted that bandwidth.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 4:19 am 
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They made digital to analog converters for TV, why couldn't they do the same for radio?

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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 4:36 am 
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IBOC was an American concoction. It was imagined that to appease the commercial market, a "blend" of an analog carrier and sidebands would allow the parasite digital carriers to reside without infecting the host. It was always a bad compromise.

The European (mainly state) broadcaster more pragmatic approach is DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) which throws out the analog carrier entirely from the channel and replaces with the digital carriers. (I say carriers as it employs OFDM much as DVB television and the new ATSC 3.0 in the US). No backward compatibility here!

BBC VHF radio dispensed with the FM and is totally digital. As for the MW (BC) band, the DRM handles the skywave night time delivery pretty well whereas IBOC did not have a chance. I am not sure which broadcasters are using it however.


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 6:26 am 
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Fifties,

I live in a rural area, no TV even if I put up a huge antenna, no cable, limited and unreliable internet through Verizon. 1 bar and frequent timeouts tonight as a storm approaches.

We haven't watched TV in 5 years and 8 months.

Almost no AM radio during the day, as no one points their antenna in our direction.

We do have a half dozen computer systems, multiple large monitors, a projection system with a 100 inch screen, a half dozen blu-ray and dvd players, a half dozen devices with 32gB of music each, multiple access points, a bluetooth device with a 300 foot range, and 6 full audio systems, so we aren't completely deprived.

Don't miss it, don't want it, save $200 a month, and best of all, I will never have to call Comcast again. As someone once said - "the best of all possible worlds".

I do have to confess, an ARF member mentioned Acorn TV in the last few days. Since we buy a half dozen DVDs a year from Acorn, we have been trying it out.

My point was that anyone who could listen on good, but still imperfect digital, would never miss the analog. This isn't the 1950s.

John


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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 6:37 am 
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k9uwa wrote:

From Wikipedia:

By May 2018, HD Radio technology was claimed to be used by more than 3500 individual services, mostly in the United States. [5] This compares with more than 2200 services operating with the DAB system.


DAB is dead. I find the rollout of digital radio in Europe is not very well reported but it is happening. Follow the Digital Radio Mondiale solution as it works.

Not all broadcasters outside of the US are state run. There is a mix of commercial and government broadcasters. There is no state run broadcasting in the UK. The BBC is independent of the government apart from the government setting the license fee to augment its income.
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 Post subject: Re: FCC Seeks comments on all digital AM radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 24, 2019 6:43 am 
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Superretrodyne wrote:
This isn't the 1950s.


Yeah, I know ( damn it).

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