The River Getting Boosters?

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  John Unrath 3 years, 7 months ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 16 through 23 (of 23 total)
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  • #140626

    1960sdj
    Participant

    Can you give any more deets? Specific stations/frequencies? Makes/models of receivers? Types of antennas?

    I have a handful of HD receivers including a Sangean HDT-1 component home tuner, a Sherwood RD-7405HDR home receiver, an Insignia home tuner, an iLuv HD stereo clock radio (I have TV “rabbit ear” antennas on all four of those), also a small Insignia FM HD personal portable that uses the headphone cord as an antenna, and an Insignia desktop or carry-around FM HD portable stereo radio with a telescoping antenna.

    I’m in Somerville less than four miles line-of-sight from the Pru to the south, but in an area with higher hills behind me to the north that, I think, reflect signals back. I have the most trouble with the CBS owned FM HD stations on the Pru (104.1 WBMX, 100.7 WZLX) that, despite pinning the “bars” on all receivers for raw signal strength, come in with audible multipath distortion on analog, and don’t stay consistently locked into HD on HD1 and have very iffy reception on HD2 and HD3 channels (getting either broken up or chopped up, or both, or cutting out completely to silence even with signal strength meters still pinning at the max).

    The Greater Media stations also from the Pru fare somewhat better on HD here for some reason (92.9 WBOS, 96.9 WBQT, 105.7 WROR, 106.7 WMJX), and the HD stations ten miles away out on FM 128 in Newton including (90.9 WBUR, 98.5 WBZ-FM, 102.5 WKLB, 103.3 WODS) also have less multipath and better HD here, though their overall strength is not as strong from that distance and the HD may drop out on the portables in some shaded signal areas.

    On the Webster St./Prospect St. bridge near Union Square, Somerville with the portables, looking directly at the Pru in plain sight three miles away, I can’t get those CBS stations from the Pru in HD at all, and there’s severe multipath distortion in analog, despite maximum “bars” on the signal meter.

    One of the CBS station on the Pru, 104.1, was the only in the area to briefly try running an HD4 channel for a short time. That was mostly inaudible in this area three miles away on all my receivers even with maximum signal from the analog. They appear to have given up on it.

    #140671

    bobloblaw
    Member

    Now THIS is fascinating stuff. There’s been a lot of talk and small-scale experimentation with SFN’s (Single Frequency Networks) but I’m not sure anyone has tried it at quite this big a scale AND in this major a market.

    Hows about the 107.1 “Quadcast” that rimshot the NYC market?

    They ran Country, then Rhumba and then went bankrupt. They had four Class A 107.1s simulcasting from Long Island, White Plains and a couple in Jersey. They covered the market reasonably well. The four 107.1s have been sold to different buyers and all run their own programming now. It is extremely difficult to rimshot a big market with any real success. The Quadcast made a very good attempt, but no cigar.

    #140806

    aaronread
    Member

    I haven’t used the Sherwood or iLuv, but I have that Sangean and Insignia, too. I used to live right off Summit Path adjacent to Washington Square in Brookline…with Corey Hill largely between me and the Pru…and I never had the problems you’ve had in picking up any of the HD signals from there. (not with the Sangean, anyways…I didn’t have the Insignia portable back then) Admittedly, this was back in early 2007 or so. But I don’t think things have changed much there, except maybe they’ve added higher HD injection levels? Still the same antenna system I’d imagine. Or maybe they’re NOT using higher injection levels? That might explain some things…

    Rabbit ears usually aren’t great antennas but it’s not like the stock wire dipoles I was using are much better. (shrugs) The fact that analog reception is good would seem to make that irrelevant…but HD is very much a threshold method of reception; either it works or it doesn’t. In theory, you could be just under the threshold and get nothing…yet a slightly better antenna could make all the difference in the world. (shrugs again)

    The Insignia can be kinda quirky, especially when using the headphone cord as the antenna. I’ve found sometimes wrapping the cord around my finger can “tune” the antenna better…either by getting it closer to a quarter-wave antenna at the desired frequency, or in most cases: by attenuating the incoming signals to lower the noise floor.

    Yeah, I don’t really get it. The situation you describe doesn’t scream “ideal” for HD reception to me, but it doesn’t scream “bad” either. Multipath usually isn’t as big a problem on a stationary radio. Or if it is, a move of the antenna by a few inches, perhaps a foot or two, usually fixes it…rather by definition. I mean, multipath is a combination of thousands, if not millions, of little reflections of the signal…some of which are caused by stationary objects and some by moving objects. But when your receiver isn’t moving either, the differences tend to even out.

    Are you near a T line? Like, REALLY near one? The electric motors on the Red Line especially put out a TON of hash on both AM & FM, but all of them are pretty bad. Although you’d have to be close enough that you’d hear the rumble of the train passing and easily notice the correlation between that and poor radio reception. Ehhhhh…I’m reaching here. It’s probably not the T. More likely to be a local source of interference, like LED lightbulbs or a crappy UPS/battery backup or failing laptop brick power supply. Something like that. If not in your place than an adjacent apartment or house.

    Here’s the thing: it COULD be multipath you’re experiencing, sure, but in general the odds are much, much better that it’s a difference source of interference. I’m just at a loss to pin down what it could be.

    #140807

    aaronread
    Member

    Hows about the 107.1 “Quadcast” that rimshot the NYC market?

    Well that’s kinda like the “tri-cast” of WUMB, WBPR and WFPB all on 91.9FM, right? It’s not really a SFN; it’s multiple co-channel stations that have appropriate spacing to prevent co-channel interference. (at least on paper) That’s not an SFN because it’s going to leave wide areas between each transmitter where neither signal comes in particular well due to low signal levels. Worse, the gaps leave room…especially in the super-crowded northeastern USA…for first-adjacent signals to sneak in and cause more undesired interference.

    And I agree, it’s a very not-ideal situation that doesn’t work particularly well. It’s marginally better than being on multiple smaller signals on DIFFERENT frequencies, though. (and I speak with some authority on that topic, I might add)

    #141136

    1960sdj
    Participant

    The Pru stations are not using higher HD injection than in 2007 as far as I know. CBS has threatened to do it many times, and even claims to have the equipment, but have not yet hooked it up.

    No way that I’m “under the HD threshold” with class B stations from the Pru three miles away line of sight. I can see the Pru between the houses and trees directly across the street from the house, and the signal strength “bars” are fully pinned. But, I do hear mulitpath distortion in analog, and have poor to intermittent HD reception. I get more consistent HD reception on stations that have weaker analog signals here, such as the ones twelve miles away on FM-128 in Newton.

    No “T” line anywhere near me, and I’m not hearing any locally generated electronic or digital interference over any weak or distant analog FM stations or between FM stations. I get low-level interference if I put a radio right next to my computer, but I don’t normally do that.

    #141246

    Larry Weil
    Participant

    Well that’s kinda like the “tri-cast” of WUMB, WBPR and WFPB all on 91.9FM, right? It’s not really a SFN; it’s multiple co-channel stations that have appropriate spacing to prevent co-channel interference. (at least on paper) That’s not an SFN because it’s going to leave wide areas between each transmitter where neither signal comes in particular well due to low signal levels. Worse, the gaps leave room…especially in the super-crowded northeastern USA…for first-adjacent signals to sneak in and cause more undesired interference.

    And those first-adjacent signals are why I can’t get WUMB in HD here in North Salem, NH. I can swing the antenna to get a good signal on either 91.9 (Boston) or 91.7 (Newburyport), but in both cases the adjacents on 92.1 and 91.5 respectively prevent my Sangean tuner from decoding the HD.

    #141263

    1960sdj
    Participant

    And those first-adjacent signals are why I can’t get WUMB in HD here in North Salem, NH. I can swing the antenna to get a good signal on either 91.9 (Boston) or 91.7 (Newburyport), but in both cases the adjacents on 92.1 and 91.5 respectively prevent my Sangean tuner from decoding the HD.

    I now have a difficult time getting WUMB in HD in Somerville only ten miles from their transmitter because of the ILLEGAL UNLICENSED PIRATE STATIONS on 91.7 and 92.1 in the Boston area.

    #141287

    John Unrath
    Participant

    It could be front end overload. If you can see the transmitter three miles away it could be ‘de-sens’ on the receiver front end. Try using a shorter (or even no) antenna.

    Or it could be just a lot of multi-path. In a similar case, my mother in NYC, before digital, could see Empire from the roof. But I had to put up a deep fringe antenna with a coax down lead to eliminate multi-path from surrounding buildings.

    Closer is not always better.

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