WWFD 820 AM Becomes First All-Digital AM Station - Page 2
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Thread: WWFD 820 AM Becomes First All-Digital AM Station

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Beautiful Lynnwood, WA!
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    There is one important point to realize in all this:

    The programmer for WWFD/The Gamut is the Chief Engineer for Hubbard - Washington. Since the bread and butter for Hubbard is WTOP, my guess is instead of donating (or selling for a song) the signal of 820 after Washington Post Radio went belly-up they took the CE’s suggestion that he could at least prevent it from losing a bunch of money. The upside is he can somewhat experiment musically and technically...Hubbard suits don’t care so long as “The Glass Enclosed Nerve Center” still sounds good 24/7 and is a license to print money.

    All-digital AM broadcasting is pretty neat. I had the privilege of listening to the first official test of all-digital operation about 3 years ago when KKXA-AM in suburban Seattle did some overnight broadcasts. The signal was much better than hybrid operation and got out much further as well. Definitely way better than hybrid operation which never seems to properly work and sounds like a 16kbps stream.

    I may be in the minority here, but if AM wants to avoid gradually becoming a hobby broadcast band, all-digital operations will probably have become the rule rather than the exception over the next decade or two.

    Kudos to those folks dipping their toes into the digital water! Radio still needs folks willing to experiment when financially possible!

    Oh, and lastly, the programming on 820 is also simulcast on WTOP’s two FM transmitters in HD. Their digital operations are at max power (10% of analog) and they cover the DC metro very well (especially in suburban VA). My guess is 90% of any listening to The Gamut is via 103.5/107.7’s HD
    As we used to say down in ol' Mexico City...A.M.F.!

  2. #12
    Buying a new radio will not save AM. Making radio's that can already receive analog AM, obsolete, won't help either. I would not be surprised if most listening for WWFD, will be done via the two FM HD channels.

    Did a quick search for a good priced AM HD radio and did not find one. Is there an AM HD radio portable or table model for under $100?

    With most listening being done in the car, there are more HD radio's now in cars. But still some are regular analog for both AM and FM. So a new radio to get the programming on WWFD may still be needed for the car listener and at that point will they listen to the actual AM HD signal or one of the FM HD channels carrying WWFD. Or will they find something new on the FM HD channels they would rather listen too.

  3. #13
    AM HD Radio availability:

    https://sparcradio.com/product/sparc-shd-tx2/ (Grace Digital SPARC SHD-TX2 from $76.85)

    http://www.sangean.com/products/prod...?mid=230&cid=3 (Sangean HDR-14 from $79.99)

    http://www.sangean.com/products/prod...?mid=196&cid=3 (Sangean HDR-16 from $99.99)

  4. #14
    Thanks, nice selection.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Area Code 941
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    3,905
    SPARC also has a much better one for a hundred and a half which is also marketed by Grace Digital,
    and I do not know if it the same company that changed names or if the new one bought the marketing rights,
    but I owned the exact same unit under the Insignia brand a few years ago;
    very good audio and it remembers which subchannel to go to after power is restored.
    Ai4i has Always Been on the Trailing Edge of Technology!

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by seattlesarchiebunker View Post
    I may be in the minority here, but if AM wants to avoid gradually becoming a hobby broadcast band, all-digital operations will probably have become the rule rather than the exception over the next decade or two.

    Kudos to those folks dipping their toes into the digital water! Radio still needs folks willing to experiment when financially possible!
    I'm not a broadcast engineer, but I personally participated in some of the Amateur Radio spectrum discussions during the deployment of digital in California. The big hangup was all the spectrum was busy. There wasn't spectrum available to run analog and digital side-by-side. Similarly, I think AM may have to go the way that Television went and just "go digital". At least one station at a time.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bellingham WA
    Posts
    6,039
    Digital-analog AM converters will be the next hot thing, I'm sure..
    To the person who stole my antidepressants; I hope you're happy now.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Bongwater View Post
    Digital-analog AM converters will be the next hot thing, I'm sure..
    Like one of these:
    IMG_2462.jpg

  9. #19
    I came upon one of these a couple of months ago. You'd set your AM radio to 1400 kHz then use the FM converter to do the tuning.

  10. #20
    They already make the converter for AM/FM HD. The three radio's listed above look like nice radios if your looking to buy something new.

    You never know, all digital AM might find it's footing. But I think it would be from organic growth versus being mandated. You can do regular AM, IBOC + AM or pure digital(IBOC).

    Once some one gets the formula for return on the investment, for All digital AM, others will follow. But sooner than latter otherwise those nice radio's above will just have WI-FI and maybe FM.

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