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The Digital Age! EURGH!

 
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The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Jamie » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:07 pm

Oh how I love the digital age, Isn't it so much better than analogue...

I've been tuned into Smooth Radio (formerly GOLD) on MW for a few hours now on 1152. Tropo is starting to bring in continental stations. Little did I know Smooth obviously use a digital feed, it may even be a feed from a DAB TX? That's what it sounds like!

Safe to say i'm not tuned in anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not doing it on purpose to ween the last few listeners off MW for good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3E7UnL6QIY

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by crackle » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:36 pm

Not heard that effect before, got to be a fault somewhere, TX or local, have you checked with another radio.
In Essex Gold gave up 2 MW TX's for Smooth to use. Reception around here in Basildon is pretty poor now on most of my radios, there is only London TX. It is most annoying Smooth took over most of Gold's AM frequencies, especially when Smooth also has a presence on FM.
You can still get Gold on internet and with a decent aerial on DAB as well. But dab makes a mockery of having a portable radio, when you have to have it fixed to a 31 element yagi array (only a slight exaggeration) just to keep the stuttering mud out.
I find the car radio to be the best for receiving Gold on 1548 AM, just checked and it is fading in and out rapidly at the moment with the atmospherics, I am sure they also reduce their TX power at night.
Mike
Last edited by crackle on Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Jamie » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:38 pm

Hi, Yes I have checked but as you can hear there are stations behind Smooth. It's the TX cutting out or rather the feed feeding the TX cutting out. Naturally there's no one to contact to tell them about the problem either anymore... Oh well. Bring back Classic GOLD Amber.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by crackle » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:40 pm

i can only take so much of Gold anyway, the adverts get to you after a while and you find yourself humming a nice little ditty from a conservatory company advert.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Katie Bush » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:17 pm

That 'bubbly/burbly' effect is exactly what we get on DAB, out here in the sticks of Yorkshire, but then, in this part of Yorkshire the maps all say "Uncharted wilderness - there be dragons"....... :bba :aa

Foolery aside, that sounds to me like a (poor) digital feed to the AM TX, and then either, an intermittent drop-out of the AM TX, or intermittent drop-out of the digital feed, but then I'm just saying it as I perceive it.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Lloyd » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:54 pm

I've all but given up on radio now, there's nothing I like on MW/LW or FM. DAB isn't much better, I can just about stand Planet rock, but like so many other stations, the repetition and excessive adverts drive me round the twist. We have Absolute radio on most of the time at work (and all sit and moan about the adverts and the 'groundhog day' playlist) but have to use the internet radio option, as we work in a railway arch with little to no signal inside! The only station I enjoy is an internet only station called Team Rock, which have no adverts (except their own for their magazine), it's only any good if you like rock and heavy metal though!

I did try to find Smooth on my little Ekco transistor set to see if the fault was on there too, but all I can get here is SMPSU noise....

Maybe I should have my own radio station :aak

Regards,
Lloyd.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Terrykc » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:52 am

Crackle wrote:I find the car radio to be the best for receiving Gold on 1548 AM, just checked and it is fading in and out rapidly at the moment with the atmospherics, I am sure they also reduce their TX power at night.
At 97.5kW from Saffron Green, it's fairly potent for what was originally a London local station!

However, the rapid fading sounds as if you are receiving  a fluctuating signal via the sky wave which is changing in and out of phase to give you the level fluctuations. However, I would have expected you to need to be much, much further away from the transmitter to receive the sky wave at all, so something very weird must be happening in the atmosphere!

What sort of reception are you getting from the Brookmans Park transmitters - 1215 & 909kHz? The distance is similar and the 1215 power is not much greater than that on 1548 (125kW). 909 is 150kW.

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by crackle » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:22 am

At 07:00 the reception on 909 kHz is strong 5 bars+, on 1215kHz it is 4 bars, on 1548 the strength is 4 bars.
But neither 909 or 1215 are transmitting Gold.
1215 is Absolute and 909 is 5 Live, (what a waste of transmitting watts)
I will check again this evening after dark.
Mike

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Stitch » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:51 am

Jamie wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if they're not doing it on purpose to ween the last few listeners off MW for good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3E7UnL6QIY


Maybe they measure the listening figures by the number of faults raised.

Having worked at an HF RX station I know atmospherics (QRN?) can cause strange affects but I'm sure that's a fault, you did change all those leaky caps didn't you :aak

I can get a good range of stations on MW here (including R4) but not smooth so I can't check this morning.

John

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Terrykc » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:10 am

Jamie wrote:... as you can hear there are stations behind Smooth. It's the TX cutting out ...

Best guess would be LBC.

Here's the situation for both 1152kHz and 1548kHz

kHzAreaStationBroadcaster/formatkWTransmitter siteGrid Ref
1152London areaLBC NewsGlobal Radio/News23.500Saffron GreenTQ 216 977
1152Tyneside, N Durham, S NthmblndMetro Radio 2Bauer/Oldies1.800GreensideNZ 151 627
1152Plymouth areaSmooth RadioGlobal Radio/Easy Listening0.320Plumer Barracks, PlymouthSX 490 585
1152East Norfolk and NE SuffolkSmooth RadioGlobal Radio/Easy Listening0.830BrundallTG 305 077
1548Merseyside and West CheshireRadio City TalkBauer/Rock, Sport, Talk1.000BebingtonSJ 351 838
1548London areaGoldGlobal Radio/Oldies97.500Saffron GreenTQ 216 977
1548Lothian and FifeForth 2Bauer/Oldies2.200Colinswell NTT 221 861
1548Sheffield and RotherhamHallam 2Bauer/Oldies0.740Skew HillSK 327 933

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Valvebloke » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:11 am

Lloyd wrote:I've all but given up on radio now, there's nothing I like on MW/LW or FM. DAB isn't much better ...


Radio 3. It's a bit like monasticism or the paintings of Mark Rothko - once you get used to it everything else seems like a distraction :bba .

VB

 
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Re: The Digital Age! EURGH!

Post by Terrykc » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:32 am

Crackle wrote:... neither 909 or 1215 are transmitting Gold ...

I didn't say they were, Mike!

I thought we were discussing propagation conditions here, not programme content!

I chose Brookmans Park because it is very close to Saffron Green, so its signals share the same path to you. There is a complication, though, because both Brookmans Park transmitters form part of a synchronised network - 11 transmitters on 909kHz and 14 on 1215kHz - although I think we can discount the one in the Dartford Tunnel!

However, you can't synchronise sky waves! The path length of a sky wave is continually changing, resulting in a varying phase difference between it and the stable ground wave* which causes fading when one cancels the other. If you were having problems caused by sky waves, the multiple transmitters on both those frequencies would surely have created complete chaos?

* Reception of Radio Luxembourg was surprisingly more stable in Western Scotland and Ireland (from personal experience) than in London and the Home Counties because they were beyond the reach of the ground wave and solely at the mercy of sky wave propagation!

Here we got both, with predictable results.


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