HD tuners (was: WCRB website down)

Peter Murray peterwmurray@gmail.com
Fri Dec 4 12:44:12 EST 2009

My experience here in the expansive DC suburban sprawl has been pretty
good with the couple of HD tuners available to me.

In my experience, IBOC Digital broadcast is not going to be reliable
with the typical moderately-optimized inside antenna installation
outside a 15 mile radius from a typical class B FM (assuming indoor
reception with moderate rolling terrain between the receiver and
transmitter). If there is much (if any) non-multipath noise on the
received signal, you'll have a lower likelihood of holding (or even
achieving) HD lock.

As far as specific equipment is concerned, I own two Radio Shack
Accurian HD table radios and one Sony XDR-F1HD tuner, and I have been
very happy with their collective performance.

The Sony is widely regarded as having one of the best FM front-ends of
any tuner out there (analog or digital). See Brian Beezley's thorough
(and technical) report on his findings with this unit (at
http://www.ham-radio.com/k6sti/xdr-f1hd.htm ). If you are trying to
receive signals in a difficult environment, I highly recommend the
(relatively inexpensive) Sony. When I finally get my external antenna
up at the house, I expect to be able to pull in FM HD signals from
Baltimore and further afield. Will report back what success I do

The Accurian HD table radio has both good frequency response from its
stereo speakers and has a reasonably good front end. Reception is very
good on the analog side, and as good as can be expected on the
digital. At my house (about 15 miles LOS from the main FM transmission
site in NW DC), I can have some trouble keeping FM HD lock if the
antenna isn't in the right place, though it is reliable once in the
right spot (and the right spot isn't hard to find). I have had no AM
HD reception at all at my house. In my 3rd-floor office in the
Ballston section of Arlington (about 4.5 miles LOS, in amongst a
number of tall buildings, with horrid mobile phone reception when
inside), I have absolutely reliable FM HD reception of all facilities
in the local DC metro area. I am able to receive only one AM HD signal
in Ballston, from 980AM - and it does sound much better than the
analog, albeit with some digital artifacts (which can be tiring after
a while).

There is a lot of HD Radio gear on eBay, from the many who have been
frustrated by the lack of receivable signals (and/or good content).
Look there for some very good deals - I just picked up the second
Accurian last week for $32!


Peter Murray (N3IXY)
Reston, VA

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:11 PM, Richard Chonak <rac@gabrielmass.com> wrote:
> Eli Polonsky wrote:
>> However, I was pleased to find that the "iLuv" HD
>> clock radio has the best HD tuner I've heard yet.
>> I knew it would have no problem with 89.7 HD2 in
>> Newton, but it also gets 99.5 in HD despite the hill blocking the signal!
>> It also has no problem
>> with the Boston HD3 signals even six miles away behind the hill. My
>> Sangean won't decode HD3's at
>> all at my Somerville apartment three miles line of sight of the Pru. I'm
>> planning to replace my
>> Sangean with an "iLuv" radio this week while my
>> 20% off coupon at You-Do-It Electronics is good.
> Thanks for bringing up this subject.    Does anyone know whether there's
>  any buying advice about HD radio tuners/receivers available on the 'net,
> beyond what Eli has mentioned?
> This could become a regular FAQ topic, perhaps deserving of its own page on
> the bostonradio.org web site!
> --RC

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