BSO on the radio - not for me anymore

Aaron Read
Mon Oct 11 20:11:38 EDT 2010


SYSTEM.  While I am, more or less, a proponent of HD Radio (moreso on
FM than AM) as a transmission system, I freely acknowledge that the
system has issues.   Both technical and, more importantly, terms of getting receivers into cars as standard

But it's very, very hard to argue that HD Radio receivers have been
anything but a godsend to radio listeners.  While antennas are always
just as important (more on that in a minute) most every HD Radio
receiver out there has excellent adjacent-channel-interference
rejection and overall filtering.   Benefits of everything being
decoded in the digital domain.  If you want a really good receiver -
always start by looking at HD Radio receivers.  I had a old Blaupunkt
Casablanca CD-52 in my car for years and it had DSP and SHARX I.F.
filtering that made for great reception...and it can't hold a candle
to my current JVC KD HDW10 HD receiver; it's sole flaw that I've found
is that it can't decode RDS (oh well).

Back to antennas: they are CRITICAL.  George mentioned he was using
rabbit ears for an antenna...that's a bad move.  Rabbit ears need to
be tuned (extensions managed) to properly match the length to the
wavelength of the desired frequency, and that's damn hard to do unless
you've got some special gear.   And they always seem to be cheap POS's
anyway.  You're better off getting a plain dipole and playing around
with it, seeing what you can do to peak the signal.  Or, better still,
getting a real VHF antenna and mounting it on the roof on a rotator.
Don't get amplified antennas; all they do is raise the noise's always preferable to get an antenna with higher inherent
gain than to get an amplifier.

As for other receivers, like the Bose that Gary mentioned, all I can
say is YMMV.  Bose was notorious for putting lousy receivers in
expensive top-end units...which always annoyed the hell out of me that
I'd pay top dollar for a superior speaker design but the radio would
be crap.  And new radios are often worse than old ones; back in the
1970's often radio receivers were quite good.  Then the 1980's hit and
OEM's started really squeezing the blood from the stone...stripping
radios down to the bare minimum to save on costs but at the expense of
having a radio worth a damn.

FWIW, I tuned to tune in then-WKLB 99.5 Lowell when I was all the way
down in Medfield, due SW of Boston, halfway between Rt.128 and
I-495...and about 33 miles from 99.5's site.  I had no trouble getting
full quieting in stereo, but I was also using a modified NAD 4300
tuner with a ~30dB+ antenna on a rotator on the roof of a two-story

Aaron Read
General Manager
WHWS 105.7FM
(315) 781-3811

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