WBCN All digital field test results

When I said the WBCN test data may not see the light of day, perhaps I spoke too soon.  For your viewing pleasure, here are the results of the WBCN all digital HD Radio tests:

WBCN All-digital AM IBOC Field Test Project (link has been broken, this may have been released by accident)

Well, that will teach me, won’t it.

I have given it a summary read and my first impressions were correct; from a technical standpoint (antenna, ATU)  this is a very favorable test configuration.  The results look pretty good on the surface, although they appear to have had some night time interference problems, go figure.  I’ll update this post when I have time to fully read the whole paper.

Update: The link I provided earlier has been taken down.  It may be that the information was not supposed to be released to the general public.  Several people have asked me to up load the report to my own server so that they can download it and read it themselves.  This leaves me in a bit of a quandary; the report itself is important information and its implications on the future of broadcasting are huge.  On the other hand, it is the work of a private organization and not public domain, thus if released by accident, then it should not be shared.

This story from Inside Radio is more or less accurate as to what report contains, although it paints a somewhat favorable picture.  There appears to be some issues meeting the NRSC5C mask for the MA3 (all digital) mode.  That seems to be fine, however, as the NRSC5C mask can be modified to meet field conditions.  How convenient is that?  The information about the number of AM HD Radio station seems a bit off, latest I have is 207 AM day time, 66 AM night time stations out of 4,659 transmitting hybrid digital analog HD Radio, or 4% daytime and 1% nighttime respectively.

When I have time, I will do some more analysis and post my own conclusions.


Eventually, the internet WILL be censored

Congress, is yet again contemplating a cyber security bill, this time called CISPA.  This one has some worrisome privacy implications for the general internet user.  I recall, not too long ago, another such measure called SOPA/PIPA which created a huge uproar and was voted down.  For Congress and its corporate sponsors, this development was just a slight inconvenience when applying the “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” legislative method.

Not mentioned in this particular bill is the internet kill switch, which exists now in one form or another, and the unofficial back doors into operating systems and routers.  Those things are in place but their use is not codified.  The internet can be monitored, user data can be stored indefinitely and it can be restricted or switched off at a moments notice.  That is the reality of the world we live in.

This is why a vibrant, independent radio broadcasting medium is important.  After doing some numbers crunching over the weekend, I came upon some pretty interesting data points:

  • Large and medium large (over 30 stations) group owners account for approximately 2,300 AM and FM stations
  • NPR affiliated stations number about 900
  • There are 4,736 AM, 6,603 commercial FM, 3,917 educational FM and 802 low power FM stations licensed as of March 31, 2013.
  • There are 77 AM and 178 FM (not counting translators) stations known to be silent

Therefore, approximately 3,200 of the 15,803 stations on the air are controlled by major corporate interests or media conglomerates, the remaining stations are owned by medium small groups (less than 30 stations) or individuals.  Those figures create an interesting situation when discussing the future of radio.  What does the majority of owners and listeners want?  Ask the market.


The fourth dimension, at least in theory.  We keep track of time in a linear way, each second marking a particular point that will happen only once and never be revisited.  There will never be another 10:42:30.1 on April 17, 2013, for example.

Point in space and time
Point in space and time

Of course there are several ways to record the same time:

  • Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): Which is the time at the prime meridian, 0° Longitude.  From there, time zones span out to +12 or -12 UTC, meeting again at the International Date line.  In military parlance, UTC is known as Zulu because it is in timezone Z.
  • Local Time: In any given location, is determined when the sun is directly overhead (± sidereal correction) at noon.
  • Local Timezone:  One of twenty four arbitrary divisions where the sun may be directly overheard (± sidereal correction) somewhere within the division at noon.
  • Unix Timestamp:  The number of seconds that has transpired since 0000, January 1, 1970.  Unix time stamp 1366209730 equals 10:42:30, April 17, 2013.  In hex looks like 516F0260.  Used by all Unix/Linux variants.
  • GPS Time: UTC – LS (Leap Second) + 19 s.
  • ISO 8601 date/time: 2013-02-17T10:42Z
  • Julian Date: A continuous count of days and fractions of such since noon Universal Time on January 1, 4713 BCE.  April 17, 2013 10:42:30.1 equals 2456399.946193

One thing to note and mark your calendars: Unix (and variants) may have a problem on January 19, 2038 because of a 32 bit integer issue.  This is known as Y2038, and a smart man would start planning now.