Join Hands, Hams
I was very pleased
with the feature on the “Hamvention” in the Aug. 1 edition. I am a retired
broadcast engineer (40 years in the “biz” as engineer and talent) and a recent
ham and ARRL member. The ham community has some fantastic talent, and attracts
the kind of people we need in broadcasting.
There are many bright young people who already
have experience in AM, FM, satellite and yes digital communication plus many
While the equipment is somewhat different, and
the “on the air” methods and goals differ as well, the bottom line is that the
technology is not that removed from
broadcasting. Oriented hams know microphones and antennas, design their own
gear and operate with integrity. They follow the rules and understand both new
and old technology.
Today’s amateur radio operators do far more
than just talk on the radio, too. Digital messaging, computers, electronic
logging and emergency management — the list goes on. Learning the broadcast
side is not a giant step, and you have technical talent that not only can
handle IT, but knows a lot about transmitters, antennas and the rest of the old
Take a look at the amateur General and Extra
Class tests if you want to see some good electronics training, rules and
regulations, and discipline. We should join hands and encourage the younger
hams to explore broadcasting and we all will benefit.
AM Is Dead
IBOC will never be implemented past the point that it is now (“All-Digital AM
Tests Considered,” Aug. 15). Absolutely no one is listening to AM, let alone AM
IBOC. The broadcast business had a chance to implement an inexpensive, but very
effective system (DRM) but they chose to get in bed with the devil (Bain
So what we have now is a huge mess, and receiver
manufacturers know it. They know that IBOC was a mistake; that’s why there are
no receivers. By the time there are enough IBOC AM and FM receivers available
to the public, terrestrial radio will be all but completely dead.
Sorry, but this is the reality of the situation.
Through Microsoft Sync, I am now streaming stereo Bluetooth
audio from my smartphone in my car, and it’s not bad. Streaming audio in a
vehicle is rather new, but in five years, everyone will have it. Then what?
I’ll tell you what: No more traditional radio. There may be a few large market stations
left, but most will simply go out of business, because the revenue stream will
be so low, there won’t be enough cash to operate transmitters. Even fully
automated operations will be in big trouble. Sort of a “Catch-22.”
If the industry had stood up to the IBOC proponents and
rejected the IBOC mess and adopted DRM and DRM+, we would be facing a
completely different situation out there now. But they didn’t. So now they have
to pay for their mistake
In summary, having ridiculous arguments about hybrid
digital radio is a waste of time. The system is already obsolete and in five
years radio will be too.
Sorry, but you’d
better find a new gig!
GBS Consultants Inc.
Kahn Helped Young
|Leonard Kahn is in white at left, with his engineers Robert R. ‘Bob’ Gordon in red and Ira M. Salzman in blue.
Re “Leonard Kahn Was an AM Advocate,” Sept. 1 issue:
The year was 1984. At 18 years old and just
barely out of high school, I found myself in the chief engineering position at
KKSN(AM) in Portland, Ore. Formerly the legendary “Boss” radio station, KISN(AM),
the station had been revived only five years prior to my arrival after being
dark for several years.
I arrived to find an old facility with an almost-new
Collins Power Rock transmitter and a Kahn AM stereo generator. Back in those
days, KKSN(AM) was broadcasting in a commercial classical format, a brave thing
to do on AM.
Much work had been done to broadband the
directional array and make way for a better signal, but in spite of having a
new console, Optimod and transmitter, there was always a dirty quality about
the station’s audio. No matter how carefully I calibrated the air chain to
include Kahn’s stereo generator, I couldn’t make it sound clean.
I found that
bypassing the stereo generator cleaned up the audio. I called Leonard Kahn and
he was very gracious, telling me that a new card was on the way and I was not
to adjust anything. Just plug it in and send an aircheck.
I installed the
new card and the sound was so astonishing that I nearly fell over! After making
some tweaks to the Optimod, I sent a “before and after” aircheck. About a week
later, Kahn called me and said, “My God! What did you do? That’s the best
sounding AM stereo aircheck I’ve ever heard!” He liked it so much that he
wanted to use it as part of a demo tape.
In time, I moved on to other stations and AM
stereo fell out of favor; but I’ll always remember the passion that Leonard
Kahn had for AM stereo and his willingness to help a young engineer make the
station sound great.