Boulder-area 88.1-FM KVOD listener reports (and complains) about his HD radio coverage in the north metro Denver area. Just so you know, HD dropouts are VERY common at the edge of the analog coverage area, which is why HD radio gamers -- like iBiquity Corporation, NPR and NPR Member Stations -- are asking that the FCC boost the signal of HD radio broadcasters. Right now, the limit is 1% of the analog signal. HD radio supporters want 10%.
Colorado Public Radio, KCFR on 90.1-FM, broadcasts at a maximum of 44,000 watts (actually 34,000 watts because of their radio frequency "hot spots" at the base of Lookout Mountain, where their antenna is located). So, their maximum HD radio power is 1% of that; 340 to 400 watts. So, if your HD radio cannot "lock on" to a clear signal, it just drops out completely. Stephen Vahl of Superior, Colorado has done his homework, and has written a pretty succinct letter to the editor of the Boulder Daily Camera explaining what all listeners can expect of KVOD just north of Denver. I wonder what other listeners are hearing -- or not?
The potential drawback to allowing HD radio broadcasters to increase power output to 10% of analog strength is FM (analog) interference to stations adjacent to HD radio channels. For Colorado Public Radio, this would mean increase to KVOD on 90.1-FM HD2 could interfere with stations on the dial to its immediate left and right -- in short, other non-commercial broadcasters in and around Denver.
So, how many classical KVOD listeners are going to heed his advice " . . . not to run out and buy an HD Radio thinking that will fix things," and " . . . to encourage them to stop donations to Colorado Public Radio until this situation improves."? Makes you wonder why didn't Colorado Public Radio executives just come clean with listeners in the first place? Instead, they hoped to persuade you with wiggly advice like this.
To be fair, CPR doesn't guarantee that HD is a solution -- just suggests that it may be a option. And for your local public radio station, that amount of broadcast clarity is about all classical radio listeners can expect. Gotcha!