Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Update on HD radio in Bellingham, Vancouver

A while back I got an HD radio. One might ask, what's an HD radio? Also one might ask, why would you need one? Just about anything that's on an HD radio is also on the web anyway. Isn't a smartphone "radio" enough?

True, but I'm kind of a radio geek so I couldn't resist. It only cost around 1/8th of one month's rent in my inexpensive (by Bellingham standards) apartment. That's my way of justifying consumer purchases, tho I don't go shopping often.

Now days, there are some radio stations that broadcast a digital signal along with the regular (analog) signal. Folks with HD radios can get the digital signal which offers more hi fidelity. It also offers 3 channels from the same signal.

One of the digital signals I get is from CKNW in Vancouver. It has great locally produced talk shows. An alternative to NPR that's not something like Rush Limbaugh.

CKNW is on the AM dial. It's at AM 980, but the signal is "fringe area" this far from Vancouver.

I used to listen to long distance AM, but modern homes are so full of computer stuff that there's lots more interference. This makes listening to long distance AM difficult. I now get CKNW on FM HD. I just tune to CMFI FM, at 101.1 and then select the HD2 program. It's CKNW.

It still helps to have a line of sight view to Vancouver as digital FM isn't as forgiving of fringe area as analog. I have line of sight, tho there is a building in the way. I've found that my line of sight location works okay for radio, from Vancouver, but not for digital television.

Yes, CKNW is also on the web, but having it over the air, the old fashioned way, is kind of neat. No need to use bandwidth on the net. No need to use cellphone time. Just turn on the radio.

I get unlimited data at home, but I am a radio geek. I often sleep to talk radio and I feel a bit of guilt if it's using the internet.

There are several other HD stations in this area including some NPR stations.

Bellingham has a few HD stations, but most of the interesting stuff is from Vancouver.

Seattle's KUOW has HD for KUOW2 and KUOW3. One has to have a digital radio, or be on the web, to get KOUW2 and 3 in Seattle, but here in Bellingham, KUOW3 is also on regular (analog) radio. KUOW3 is on a low power translator at 90.7 in Bellingham. HD KUOW2 is a jazz station, but I don't listen to that much jazz. KUOW1 is at 90.3 in Bellingham.

Our other NPR station has some HD channels also. Northwest Public Radio which is based in my home town of Pullman. In Bellingham, it's main station is at 91.7. NWPR has both classical music and news services. One can get both services as HD channels or from various low power translators that regular radios can get.

Bellingham's KISM FM now has an HD "channel 2." It's just KGMI, which we also get on the AM dial.

See article I wrote in 2009.