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The problem with HD FM radio, using WCBS FM?

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    The problem with HD FM radio, using WCBS FM?

    Was driving home to Brooklyn NY yesterday from
    upstate NY and's decided, with my family taking a car snooze, to run an HD radio experiment. WCBS’ HD-2 signal is a simulcast of WCBS AM, and during the afternoon was airing a NY Mets spring training game. I wanted to see how soon I well I could tune in on HD.

    So driving south on the Taconic State parkway I set my radio to 101.1 from the exit for NY Route 55. I got the regular signal very intermittently until the Dutchess/Putnam County line when it came in for good. From that point, I got a few pings sporadically of the HD signal, but it would not lock in on the HD1 signal until I reached Briarcliff Manor - a film 30 miles south. When I tuned over to the HD2, it would continue to drop in and out until I approached the exit for I-287 on the Sprain Brook Parkway - another 10 miles further south.

    So in order to have a quality consistent HD radio listening experience, especially on the sub-channels one needs to be within 25-30 miles max of the transmitter, making the concept more difficult in a major market such as NYC with such spread out audiences. Curious to know how this works going east of Manhattan into Long Island. The Nassau County/Queens line is in between 15-20 miles east of Manhattan.

    You have to remember what you are comparing. WCBS-FM is transmitting at 6,700 watts ERP. WCBS-HD is only at 267 watts ERP.

    Most people are familiar with weak FM signal reception. You hear intermittent weak signal hiss and don't think too much about it. Due to HD radio packet size, if you lose any part of the signal, the minimum signal loss is about 1.25 seconds. It is either perfect audio or nothing.

    Digital cell phones are similar. Most people are used to occasional complete audio cutouts or dropped calls. But they do not ask for a return to dumb analog cell phones. Due to the increased volume of cell phone traffic in and near large cities, cell phone towers are much closer together which can decrease those weak signal problems there.