Monday, November 17, 2014

AM Stereo Experiments had mixed results

After an experimental period of several weeks operating in C-Quam AM Stereo, Troubadour 1700 has gone back to mono operation with the installation of a second new SSTran AMT-5000 transmitter. But in retrospect, I may have been too critical of the ASMAX-1 AM Stereo transmitter I had been using for the experiments. It did sound very good and provided excellent stereo separation and competitive signal range. I had to modify the ASMAX-1's audio input to give it the "SSTRan sound" that has been a trademark of Minimum Wage Media's AM signals. But after the installation of the second new AMT-5000, a few anomalies and artifacts that I had blamed on the ASMAX-1 were still there.

The trickiest part of our AM operation is the fact that we have two transmitting antennas only 12 feet apart in distance and only 60 kHz apart in operating frequency. A major adjustment or tuning on one often effects the efficiency, range, and behavior of the other. Plus, ground conductivity is never the same, especially as the seasons change. So to get both stations at absolute peak antenna tuning and at equal maximum signal output is a difficult challenge. But I am happy to report that we are pretty much there at this point and certainly better than through most of our history. So the current setup will remain as it is through next spring, minus the AM Stereo, unfortunately. During the winter months, I will need to concentrate on the goal of vastly expanding our network of transmitters throughout north central Massachusetts and the Nashoba Valley region with the creation of an Indiegogo fund raiser to help make it happen.

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