03 February 2006

radio feature requests

While using my shortwave receivers, I've imagined radio features that I want but haven't yet seen. Here's a partial list:

* Schedule-based alphanumeric memories. The same frequency can be used by different broadcasts, but I don't think it's possible to have the radio figure out which station is associated with which frequency. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) By allowing users to program in a station's schedule along with the frequency, this could be solved.

* A back button. This is something I use in a web browser all the time as a simple undo method. Sometimes I'll tune into a broadcast, and wonder if I can receive another broadcast on another frequency. I'll enter the second frequency but hear nothing, and then want to return to the original frequency. That usually happens via direct entry or by recalling a memory. But a single keypress for this operation would be great.

* Background scanning. I could tune into a frequency and have the radio perform a background scan where receptions are queued up. A number could appear on the display to indicate how many stations are in the received queue. Then that list could be flipped through with up/down buttons. This is like the feature that can auto-fill a memory bank but would happen while I'm already listening to a station. This can be worked around with additional receivers, but would be awkward when using headphones.

* Scanning pause button. My SW7600GR uses a pause-and-continue scanning method. It seems to stop on each channel for about 3 seconds. That's barely enough time to determine the broadcast language. Of course, sometimes the radio stops on a frequency that is nothing but noise. In those cases, the short pause makes more sense. Anyway, I want a pause button that I could hold down while scanning, allowing more time to evaluate a signal.

* Audio deconstruction. Since noise and interference can hinder analog shortwave listening, some listeners use advanced antennas or filters to improve the reception or audio quality. What if a radio could disassemble the entire audio signal, and let the user sort out the good audio components and the bad audio components to reconstruct the sound? I have no idea what the user interface would be like. In the case of local interference overpowering a faint signal, I believe it's possible to detect which sound components are quieter and which are louder. So all of the louder audio components could be discarded, letting the broadcast through. Also, sounds that are constant at a particular frequency could be treated as interference, particularly for a voice broadcast (as opposed to a musical broadcast). The human voice tends to produce a staccato effect over time whereas noise can hiss constantly at particular frequencies.


Madridkid said...

In answer to your first query... the Sony ICF-77 pretty much does what you describe. You can program multiple frequencies for one broadcaster, including time s/on and s/off and go back a change them later as their schedules differ. Plus, you have the station name (up to six letters, numbers or figures) on your led screen. It was one of the advances that Sony put together in ICF-77, which unfortunately is now off the market. If you´re interested, there is a Sony ICF-77 group at Yahoo groups whose members could provide you with more info. Cheers.

weatherall said...

Oh, cool. I have little knowledge of past Sony products, but I'm definitely curious about this one. Thanks for the info!