28 October 2008

where the grundig satellit 750 comes from

In case you're wondering where the Grundig Satellit 750 comes from, I just saw it in a banner on the Chinese Tecsun website. Tecsun calls this radio the S-2000.

27 October 2008

am 740 kcbs expands to fm 106.9

Today, I learned that local AM flamethrower KCBS added a simulcast on FM 106.9. In the San Francisco bay area, FM 106.9 has changed hands and formats a few times in the past decade.

The all-news KCBS recently carried unusual promos for FM 106.9, which previously used the callsign KFRC. My best recollection of those ads suggested that KFRC was playing oldies music, with some KCBS news. Hearing KCBS identify itself today as AM 740 and FM 106.9 therefore wasn't a big surprise, just a little one.

What's the case for simulcasting an all-news broadcast on AM and FM? I suppose the motivation is to expand listener reach, and therefore, advertising dollars. Younger people are probably more likely to listen to FM radio, and to scan through stations when listening to the radio in a car. They're probably scanning for music stations, though.

I rely on KCBS for traffic reports. The traffic reports on KCBS happen every ten minutes ("on the eights", as some other stations might announce). (Actually, I could do a whole post about the traffic reports on KCBS.) So, car radios without AM couldn't previously tune in to KCBS to hear about the traffic, but now it's available on FM.

Technology is progressing, and soon, most devices with a screen will be capable of receiving and displaying maps, driving directions, and traffic information.

Without knowing more about the plans, I doubt that KCBS will move off AM. As previously mentioned, KCBS is one of the stations in my area broadcasting in AM HD. Wikipedia calls KCBS "a leading contender for the title of oldest station in the United States and possibly the world." So it's just hard to imagine that KCBS would give up on AM.

26 October 2008

tecsun bcl-2000 photo

Here's an older photo of my Tecsun BCL-2000 receiver. The lighting is uneven, and the shot is not aligned, but I like the appearance of the radio here.

25 October 2008

mailbag comment about kchibo

The short-lived Kchibo KK-S500 doesn't seem to be around anymore, including eBay and the Kchibo site.
I always thought it was over-priced with no SSB, although it had sync-detect. They were also supposedly coming out with their version of the Sony 7600 with a remote, but it's never appeared.

This comment was posted by an anonymous reader in March 2008. I just searched eBay and could not find the S500. I also could not find a model resembling the famed Sony ICF SW 7600. However, one eBay seller is offering the KK-9510, which is an analog-tuned, dual-conversion receiver that includes sync detection.

Kchibo's english website looks out of date, but their Chinese website is scrolling images and details of a few portable radios with DSP in the description.

One of the radios I own is a Kchibo KK-1215. It vaguely resembles the well-known Tecsun R-911 (also sold as the Kaito WRX911), except it adds a couple FM bands that include TV audio signals. It is well built, but the built-in speaker sounds really cheap.

19 October 2008

degen de1123 radio appears on eBay

A new portable AM/FM/SW radio from Degen has appeared on eBay. The DE1123 has a rather unusual appearance:

I immediately noticed the very thin design (thickness is listed at 0.5 inch), and the resemblance of the round speaker to the iPod click wheel design.

Here are some details of this new product:

* FM 87-108 mhz or 64-108 mhz (100 khz step)
* AM 522-1710 khz (9 khz step) or 520-1710 khz (10 khz step)
* SW 2300-23000 khz (5 khz step)
* DSP for radio signal processing
* 1GB mp3/wma player with digital recorder
* Powered by 3 AAA batteries

On the manufacturer's website, this radio is listed at ¥299 which converted to US$43.75 at xe.com. The cheapest DE1123 auctions currently listed on eBay start at US$59.99.

The DE1123 auction claims that due to the high-gain built-in antenna, an external antenna is not recommended. I think that's the first time I heard such a claim for a radio in this size class.

Missing details include SSB and single- vs. dual-conversion. Volume and tuning are both controlled via stepping buttons. And as shown clearly by front photos of the radio, numeric frequency entry is not available. Memory capacity is listed at 225 (100 FM, 25 AM, 100 SW). Although without a numeric keypad, recalling a frequency from memory is probably done by pressing the M button then the plus or minus buttons to step through the memory positions sequentially.

I haven't followed Degen's products very carefully in the past year or so, so I don't know if this DSP technology is new. To me, that's the most interesting aspect of this product. If I learn something more about it, I will share it. Comments are always welcome.

11 October 2008

magic johnson mocked by fm radio hosts

Two talk radio hosts on KTLK-FM suggested that Magic Johnson has faked AIDS. Hosts Chris Baker and Langdon Perry agreed with each other that Magic Johnson was pretending to have AIDS. Perry's logic was "'cause he's the only cured AIDS guy ever."

* Read the Media Matters article; listen to the audio recording
* Read the Associated Press article with KTLK-FM expressing regret

I would expect that if KTLK-FM were truly sorry, scanning their homepage for the word "Magic" would produce something. As of this moment, it doesn't.

The claim that Magic Johnson could be faking AIDS simply because he has been infected since 1991 shows a clear lack of knowledge on the subject of AIDS treatment. Off the top of my head, I can think of more deaths than survivals among those that are or were known to have AIDS, but long-term survival is clearly possible. It doesn't take one famous person's survival to prove that.

Some people criticize Magic Johnson for retreating from the AIDS prevention movement:

* Read the ESPN article

And to diverge slightly, I'm not familiar with the Chris Baker show. I welcome comments from those who have heard it, and from those who have listened to KTLK-FM.