HD Radio begins in Portland Maine...huh what is that?

WMPG starts up the HD RADIO transmitter!

In June, WMPG completed the installation of our new analog/digital 90.9 IBOC FM transmitter. Brian Dyer, WMPG’s long-time Chief Engineer, began installing the equipment this past spring and we have been tweaking the signal and making adjustments to the digital broadcast.

For you, the listener, the transition should have been seamless as we continued broadcasting in analog. The new transmitter broadcasts in both analog and digital . If you want to hear WMPG in digital you'll need to purchase a digital radio. There are a number of models available from Kenwood and a number of new autos that offer digital radios, too. You may also install a digital converter. This will allow an analog radio to receive digital signals. As for other WMPG plans related to our digital upgrade, we are planning on purchasing a number of digital radios and placing them around town as “listening booths” and when they become available we'll be offering digital radios as Begathon premiums.

As you might imagine, one question we hear concerning digital is how does it sound? Jim Rand, WMPG's Station Manager has a digital radio installed in his car and has been impressed with the sound. Currently there are a few other local stations broadcasting in digital. Along with WMPG you can hear Maine Public Radio and WMGX. WBZ, the AM station from Boston also is available. The sound is distinctly clearer with more definition, it sounds like a cd. The hiss is gone and the sound is brighter. One drawback is that none of the stations have successfuly removed the eight second delay. When you set your radio to 90.9 FM, it will takes about ten seconds to lock into the digital signal. When it does recognize the digital signal, you hear about eight seconds repeated. This can be bothersome when you are driving and move to an area where the digital signal is too weak to receive and your radio automaticaly switches back to analog. We have plans in place to fix this in the near future and should sound perfect when you get your first digital radio. The switch to digital seems to be following a similar path as happened with AM to FM broadcasting or perhaps from the 8-track to cassette players and then to CD players. It wasn't long ago that few people had CD players in their cars, now of course they are standard.

For now, we are still adjusting our new transmitter and are looking for feedback from listeners. If you have a digital radio, let us know how we sound. For everyone else, we want to know how are new transmitter sounds. Send an e-mail to stationmanager@wmpg.org

To learn more about some of our new equipment visit pages for our Transmitter and Digital Exciter.

For more info on digital radio visit RadioWorld, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, What is IBOC?, Tomorrow Radio Project, or Current Article.