Adventures With HD Radio
That said, my first experience as a consumer of HD radio was not a good one. To put my story in context, I live in Annapolis, MD and receive radio signals from DC and Baltimore.
Last week, I was the lucky recipient of a brand-new Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD. I took it home, set it up next to my clock radio (a Sony Dream Machine ICF-CD823 for those of you who must know), and tuned to 88.1FM, WYPR in Baltimore.
So I tried 88.5 FM, WAMU. Digital chirps.
90.9 FM, WETA. Static.
I couldn't hear one public radio station that I usually hear on my clock radio -- at all. All told, I could hear about half the FM signals I usually receive. The HD indicator did not come on for any of them. I could not get an HD signal, commercial or public, in my bedroom.
Next stop, the kitchen. My lucked changed with a few commercial stations. Digitally encoded station and song information started showing up on the radio display. I actually heard my first "second service" from WSMJ (104.3), smooth jazz, in Baltimore. I managed an intermittent second signal from Mix 106.5 from Baltimore. And I could hear one public radio station, WBJC (91.5) from Baltimore, which is not an HD radio station.
What I did hear sounded good. Even the AM stations sounded better than on my clock radio. In both locations, however, I spent a lot of time holding the FM antennae wire in the air, along walls, and against windows. I moved the radio around. I tried everything I could to get a better signal. It all seemed so old-fashioned, so "analog."
My best guess as to why I had so many problems is the location of our home. We're 20-30 miles from many radio towers and nestled among some small hills. I must admit, it didn't occur to me that our location could be a problem until there was a problem.
I hope others will have a better first experience with HD radio than I did. Otherwise, the iPod/MP3 input jack on the back on the unit will start looking, and sounding, very good.