Any AM Stereo stations left?

Radio news from Alberta

Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby TRENT310 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:09 am

So, I was given a receiver capable of C-QUAM AM Stereo earlier today ... er, yesterday.
It's a Sony STR-AV790, and the issue was that the display would not light up at all. Problem turned out to be a cold solder joint on the front panel VFD. Heated that one up and it's fine now.

Image

It's certainly rare to see a receiver-amplifier unit designed with radio performance in mind. These days it's usually an afterthought after... HDMI upscaling, optical decoding and all that stuff. The tuning on the FM side was a bit out of whack, for example to pick up 103.9MHz it would have to be tuned to 104.0 to work, and I had to tweak a few inductors to bring it back into line. Anyway, that process was easy because of the sheer amount of FM stations across the Edmonton spectrum to be able to fine tune to, and centering was easy because the stereo decoder only picks up the pilot tone when it's perfectly centered on the freq. Ok, so that's done...

So I'm wondering if there are any AM stereo stations still running in Alberta. I know 880 CHQT was operating in stereo last time I had a chance to mess with a C-QUAM capable radio, but that was also back before they were all-news. That said, when the tuner is set to wideband mode it's definitely higher fidelity than your average modern AM tuner. Same with 580 CKUA. Now I have a stack of 790 CFCW AM Stereo bumper stickers, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case anymore because their signal now is quite narrowband to begin with. 930 CJCA apparently used to be, but I don't know if that's the case anymore either. 660 CFFR was, as well, but with all-news that probably isn't - same with CHQT. 910 CKDQ still has their AM Stereo sign on the highway 1 Strathmore site, and they have rich audio in wideband (when I can null out 930) but the tuner isn't finding it either. What about CKMX 1060?

Mainly, I just need to figure out if I need to also tweak something on the AM side of things as well to get it to work, not surprising considering I had to do that to the FM side, or if it's a case where there are no more AM Stereo stations operating and I'm just trying to tune for nothing. Otherwise the AM tuner has very low internal noise. I was able to pick up 1570 CKMW very well with this receiver... usually most digital tuning radios generate so much electrical noise themselves that I can't get it. The s-meter measures in dB, cool feature, and there are pots inside to calibrate it to a known source if available.
TRENT310
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:40 pm
Location: Whitecourt/Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby Dan Sys » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:58 am

Only CHQT 880 and CKMX 1060 according to this list that was supposedly updated last month:
http://meduci.com/stations.html
CHQT of course is now All News and CKPR 580 flipped to FM back in 2007.
User avatar
Dan Sys
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 1719
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:05 pm
Location: Aldergroove, B.C.

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby TRENT310 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:15 am

Dan Sys wrote:Only CHQT 880 and CKMX 1060 according to this list that was supposedly updated last month:
http://meduci.com/stations.html
CHQT of course is now All News and CKPR 580 flipped to FM back in 2007.

Yeah I saw that, but from the amount of outdated info there is on that page and others like it, I don't know if any of that is valid anymore.

None of you guys in AB have any known working equipment to do a quick check with?
TRENT310
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:40 pm
Location: Whitecourt/Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby freqfreak2 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:32 am

TRENT310 wrote:None of you guys in AB have any known working equipment to do a quick check with?

Driving around Edmonton, the indicator in my Taurus hasn't lit up for over a year now when I accidentally punch in iNews880 expecting to hear Doug Rutherford's new standard in journalism (sorry, had to get that in there).
freqfreak2
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:38 am

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby TRENT310 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:05 pm

freqfreak2 wrote:
TRENT310 wrote:None of you guys in AB have any known working equipment to do a quick check with?

Driving around Edmonton, the indicator in my Taurus hasn't lit up for over a year now when I accidentally punch in iNews880 expecting to hear Doug Rutherford's new standard in journalism (sorry, had to get that in there).

Dang. Oh well, not that I actually need to listen to iNews jingles in stereo or anything. (I still can on Cable FM though.)

I might move my longwire to null out 930 CJCA and try to get as much signal from 910 CKDQ, it's my 2nd favourite radio station and it would be great if they were still running stereo. Their online stream is in stereo, yeah, but that takes the fun out of it.

Doug... Rutherford? ok, googling that one...
TRENT310
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:40 pm
Location: Whitecourt/Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby freqfreak2 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:17 pm

TRENT310 wrote:Doug... Rutherford? ok, googling that one...


Here's the skinny: when 'Lumpy' announced the launch of iNews880, he boasted that hiring students and first-time reporters would raise the bar for journalism (his words).

See other threads here and elsewhere to read what $10 an hour gets you.
freqfreak2
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:38 am

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby albertaboy4life » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:33 pm

Astral in Calgary isn't much better. The engineers at CKMX were updating the equipment for 1060 but not the AM Stereo unit because Astral wouldn't fund a new one. The fellow I corresponded with wasn't comfortable putting the old AM Stereo unit into use due to concerns over reliability. So Calgary's last private AM station to go stereo reverted to mono a while back. CHQR on occasion passes a stereo signal.
Faster cars, younger women, older cheese, more money . . .
User avatar
albertaboy4life
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: Back in Alberta

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby jawbone » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:04 pm

I have the satellite on all time anyway.

But I'm wondering if new cars come equipped with AM stereo as standard equipment, or is it even an option?
User avatar
jawbone
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:47 pm

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby MIKE FM » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:22 pm

I have a Realistic TM-152 that used to light up on 880 Edmonton, 770 Calgary and 1060 Calgary. There hasn't been a station to light up the stereo LED since 2009.
1060 sounded great in AM-Stereo till they got the Nautel 50k put in and the stereo went away - Boo.
I've cut my losses and found interest in HD-AM. Every night I get at least KFBK 1530 and KSL 1160. Some nights when I drive south to Lethbridge, 610 from Havre will come in. They play classic hits in HD-AM. Makes the AM-Stereo seem kind of crappy.
MIKE FM
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:43 pm
Location: Edmonton

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby groundwave » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:37 pm

As far as I can recall, the very last vestige of genuine AM stereo in the Edmonton area ended when Corus's Cool 880 flipped over to iNews. Newcap's 790 CFCW in Camrose had still been transmitting a C-QUAM pilot carrier around that same time, but I had never ever heard anything resembling actual stereo separation from that station. It was almost as if they had a legacy mono STL and used some kind of fake-stereo processor to drive the Motorola encoder at the transmitter end. In spite of that, they sure brandished the "AM stereo" moniker all over their branding and promotional materials though.

No one else had mentioned this here, but the former CKRD in Red Deer had a terrific sounding AM stereo (again C-QUAM) transmission following their move down-dial from 850 to 700.Time wise we're talking 1992 or so here. Unfortunately that didn't last very long. The station had ceased operating by the early 2000's.

As for the car manufacturers, they've likely all but ditched AM Stereo since it does not coexist very well with the newer Ubiquity "HD" standard mentioned here in this thread by MIKE FM.

By the way TRENT310, the photo of that Sony receiver really brings back a few memories. I had obtained a Sony AM -stereo decoder card, likely the same one used in that model, and physically built it into my already trusty Dynaco AF-6 (kit) tuner. A few other upgrades such as redesigning the front end to use MOSFET stages, and ditching the old ferrite rod antenna for a quieter low-z shielded loop and I ended up with a receiver that offered me both the selectivity and gain of a good DX-ing unit while at the flip of a switch, the ability to tune in local AM stereo with a sound that approached FM in clarity, at least on the better stations anyway. DX-ing in AM stereo was especially fun. On most winter nights Salt Lake City's clear channel KSL (using the eventually nascent split-sideband Khan system) would come in as quiet and consistent as any local stereo station.
User avatar
groundwave
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby sparky » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:39 pm

CKBD 600 in Vancouver ran their C-QUM stereo until the station moved to FM about 2 years ago. Their stereo sounded great here on the Island
in my Dodge Caravan withe the factory AM Stereo radio.

Too bad CISL didn't grab 600's AM Stereo system when they took their format!

When 1090 in Seattle was playing Classic Country their stereo signal sounded like a local. Same with 1060 in Calgary when they were
playing standards. The night time signal was as clear and crisp as any FM signal that I receive here.
"You get a bunch of clowns together and sooner or later you've got a circus"
User avatar
sparky
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 376
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:48 pm
Location: Coldstream, BC

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby radiofan » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:00 pm

When 1040 in Vancouver first came on the air (1985/1986?) they had a dynamite AM Stereo signal. Listened to them all the way through Rogers Pass on my way back to Calgary late one fall afternoon. They also put a nice stereo signal into Central Caifornia at the time (before San Diego and Portland stations came on the air on 1040).

My portable Sony SRF-A100 doesn't get a lot of use these days.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
User avatar
radiofan
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 11517
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:24 pm
Location: Keremeos, BC

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby skyvalleyradio » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:11 am

I'm not sure if the on-air signal of CFAX 1070 is C-QUAM, but listening to their newscasts via the 'Net stream, the audio is definitely stereo and is noticable on ads & promos they play. I had\ve a lovely ol' 80's vintage Sansui FM/AM receiver that decodes C-QUAM and Kahn, but the push buttons eventually wore out - now does duty as the TX site monitor for CFSI, but cannot be tuned manually via the front panel
User avatar
skyvalleyradio
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:16 pm
Location: The Goofy Islands

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby i2thesky » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:22 pm

I went to a massive garage sale recently and stumbled onto an old Clarion 8900RT AM stereo/Fm Stereo Cassette Car Deck and I offered them a buck for it. I took it home and installed it in my '95 caravan. I wasnt expecting any AM stereo to be on the air but was surprised to find CHQR still running commericals and back ground music for air checks still in stereo. I was amazed at the clarity and sound quality this unit brought in on both bands..I wish other radio manufacturers put this much effort into making AM this good for sound quality.. I would have to give the Calgary AM's kudos for better sound processing, particularly the Fan 960. Stations like CHED, CFCW and CHQT are all mid range and have no top end. They should put more effort into speach clarity as the average listener might have issues deciphering the dialogue over wind, engine and road noise. 710 ESPN seattle sounds every bit as crystal clear as a local FM. Other clear signals are KOMO 1000, KSL 1160, 670 KBOI, 1510 KGA and 1530 KFBK.
User avatar
i2thesky
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:32 am

Re: Any AM Stereo stations left?

Postby Aaron » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:03 pm

Is that "Station Spectrum Display" your presets or tuneable signals?
Aaron
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:21 pm

Next

Return to Alberta

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

cron