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SOWNY » Toronto Ethnic Station Gets Power Boost » Yesterday 3:30 pm

In Phase
Replies: 2

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RadioActive wrote:

The CRTC has agreed to allow the station to increase its power from 6,250 to 10,000 watts

This is a little odd as a power increase to 10,000 watts from 6,250 watts will create a......  well, very minor difference in coverage.

Is their real motive something else?
 

SOWNY » Did FOX News Not Cover Bidens COVID Plan Annoucement Today? » Yesterday 3:25 pm

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Replies: 3

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paterson1 wrote:

Wouldn't a credible news organization want to broadcast these announcements of cabinet positions in a new government that will take over on Wednesday? 

Yes
 

SOWNY » Second U.S, AM Station Goes Fulltime All Digital Only » January 13, 2021 10:30 pm

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Replies: 6

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RadioAaron wrote:

Total waste of energy and time.
 

  yup
 

SOWNY » CFTO weak signal » January 13, 2021 6:14 pm

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Replies: 30

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Tim Brown 2016 wrote:

Isn't CJMT also on that antenna?

   Yes, I believe you are correct Tim

Tim Brown 2016 wrote:

Also, is the aperture that previously housed CITY-TV being reserved for ATSC 3.0?

I doubt if that antenna will ever be used again.  It was designed for the upper UHF band (originally on channel 79) and of course, that band has been reassigned.  It also only has a single feedline, unlike all the other antenna systems.  The outside diameter of the radome up there is very small (about 5 feet) and the space between the radome and the interior spine does not provide any means to physically access the antenna panels.

As for ATSC3.0, any future services could probably be added one, or more, of the other CN Tower antennas.
 

SOWNY » CFTO weak signal » January 13, 2021 1:54 pm

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Replies: 30

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markow202 wrote:

I heard back in the analog era that CITY TV which was the highest antenna (on the last piece with all the signatures) was directional more-so to the north.   

Correct.

The CITY-TV antenna occupied the highest position on the CN Tower and it was directional (nothing over the lake).  That antenna was decommissioned with the repack.  CITY-DT now shares an antenna with CIII-DT and CFMT-DT, which is located in the second highest aperture.

SOWNY » CFTO weak signal » January 10, 2021 9:30 am

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Replies: 30

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DanicaH wrote:

I live in east Mississauga, near Etobicoke border.
I have a Channel Master 4221 antenna with an amp.
Over the last year CTV (CFTO 9) is getting more problematic.
I spoke to CFTO and they tell me they broadcast at 4,200 watts, as per licence.
That is a very very low power transmission.
If BCE trying to sabotage "free" OTA so that people are forced to pay to watch commercials?

Your antenna is designed for UHF.  Since CFTO has moved to a slightly lower VHF frequency (from channel 9 to 8) the performance of your antenna will be even worse.  You may want to try a simple VHF dipole antenna.
 

SOWNY » Cable 5 and 9 question » January 3, 2021 11:48 pm

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Replies: 17

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Hansa wrote:

In Phase wrote:

The reason for the channel offset was due to many TV's in relatively close proximity to the transmitters (channel 9 at McCowan and the 401, channel 5 on Jarvis Street, and in later years the CN Tower) would pick up the signal directly.  Often the cable TV "coax" on the TV would act as an antenna.  When the off-air signal was mixed with the cable TV signal, it would render the picture unusable.  Thus the cable operators would always distribute a local broadcast signal on an adjacent channel.  In Hamilton, for example, CHCH channel 11 was on cable channel 10 (I believe).  This also posed an interesting problem for VCR's (remember those?) which usually output their signal on channel 3.  There was a switch to change the output to channel 2, for those markets where there was a local channel 3 broadcaster (such as CKVR Barrie).

Thanks for the explanation. Is this still an issue now that OTA has transitioned to digital?
 

Short answer:  It is no longer an issue.

Somewhat longer answer:  Cable has also transitioned to digital however unlike the analog era, cable TV uses a different digital standard than broadcast OTA.  Although cable still uses "RF carriers" to transport their signals, including internet, and there remains some sharing of frequencies with OTA broadcast, set-top-boxes or cable modems will not be bothered given that the cable signal would be much stronger, and in a different format, than any broadcast OTA signal that might squeak its way in.
 

SOWNY » Cable 5 and 9 question » January 3, 2021 5:43 pm

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Replies: 17

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The reason for the channel offset was due to many TV's in relatively close proximity to the transmitters (channel 9 at McCowan and the 401, channel 5 on Jarvis Street, and in later years the CN Tower) would pick up the signal directly.  Often the cable TV "coax" on the TV would act as an antenna.  When the off-air signal was mixed with the cable TV signal, it would render the picture unusable.  Thus the cable operators would always distribute a local broadcast signal on an adjacent channel.  In Hamilton, for example, CHCH channel 11 was on cable channel 10 (I believe).  This also posed an interesting problem for VCR's (remember those?) which usually output their signal on channel 3.  There was a switch to change the output to channel 2, for those markets where there was a local channel 3 broadcaster (such as CKVR Barrie).

SOWNY » Spots Before Your Ears » January 3, 2021 4:32 pm

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Replies: 2

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RadioActive wrote:

Speaking of spots, what is the regulation that forces mortgage companies to incorporate their licence number into each and every single commercial they run? "Licence # 21345" or something similar runs before every pitch.

I've often wondered that myself RA.

I found this "https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/mortgage/Pages/pubrelmat.aspx"

item #2 - "Effective January 1, 2009, advertising by a brokerage must disclose the authorized name and licence number of the brokerage"  (best enjoyed when read very fast.... )
 

SOWNY » Thanks for the memories Much Music » December 22, 2020 3:01 pm

In Phase
Replies: 15

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paterson1 wrote:

In Phase wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

[Still wondering if something is going on with MUCH since Bell has not been promoting the channel at all, and it is vanished from my Bell Fibe lineup, even though MTV and MTV2 still show.  I don't subscribe to these either but it was only MUCH that was removed at channel 1570.

Much is still on my Fibe lineup - channel 1570

That's strange, do you subscribe to MUCH or is it just the graphic showing up on 1570?  I haven't subscribed for years but it was always showing up on the grid.  Now 1570 is gone,  and showing AXS instead at 1571 which I am enjoying on free preview.  MTV and MTV2 still show on the grid even though I don't subscribe to those either.  That's why I thought maybe MUCH had gone dark or had been replaced by AXS next door at 1571.  Thanks for the info.

We don't subscribe to Much specifically but we have Bell's Fibe "Better TV package" and it includes Much (although today it should be called LESS).  https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/smile.png


AXSTV, MTV, and MTV2 are also available and working.
 

SOWNY » Thanks for the memories Much Music » December 22, 2020 2:16 pm

In Phase
Replies: 15

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paterson1 wrote:

[Still wondering if something is going on with MUCH since Bell has not been promoting the channel at all, and it is vanished from my Bell Fibe lineup, even though MTV and MTV2 still show.  I don't subscribe to these either but it was only MUCH that was removed at channel 1570.

Much is still on my Fibe lineup - channel 1570

SOWNY » Rare DX Opportunity Won't Last Long » December 18, 2020 10:08 pm

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Replies: 46

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Citypulse News 15 wrote:

When I worked at TR in the early seventies our transmitter and antenna array was located at Hwy 10 and Burnamthorpe. It had thirteen towers, which sounds like an excessive amount but were necessary to control the signal pattern. During the day CFTR was limited to 10,000 watts and the pattern was such to protect a station that was in Rochester N.Y. on 680. At sunset, the Rochester station would sign off and at that time the board op at TR would walk to the racks at the back of the control room and push a button on the Nichols unit to change the coverage to an omni directional pattern. The power would then be increased to 50,000 watts. At sunrise, it would be returned to 10,000 watts if the op remembered! I recall the occasional phone call from that station in a panic complaining that we forgot to drop the power. At 50,000 watts we just obliterated them.

https://i.ibb.co/WptzLT2/CFTR-Mississauga-TX-site.jpg

SOWNY » Why More & More AM Antenna Sites Are Up For Sale » December 9, 2020 12:20 pm

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Replies: 15

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markow202 wrote:

  Very good info.  Question on this, some independent stations back in the day especially 50k watts and up had several bays.  I remember CHAY in Barrie before they had a master fm system installed on the VR Tower was 100,000 watts omni and a 10 bay system.   The lower the power the less bays.   How come?

To your point markow202, almost all "FM" stations have more than one "bay" in their antenna system. A "bay" can be considered as a single antenna and is the most basic form of antenna.  If you mounted a single "bay" on the side of a tower, it would provide a somewhat directional pattern (favouring the direction of the antenna) since the tower can act as a barrier to the signal.  Multiple bays (usually 3 or 4) are typically installed around a tower to provide an omni-directional pattern.  You can also add "bays" vertically on a tower.  As you add "bays" vertically, it will increase the overall signal strength (typically called "gain").  It is very common to see "FM" antennas with 6-12 "bays" on a tower.
 
To determine the maximum "effective" power (ERP) of a station, you multiply the actual transmitter power by the "gain" of the antenna.  If for example, your transmitter was 5kW and your multi-bay antenna had a "gain" of 10, your ERP would be 50kW (5kW X 10).  Note that you can have similar ERP's for an omni-directional station and a directional station.  The difference is that the "ERP" is the same in all directions for the omni station whereas the "ERP" is in a specific direction for the directional station.
 
The "newish" CHAY antenna in Barrie is very unique and very cool (I think).  As you note, it carries multiple FM stations.  What is unique is that supports the omni-directional CHAY along with the directional CIQB and directional CFJB.  It is challenging to configure a common antenna system to accommodate both omni-directional AND independently directional stations.  CHAY uses all antenna bays, while CIQB and CFJB

SOWNY » CTV's Nathan Downer Clicks With Audiences - & That's The Problem » December 9, 2020 7:34 am

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Replies: 15

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RadioActive wrote:

I have noticed the "well" factor. But my pet peeve is when the anchor [let's say it's Mr, Downer] throws to the reporter and the person on the scene starts the stand-up with, "That's right, Nathan..."

and many of the throws to live reporters on 680News mornings start with  "Yaa...."
 

SOWNY » Why More & More AM Antenna Sites Are Up For Sale » December 8, 2020 11:01 pm

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Replies: 15

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Hansa wrote:

Just out of curiosity, could someone explain to me the technical reason why AM stations do not (cannot?) transmit from locations that FM stations use such as the top of the CN Tower or First Canadian Place in Toronto or other skyscrapers. Is it because they are too high, powerful 50 kW+ AM transmitters are too large to be accommodated on top of a building, or because if you place an AM transmitter in the central business district there's too much interference from other high buildings etc?

It has to do with the frequency the station operates on.  The lower the frequency, the larger the antenna.

In radio broadcasting, we all tend to refer to the modulation type (AM or FM), when we are really referring to the frequency.

Broadcast stations that use AM (amplitude modulation) operate on fairly low frequencies (like 1010kHz) and therefore need a large antenna (hundreds of feet in length). Typically, a tall tower is used as the antenna.  Some stations are omni-directional can use a single tower antenna (such as Toronto's 740).  "AM" stations that must send their signal in a specific direction use multiple antennas (towers) in order to create the required pattern.  These towers must often be spaced hundreds of feet apart.  This can result in a very large chunk of land required to support these directional antennas (such as Toronto's 1050, 680 or 640).  Also, these lower frequencies require a "good ground" as they tend to travel long distances along the ground.

Broadcast stations that use FM (frequency modulation) operate on relatively high frequencies (such as 94.1MHz or 100.7MHz) and their antennas are much shorter (about 3 feet).  These higher frequencies tend to be line-of-site and therefore, the higher, the better.  In this case, a tall tower is typically used to support the antenna.  "FM" stations can also be directional, which is achieved by using multiple antennas on the same mast.

The CN Tow

SOWNY » Ten Years Ago Today... » December 6, 2020 8:50 pm

In Phase
Replies: 4

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RadioActive wrote:

It's almost impossible to believe that it was exactly ten years ago today (Dec. 6) that Mark Dailey passed away. I was proud to call him a friend and he was one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, despite his lofty status as one of the city's best anchormen.

He was a mentor to many and an inspiration to all. And his reputation really was EVERYWHERE.  

I can only wonder what he'd think about the state of City TV as it is today. (Nowhere?)

I really miss the guy and his number is still in my phone to this day. I've never been able to bring myself to erase it. 

RIP Mark. You were one of a kind.

agreed

well said
 

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 4, 2020 2:57 pm

In Phase
Replies: 23

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RadioActive wrote:

I've often wondered: can you actually tell the difference between 720p and 1080i? It seems to me they all look pretty good to most human eyes. Why would you opt for one over the other?

Great question and it has to do with "frame rate", or in other words, how often the image is displayed on the screen.

We all know (right?), just like film, video is a series of still images, displayed fast enough to make the brain think its motion (and oh ya, and there is no such thing as yellow, but I digress.... ).

Believe it or not, this stuff goes back to the early days of TV so there's lots of "stuff" here.

1080i (the "i" is for interlace - the thing that old CRT picture tube TV's used) has a higher resolution than 720p which makes it better (?) for images such as newscasts, interview shows and documentaries.

720p (the "p" is for progressive - the way modern screens work) has a higher frame rate (how fast the image is displayed) than 1080i which makes it better (?) for sporting events that typically have lots of motion.

So, if you are a TV station, you might choose your flavour (1080i or 720p) based upon the type of programming you have.

Oddly enough, today's flat panel "TV's" are inherently progressive scan (p) and therefore must convert 1080i to progressive for display, which can have a negative impact on the image.

Can you see the difference?  It depends on what you are looking at.

1080i is so 1990.....



 

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 4, 2020 1:46 pm

In Phase
Replies: 23

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RadioActive wrote:

So if I understand this, these won't be subcarriers like WGRZ's Channel 2.1, 2.2. and 2.3. They'll all be separate TV stations, but all coming from one transmitter

well, sorta yes and yes.  This process is EXACTLY the same as your WGRZ example that has been used in the States for years.  All the "separate" Global stations will be "subcarriers" (to use your term).  When tuning to the multiplexed signal from Peterborough you might see (for example) 12.1 (CHEX-DT),  27.1 (CIII-DT-27), and 11.2 (CKWS-DT-1)

RadioActive wrote:

and one more thing. The CRTC document notes that all the stations will be broadcasting at 720p HD, as opposed to 1080i

720P is easier to compress than 1080i and is more bandwidth efficient and that is probably why they are moving to 720P.

 

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 4, 2020 12:40 pm

In Phase
Replies: 23

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Hi RA

To your question, in digital TV, each service is not really a "subcarrier" (like you might have in FM radio) but rather each is part of the overall digital signal.  Each service has its own "quality" parameters.  Typically the "main" channel is given more quality "bits" than a so-called sub-channel.

By "multiplexing" a number of "channels" Corus WILL be able to shut down transmitters, which ultimately is the goal I am sure (one way or another).  For example, they have a "Global" transmitter in Peterborough (CHEX-DT), a "Global" transmitter north of Cobourg (CIII-DT) and a "Global" transmitter (CKWS-DT) in Brighton.  The CHEX-DT Peterborough transmitter is on VHF channel 12 and covers a wide area.  By doing this, they can shutdown the Cobourg and Brighton sites.  This is a result of Corus acquiring the Global channels from Shaw Media in 2016, flipping CHEX and CKWS to Global programming and the resulting overlapping of transmitter signals.  Viewers in the coverage areas will still be able to receive each independent service, albeit from a common transmitter.

As noted above, in the Corus case, I suspect each multiplexed service will have the same number of "bits" assigned and therefore they will all have the same general picture quality.

It's the same scenario for the Ottawa and the BC markets.

This is a perfect use of digital transmission and the ability to "multicast" different services.  We should have been doing it long ago in Canada.  Smart move by Corus.

I expect CTV to follow in similar markets with CTV and CTV2 services.
 

SOWNY » "Netflix" Tax Coming Next July - Along With Everything Else Online » December 1, 2020 8:28 am

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Replies: 12

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Prod Guy wrote:

On a $15 subscription it's $1.95.

Although these services should pay "their fair share", the tax is collected by the service and submitted to the government, which means the tax is really a burden on the consumer, not the service.  Further, although the tax seems like "hardly anything" when viewed from a small dollar perspective, it's really a 13% levy, which when applied across a large spectrum of services, can (will) amount to a very large sum.

SOWNY » Future of free antenna TV » November 4, 2020 10:18 pm

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Replies: 10

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RadioActive wrote:

I hadn't thought much about ATSC 3.0 discussed here earlier, until I read this press release. It involves two major U.S. stations in a big market, KONG-TV & KING-TV, both in Seattle. 
<snip>
My questions: will anyone actually be able to see this supposedly "improved" digital signal? And while I agree High Definition is much better than the old analog (except maybe for long distance reception) I always wondered back when they forced everyone to go out and buy new TV sets whether they wanted to or not, who asked for this? And how much better is this, really?

Anyway, ready or not, the future is here. How long it takes to get to this market is another question. If history is any indication, you can bet if the U.S. converted completely to this system, Canada would wait at least 5 years to do it here.  

Another marketing ploy.

The transmission system for KONG-TV and KING-TV is provided by GatesAir, formerly known as Harris Broadcast.  As a transmitter supplier, they have a vested interest in selling ATSC 3.0 transmitters.  ATSC 3.0 is really what ATSC 1.0 (the current North American digital OTA TV system) never was, but should have been.  ATSC 3.0 solves the reception problems that are inherent in ATSC 1.0 (such as multi-path) and uses an improved video compression system (H-265).

Will people notice?  Will people care?

4K, which ATSC 3.0 can support, has largely been DOA given the picture quality is not substantially better for the average viewer to notice (and pay for).

As for people being forced to buy newer TV's 10-15 years ago, it was all about a larger screen size and better aspect ratio (they couldn't make CRT based TV sets any bigger than 32") BUT the consumer did benefit from a much improved picture and something you could mount on a wall.  There was value for the consumer, whether they were OTA, cable, satellite, IPTV or DVD.  That being said, the only people that made money on HD was the consumer electronics industry and

SOWNY » Could This Partially Destroy Simsub In Ontario? » November 1, 2020 7:49 pm

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Replies: 22

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The bill does indicate "the Attorney General would only enact the bill in “coordination” with Quebec and New York".

SOWNY » Big Yellow Board Time / Doing Midnights » October 31, 2020 9:53 pm

In Phase
Replies: 3

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I presume the backend SOWNY servers actually run on GMT time (like many broadcast systems).  This permits anyone in the world to use the system and have things appear in local time.  Of course, you must apply your own "local" offset to make the timestamps look right.  If you live in an area that performs a time change twice a year, you must change your offset twice a year.

SOWNY » CBC May Get Extra $34 Million In "COVID-Related" Funding » October 27, 2020 7:21 pm

In Phase
Replies: 39

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I'd pay $34 per year just to support CBC's Marketplace. The ONLY program to challenge cell phone rates (and other things) in this country.  You can guess why.  As for "open skies" be careful what you wish for....  if this was really true, most Canadian broadcast/wireless/internet companies would be gone and you would be subscribing to Verizon and AT&T and supporting PBS.   Although in the words of Mr. Allan Waters before the CRTC, "Canadians don't want more Canadian programming, they want more American programming".

SOWNY » At Least Two GTA Stations Didn't Air Those Emergency Alerts » October 23, 2020 4:11 pm

In Phase
Replies: 7

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Alerts are issued based upon a geographic area for where the threat is pertinent, and are broadcast IF that geographic area falls within the coverage area of any radio or TV station.  It is quite possible that an alert might touch on the extreme coverage area for CFRB (for example) but not CKNT or CHIN-FM.

SOWNY » CityPulse's smashing LiveEye truck » October 15, 2020 3:41 pm

In Phase
Replies: 14

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Brings back memories.  I don't know who the dude is (tourist?) but that's my car in the background https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/pouty.png

[img]https://i.ibb.co/4R266sm/Citytv-Live-Eye-truck.jpg
[/img]

SOWNY » FCC In U.S. Ready To Go Whole Hog On AM Digital » October 7, 2020 10:52 am

In Phase
Replies: 14

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RadioAaron wrote:

andysradio wrote:

It will not work. It will just disenchant current listeners. Propagation will also not aid a digital station.I read a story about a AM station down there that flipped to all digital. Listeners thought it went off air and moved to listen to their FM repeater. They have since returned the AM station to pure analog

100%

Waste of time and effort. There's no demand for this.

Agreed.  The issue is not about "AM" or "FM" or "digital", or "morse code", or otherwise... the issue is the band itself.  Skywave at night, large antennas and transmitter sites, and no "new" programming to encourage listeners to invest in new digital AM receivers.  DOA

SOWNY » A Completely Incomprehensible Amber Alert » October 1, 2020 9:04 am

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Here is some info about the Canadian emergency alerting system that I thought might be of interest (and/or bedtime reading... )

The system is, of necessity, a bit of a national mish-mash of police forces, emergency services and Environment Canada.  It certainly isn't perfect given the number of people that might generate a message.   An alert can be triggered by any of these services, after going through some level of internal approval.

Pelmorex acts as the aggregator and distributor of all messages (they don't alter them, they just forward them).

Once an alert is released by one of the agencies, everything downstream is automated.

Monitoring devices in broadcast and wireless systems are constantly listening for alert messages.  It may interest you to know that there are numerous messages transmitted across the system on a daily basis.  Most tend to be weather related and broadcast systems ignore 99% of them.

There is a special signal, or flag, called the "Broadcast Immediate Parameter" embedded within each message.  If this parameter is set to "yes" then a monitoring broadcast device (usually at the radio or TV station) will immediately put the message on the air.

Messages are sent as text and are translated by text-to-voice software.  This means the text must be in a very specific format (to prevent "nine hundred and eleven verses "nine one one".  To ensure (or try to ensure) a level of commonality across radio, TV and wireless systems a "Common Look and Feel Guidance" document was created.  You can see it here:
https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/mrgnc-mngmnt/mrgnc-prprdnss/npas/clf-lng-20-en.aspx

Note the "Broadcast Immediate Parameter" in Appendix B.  This is the indicator that will trigger broadcast systems.

All messages are archived and can be viewed here:  https://alertsarchive.pelmorex.com/en.php
Note: messages are in GMT time (the emergency alert sent at 11:31pm Sunday September 28 EST would be listed at 03:31 Septem

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