Friday, January 3, 2020

Loop for improved AM broadcast reception

Most will have heard about the still-raging bushfires in much of south-east Australia. There have been fatalities, many have lost their homes and thousands have been forced to flee. Roads are cut and the navy has been evacuating some by sea. Air quality in Australian cities is currently amongst the worst in the world due to the smoke.  

Communications is important. Mobile communication sites have been destroyed and emergency satellite phones have been dropped. ABC Radio has been covering the fires on its AM and FM frequencies, providing vital advice to residents and travellers in the area. 

It is at times like these that the capabilities of technology some would think as 'old hat' (such as AM radio) shine. A 50 kilowatt AM transmitter, particularly on the low frequency end of the band, can provide day and night blanket coverage out to 400 or more kilometres. And even 10 kilowatts in the middle of the band can reliably cover 200 or more km. 

A good receiver can help with fringe area AM reception. Failing that a good antenna with a mediocre receiver can do wonders. Especially if it's a multi-turn tuned loop such as demonstrated below:  

PS: Information on donating to the various appeals set up to help bushfire victims is here.

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