NextRadio – oh look, there’s a radio in there

There’s been a series of ads running on the radio stations here promoting the use of…. Radio.


Radio on smartphone devices, specifically.

Fact is, many phones contain an FM radio tuner. On some of these phones there’s an app provided to turn it on and listen. Here’s the stock HTC radio. (RDS supported, but displayed like 10 char at a time… Why??)

One of the other ads they’re running is for NextRadio, an Android app that works on many devices if an app wasn’t provided or if your wireless carrier ripped it out. Open NextRadio and you are provided with a channel list that’s even populated with what’s currently playing, if they have access to that





Switch the app to basic tuner mode if you want to manually choose the frequency… Auto scan does work properly and it finds the friendly local pirates.

It doesn’t appear to use RDS for the metadata. One interesting thing – unlike the htc radio app which is so laggy it feels as if it’s sending the commands to the radio out for translation to serial data via first class mail to Ochopee, Florida… NextRadio has no noticeable lag.

So as for the important requisite questions…

Do they have ads in the app? Not that I’ve noticed, however if you choose to buy albums via the built in links they probably get a commission. The website mentions it being able to sync visual and interactive content, I haven’t seen this in action yet.

Do they track your listening? Maybe. If so it’d be a pretty useful set of metrics for the sales people at your local radio stations, a hell of a lot more useful than Arbitron. If so, it’s just for aggregate stats.

Or it’s just a fancy radio. I d



Brand new from Motorola Solutions…!

Wow, an amazing new product from Motorola has just started showing up on eBay!

Unlike the old GP68, this one even does narrowband and has a flashlight!

On the upside this is likely to be the only “Motorola” supported by CHIRP… oh pay no attention to the fact that its codeplug and FPP methods are fully compatible with the Baofeng UV-5R… 😉

It’s being sold as the “Motorola GP328L”. There’s a GP328, but it doesn’t offer a flashlight. Come on zombie-Motorola, get in the game!!

The Knack… it’s not just a band

I was on this week’s edition of This Week In Radio Tech, episode #249. What were they thinking?

I guess they were quite intrigued in my attention to detail in design and troubleshooting. It’s definitely served me well. I might have had a little too much caffeine going though.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it. They’ll have the show up online shortly; I’ll link the episode here.

Where’s Tony Stark when you need him?

I feel like I should really be blasting Deadmau5 through it right now

The story… Harris Flexstar HDX-100 FM+HD exciter… Started making offensive static and distortion noises. GatesAir told me to pop the lid and reseat ribbon cables.

Only the usual Harris Broadcast cost engineering was visible within. Read more “Where’s Tony Stark when you need him?”

Frequency hoarder

Frequency hoarder (n). One who desires to add so many frequencies to the internal memory of their scanner or other radio device that they can easily fill the 1000 channels on a GRE scanner or any of the recent Yaesu radios* and find themselves dejectedly trying to figure out what won’t make the cut.


I am guilty of being a frequency hoarder. When will the scanners just read a CSV file off a microsd? I’m waiting…

* except for the 817/857/897 which only have 200!! Why, yaesu? Why did you make three rigs that beautifully span DC to 512 megacycles with no gaps in am/FM/ssb/cw/wide FM and then only give us 200 pigeon holes for our frequencies?!

Seriously…. Or, The Z16HD+ Kick in action.

If you told me years ago this would be a significant part of my job, I’d have had a lot of trouble believing you.

This, incidentally, is what you get when there’s no maintenance budget. This transmitter is the only one in house and can’t be taken off air to replace some bad relays. A potential great deal on a backup transmitter that would have allowed me to do so was allowed to go by the wayside so here I am kicking this box to make it stop dumping half its output power in the system isolator load due to an IPA select relay fault.


The relays responsible for making me have to kick the transmitter.

<fnord> Yes, Miguel, rest assured those are leather pants. Would you expect any less? </fnord>

“Spontaneous Disassembly” or EXPLOSIVE Z-Bola.

Never a dull moment. See this breaker? I flicked it earlier in the week to reset the transmitter’s control shelf (just visible off to the left of the photo with its huge nest of ribbon cables).


Then came the phone call on a Sunday morning that we were off the air. I came into the room, opened the back of the transmitter, found CB1 had tripped, reset it and began to walk away…

And then came the explosion. Yep, my transmitter SHARTED. Here’s the aftermath.
Read more ““Spontaneous Disassembly” or EXPLOSIVE Z-Bola.”

WOIR-AM… There are no words


Greetings! I am FAILTUNER! Enjoy my field of nightmares!

I saw two AM towers I’d never noticed before while driving away from the site WDNA-FM is on after fixing a major case of explosive Z-Bola (more on that in another post). I’d never seen them lit before despite them having beacons at the tops? I drove in for a closer look and whooooa brother is there ever a mess to be found here. This is a good example of bad broadcast engineering and maintenance practices. FOUL!!!
Read more “WOIR-AM… There are no words”