Thursday, July 08, 2010

FM Cable Radio

So I was driving my moms car the other day (long story) and realized she was listening to some radio station called Mix 96 seemingly from Steinbach. And I was amazed at the reception she was getting in her car (Its fuzzy if I try to listen on my cell phone FM radio)

Anyways, it got me on a whole FM radio thing and I realized my DVD home stereo system with dts processing capability has a Coaxial line in it. I plugged in a regular antenna into it and got most stations, but some were coming in fuzzy. So a couple days later I thought.. hey.. what if I split my cable TV and have one line go into the FM input on this radio? Guess what, it worked! At least with Shaw. I assume thats why MTS digital boxes have the FM radio stations as actual TV stations, cause they can't just have the FM stations on an analogue signal.

Now with the standard antenna I couldn't get 95.9 Kick FM, but with the cable TV connected antenna, its loud and clear on 104.7. Who knew! I'm pretty sure it was Kick FM cause they were just replaying the Great Canadian talk show episode with judy wasylycia-leis. oh, if you want to know how to type her name, type judy was into your google toolbar and the fourth option is her. She was my MP at one point in my life you'd think I'd have some inkling on how to spell it, but you'd be wrong.

It's actually pretty cool. Here is the station list from Shaw as of the time I'm writing this.. with some of my own commentary thrown in for good measure:

96.3 is CBC Radio 1 from Vancouver for some reason
96.7 is CBC Radio 2 also from Vancouver.. apparently French.
97.1 CICY aka NCI FM
97.5 Power 97 (kinda fuzzy, oddly enough... seems to be actual OTA reception bleeding through)
98.9 CFEQ Christian Rock "Ignite 107" used to be Freq. Either way I don't listen to it.
99.5 CJOB News / Talk Radio. Good old CJOB. In FM! Who knew! Bad quality for me though. Hopefully it was just a temporary thing. Seemed compressed.
99.9 CJZZ Jazz FM bleh. works fine, I hate Jazz.
100.3 CFRW 1290 AM .. greatest oldies of all time. Not bad.
100.7 NBRS VoicePrint-Reading Service apparently based out of Toronto. Always nice to have another news station option.
101.1 CKJS Multilingual seemed a bit fuzzy sound... lots of ethnic targetted radio if I remember correctly.
101.5 CKUW University of Winnipeg.. it was silent when I listened to it. Off Air maybe? Or just Shaw not giving a signal..
101.9 CFWM Bob FM
102.3 92 CITI FM Classic Rock
102.7 CKXL Multi-format French station of some sort.
103.1 CJUM University of MB. It's striking me odd how they mix up the stations like that. You'd think they could put hot 103 there, but no.
103.5 K-rock FM (formerly Hank FM until a few days ago)
103.9 CKY Clear FM - "80's, 90's and NOW."
104.3 XLM572 Environment Canada Weather Radio. Pretty neat. Operates on same frequency OTA as the US NOAA weather service, with special weather radio devices.
104.7 CKIC Red River College Kick FM. I got the signal better on 104.6 though. Better than with the antenna though. Clearer either way.
105.1 CHIQ Curve 94.3
105.5 CJKR Power 97 again.. this is the official channel as per shaws website.. so.. weird. Go figure.
105.9 CKSB French
106.3 RIM JHIM Indian Ethnic Radio from Vancouver, but I didn't pick anything up when I scanned for it. Supposedly Bollywood type stuff.
106.7 CKMM Hot 103.
107.1 CFQX QX-104.
107.5 CBW CBC Radio 2 from Winnipeg
107.9 NPR Public Radio - from North Dakota. Prairie Public Radio.

It's Prairie Public Radio, which is presumably NPR but I'm not sure if it officially is an NPR station (as its not listed on the NPR website). Mostly classical music, but they do air NPR news at least.

It'd be nice if Shaw could put CBC radio 1 from winnipeg and CBC Radio 3 on there too, but beggars can't be choosers. It's still a nice option for people to have. Just plug in the coaxial cable into the radio, and voila.

Now that I think about it, Mix 96 isn't carried on shaw either. oh well.

I mean, theres always live streaming, but if you already have that cable going in to your house, and a radio with an antenna input (you might need a converter for some antennas to Coaxial) its a nice option. Shaw should advertise it more. Unless they're trying to phase it out with the switch to digital eventually.. though I can't see why, analogue radio can't possibly take up that much bandwidth.


The View from Seven said...

Cablevision used to promote its cable FM service back in the '80s, mainly as a means of getting Superchannel and MuchMusic in stereo. They also carried top-40 station Y-94 FM from Fargo and a Grand Forks FM station as well -- which was a substantial addition to what was then a much more limited choice of FM stations in Winnipeg. Cable FM must have survived, then, but hardly thrived.

As for Mix, they get terrible interference from Power 97 here in south central Winnipeg. Power 97 must still be running 310 kW (compared to a 100 kW max for most other FM stations) judging by the splatter their signal causes.

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

Thanks for the clarification on Mix and Power interference (they're not called Power 97 for nothing I guess!), in hindsight I should have put two and two together, but ah well.

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

update: Shaw is discontinuing analogue FM radio. for more info