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General => Off-Topic => Topic started by: Cole D. on August 30, 2019, 10:23:40 PM



Title: Weather Radios
Post by: Cole D. on August 30, 2019, 10:23:40 PM
Does anyone here have a weather radio? The only weather radio we have is our GE Spacemaker kitchen radio. It is not a weather alert radio, it just has the weather/DX band along with the AM and FM.

Also we used to have a Black and Decker Storm Station that too had a weather band, but again no alerts.

I thought about getting a Midland Weather Alert Radio, but I heard you can't turn down volume for the alerts, so it goes off for anything and it's very loud. Therefore, I don't want one.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: HomeBrewLamps on August 31, 2019, 12:42:39 AM
used to have one of those white weather radios.  thinking of getting another one day.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on August 31, 2019, 03:50:33 AM

I thought about getting a Midland Weather Alert Radio, but I heard you can't turn down volume for the alerts, so it goes off for anything and it's very loud. Therefore, I don't want one.

I dont think it would beanything complex to make the volume adjustable...


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: GE101R on August 31, 2019, 10:17:22 PM
I dont think it would beanything complex to make the volume adjustable...
Midland WR-100 you can. They are good alert radios and you can still find them NOS on Ebay.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 01, 2019, 12:39:41 AM
Yup, I have a midland weather radio as well.  Handy to have in tornado season, but the only problem is that the channel/frequencies cover a very large area, so I get alerts for things happening 50 miles away. 


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 01, 2019, 10:31:39 AM
Yup, I have a midland weather radio as well.  Handy to have in tornado season, but the only problem is that the channel/frequencies cover a very large area, so I get alerts for things happening 50 miles away. 

Isnt that controlled by some subtone coding? So you select the coding for your local area and the thing filters only what bears that code, so what is relevant for you? Or at least that is the system used here for the wireless modes of PA system (although here the receivers, with thespeakers use to beon public utility poles, older ones fed by dedicated wiring, but the wireless versions are taking over.
Although here the system is not designed for home receivers...


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 01, 2019, 12:38:39 PM
Nope, we don't have sub tone coding thingies on the national weather service alert radios. 


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 01, 2019, 12:39:21 PM
http://weatherradios.com/stations-and-frequencies


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 01, 2019, 02:40:40 PM
And what is then the SAME coding? To me it looks like the subtone...


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: xmaslightguy on September 01, 2019, 07:51:44 PM
@Medved:
SAME is Specific Area Message Encoding.
Not sure how it works or anything, but its supposed to make so you get alerts that are more for your area.

------------------------------
I would like to get a weather radio, but I'd want one that supports all 7 frequencies (not all models do)
I'd also want one that supports the SAME thing. (only a limited number do from what I've heard)
I'd also prefer something with an audio-out so I could connect it to my existing stereo and listen when I want.

For me, having a weather-radio would be more of an interesting/fun thing (I've always liked watching weather/storms/etc). I have zero fear of ever being hit by a tornado in my area...if I ever see a tornado it'll because I specifically went out into the eastern part of the state to do so.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 02, 2019, 08:56:53 AM
@Medved:
SAME is Specific Area Message Encoding.
Not sure how it works or anything, but its supposed to make so you get alerts that are more for your area.
...

It was more of a rethoric question, pointinfg out it does use things as either subtone (a combination of frequencies below the audio spectrum, usually in the 15..100Hz range, superimposed onto the audio during the whole transmission) or lead-in/out sequences (something like telephone dialing DTMF; there were also single tone systems, where the dedicated tone sequence activates the audio output; used in the US to switch over the local radio stations to the programming of the selected large coverage ones, who are transmitting messages like president speech in case of nation emergencies like war, global disaster or so; sometimes it was activated by error, dont know if it was ever really used for real transmission).

Here the subtone concept is used to allow multiple towns in vincinity to each other to use common frequency for their emergency PA system, so the receivers activate their output only when the signal carries the signature of the given town.
And I think there is also some code used by fire or police dpt, to allow to use the system really locally from their portable transmitters (there the range is limited to few 100's m by just the signal strength, it activates about 3..4 speakers around the transmitting officer)


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: xmaslightguy on September 02, 2019, 09:23:26 AM
@Medved:
One thing I did find out (from someone who works in radio)
Is that the NOAA emergency alert weather broadcasts use part of the low frequency audio spectrum (I can't remember the frequencies - it was either in the teens, or around 9hz), so I would assume that the SAME is likely done with a subtone.
FM Radio stations here also generally cut off anything below 55hz in music.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Cole D. on September 02, 2019, 12:15:03 PM
@Medved:
SAME is Specific Area Message Encoding.
Not sure how it works or anything, but its supposed to make so you get alerts that are more for your area.

------------------------------
I would like to get a weather radio, but I'd want one that supports all 7 frequencies (not all models do)
I'd also want one that supports the SAME thing. (only a limited number do from what I've heard)
I'd also prefer something with an audio-out so I could connect it to my existing stereo and listen when I want.

For me, having a weather-radio would be more of an interesting/fun thing (I've always liked watching weather/storms/etc). I have zero fear of ever being hit by a tornado in my area...if I ever see a tornado it'll because I specifically went out into the eastern part of the state to do so.


Our GE one has all 7 channels on the WX band. But some are static and the ones that do pick up are all playing the same thing. I don't remember how our Storm Station worked, but it was manually tuned on the same scale as the AM/FM.

Neither of these radios have the alert system though.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: GE101R on September 02, 2019, 12:25:50 PM
FYI
Many NOAA Weather Radio receiver models can be set to a muted "standby" or "alert" mode, and will turn on when the alerting message is received. Depending on the receiver brand and model, the receiver will either be activated by the SAME code or the 1050 Hertz warning alarm tone. Upon activation, some receiver models may have a flashing light or other visual attention signal. In any case, the 10-second 1050 Hertz warning alarm tone serves as an audible attention signal.
For receiver models activated by the 1050 Hertz tone, the receiver will activate whenever the tone is received.
For SAME-decoding receivers,the owner programs the county SAME codes for the county or counties he (she) wishes to be alerted for, thereby eliminating unwanted alerts for counties in the coverage area that are not of concern to the listener.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 02, 2019, 11:01:01 PM
The problem here is that the signals travel pretty far so if a transmitter signal reaches areas that are not affected and areas that are affected, it's going to send out the same "alert" signal on that frequency assigned to the transmitter.  I So for example, I live in Douglas County, Colorado.  However- there is not a transmitter exclusive to Douglas County.  There is a transmitter in Franktown, which is in Douglas County, but that transmitter also reaches into Arapahoe, Elbert, El Paso, Denver, and parts of Jefferson Counties. So I can monitor that one.. but because that transmitter reaches into those counties, any alert sent out will cause the radios to alarm for whomever is monitoring that frequency.  There is also a transmitter in Denver.  I live about 20 miles south of Denver.  The one in Denver, reaches many communities in a 150+ mile radius.  So people's weather radios in Denver will go off.. and so will others 150 miles away.  It's better than nothing, but annoying as all can be.  Some of you out in the eastern United states have more centralized transmitters, especially those of you in tornado alley. 

https://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/stations.php?State=CO 


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 02, 2019, 11:02:19 PM
Here in the US and Canada, they utilize the VHF (Very High Frequency)

Weather radio broadcasts in the United States (NOAA NWR) and Canada (Weatherradio Canada) occur on seven dedicated frequencies: 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 02, 2019, 11:44:29 PM
The problem here is that the signals travel pretty far so if a transmitter signal reaches areas that are not affected and areas that are affected, it's going to send out the same "alert" signal on that frequency assigned to the transmitter.  ...

That is, why you need the SAME capable receiver. The SAME code is unique to any given county (or sometimes even with finer granularity), so it activates only with messages relevant for that area, regardless from which transmitter the warning is comming. You should be jest sure you are tuning in the exact transmitter officially designed to cover your place (even when it will be weaker than other station), as the others may not transmit messages for you, so will remain silend all the time.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 03, 2019, 11:29:04 AM
The national weather service here in the states is not set up that way though.  We don't have the special tones coded to specific counties/regions.  It's all based upon what area that transmitter can get a signal into and that transmitter sends the same alert out to everyone listening in on that frequency.  So anyone listening to the 162.450 transmitter which covers my area and 150 miles away- be it in Denver or 2 counties over that still pick up that transmitter are going to get the alert when the NWS issues an advisory or alert regardless of if the weather alert is for their specific area.  So nice and sunny and calm in my area where as 2 counties over they have a tornado warning but I am going to hear the alert anyway.  Wide wide wide areas to cover and not enough $$$ to be able to afford transmitters everywhere, so they use high output transmitters to cover a wide area (100, 300, 500, and 1000 watt transmitters)some sitting on top of 14,000 ft mountains, and yup, lots of people are going to only be able to tune into that frequency but get alerts for areas that don't concern them.   


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 03, 2019, 03:04:03 PM
The SAME is a thing from the US (I was curious an looked for more details in the meantime... :-)), it isthe "lead in/out" type signalling. It is a digital (in fact an ASCII text) message with fixed format. It contains the exact area code (it is an unique code county or denser - see NOAA sites, search for SAME coding), type of emergency (wind, tornado, floods,...) and validity time (how long is the warning valid), plus some extra data. It is a kind of FSK modulation, but with a special format (not a standard UART thing), so you would need a dedicated tone decoder for that (but I believe it is doable as a DSP within some small micro with ADC, like ATTiny 85 or so, if it would have nothing else to do).

So when the broadcast begins, it sends out this message. The receiver (when SAME equipped) compares the area code and the warning type to what you have programmed as relevant for you and if it matches, it either just start flashing, display a text ot activate the audio - depends on how you set it up. If the codes do not match (some you can not turn off, like nuclear danger or so, some are always ignored, like auxiliary system test messages), the receiver just ignores it and stay quiet and dark (unless there isnt any previous still valid warning in its memory)

Receiver without SAME (or I guess even the one equipped, but when the SaAME is disabled), just plays everything the transmitter broadcasts.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: xmaslightguy on September 03, 2019, 07:17:23 PM
@RyanF40T12:
This site  nws.noaa.gov...State=CO  (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/ccov.php?State=CO) gives the SAME codes for Colorado.
So if you were in Douglas county, and you had a SAME capable weather radio, you'd put in '008035' as your location code.
The page also shows 3 frequencies you can get in Douglas: 162.450, 162.500, 162.550

Where I live, those 3 same frequencies are listed. Since its a different county I would enter a different code...and shouldn't hear the same alerts you would. (assuming the radio was in 'standby'..if it was simply 'on' then you'd hear whatever, atleast as I understand)
 


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: RyanF40T12 on September 03, 2019, 09:36:38 PM
Alright!  Now this is making sense!  Thank you!  I'll have to give that a shot. 


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: boiler1011 on September 08, 2019, 03:51:28 PM
For anyone looking for the absolute best radio, and are willing to spend a little cash, I would highly recommend the Sangean CL-100. The quality of these is excellent, and they have some nice features like auto-shutoff, fully customizable SAME, and AM/FM. The audio quality is ridiculously awesome for its class. It blows everything else out of the water. It's also a very nice, sleek, modern looking design. It isn't bright yellow or ugly and doesn't stick out. You can usually find them right around the USD 50 pice point.



Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: GE101R on September 08, 2019, 03:54:49 PM
For anyone looking for the absolute best radio, and are willing to spend a little cash, I would highly recommend the Sangean CL-100. The quality of these is excellent, and they have some nice features like auto-shutoff, fully customizable SAME, and AM/FM. The audio quality is ridiculously awesome for its class. It blows everything else out of the water. It's also a very nice, sleek, modern looking design. It isn't bright yellow or ugly and doesn't stick out. You can usually find them right around the USD 50 pice point.


Ebay has some good prices on them.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: xmaslightguy on September 08, 2019, 08:18:04 PM
Quote
For anyone looking for the absolute best radio, and are willing to spend a little cash, I would highly recommend the  Sangean CL-100

Thanks for the recommendation..might have to check one of those out.
Same brand as the HD-Radio tuner I got for my stereo system. It was said to be one of the best back when I was looking to get a HD-Radio.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Cole D. on September 08, 2019, 08:28:58 PM
I've noticed a lot of the Sangean made radios and alarm clock-radios have RDS, which is not something common on portable radios here in US from what I seen. It looks like a nice radio.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Medved on September 08, 2019, 11:06:19 PM
I've noticed a lot of the Sangean made radios and alarm clock-radios have RDS, which is not something common on portable radios here in US from what I seen. It looks like a nice radio.

It will be more and more a common place, as the cheapest way to make radio today is to use one of the DSP based receiver chip (it contains the LNA, frequency synthesis for LO, around 225kHz quadrature IF feeding two channel ADC and the rest is in its digital gates (with some even SW), then DAs for audio output, all in one chip. And with that concept it is very simple to integrate extra features like RDS/RBDS, so most chips have that already. It is just the final radio maker decision to not use it (because the simple low power LCD has no way to display it, or it is reserved for just for more "expansive" models, differing only in the piece of code reading out the data from the radio chip.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: GE101R on September 11, 2019, 07:18:19 AM
The problem here is that the signals travel pretty far so if a transmitter signal reaches areas that are not affected and areas that are affected, it's going to send out the same "alert" signal on that frequency assigned to the transmitter.  I So for example, I live in Douglas County, Colorado.  However- there is not a transmitter exclusive to Douglas County.  There is a transmitter in Franktown, which is in Douglas County, but that transmitter also reaches into Arapahoe, Elbert, El Paso, Denver, and parts of Jefferson Counties. So I can monitor that one.. but because that transmitter reaches into those counties, any alert sent out will cause the radios to alarm for whomever is monitoring that frequency.  There is also a transmitter in Denver.  I live about 20 miles south of Denver.  The one in Denver, reaches many communities in a 150+ mile radius.  So people's weather radios in Denver will go off.. and so will others 150 miles away.  It's better than nothing, but annoying as all can be.  Some of you out in the eastern United states have more centralized transmitters, especially those of you in tornado alley. 

https://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/stations.php?State=CO 
Our frequency only covers the four counties surrounding us. Tornado alley.


Title: Re: Weather Radios
Post by: Cole D. on September 13, 2019, 09:14:15 PM
It will be more and more a common place, as the cheapest way to make radio today is to use one of the DSP based receiver chip (it contains the LNA, frequency synthesis for LO, around 225kHz quadrature IF feeding two channel ADC and the rest is in its digital gates (with some even SW), then DAs for audio output, all in one chip. And with that concept it is very simple to integrate extra features like RDS/RBDS, so most chips have that already. It is just the final radio maker decision to not use it (because the simple low power LCD has no way to display it, or it is reserved for just for more "expansive" models, differing only in the piece of code reading out the data from the radio chip.

That makes sense. It seems in Europe and UK RDS is more common and I believe appeared earlier than here, possibly early 1980s. In US I think it first started showing up in early 2000s on car headunits, mostly ones from American automakers. Then Toyota and others got on board, with most recently Honda, Hyundai and Kia. Although it was mostly only offered on upper trim levels with higher spec systems. Most of these, used a green dot matrix display, although it got more common with cars having navigation systems to have color displays. It is becoming more standard in cars, and it's likely because of the federal mandate for backup cameras. In many vehicles the display is integrated to the stereo, so needs a color LCD screen anyway, so little reason not to go ahead and add RDS.

HD radio typically integrates RDS regardless, but I had seen on some Kia systems that it is only given on HD enabled stations, where other regular FM stations only show MHz and no info is displayed. My current car shows it on both and my previous car did for FM (no HD capability on it).

Most RDS capable systems also allow scanning for a specific type (news, rock, pop, religious, R&B, etc) and in some vehicles scan for a station with a traffic report. However, I don't think most people use/used this features, because it involves pushing sequences of buttons.

Not all stations take advantage of all features. The most basic simply display the call letters and give a program type for the stations. Others display full song title/artist name or what talk program is playing currently. Some stations also show websites and phone numbers for commercials played during ad breaks over the RDS.

As far as portable radios, I think some Bose systems have it, but otherwise I don't know of many here other than possibly very high end component systems. Our GE Spacemaker does have it though, but it was only on one or two models of it.