Friday, June 08, 2018

AM Stations in Major Canadian Markets

Numeris, which monitors Canada’s media landscape, recently published their spring ratings in major markets, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. I took a look at the numbers, to see how the AM stations fared. Only commercial and CBC stations are listed, so a religious station like CJCA Edmonton 930 is not there.

AM listening seems to be «alive and well», all things considered, with CBU-690 and CKNW-980 on the top two spots with 16.0 and 11.6 % share respectively. On the bottom though is 50-kW CFTE-1410 with 0.2 %. CKST-1050, CHMJ-1320 and CISL-650 don’t do too well either, 1.8, 1.0 and 1.2 %.

Not much difference from Vancouver. Two AM stations top the list, CHQR-770 with 9.4 % and CBR-1010 with 9 %.  CKMX-1060 is at the bottom of the AM list with 1.8 %.

More FM dominance here. CBX-740 is no. 3 with 7.5 %, CHED-630 no. 4, 7.4 %. CHQT-880 seems to struggle with only 1.3 %.

It seems like the further east, the worse AM performance. CFRB-1010 is no. 5 in the Toronto market with a share of 6.6 %. The high-powered CHUM-1050 can’t make much money with a 0.4 % share.

AM is all but dead among the French-speaking listeners, as even the two English-speaking AM stations CJAD-800 and CKGM-690 have higher ratings than the French-speaking stations! CHRF-980 is the best French-speaking AM station in the French market with 0.3 %, CKAC is 0.1 %. Will they survive? In the English market, CJAD-800 has a stunning 30.6 % market share, while CKGM-690 has only 2.1 %.

The news stations mostly seem to do well in these markets. The sports stations however, is a sad story. But I suppose they may be cheaper to run.

Potential death list, ratings 2 % or lower:
Vancouver: CFTE-1410, CHMJ-1320, CISL-650, CKST-1040.
Calgary: CKMX-1060.
Edmonton: CHQT-880.
Toronto: CHUM-1050.
Montreal: CKAC-730, CHRF-980.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Will We See The RFSpace CloudSDR This Year?

The excellent 0-56 MHz Cloud-IQ has been out for quite some time, and will likely have HDSDR support in not too long, along with the NetSDR. Its "big brother", the CloudSDR, was expected to arrive not much later, but apparently has been delayed. Recent tweets from RFSpace may indicate that it may be on its way. Their web page state Q4-2018 for release.

The CloudSDR uses a 122.88 MHz ADC for the HF part up to 56 MHz, and a silicon tuner above, up to 1000 MHz or more. It may look like the HF is part is just another Cloud-IQ, but its spurious-free dynamic range is 7 dB better, and it has 3 dB better SNR. Sensitivity claims are identical.

The I/Q sampling on the tweet images is 2048000 Hz, a bit more than the Cloud-IQ which stops at 1807058 Hz (1536 kHz alias-free). I guess VHF DX-ers would love to be able to sample a lot more. but there is no indication of that so far.

There are separate antenna inputs for HF and VHF/UHF use. I  have been wondering if the CloudSDR would offer the same dual-antenna, software-selectable input as the Cloud-IQ has. The latest 3D model may suggest such a solution, as an "Aux RF" input has been added. It would be very cool to be able to change antennas via software

There are two other inputs as well, one for 10-MHz reference, and one trigger input, neither found on its smaller brother.

Input voltage will be 5VDC, and preliminary specs suggest that it needs 1.3mA, a little less than the NetSDR. The Cloud-IQ can be powered from a USB 3.0 port (even a good-quality USB 2.0 port), which makes it a perfect SDR for a mobile setup with a PC connected to a 12VDC battery. I hope that the CloudSDR's final design will require a little less current.

The MSRP is USD 999. We'll see if it ends up there.
All images from RFSpace.