Letters on Leonard Kahn, AM Digital Radio
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Leonard Kahn, Remembered
I met Leonard when I was an assistant attorney
general at the New York State Department of Law in lower Manhattan. In June of
1990, the Hon. Robert Abrams, New York’s attorney general, directed me to
consult with Leonard as he explored several antitrust claims against firms with
whom he had prior business dealings.
afterwards, my United States Marine Corps Reserve unit was activated and I
spent the next year overseas on the front lines. Although I am now retired, I
served as a communications and electronics officer in the Marines for more than
During that combat tour, I encountered
service-affecting problems caused by RF ducting, a problem common in hot
climates. I called Leonard and asked for his help, and he not only explained to
me the physics of RF ducting, he also gave me sage advice on how to work around
The results were improved communications range and
reliability that ultimately assisted Marines in directing supporting arms and
medical evacuations, leading to success in combat. Leonard's recommendations
also helped medical regulating communications that improved medical services to
the wounded and saved many U.S. and Iraqi lives.
Leonard Kahn I knew and will always remember loved his country and the people
in it. He is a hero and an American patriot. May he rest in peace with his
beloved wife, Ruth.
Senior Legal Advisor
Ahead of His Time
I am certainly sorry to hear about the passing of Leonard Kahn. He was a
man ahead of his time. While the AM world was all topsy-turvy over the AM
Stereo debate, Leonard was not bashful about promoting his system, arguing the
merits of his system over other contenders.
I am sure the
others all had some merit, but all one had to do was to compare all the
competition side by side to understand that the Kahn AM stereo was, hands down,
the best-sounding system.
I installed two systems at
KNBR in San Francisco, one on the main and one on the alternate transmitter.
Leonard was very helpful and made a couple trips to San Francisco to assist in
the setup. All three AM stereo receiver owners in the Bay Area were very
complimentary about the big improvement to KNBR's signal.
I mention this with a bit of sarcasm as the lack of enthusiasm by the
receiver manufacturers was what killed AM stereo. I should probably also give
some credit to the FCC for helping to kill it.
was a visionary engineer whose shoes will not be easily filled. He will indeed
RF Specialties of Washington Inc.
AM Digital Dilemma
The $5 analog AM radio that will run for days
on a 9 Volt battery has been the last ditch save-all for disaster survivors
(aka Hurricane Katrina and WWL). Digital radios thus far have been too
expensive and power-hungry and without user-replaceable batteries.
As tempting as an all-digital AM sounds, it is a bad idea
removing the last inexpensive lifeline to live radio by taking it digital and
rendering hundreds of millions of analog AM radios useless. I'm of the opposite
view: I believe we should be moving AMs that want to move to FM to Channels 5
and 6 and the remaining AM stations all become wide-bandwidth AM superpower
stations of 750 kW+ and run analog AM stereo without any digital components
other than using the stereo pilot tone for low-speed data for ID and EAS text