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HD Radio Portables to Include AM

Sangean plans two units for release this year

The first HD Radio portables to include either analog or digital AM reception are planned for release this year. I saw two working Sangean prototypes in iBiquity’s booth at the recent CES show.

Bob Struble at iBiquity told me AM broadcasters have been asking to be included in such devices.

In June Sangean plans to release the DT-600 HD personal receiver that supports analog AM along with FM analog and HD Radio reception. The pocket-size unit features a built-in speaker, a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, 20 presets (10 each for FM and AM) and a sleep timer. The radio is multicast-capable and supports program-associated data services. HD Radio options include emergency alert and iTunes tagging via a USB port.

In October, it plans to release the DT-800 HD, which would be the first portable to support both AM- and FM-band HD Radio reception. The pocket-size radio includes the functions and features of the DT-600 HD. Prices have not been announced.

Up until now, manufacturers have resisted including analog or digital AM in HD Radio portables, citing the difficulty and expense of getting good reception with a small antenna.

It sounds like this may have been solved, if manufacturers are actually beginning to include AM in their portable HD Radio devices. The 600 uses an earbud cable as an antenna. The 800 uses that, plus a telescoping monopole.

Read more about HD Radio news from CES in the March 10 issue of Radio World.

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