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Kintronic Presses FCC on AM Standards

Tom King also urges agency to allow AM synchronous transmission

AM systems manufacturer Kintronic Labs has several suggestions for how the FCC can help revitalize the AM band. President Tom King plans to share those with Commissioner Ajit Pai and Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle in a meeting this month.

In advance of that meeting, King is promoting an “open letter to the industry” in which he ask broadcasters to contact Pai and Doyle in support of his recommendations, to let them know “how imperative it is that these measures be implemented on a fast approval track” to make AM competitive with FM.

The manufacturer has a keen interest in AM revitalization; its products are used in numerous facilities, and the company markets itself as “the oldest continually operating AM antenna system provider in the U.S.” Founder Louis King resigned from RCA in 1949 as an AM high-power transmitter design engineer, obtained his PE license and established a business as a regional broadcast consulting engineer that grew into Kintronic Labs. (Read a company history.)

Among the items listed by Tom King for urgent action are these that go beyond what many commenters have suggested:

-Establishment of mandatory minimum technical standards for AM receivers to become effective “as soon as January 2016.” In a demo, he plans to compare CQUAM AM stereo reception with a local FM station as well as the effects of adjusting AM bandwidth from 2.5 to 10 kHz in 2.5 kHz steps. He provides a list of specific minimum allowable performance specifications for all AM receivers, including a low internal noise floor, high RF sensitivity, selectivity and dynamic range and highly effective noise cancellation.

-FCC authorization of AM synchronous boosters, a technically challenging idea that has received less attention than FM translator discussions.

King also urges the commission to enforce RF limits for consumer electronics devices, noting the worsening electromagnetic environment for AM.

Read the text of the letter.