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New Quality Measurement Technique for FM IBOC Developed

iBiquity reference document with details submitted to NRSC at NAB Radio Show

In April, the National Radio Systems Committee approved guidelines for measuring IBOC signals. Now, the group has okayed a standardized method to determine the transmission quality of an FM IBOC signal — Modulation Error Ratio.

With the change, the hope is that transmission and signal measurement equipment manufacturers will be able to offer the industry improved devices for making FM IBOC signal quality measurements. The NRSC is a technical standards-setting body co-sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association.

Geoff Mendenhall, vice president of Transmission Research and Technology at Harris and Harris’ representative to the NRSC, led the team developing the MER measurement standard.

He said “The development of transmission signal quality metrics for FM IBOC signals will give broadcasters confidence that their HD Radio transmission system is truly delivering a high-quality signal to their listeners. It is now possible to fully characterize the performance of the complete HD Radio transmitter facility.”

The MER measurement technique is described in a new iBiquity Digital reference document, “Transmission Signal Quality Metrics for FM IBOC Signals.” At Wednesday’s meeting of the NRSC’s Digital Radio Broadcasting Subcommittee, iBiquity submitted the document to the subcommittee, which will now consider incorporating the technique into the NRSC-5 IBOC Digital Radio Broadcasting Standard as well as the NRSC-G201 guidelines for measuring FM IBOC RF mask compliance adopted this spring.

A working group of technologists representing iBiquity Digital, Broadcast Electronics, Continental Electronics, Harris Broadcast, Nautel and other industry participants worked on the MER and reached a consensus on the standardized method for FM IBOC signal MER measurement described in the document submitted to the NRSC.