Modulation error rate test methodology is going to be important for stations that want to run their FM IBOC at a higher power, should that be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
MER testing can help stations determine whether their transmitter has enough headroom to handle an IBOC power increase. It’s also useful for stations operating at nominal power levels, to help ensure that their plant is operating at peak performance.
The National Radio Systems Committee announced MER as a new, recommended method for determining the transmission quality of an FM IBOC signal in September 2009. The NRSC is now incorporating MER into its measurement guidelines for RF mask compliance (NRSC-G201).
“We’re hearing that manufacturers are already working on adding this to equipment,” Kenwood’s Mike Bergman, co-chair of the Digital Radio Broadcasting Subcommittee, told me.