A petition was recently filed at the FCC proposing to allow all AM stations to increase to 10 times their current power in order to overcome the effects of interference that has grown up in most urban areas from the operation of all sorts of electronic equipment, fluorescent lights and other devices that simply did not exist when AM power levels were first established. The petition was drafted by an engineer, who argues that, as the amount of background noise from all sorts of electronic devices has increased, so has the noise on the AM band. He believes that the only way to make the AM signal usable is to vastly increase power on all stations. As the stations would maintain their relative power levels towards each other, he claims that there would not be increased interference between AM stations – but that the increased power levels would overcome the background noise. However, because of AM skywave issues, the petition suggests that nighttime power levels remain at their current levels.
How realistic is this proposal? The petition recognizes that, in border areas, the power increase could not happen without international coordination and the amendment of existing treaties. But, given the proposed high power for AM stations and the cumulative effect that their signals can have on distant stations, this increase could seemingly affect international AM stations even if the US stations increasing power are far from the border. However, the use of AM stations has been decreasing in some countries – in Canada, a number of AM stations have already ceased operating, so maybe the international implications could be overcome given enough time.
Continue Reading An Across-the-Board AM Power Increase to Overcome Electronic Interference?