We’e wondering if Doc Searls makes house calls. We know several recording engineers, but no one who knows more about the transmission end of the radio business; every month or so, Doc offers a seminar in some aspect of FM radio: band distribution, the effect of ground conditions, how to make your iPod transmitter work better, whatever.
We need Doc because we get bad reception on our household FM radios, even though we live well within the full signal strength of WBEZ (our local NPR affiliate). The radios downstairs manage all right, but the clock radio in the master bedroom sometimes doesn’t register a signal at all, sometimes picks up two stations, and receives a fine, clear signal. Sometimes it helps if I’m holding the clock radio; sometimes it makes a difference if I jiggle the cord; most of the time, the reception stays mediocre.
My sister gave me a fancy, improved clock radio for Christmas, and I was hoping that the problem had been limited to the dime-store clock radio we had been using. The new radio comes with an FM antenna (well, a wire that the packaging calls an FM antenna), so we figured it was bound to zero right in on WBEZ, and we could listen to our hearts’ content.
Unfortunately, the problem seems more precisely to reside in the steel-and-stone architecture of our house, or the power lines that run by our bedroom window, or our refusal to conduct animal sacrifices to the arbitrary demons who control radio signal propagation. Whatever the reason, you can bet that if Doc ever comes for a visit, we’ll drag him upstairs and ask, “What’s with this?”