Radio / FAQ

Frequently Asked QuestionsOptimizing Your HD Radio Experience

How is an HD Radio different from a regular FM radio?

Regular FM radio (analogue) has the ability to produce high fidelity sound, but only under the right reception conditions. FM frequencies require a line-of-site path between the FM transmitter and the receiver. Hisses, pops, static, and fading occurs because FM signals are reflected from obstructions such as buildings—or from you when you move around the room where your radio is located.

Digital radio, also know as HD Radio, is a technological advance that helps eliminate some of the fidelity shortcomings of regular FM radio and it can produce CD quality sound.

WPSU currently broadcasts three digital radio signals. The 1st one is a digital version of our regular analogue service. The 2nd one, WPSU2, features news, public affairs, entertainment and music and offers many programs not found on our regular service. WPSU3 is music service feature jazz and folk music. WPSU3 also features play-by-play broadcasts of many Penn State sports as provided by Penn State students in CommRadio. You can find schedules for all of our channels at http://wpsu.org/radio/schedules.

Can I listen to WPSU2 or WPSU3 via the web?

Yes.  We provide streams of all our radio signals. They can heard via the internet through numerous players for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android, and on-line at wpsu.org through a web browser.

NPR provides apps for iOS, Android, and Ford SYNC that provide access to all of our streams. Learn more and download the free app here:  http://www.npr.org/services/mobile/

Note: Be sure you select the NPR News app as the NPR Music App does not stream individual stations.

There are links to our streams and player bookmarks at wpsu.org/radio

If you want to copy and paste the URLs for our radio streams into your media player (iTunes for example) they are:

WPSU – Broadband - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8000/
WPSU – Modem - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8002

WPSU2 – Broadband - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8004
WPSU2 – Modem - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8006

WPSU3 – Broadband - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8008
WPSU3 – Modem - http://mp3.wpsu.org:8010

The WPSU Folk Show also has a 24/7 stream of music. 
It can be heard on-line only. Click on the “Listen Now” button at wpsu.org/folk

You can also copy and paste the following URL into your media player: http://qtstreaming1.wpsu.psu.edu:8000/FolkShow

Can I receive WPSU2 & WPSU3 everywhere that I can hear WPSU-FM?

Generally, yes. The current digital HD system was designed to offer a service that permits receiving the analog FM signal along with the new digital signals. This requires a careful balance by engineers to establish the power of the digital channels so as to maximize coverage without interference to the existing analog service. Luckily, it takes much less power for a digital signal to cover a specific listening area than its analog equivalent.

In order to provide side-by-side analog and digital service in the FM broadcast band, the power of the digital signals is only 1/100th the power of the analog signal. The WPSU analog signal has a power of 2,000 watts. Our two-channel digital service has a power of only 20 watts (45 watts for our 90.1 signal from Kane). Nonetheless, most listeners within the WPSU 91.5/90.1 listening area have reported good results in receiving our digital signals.

Additionally, we have recently replaced all our translators with HD capable translators so if you listen to WPSU via one of our translators in DuBois, Treasure Lake, Bradford, Huntingdon, Clearfield, or Altoona, you should be able to listen to WPSU2 and WPSU3 with an HD radio.

I have an HD radio but I'm having trouble hearing the WPSU digital channels.

Did your HD radio come with a dipole antenna? A dipole antenna can be identified by its shape. It is in the form of a "T." Dipole antennas are inexpensive and available at many electronic retail stores. A dipole antenna captures an FM signal much better than a simple piece of wire. It also receives signals primarily located 90 degrees to the direction of the extended "T" portion of the antenna.

Usually, the higher the dipole is mounted, the better the reception, and you may need to experiment with several locations. Connect the leads of the antenna to the antenna terminals on the back of the HD radio. Tune in to either WPSU and listen for a while to ensure you have a strong signal that can be consistently received. Sometimes relocating the receiver or even trying a connection to a TV antenna or rabbit ears will bring in the signal. Some listeners report that they have found an amplified indoor antenna works for them. However, in many cases the amplified antenna overloads, and interference from nearby strong stations prevents reception of distant stations.

If this does not produce an acceptable signal and you are a passionate listener to WPSU then it may be necessary to obtain an FM antenna to be mounted in your attic or outside on the roof. FM antennas vary in size and cost depending on the number and type of elements designed to bring in distant signals.

Any other suggestions?

Several listeners in outlying areas with some technical savvy have added an antenna preamplifier to increase the WPSU signal even more. This approach is most effective when the preamplifier is mounted near the antenna. Some experimentation may be needed and results aren't guaranteed. Consider ordering outdoor antennas and amplifiers from a store that has a return policy.

I'd like to listen to WPSU2 and WPSU3 in my car. Can I?

Yes. In fact many car manufactures are building their cars with HD Radio tuners built in. There are aftermarket solutions as well to retrofit older cars.

Where can I get more information about receiving HD Radio on WPSU?

After reading this FAQ, feel free to contact us with your questions. Also, we'd like to hear from you about your experience with digital reception.

Where can I get more general information about HD Radio and available HD radios?

Visit the Ibiquity Web site for general information.

To see the latest HD radio products being offered visit hdradio.com.