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Subject: Re: It was sunspots! (Met broadcast problems)
From: Mike Richter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Mike Richter <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 Mar 2001 18:29:20 -0800

text/plain (50 lines)

At 11:52 PM 3/4/2001 +0000, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > I guess I wasna't clear in my first
>post.  It was the web casts that I was
>having problems with -- the radio
>broadcast here in FLorida was okay, but
>the station isn't very strong.  On each
>web cast I tried, there were persistent
>pauses.  peggy
> > I was devastated by the quality
>yesterday. Was the webcast
> > any better? >>
> >
> > This is interesting because I heard
>the streaming broadcast on WFMT and
> > was no disruption at all.

I hate to spend a post on this, but interest is high and the list is not
overly busy.

The problem is not sunspots per se but the position of the sun relative to
the receiving antenna. I don't know what satellite is used for the Met
broadcast, but twice a year a line from any point on the earth to the
satellite would, if extended, reach the sun. It is a solar eclipse by the
sun in the same sense as a solar eclipse by the moon except that the
satellite is not big enough to block the sun. However, the sun is bright
enough in the radio frequency to overwhelm the satellite signal. The
blackout occurs for up to twenty minutes (depending on dish size and the
geometry) at about the same time each day during a week or so. For most
locations, that happens in April and October - but it depends on the
receiving station and satellite.

That's for the broadcast signal. The satellite feed from that receiver (or
any in its neighborhood) would be lost, so if the station was webcasting
and had no other source, that, too would be blacked out. Now for the webcast:

On the WWW, you can assume that you have a good feed. The problem then is
that the signal is not getting to you in good form. Depending on your
player, you may have an indication (RealPlayer, bottom left) if the signal
is interrupted and the buffer is refilling. With any form of practical
streaming, you do not get the signal when it is sent, but it is buffered
for some seconds. When there's an interruption, the buffer is drained to
continue the signal, then when it reconnects it is filled again. If the
buffer is emptied, the signal drops out. If the interruptions are not too
frequent and too lengthy, you can get relief by increasing the buffer size.


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