Paul, other than RTE services on MW/AM here other AM reception is really poor here in Cork, Ireland.
I'm not sure if it's just my house but it's full of howls, buzzes and clicks. Although I think perhaps we're just too far from the BBC's transmitters and on the wrong side of various mountain ranges.
We've also got a big problem in this city and elsewhere with "leaky cable"
Our cable TV systems carry FM radio signals. So if you have a HiFi with a coax cable connection you can plug it in and directly tune into to a number of non-local radio stations fed from the cable company's headend on FM e.g. BBC Radio 1-6 and various propriatary audio services.
However, the system is very old in places and over the past few years has started to leak FM signals that interfere with normal FM received off air.
e.g. you could be driving along in your car listening to the classical music on Lyric FM and suddenly for a few seconds you get a blast of BBC Radio 1 or while listening or in the middle of your favourite alternative rock on 2FM suddenly get a blast of BBC radio 4!!!
The cable company's also in severe financial difficulties so I don't think their maintenence is anything like it used to be.
Irish cities got cable TV VERY early as it was a means of watching UK terrestrial tv. Some of the systems date from as early the 1950s and 60s! with most being 1970s. As time went on they added satellite services etc.
The older parts (most) of the network is simply single or double heavy coax which is often run from house to house along the facia boards or along the back walls of gardens. There is a junction and socket at each house and their feed is just plugged in and either enters through the attic, a window frame or straight through the wall into a simple coax socket that has filters to prevent any signals being sent back to the network (e.g. VCR outputs)
Many of the networks don't even bother with encryption for the 20-40 basic channels.. all you need is a tv with "hyperband" tuning that can handle VHF Band I/II/III and UHF.
Cork employs a horrible 1970s scrambling (encryption would imply it was more technical than it is) system similar to many old US cable systems. It's identical other than it's tweeked to handle PAL and 220V AC
The analogue Settop box:
(the previous version has wood panels!!!)
This is gradually being replaced by digital cable which is far better..
Chorus (Cork Cable) on-screen guides ... much like Sky Digital based on OpenTV.
Sagem Cable and DTV boxes used (for Cable and MMDS respectively)
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 01-31-2004).]