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An analog radio works by picking up the audio signal from the transmission
site along radio frequency waves known as carriers. This allows listeners to
tune into analog stations on FM/AM frequencies from home radio and car
equipment. You listen to the electrical radio waves as they are transmitted
directly from the radio station to your analog radio. These radios waves are
transmitted continuously, without interruption to the sound.
First the RF signal from the antenna is amplified, typically with a tuned RF
stage, that amplifies a region of the frequency band of interest. This
amplified RF signal is then fed into a mixer stage. The other input to the
mixer comes from the local oscillator (LO) whose frequency is controlled by
the tuning knob on the radio.

1. Typical analog receiver block diagram.

The mixer translates the desired input signal to the intermediate frequency
(IF). The IF stage is a bandpass amplifier that only lets one signal or radio
station through. Common center frequencies for IF stages are 455 kHz and
10.7 MHz for commercial AM and FM broadcasts. The demodulator
recovers the original modulating signal from the IF output using one of
several different schemes.
For example, AM uses an envelope detector and FM uses a frequency
discriminator. In a typical home radio, the demodulated output is fed to an
audio amplifier which drives a speaker.
2. The mixer translates the desired input signal to the intermediate
The mixer performs an analog multiplication of the two inputs and
generates a difference frequency signal. The frequency of the LO is set so
that the difference between the LO frequency and desired input signal (the
radio station you want to receive) equals the IF.
For example, if you wanted to receive an FM station at 100.7 MHz and the
IF is 10.7 MHz, you would tune the local oscillator to: 100.7 - 10.7 = 90
This is called "downconversion" or "translation" because a signal at a high
frequency is shifted down to a lower frequency by the mixer. The IF stage
acts as a narrowband filter which only passes a "slice" of the translated RF
input. The bandwidth of the IF stage is equal to the bandwidth of the signal
(or the "radio station") that you are trying to receive. For commercial FM,
the bandwidth is about 100 kHz and for AM it is about 5 kHz. This is
consistent with channel spacings of 200 kHz and 10 kHz, respectively.

Digital Radio
Digital radios work by picking up a processed signal which turns sound into
patterns of digits (numbers) rather than the radio waves which are used for
analogue transmissions. This type of signal uses a different digit for each
respective note, which means that when a tune is played over digital radio
the sound heard is actually a series of short individual notes rather than
one continuous melody. These digital signals are transmitted via satellite to
listeners' radios by the same technology as is used for digital television

Difference Between Analog and Digital
Digital radio offers much better quality sound than analog radio, and are
more resistant to noise and interference. Digital radio works by converting
sound into digital code, transmitting the code as a digital signal, and digital
radio receivers are able to decode and filter all but the digital signals for
static-free sound on the receiving end. Digital radios are also easier to use
since they allow menu-based operation and support the Radio Data

System (RDS), allowing digital radios to display current program

information such as song titles and artists. Additional such as program type
(news, rock music, etc.), station IDs, time, or even traffic and travel
information for automotive systems that support Traffic Message Channel

Advantages and Disadvantages
Analog radio waves broadcast a continuous signal, unlike digital transmissions,
which means that every note of a melody is heard as a complete sound. This gives
analog radio the ability to transmit a truer version of the original recording.
Analog radios are eco-friendly by comparison to digital radios, which are computer

Analog radios pick up interference from other transmitting stations with relative
ease, resulting in the crackle and hiss that can very often be heard in the background.
Tuning into an analog station on your radio is manual and relies on the user selecting
the desired station and pinpointing the best signal. Analog radios come supplied with a
wire aerial, but this may be insufficient to pick up the best reception and you may need
to purchase an additional aerial with better reception capabilities .

Digital radios provide a clear sound and with less interference than traditional
analog radios. Think of it as the difference between an LP and a CD. Digital signals are
not affected by interference from other radio signals, making the sound sharper, and
listeners will be able to select channels at the touch of a button without having to search
for a station with a clear signal. As digital radios are effectively run by a computer chip
with the ability to process information, they have the potential to become much more

interactive, with the opportunity to provide additional services such as advertising or

real-time weather reports via an on-screen display.

Although digital radios generally have good reception, your radio may not pick
transmissions up clearly if it is too far away from the nearest transmitter. Transmissions
in your area may be limited, thereby decreasing the number of stations you will be able
to hear. If you don't receive a good signal, you may need to purchase an additional
aerial to enhance the signal.

From the data above that we have gathered, it is obvious that the digital system is better
than the analog. Digital radio offers listeners exceptionally high quality sound as well as
features such as programme associated data and still images. DAB enables the
broadcaster to provide multi-channel services resulting in the more efficient use of
spectrum. It has many added features including allowing listeners to select shows from
an electronic program guide, rewind and pause programmes and show scrolling