Monday, August 11, 2008

VR3's Add-On Car HD Radio Hits Target with a Miss, but Makes a Grazing Blow

In my review of the VR3 add-on HD Radio auto tuner, I erroneously reported that the radio could not be forced to return to an HD-n multicast channel after power off.

Thanks to alert reader Tom Wilson, who said his VR3 would indeed return to a multicast channel after power off, I tried some of the other VR3's that I grabbed at the discounted price of $38, and they all would indeed return to a multicast channel after losing power. Even my original VR3 did it.

Why would not work originally? I did a little more testing and couldn't figure it out. Maybe it's something to do with my car's cigarette lighter/power jack? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention to the right thing. Honestly, I couldn't sworn I tested this before writing the review, and the only difference I can think of is that at the time, I was leaving the VR3 plugged into the power jack, and just turning off the key. But trying that now made no difference.

Anyways, as Tom says, just remember to tune to the multicast channel in question, hit the POWER button on the VR3 to power off, then hit it again to power on. Now every time you kill the power at the power cord (i.e. simulated or real loss of power), when power is restored the radio will automatically power up and re-tune to the multicast channel.

Anyways, this does somewhat change the usefulness of the VR3 for in-house monitoring. Unfortunately, after about 10-15 seconds of loss-of-signal it will default back to
the main analog channel. So it's not perfect for in-house'll probably want to rig it so the power is automatically cycled every 12 or 24 hours just to be sure...and yes, you'll have to listen to it now and then no matter what since a silence sensor could be fooled by a radio tuned to white noise instead of real programming.

1 comment:

Tom Wilson said...

Hey, Aaron.

I picked up a Boston Acoustics Receptor HD last week (on clearance at Radio Shack.)

Interestingly enough, it has some of the same quirks as the VR3. The biggest glitch is that it also loses its mind sometimes: it drops the signal and reverts to analog. You have to change freq and then back to get it to pick up digital again. My guess is that it's a chipset issue, and it's not related to one specific brand.

On the bright side, the Recepter has GREAT sound. Speakers that small have no right to sound that big.