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Why doesn't WTOP sound as clear as it usually does?

Thursday - 7/12/2012, 10:19am  ET

WASHINGTON - WTOP listeners have been asking what's up with your radio signal. The reception seems poor.

The WTOP Answer Desk took the question to WTOP Technical Operations Manager Brian Oliger.

Here's the answer:

"Whenever the weather gets particularly hot and humid, we sometimes hear reports from listeners of poor reception, bad-sounding audio and interference from other stations on 103.5 and 107.7. As often happens in the summer time, FM radio signals can experience a phenomenon called tropospheric ducting. Unusually warm, humid air in the atmosphere can cause FM transmission signals to be reflected in unusual ways, creating a "duct", kind of like a heating or air conditioning duct in your house; the signal can travel through this duct and propagate much further than normal, interfering with far-off local stations."

Bottom line: Blame the heat and humidity. Oliger says usually this doesn't last very long.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)