How does a radio prioritize two identical frequencies from two different stations?


Driving into work today, with high dense cloud cover, my preferred radio station was cut in by another radio station of the same frequency. I recognize the cloud cover acted as a dish, and I typically get static through that particular stretch of road, but what makes my radio decide what frequency is dominant of the two? What would be the effect of being in an intersection of multiple stations?

In: Technology

Cloud cover won’t have any impact of note. If it was an AM radio station then the ionosphere, active and reflecting radio waves, was the culprit. If it was an FM radio station most likely there was an unexpected transmitter problem, reducing its power for some period of time.

In both cases the decision on which to play is the strength of the incoming signal.

The strength of the signal as it hits your recieve antenna. One of the broadcast stations could be closer to you than the other, possibly resulting in a stonger signal (assuming they are pumping their respective signals out at the same power).

In ELI5 terms, radios work the same as people talking in a room. Whoever is loudest (strongest signal at the receiver’s antenna) will win. If the two people talking are equally loud, then you may hear both, but only pickup bits and pieces of their conversation (co-channel interference) and sometimes you may not hear anything (destructive joins).