I have recently noticed that my Garmin Nuvi 3597 seems to experience loss of signal on HD Traffic. This happens in areas where I have had solid coverage in the past. My suspicions are that this might be due to something going on at the actual HD radio station broadcast tower. Does anybody happen to know which broadcaster provides this service in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul MN area? Who should I contact to report this issue? Should I simply contact Garmin and let them sort this out?
This is the response I received a few days ago:
Dear Jxxxx Sxxxxxx,
Thank you for contacting Garmin International.
In order to solve this issue, please click on the link below and follow the instructions (please disregard the title of the article as these steps will also work with a HD Traffic receiver):
If you have any other questions, please give us a call at 1-800-800-1020 or reply to this email.
With Best Regards,
Customer Care - Automotive Team
913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Rene 8996315
Additional solutions may be found at http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/us/support/searchsuppo...
Unfortunately, none of their suggestions helped and I still have an intermittent problem.
I have a daughter that lives in Savage, so I drive in that area several times a year. I will have to say I have always had inconsistant traffic performance in Minneapolis with my 3597. I seldom get a HD signal and often get no signal at all or get marginal or inaccurate traffic information when I have a signal.
I would blame it on my 3597/receiver except that I get exceptional HD traffic service when I am in central FL.
The HD signal is very prone to reception quality. For example, the analog to digital television switchover caused (and continues to cause) multiple issues with reception. All kinds of things affect the digital signal, much more so than the analog signal. Things like rain, fog and even wind (likely blowing the trees) and the time of day all affect reception, and this is speaking from SoCal where there's an abundance of transmitters.
In the past with analog TV, you could still watch a channel that had marginal reception...it would be more snowy but it was still usable. With today's digital TV, if a channel has marginal reception, it simply doesn't show or just pops in/out at random with macro-blocking and is not very usable. Moving the antenna even just a fraction of an inch can totally correct everything but at the same time, cause a different channel (or even a group of channels) to fail to show.
I've found nearly the same with HD (digital) traffic. In the past with analog traffic, the signal would hold well, even though reception may have faltered (going over a large hill here in SoCal). Now with digital traffic, traversing the same area can result in a 100% loss of the signal over the hill and beyond. And the time to re-lock onto that lost signal takes a much longer time as well
I believe it's just the nature of the system. Yes, the HD system is faster with more throughput at a higher refresh rate but that's assuming you can stay locked onto the signal.
Does anybody know what company provides the data to Garmin?
Your unit is also compatible with the Smartphone Link app that gets live traffic updates from more locations and relies on a wireless internet connection. Most areas with traffic concerns have this. On my Zumo 590LM I get traffic alerts in very remote areas. For example last Sunday a long delay from a multiple car accident on Southbound I-79 was avoided between US 422 and Zelianople, PA.
I have had very good results with Smartphone Link, and compared it to digital traffic using a GTM60 antenna with a Nuvi 760 in a side-by-side use in a trip from Kansas City to Pittsburgh.
Smartphone link gives me data in places the digital traffic is mute, and helped me avoid a closure on I-65 from an accident, and provided a detour around. In other cases near cities, the units alerted nearly simultaneously.
Even if you don't use Smartphone link all the time, it might be useful in remote areas, and I find even in the city it has more reliable real-time traffic data. I believe you can use either service with your unit.
GPS_rider is absolutely right. I always use Smartphone Link on my phone and I am quite happy with it. I live in Canada where there is not HD signal. But whenever I visited US city with HD traffic, I was disappointed with the HD coverage. So now when we to US, I don't even bother trying HD because Smartphone link traffic info is very good.
I agree with DorkusNimrod on his point about the seasonal degradation of the digital FM signal. Where I live in the Pocono Mountains of northeast PA, I notice a distinct reduction in HD traffic coverage with my 3597 in the spring after the trees fully leaf out. Of course this will vary with location and the roads you travel.
Like GPS_Rider and Rookie 8155, I highly recommend Garmin's Smartphone Link with Live Traffic. Although I’ve found HD traffic with the GTM 60 receiver to be an improvement over Garmin’s older GTM 2x and 3x series receivers, none can compare to the Smartphone Link app with live traffic and weather. If you already have a smartphone with data plan, the app is well worth the one time purchase price. I’ve been using it for almost 2 years and the data usage is minimal. IMO, it is the best traffic service Garmin offers at this point.
Radio signals can vary, depending on atmospheric conditions and such. For instance, I am in a suburban area where I usually receive a good HD picture, but every now and then the signal drops and my TV is unable to receive a station that I usually have no problems viewing.
I think Garmin gets traffic data from Navteq which is Nokia/Microsoft.
Its probably a Freq issue, diff freq's have diff characteristics(Line of Sight, bounce, pass through) and being HD means lots of info. This would add up to touchy recept in some areas
There are a lot of different factors in play here with HD Radio and traffic reception. Probably one of the most important has to do with your antenna placement. As much of the antenna cable as possible needs to be exposed and not shielded by metal. For me, that means laying as much on the dash as possible.
Secondly, the terrain you are driving in plays a big part. As DorkusNimrod has stated, HD signals don't "bend" well over hills. This is also tied to the channel being used by the sender as the higher frequencies are more affected by vegetation as also stated. Leaves and pine needles are just millions of little receiver antennas that soak up signals and route them into the earth.
Finally, the transmitter power and antenna are major players. HD radio is broadcast as a subchannel on regular FM stations and is limited by law to about 10% of the power of the station. A 50,000 Watt FM station can broadcast only about 5,000 Watts of power for their HD signal. The location of the transmitter antenna is also important. The higher the better, but that comes with limits as well. The station is normally limited to a certain coverage area by their license so the power has to be reduced to keep within the area. If the station goes too far outside its authorized area, it will be given a citation by the FCC along with a hefty fine.
So, there are lots of factors affecting your traffic receiver, some of the biggest you have no control over. That's why so many here recommend the SmartLink Traffic subscription to compliment and fill in for those areas where coverage could be nonexistent to weak.
Your unit is also compatible with the Smartphone Link app that gets live traffic updates from more locations and relies on a wireless internet connection...
I had worried about adding the Live Traffic to my Smartlink app on my 3597 even though my nearest HD reception is over 100 miles away. My worries were:
-would the Live Traffic include remote-ish areas well outside of cities with HD radio, etc.
-Would the $19.99 one-time fee be a waste if I gained next to nothing since I'm so far from big cities
-Since SmartLink's Live Traffic disables HD traffic and since Live Traffic can't be selectively disabled without disabling all SmartLink apps (weather, premium weather, PhotoLive as well as Live Traffic), adding Live Traffic might be bad if I found that I'd prefer going back to HD traffic while wanting to keep weather and photos
Well, you post made me bite the bullet and add a LiveTraffic subscription.
Good news, bad news
Good: on my first use with LiveTraffic active, I found two reports of road closures on my intended route. So even for folks far from HD traffic who live in small cities and rural areas, it appears that Live Traffic is receiving local reports and the nuvi is offering route-arounds.
Bad: it's too bad but after signing up for Live Traffic, my nuvi reported two closures of I-17 on my route and offered a detour. Rather than accept this, given no indication of a closure, I continued on I-17 and drove right through the non-existant "closure" areas. I will cut LiveTraffic some slack as there is work going on with exit ramps along I-17 in that area and it may well be that I-17 will experience some road work. Whether LiveTraffic gets data from ADOT or elsewhere, the sources of highway closure were false and my one experience to date with LiveTraffic has been two instances of false closure alerts out of a total of two alerts, a 100% failure rate. I'm hoping it's a fluke and that with addition traffic alerts, the false positive results will drop. Since the failure rate is currently 100%, any change in rate can only help me...
I can confirm that SmartLink's Live Traffic covers areas well outside of large cities, the ones that may also receive HD traffic info.
One last thought: I don't think you meant that LiveTraffic relies on a wireless internet connection. I believe you meant it relies on a cellular data connection.
This is good information.
On the 3597, how do you determine you are receiving HD traffic or something else?
I have a receiver on my unit but I got the Garmin Smartphone Link app on my iPhone and for a few bucks you can have traffic on there. It is FAR SUPERIOR and downloads traffic quickly rather than waiting until you are in range of a traffic transmitter. Furthermore, I've found that (although they don't advertise it) the coverage area is much greater since it works in more suburbian and rural areas and it even appears to have trends at certain times of the day such as rush hour which is helpful. Highly recommended.
After my report yesterday, I figured I better offer a Day 2 update. The SmartPhone Link app's LiveTraffic continues to work. Today, the only traffic issue reported in my area is a closed exit ramp from the Interstate and this is a true positive finding.
I think I'm about to be a strong believer in the App's LiveTraffic, especially in remote areas with no HD traffic available. Since the subscription is a one-time fee, I truly wish I had subscribed earlier. (If the subscription required an annual fee, that'd be a deal breaker for me most likely, so I'm glad it's a one-time fee. I think the only time you need to pay another fee is if you switch from an Android smartphone to an iPhone or vice versa.)
I remember telling you MONTHS and MONTHS ago about using the smartphone app.
Ha, I actually considered writing above that one or more folks had suggested much earlier that I try the Garmin Smartphone Link App's LiveTraffic and I was thinking one of them was Box Car!
< Eating Crow mode > You were and are right—again! < /Eating Crow Mode>
But you're not alone. My ortho surgeon has been suggesting a new hip for a year now. I'm about ready now and may have one by year's end.
My ortho surgeon has been suggesting a new hip for a year now. redface I'm about ready now and may have one by year's end.
Not for a hip, but had the knuckles on my right hand replaced about 4 years ago.
had the knuckles on my right hand replaced about 4 years ago.
...man, you didn't have to slug me so hard. Thanks to you though, my new jaw is better than it's ever been!
I still have not been able to find out which station carries this. I do have an Insignia NS-HD01 portable radio. I might try tuning around with it when I see the HD signal missing from the 3597. I might be able to determine which station it is that way.
As uber360 asked, how can you tell if your getting the signal or not on the 3597 ?
On my 255WT I would get the green icon on the upper left side of the screen BUT that also wasn't reliable as on certain occasions it would stay on hours at a time when I knew I was in an area & couldn't receive the signal.
It's good though as the icon then becomes a "Placebo effect"
Jim: According to the HERE / NAVTEQ Traffic RDS Total Traffic Network (TTN) database, these are the radio stations that broadcast TMC traffic data in the Minneapolis area.
I cannot tell the age or accuracy of this list since I don’t live near the city.
Thank you for the reply. That is for FM-RDS, as I understand it, but what I have is HD. It is possible that the same stations send the data. I have checked with someone locally in the media and he has checked with local engineers. So far, I still haven't found the answer, but I will persist.
As you suspect, it appears that TTN (Clear Channel Broadcasting) provides data on both RDS and HD platforms among others.
A quote from Garmin states:
"Where does the traffic data come from?
Traffic alerts come from a traffic data collection system that analyzes traffic flow data collected from more than 2 billion observation points every month:
•data from millions of Garmin device owners
•data from millions of cellular phone owners
•radio feeds of live information
•historical traffic data from NAVTEQ Traffic Supply
•historical traffic data from Garmin device owners
•fixed traffic sensors on major roads giving extremely accurate traffic reports"
It isn't clear whether TTN reports are included or not or if Garmin devices receive information directly from TTN affiliated radio stations.
This is obviously a complex and frequently changing process. I would be interested in any additional information you find.
It takes a bit of work, but doable.
Open the Engineering/Diagonstic screen-->Developers Info
Scroll down and you will get four entries on Traffic Receivers: Traffic Receiver Dashboard, Status, Providers and Subscriptions.
The Traffic Receiver Dashboard Screen shows whether it is in HD or RDS mode, the station frequency it locks on, signal strength, etc.
The Traffic Receiver Provider Screen shows a list of the station frequencies that broadcast traffic information. In the SF Bay Area, I got about three screenful of stations, mostly Here and some TTN. You can check these frequencies (HD/RDS, signal strength, etc) manually by going back to the Traffic Provider Dashboard, press the three horizontal bars in the upper left corner, select test and enter the station frequency.
On cold start, maybe when waking up from sleep too, the traffic receiver scans the FM band to find the stations with traffic signals. You can catch the scanning and locking process if you bring up very quickly the Diagnostic screen --> Traffic Receiver Status screen.
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