Monday, December 21, 2015

New Jeep Renegade Uconnect Radio contains Severe Flaw

(re-posted from and Jim Carlyle's keyboard.)

So, WION Radio now has a new Jeep Renegade in the Parking lot. It has under 700 miles on it. I'm Jim Carlyle, the owner. I chose it, to replace a Jeep Liberty of many years, which listeners knew as "Manuel." The drive was good, the color pleasant with the new vehicle. Mileage: GREAT. 

The Renegade is a fun vehicle, stickshift like the liberty...but it has one major issue that our station has been told by representatives from Chrysler-Jeep they will NOT help us with! The "Uconnect" radio has either a software or hardware flaw which, when tuned to our station, can "shred" the high frequencies and make this, or any other AM station broadcasting excellent quality AM stereo un-listenable at times. We believe it's the HD decoder for the (flawed, limited sound quality) AM HD decoder trying to kick in when it senses our wide-sounding AM stereo carrier. The same carrier that gives you such EXCELLENT sound on the web via a 20-plus year-old tuner which renders us in INCREDIBLE quality.

Our station engineer called Jeep's Uconnect about a week ago and was told by the Operator "oh, wonderful! I thought I was ALONE!" meaning that there was someone else with the same problem WORKING for "Uconnect." She was literally overjoyed that someone else experienced the same problem. No longer was she "alone." She promised a call back. Our engineer got the call 3 days later from a different operator. "Nothing can be done, take it to the dealer".... which, if it were suspension, brakes, engine, body, etc may be the proper response, but NO representative at a dealership is going to understand C-Quam AM Stereo and how the new radio tears apart it's high frequency response turning it into noise, nor will there be a "fix" there. The answer lies with Uconnect and the people who write the same software which they just did to PATCH this radio so it can't be hacked and hijacked. The answer is cooperation and probably a disabling of the AM's "HD" detection.

Uconnect/Jeep won't talk to our engineer. Refused to give information on an e-mail or contact info to him about the design or tech support team so together they could work on the problem. He offered to "hold" and he he offered to "help" them, since he understands the procedure, alignment, and design of our FCC legal and excellent-sounding AM stereo radio station. The station we work so hard to bring to you in the BEST SOUND POSSIBLE.

TWO e-mails to the Uconnect people from WION's owner have come back VERY negative, and the second one today literally, after asking for contact information to the team that designed this radio was denied. We asked them simply:

"PLEASE provide us with a link to the schematic, or direct connection to the team that writes software for this radio. It's obvious that if this radio can be "hacked" and needed a patch, that the possibility of fixing this 
with a software patch is also a good one, but we need that contact, not a continual conversation of "take this to the dealer." 

We were told blatantly: " Your request must again be respectfully declined." and that ""Any future communication related to this issue will be retained in corporate records."

Well, that's not good enough for YOU, our LISTENERS. YOU know that WION has fought hard for 11 years to prove the fact that AM radio CAN, indeed sound excellent. That AM CAN Be broadcast in stereo, and that when a radio station broadcasts 10khz wide of AM stereo, the quality of sound is excellent. It's what you hear online, it's what we strive to do every day. The FCC is VERY "in touch" with the challenges that AM broadcasters face, and we're sure they'll take interest in this issue, and yes, they will be notified.

So, publicly: IF YOU BUY A CHRYSLER-JEEP-RAM product with the UCONNECT system in it's dash, please don't blame your local AM broadcaster if the sound is harsh and "shreds." We have ASKED to let them work WITH us to fix the problem. We're still here broadcasting the BEST AM quality in the nation. Chrysler-Jeep RAM is "ramming" their corporate policies down our throat and telling us they'll do nothing to fix their radios. We've offered to have our engineer help them fix this by disabling the detection of AM "HD" but they have refused. Officially. They won't work with us to make the radios of TODAY sound as good as tuners of the 1980's.

The AM band has some wonderful broadcasters who are up against FM, FM HD, the Internet, CD's mp3's and other factors for their very existence. It's evident Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep doesn't give a damn whether this nation's hard working AM broadcasters are heard or not in their vehicles with Uconnect radios. The consumer will simply change the station and move-on. Broadcasters lose. Small town's culture LOSES. Jobs could be lost in the long run. NOBODY wins when a corporation refuses to work with it's customers and the public.

There are ways AROUND this issue if you have a smartphone, (bluetooth our quality AM signal to your dashboard via our apps) but you should NOT have to spend any of your data to work "around" reception of your local station because of a poorly designed in-dash product. Please, before you buy, spend some time listening to the device in the dashboard, and choose, in part, something on which you will ENJOY hearing WION and other great broadcasters for a long time, not something that will turn you OFF to great local information, news, emergency information, and of course, entertainment. 

All it would take to fix this is cooperation, not a bullying, corporate, "bigger than you" attitude, which is what THIS radio station has gotten from Uconnect/Chrysler/Jeep/RAM.

..."Stay Tuned!"


Since writing this, the car's odometer is up to 3000 miles, and the computer has had at least (3) factory resets performed by Jim Carlyle, and nothing "good" has come of it. It remains "flaky"...and even the heated seats came on by themselves!  There is hope that a changeout of the original radio for an aftermarket (there aren't many that fit exactly) and a small overseas box that holds computer settings may fix this problem.  The Jeep is FUN to drive, but it certainly needs "brain surgery."