German regulators prohibit digital modes on broadcast bands


(Source: Kim Elliott via Richard Langley)

VOA Radiogram, 2-3 April 2016: BNetzA sagt nein!

New this weekend is the elimination of the digital text modes from shortwave transmitters in Germany.

The German regulator Bundesnetzagentur has ruled that the digital modes are not allowed in the broadcast bands. Because of this, there will be no MFSK32 on The Mighty KBC this weekend, because it uses a transmitter in Nauen, Germany. And, for the time being, there will be no DigiDX MFSK broadcasts on Channel 292, 6070 kHz, and Radio 700, 3985 kHz.

Listeners in Germany might want to note these arguments for the digital modes on the shortwave broadcast bands:
1) It is broadcasting, not point-to-point communication.
2) It can be received on any shortwave radio, even inexpensive portables with no SSB capability. (Software is required to decode the text and images, but this can be included in future shortwave radios.)
3) DRM is legal on the shortwave broadcast bands, and DRM can transmit text and images.
4) Text and images via analog radio requires less spectrum (bandwidth) than DRM.
5) Text and images via analog radio are a useful new application for underutilized shortwave transmitters and frequencies.
6) Text and images via analog radio extend the range of a shortwave transmitter, resulting in accurate content in conditions where voice transmissions may be unintelligible.
7) Digital modes via shortwave can be a useful alternative when the Internet is not available due to disasters or to net censorship by dictators.

On the same note, SWLing Post contributor, Harald Kuhl, also comments with a news release from DigiDX:

“DigiDX transmissions via Channel 292 (6070kHz) and suspended until further notice. This is due to action by the German regulator Bundesnetzagentur against digital mode transmissions and is beyond our control. Broadcasts via WRMI will continue and we hope to find another outlet to use for transmissions to Europe.”


“Good news – Thanks to Jeff White we have another frequency for this Sunday’s broadcast which should be better for Europe. 15770kHz at 2130. Please can anyone in Europe, North America and elsewhere please send reception reports to [email protected] for this extra broadcast.”

Sources: DigiDX website & FB

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5 thoughts on “German regulators prohibit digital modes on broadcast bands

  1. Keith Perron

    I suspect that may have to do with certain officials worried that someone could lease airtime from Media Broadcast and use it as a way to communicate with groups like ISIS.

    Since the Brussels attack many officials are more weary than before.

    1. Harald Kuhl

      from DigiDX, episode 7, of 3 April 2016 (via WRMI 15770 kHz AM):

      “Bundesnetzagentur have stated that MFSK transmissions on the shortwave bands are in their view “absolute violation of international laws and agreements”.”

      That should read “shortwave broadcasting bands”, I believe. So, VOA, what do you think about this? 😉

  2. Cap

    This is completely bonkers…DRM is a digimode (Digital Radio Mondiale) and the current usage of MFSK32 is modulated as AM!

    Is it that digimodes might cause some kind of progress on the International Shortwave Broadcast bands? Are they worried about spurious emissions or something? shouldn’t be a problem if the transmitter output is clean.
    At least you can decode MFSK32 with a mobile, you can’t decode DRM with your mobile direct from the radio speaker.
    Probably some licencing red tape.

    Embrace change, not stifle it.


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