Could Norway and NATO clash over DAB frequencies?

(Source: via Mike Hansgen)

Thousands of ordinary Norwegian citizens aren’t the only ones frustrated and dissatisfied after Norway’s forced transition to DAB radio. It meant shutting down FM radio, and now NATO may find itself in conflict with the civilian DAB frequencies it was granted for exercises in Norway.

Norwegian politicians and authorities were reportedly warned before they imposed DAB on the civilian population that it could cause problems in crisis situations.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Tuesday that civilian radio and the military use the same frequency of 225-245 MHz. NATO had long ago pointed to that frequency as its own when Norway decided to switch from FM to DAB and Norway’s national communications authority (Nkom) allocated space on the network.

[…]The biggest test will come this fall, when around 40,000 soldiers, 130 military aircraft and 60 vessels from 29 countries will take part in NATO’s huge military exercise called Trident Juncture. Asked whether there will be problems with radio communication, divisional director at Nkom John-Eiving Velure gave Aftenposten an “unconditional yes.” Per-Thomas Bøe, spokesman for the Norwegian defense department also confirmed that NATO can override civilian DAB radio if it needs to.

That means civilian radio broadcasts can be cut out, like they allegedly were during the NATO exercise Dynamic Guard outside Bergen in February. Military communication among aircraft, vessels, army divisions and the commando center can also be disturbed.[…]

Click here to read the full story.

UPDATE: SWLing Post contributor Mike Barraclough points to the following article in telecompaper and notes:

The Norwergian Communications Authority has diplomatically stated that this article “has caused unnecessary concerns.”

Nkom denies DAB frequency use is at odds with NATO usage

Norwegian communications regulator Nkom said an article by newspaper Aftenposten reporting conflict with NATO over the use of airwaves normally reserved for DAB radio has caused unnecessary concerns. The regulator says Norway can decide for itself how to use frequencies, providing there is no breach of international agreements that it has signed. Anyone using radio frequencies in Norway must obtain a permit from Nkom, even the national armed forces and Norway’s NATO allies.

Nkom said use of frequencies for the Norwegian DAB network has been coordinated internationally and agreed with more than 30 European countries. Nkom would not allow anyone to use airwaves if this would disrupt normal broadcasting services.

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12 thoughts on “Could Norway and NATO clash over DAB frequencies?

  1. YULI

    I live near a large military base which uses the lower part of the MilAir band for tactical aircraft comms and I wonder if the future deployment of DAB+ in my area will be prone to interference

  2. Eduardo Martínez

    “Nel corso di un convegno di Aeranti-Corallo sullo sviluppo della radio digitale è emersa the volontà di aprire a tavolo di confronto with the minister of the Difesa and l’Agcom per poter utilizzare per il DAB + the frequencies VHF 13, at the same time assegnata alla Difesa ma inutilizzata . Disegnato anche il prossimo futuro di tutta gamma VHF.”
    10/02/2017 12:48
    “During a convention of Aeranti-Corallo on the development of digital radio, a willingness to open a discussion table with the Ministry of Defense and Agcom emerged to be able to use for DAB + the VHF frequency 13, currently assigned to Defense but unused . Also designed the near future of the entire VHF range.”

    There are only six nations in the world that use channel 13 of band III of the VHF. One of them is Italy and it does not seem that NATO has applied any punishment, nor is Italy expected to be punished.

    1. Eduardo Martínez

      “Aftenposten har i en artikkel 12. juni 2018 med tittelen “Norge og NATO «i krig» om det norske DAB-nettet”, omtalt hvordan frekvensbruken for de norske DAB-nettene kan være i konflikt med NATOs bruk av frekvenser. Nasjonal kommunikasjonsmyndighet (Nkom) finner grunn til å komme med noen viktige presiseringer til denne saken.”

      “”Aftenposten has in an article entitled” Norway and NATO “in war on the Norwegian DAB Network, in June 12, 2018, discussing how the frequency use of the Norwegian DAB networks may conflict with NATO’s use of frequencies. National Communications Authority ( Nkom) finds reason to come up with some important clarifications for this matter. ”

  3. Edward

    I am at a loss as to why DAB is such a benefit? I think of radio as an acoustic way of getting information. I turn on the radio for news of some kind. Music I prefer to get by CD player of tangible media that I control, archive and handle. Rolling text subtitles on a digital display will not get my attention. I eschew these digital schemes of back door charging access to cloud services and IP transmission schemes.

    1. Laurence N.

      The theory is that the sound provided by digital encoding will be enjoyable to the listener. The quality has the capacity to be much higher. Also, digital encoding on a radio wave is not at all the same as IP systems. There is no way of locking you into a system, as your radio simply receives. It works the same as analog radio. While this is theoretically possible, people have stated that DAB has poor range, more irritating results when signal drops, and other issues, so it isn’t perfect.

  4. Mike Barraclough

    Norway is using the T-DAB frequencies allocated to it in the 1995 Wiesbaden agreement given to it to avoid interference issues with other countires and subsequent alterations. If you check the EBU frequency allocation list and other sources it shows the band allocated to T-DAB with ” Sharing with defence on a national basis.” exactly as Nikom has stated. 240-242.95 MHz is defence only.

    1. Anders Danielsen

      This is mainly wrong knowledge about how the ITU Radio Regulative works. Frequency use have protection in terms of primary and secondary status. For the ITU region 1 – defence systems has the primary status. So this agreement does not give protection according to ITU for DAB in 230-240 MHz. It’s simple that this is the “frequency law”.

  5. John L

    Here in Australia we use DAB+ which incorporates the AAC+ codec for more spectrum efficiency. However, signal propagation and distortion issues still remain, not to mentin that the frequency range used is 174?230 MHz which clips the start of the military aeronautical band. I live near a large military base which uses the lower part of the MilAir band for tactical aircraft comms and I wonder if the future deployment of DAB+ in my area will be prone to interference.

    DAB+ can sound very good but is not consistent in quality and the range is considerbaly less than that of either AM or wideband FM.

    It’s such a crying shame that shortwsve is being totally neglected here. It has far more coverage than any of these digital services, especially in rural and remote parts of Australia.

  6. DL4NO

    As far as I know, 225-245 MHz is in a purely military band. All DAB+ radios I know about only work up to 225 MHz. And if we here in Central Europe can cope with the width of the standard DAB band, the Norwegeans with their thin population desity can so quite easily.

    For a long time DAB here in Central Europe had another problem: DAB transmitters produce much higher field strengths than typical military transmitters. Therefore until a few years ago the highest DAB channel had a lower power limit imposed to avoid large-signal problems at military equipment.

    So the NATO might have large-signal problems above 225 MHz which means that this interference would be their problem.

    1. Anders D

      Actually defense systems does have primary status in this band. DAB does not have primary or secondary status in the band 230-240 MHz – only national status. So the defense systems can easy cut of DAB as they are legally protected by the ITU Radio Regulations.

  7. Tarmo

    It should be noted that the quoted publication is openly biased against DAB and therefore take it with a grain of salt. However, I can definitely understand concerns around the top end of the band.

    1. Thomas Post author

      I just added another article sent by Mike B saying that the piece in was alarmist. I also saw this in Sputnik News and (of course) it was really hyping it up.


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