Video: New DRM Module covers 150 kHz to 108 MHz

Screenshot of DRM Module

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan, who shares the following video via Cambridge Consultants:


Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is the only universal digital radio broadcasting system that can broadcast on all frequencies, offering unparalleled audio, coverage, cost-efficiency and sustainability when compared to legacy analogue radio services – and yet there’s been no portable, low-power, low-cost radio available bring these benefits to life. Until now.

With the release of the DRM1000 module from CC and CML Micro, billions of listeners worldwide can enjoy access to a world of entertainment, information and life-saving emergency warning functionality through digital radio mondiale services.

This milestone doesn’t just mark a technological advancement; it heralds a new era of possibilities. For broadcasters and manufacturers worldwide, it ignites a fresh wave of innovation, while for listeners in remote or low-income areas, it offers a crucial lifeline to the digital world.

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21 thoughts on “Video: New DRM Module covers 150 kHz to 108 MHz

  1. mangosman

    What the manufacturer says about the DRM1000 Note what it says about interference compared to AM.
    The DRM 1000 Demo board could be used for the following.
    Considering the push to make AM compulsory in new USA vehicles, it would be interesting to test this module by connecting the antenna input to the built in vehicle antenna. There are the shark fin style antenna, the rear window demister grid, and for those more remote to use a high frequency tuned rod antenna
    Remember that the shark fin antenna contains an amplifier which will need to be powered. The results could be quite different. India is an ideal location for testing due to the strong and weak DRM & AM signals. For the USA, the only DRM signals are in the HF band from overseas.
    If this is done in a number of different electric vehicles it could send a powerful message.

  2. AM Bob

    DRM is a complete failure. It’s a bandwidth hog and next to no receivers exist that can receive this obscure mode The few DRM capable shortwave receivers that are on the market are overpriced junk.

    DRM is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

    1. mangosman

      Below 1.705 MHz the bandwidth of broadcast AM is 20 kHz to allow audio of up to 10 kHz to be transmitted. The power of high pitched sounds was not strong so broadcasters were allocated channels which are 10 kHz apart, thus there is a 5 kHz overlap. The end result now is that receivers filter the signals to a bandwidth of 10 KHz or around 4.5 kHz of audio bandwidth ie speech quality. Now outside of the Americas all broadcasters were shifted to a 9 kHz channel spacing .
      In the frequency bands from 1.705 kHz – 30 MHz the channel allocations are 5 kHz apart. AM double this because it has a pair of sidebands. DRM has a selectable bandwidth of 4.5, 5, ,9, 10, 18 or 20 kHz which matches existing broadcasts. A single DRM transmitter can carry 3 audio programs and a data signal. AM can only carry one analog mono program.
      In the 87.5 – 108 MHz all FM broadcasts are 200 kHz wide. DRM is half this. Again it can carry 3 audio programs and more data. Typically FM broadcasts in one coverage areas are 800 kHz apart. 6 DRM channels can be transmitted in that space between a pair of FM broadcasters in that area. Ie One DRM modified transmitter can carry up to 18 audio programs and 6 data channels.
      HD radio uses the channels of broadcasters in adjacent channels in the AM and the FM bands.

      The module described here is much cheaper that all previous radios which is one of the reasons it is a breakthrough. You will see it is all digital, no coils or analog. Links will give you the one off price, How much will it cost a manufacturer to buy them by the hundreds of thousands of them? At least enough money to pay for a display, buttons, a speaker battery and power supply.

      AM has no stereo, no high pitched sound, is noisy and more than 67 % of the transmitted power contains no program, is expensive and needs large areas of land for transmitting antenna. In the VHF band you get the same coverage area for 1/10th of the radiated power, and half the bandwidth.

      1. qwertyamdx

        “AM has no stereo, no high pitched sound, is noisy, (…) expensive. (…) In the VHF band you get the same coverage area for 1/10th of the radiated power” – all not true.

  3. qwertyamdx

    Since we now have an “affordable DRM module”, I’m eager to see further “innovations” like a dial-up modem module, 2G cell phone module etc. Contrary to the inventors’ claims, DRM is not some wonderful system that’s been waiting for their module to come up. Throughout the last 2 decades, it’s been subject to numerous tests which in overwhelming part resulted in the rejection of DRM. There were numerous stations that have been transmitting in DRM around 2005-2010 and they decided to return to AM or cease broadcasting altogether. Since then, the system did not receive any meaningful update besides the replacement of the audio codec, which is not meaningful by itself because the modulation schema remained unchanged, therefore it is stuck in the late 90s and delivers abysmal results. I think that even the members of the DRM consortium realise this – on board we have electronic equimpent manufacturers that do not offer any DRM receivers and broadcasters that do not broadcast in DRM. Is this module going to change anything? I don’t think so. Of course, we can boast about the supposed energy efficiency and other parameters, but we should rather ask what is the valid use case for DRM in 2024? Do we need a large-scale deployment of a system which allows to deliver a 30 kbps digital (horribly degraded quality) audio stream through the radio? I don’t see any revival of other systems from the late 90s (like the mentioned dial-up internet, 2G cell phones etc) so what’s so special about DRM besides the buzzwords?

    1. Jason VE3MAL

      I would be happy to see progress on new, modern digital broadcasting tech, but this is a slow moving space. We are talking about replacing AM, a century old broadcasting mode. A low priced radio-on-a-chip is a necessary part. Nearly all radios, portable or automotive are now just basically user-interface modules based around a very few number of these chips. If this particular one became popular, it could quickly add DRM capability to a large percentage of manufactured radios. People cant stand the buzzes or heteryodynes they hear on AM, and DRM is really the only production ready tech that can fix that right now. I’d love to see everyone leap-frog to something even better, but what would that be?

      1. mangosman

        Commercial radio claims most listening occurs in cars. Infotainment systems contain a computer which could easily control this chip. Since infotainment systems usually have a decent screen which could display the data capabilities of DRM ie the use of TPEG to tell the navigation system of Police closed roads particularly during emergencies. No mobile cell phone coverage required. These systems commonly fail in emergencies. FM’s RDS can also do this, but the data capacity is very low. Also Journaline allows the transmission of indexed text with colour images. Multiple languages is also possible. Emergency Warning Functionality is valuable when driving in weather emergencies, fires and volcanic events. EWF also has voice announcements for the disaster area.
        The indexing of Journaline allows multiple simultaneous emergencies.
        Since this module will tune the whole high frequency bands one high power DRM transmitter could cover the whole of Canada including the isolated areas. The vehicles will need an HF antenna. No expensive satellite is required.
        This is all possible using this small, inexpensive very new all digital module added to an infotainment system.

  4. mangosman

    Shown is the development board which is for radio manufacturers. It is up to them to add a ferrite rod antenna, telescopic antenna, speaker and battery for a stand alone radio. There is a data connection to the module so a manufacturer can control it with their own firmware. The demo board contains no computer, except the one in the receiver module itself.

    They sell the receiving module alone which you connect an antenna and speaker signal pours out the other end. No laptop required.

    The receiver module receives from 150 kHz to 108 MHz. all broadcasting bands including short wave. It will decode DRM, AM and FM. It can tune any frequency in the above range, by keying in the frequency. The firmware restricts it to broadcast bands when scanning for signals.

    India has been simulcasting DRM and AM for a considerable time at high power. There are over 6 million vehicles with DRM installed when new. No compulsion on manufacturers just a large population in the coverage area. They also have DRM only transmitters radiating a pair of programs each in the medium frequency (‘AM’) band. China is now making DRM/AM along with their own digital format in the FM band compulsory in new cars for their domestic market. They already transmit DRM in the HF band for domestic consumption.

    The power consumption with minimum volume is 0.217 W so it can be powered from solar and a battery, windup generator and of course a plug pack. The receiver is designed for areas with no electricity or internet. The power consumption is less than most analog receivers.

    Added to a car, and high power high frequency (SW) you could cover all of Canada from a single transmitter. Radio New Zealand Pacific has just started testing their new DRM/AM 100 kW transmitter. The signal will cover nearly all of the South Pacific. Sometimes their present transmitter is received on the West Coast of North America.

    DRM and DAB+ are quite similar technologies so I would like them to make the highest frequency 230 MHZ and add the firmware for DAB+ reception. For the USA They should not mandate a >100 year old technology of AM, instead go with the newest broadcast technology DRM, in the frequencies vacated by analog TV ie Channels 2 – 6. Very little interference from EVs in those frequencies. This module can receive such signals now if there were DRM broadcasts.

    The module alone
    Demonstration board
    Click on the datasheet for each of the above locations. Please remember the prices are one off, not by the thousands that manufacturers would buy them in.

    You will see that the module is a complete radio which just needs signals, control, a display and speaker.

  5. Ed

    The DRM1000 Broadcast Receiver Module supports “high-performance reception of AM, FM,
    and DRM (DRM30 and DRM+) broadcasts worldwide, across MF, HF and VHF (Band I and II).” It’s on DigiKey’s website for $35 with advertised availability in “10 weeks”

    The DE9180-2 assembled demonstration/development kit–which is a complete ready-to-use working receiver that includes the DRM1000 module, keypad, OLED display, ferrite loop antenna, telescoping whip antenna, and more–can be purchased from DigiKey for $202.80 with advertised availability in “10 weeks”

    Spec sheets and application notes for both can be downloaded from DiKey’s website.

    So, for about $200 we should soon be able to buy a ready-to-use (sans cabinet) “high-performance receiver for AM, FM, and DRM (DRM30 and DRM+) broadcasts worldwide, across MF, HF and VHF (Band I and II).”

    I imagine that radio hobbyists will be buying these complete radios as soon as they’re available, in order to try out and experiment with the latest DRM technology. After many years of waiting, this seems to be a real game-changer that may be the tipping point for the availability of decent, affordable, consumer-ready DRM radios.

    I look forward to reading reviews of this radio soon!


    1. Richard Langley

      “with advertised availability in “10 weeks””
      I ordered one from DigiKey last weekend and was surprised to get an e-mail that it was shipped today.

      1. Ed

        Richard, that’s great news that DigiKey shipped your DRM receiver yesterday. Did you order just the DRM module, or the entire ready-to-use DRM radio board?

        Please let us know how it works out for you!

  6. TomL

    Interesting report. The board they keep showing is a dedicated board with only DRM on it. It has push buttons and a small screen. It seems this board will not handle multiple modes, like analog AM, analog FM, SSB for shortwave, etc. They show a map of India which shutdown all of its analog mediumwave stations, but nowhere else is mentioned (I read the transcript). So, the only market this board can handle is one where all analog competition is shutoff?

    They mention the need for computational power needed and only recently available at a cost effective price. Perhaps this can help the Indian market, and maybe new markets in Asia which are mulling the complete shutdown of analog mediumwave. China seems to be following India’s lead and rolling out DRM but no official ban of analog because China’s land area is so huge.

    Seemingly, DRM needs the power of a laptop computer built into a radio form in order to sell a dedicated board like this. OK, so is the plan to displace all other formats, analog or digital, in all countries of the world??? How do they plan to do this??? Personally, I would like DRM to co-exist with other formats inside the same portable radio, and not have to lug around a separate laptop computer to decode current analog & digital formats, too (in the same box). Perhaps this is not possible? It seems they are only targeting countries where analog is already shutoff and something like HD-Radio or DAB does not exist?

    1. TomL

      I forgot to mention that I would LOVE to see the crummy USA HD-Radio permanently displaced by DRM. But I see a continued need for analog AM on mediumwave and SSB on shortwave. Also, aviation absolutely needs analog to maintain long-distance contact with aviation regional control. Not being able to have that mixture in the same radio means multiple radios for analog and digital formats, a headache for the consumer. Maybe that is our bifurcated future?

      1. mangosman

        SSB is a more efficient version of AM they are both analog
        SSB is also useless for music, particularly with any bass notes. BFO or fine tuning must be within a few Hertz otherwise is sounds horrible. Also because the carrier has been removed there is no automatic gain control reference, so music cannot get loud and soft without the this being removed by the automatic gain control in the receiver.

        Even at high frequencies communications has been going digital replacing SSB with better sound. HF propagation shows digital HF commercial applications. I should add that all aircraft HF communications using Upper Sideband only. At VHF AM is used because FM supresses the weaker signals in the presence of strong signals.
        The size of the worldwide fleet of aircraft which makes digitisation of voice communications is not easy.

  7. Brian Pietrzyk

    I see the discussion about MW (AM) radio in Electric Cars. Supposedly too much interference so they want to drop AM altogether. Not cool if you live remote or semi remote rural. I’m surprised DRM isn’t being considered to breath new life into MW for it’s wider coverage range. There are many places in Canada that AM is the only thing you can listen to while driving. Satellite radio being the second option but requires a monthly subscription PER VEHICLE you own. Let’s hope DRM catches on in this space.

    1. Jason VE3MAL

      Indeed. It’s not white noise static, but annoying heterodyne tones and buzzes from electronics that make people strongly turn away from AM receiving. Of course, the best solution is to better build those unintentional transmitters, but digital modes can be much more resilient to that kind of interference.

      1. mangosman

        White noise is a characteristic of FM receivers. It is the reason why the high pitched sounds are boosted (pre-emphasis) and are cut by the same amount in the receiver to reduce the hiss. Most receivers will switch to mono then mute as the FM signal becomes weaker. These days most broadcasters use audio processing to maximise the loudness. Due to pre-emphasis, high volume high pitched sounds must be reduced in their boost to prevent overmodulation of the transmitter which causes interference to other broadcasters.
        AM is sensitive to impulse interference which typically comes from unsuppressed switch mode power supplies which are used in most electrical devices including electric vehicles. Impulse interference also comes from arcing sources such as lightning, arcing on electricity line due to the salt or dust on insulators and some vehicle ignition systems. This typically sounds like buzzing or ‘static’ when a lightning flashes.
        The heterodynes of which you speak are caused when two or more signals are mixed in a superheterodyne designed radio. They occur at the sum and differences between the frequencies. The worst case is a station on 900 kHz which is double the 455 kHz intermediate frequency amplifier in superheterodyne receivers.

  8. Jerome van der Linden

    Really great to see this development. Now we need the major broadcasting organisations in the world to jump on board and provide transmissions in DRM in places where they don’t currently exist. We also need receiver manufacturers to develop receivers that will do both DRM and conventional analog radio all in the one box.


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