Tag Archives: DAB+

Radio France’s digital ambitions and AM radio in Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jason Whiteley, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

[T]here is a really interesting interview with Radio France here around their DAB+ expansion and the possible shut down of FM in France later [click here to read].

I used Google Translate to bring it to English.

[Y]ou might also choose to link to this article about AM radio being dead in Europe (written in 2015):

https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/am-radio-dead-europe

The article is bang on though – AM radio is still very strong and thriving in Australia & the USA. Here in Australia at least, it’s DAB that has a minimal audience compared to traditional AM broadcast.

I just found both of these articles very interesting reading and thought you might like to put them up.

Have a great day,
Jason

Thank you very much for sharing these articles, Jason! Earlier today, we posted a note about digital AM here in the States (AM HD). There is a movement to increase this offering, but for true market penetration it would require car radios that can receive AM HD. Many a DXer dislikes AM HD because the digital signals are (unlike DAB+) inserted between analog signals. These band crowding sometimes causes interference to adjacent analog stations and certainly affects mediumwave DXing.

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A new portable DRM/DAB receiver by Starwaves GmbH

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mangosman, who notes:

There is a new digital receiver available. It can receive DRM in all bands from low, medium, high and band 1 & 2 VHF, as well as DAB+ and analog AM and FM.

It cannot receive HD radio because Xpedia charge licensing fees on every receiver and the market is restricted to USA and Mexico.

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/DRM-DAB-Digital-Radio-Receiver_11547499.html

Thank you for the tip!  It appears this receiver is a product of  STARWAVES GmbH, Germany/Switzerland, although I assume it’s manufactured in China based on the bulk order costs.

I’ve reached out to the manufacturer for more details as there are few specifics and no specifications on the Alibaba page.

There are also no details about this radio on the Starwaves website.

If/when we receive more information about this radio, we’ll share it here on the SWLing Post. Stay tuned!

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Silicon Chip: Building a AM/FM DAB+ tuner

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mangosman, who writes:

[The January 2019 issue of the Australian Silicon Chip magazine] commences a series of construction articles on building your own DAB+/AM/FM receiver. Australia was the first country to start permanent high powered DAB+ broadcasting which was in Aug 2009.

It is now extensively used in Europe but in the UK there are only 4 program streams in DAB+ the rest are in DAB which uses a less efficient audio compression and poorer error correction for noise and reflected signals.

Click here to check out a preview of this article at Silicon Chip Online.

Thanks for the tip! Readers, please note that Silicon Chip requires a subscription or you must purchase the issue in order to read the full article.

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Could Norway and NATO clash over DAB frequencies?

(Source: NewsInEnglish.no 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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UK digital radio listening now eclipses analog according to study

(Source: Radio Mag Online via Marty Kraft)

LONDON — In the United Kingdom, the use of digital sources for radio has reached 50.9%, up from 47.2% a year ago, accounting for the majority of all listening for the first time, according to RAJAR Q1 2018 data.

“With the 50% digital listening threshold now met, it is anticipated that the UK government will undertake a review to assess digital radio progress and determine next steps in due course,” according to a Digital Radio UK press release.

Digital listening share is comprised of listening across all digital platforms: DAB in homes and in cars, apps and online (which includes the growing number of smart and voice-controlled speakers) and DTV — and this is the first time that listening to digital has been greater than analog platforms — FM and AM.

[…]The UK’s three leading radio broadcasters — the BBC, Global and Bauer, which collectively account for over 90% of UK radio listening — are “fully committed to delivering a digital future for radio and look forward to working with government and the supply chain to continue the transition to digital radio.”

Click here to read the full article.

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BBC mothballs idea of forced move to digital broadcasting

(Source: The Telegraph via Mike Hansgen)

BBC to keep broadcasting on FM

For years fans of wireless radios have campaigned to stop the apparently inevitable march of progress as Britain prepares to switch off its crackling analogue signal and become totally digital.

But now, the BBC will announce that it has shelved plans to force listeners to replace their analogue radios with DAB sets.

In a move that will also be welcomed by the two million motorists with analogue car radios, the corporation will admit for the first time that FM broadcasts must continue to keep audiences on side as music streaming and podcasts threaten its traditional strongholds.[…]

Click here to read this article on The Telegraph (content behind paywall).

 

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Richard’s initial impressions of the Sony XDR-S41D FM/DAB receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who recently attended a conference in Paris and picked up a Sony XDR-S41D. Richard writes:

The workshop closed around noon on Friday so I spent part of the afternoon walking around the nearby Darty consumer electronics and appliance store.

I wanted to buy a DAB/DAB+ portable receiver just to see what Europe was doing with digital radio. I bought a recently introduced Sony XDR-S41D DAB/DAB+/FM(with RDS) receiver for 79€ (about 11€ off list price).

I can use it in North America to listen to FM and take it with me when I visit Europe for DAB/DAB+ as well as FM.

It has reasonable sound from its 8-cm speaker and pretty good stereo sound on headphones. It has an automatic search mode on both DAB/DAB+ and FM and creates a list of available stations.

In my hotel room in the 13th arrondisement, I could receive 46 DAB+ stations. One of the stations is World Radio Paris (WRP) and they provide English language programming 24 hours per day from BBC World Service, Public Radio International, Radio France International, and Radio Canada International, among others as well as their own programming.

Another available station was Medi 1, which just dropped its shortwave transmissions. I recorded some of the WRP programming:

Audio Clip 1 (MP3)

Audio Clip 2 (MP3)

There is no line output from the receiver but I was able to use the earphone output and crank the volume to maximum to get an acceptable recording level without noticeable distortion.

Happy with my purchase and can’t wait to go back to Europe again, say to England, to try out DAB+ there.

I also spotted three receivers with SW capability on the shelves at the Darty store:

  • Panasonic RF-3500 for 45€
  • Brandt BR200D for 45€
  • Brandt BR120A for 15€

You don’t see SW receivers in North American consumer electronics stores anymore and I’ve not spotted any in airport duty free stores lately either.

I’ve been listening to the XDR-S41D at home and it sounds pretty good on FM, too, and does a good job of displaying the RDS information although a character or two is sometimes cut off the end of the data but that could be the fault of the station. Need to investigate that some more.

By the way, the radio doesn’t come with a case but I found (just before I was going to toss it) that it just fits in the magnetic-clasp case of one of those Air Canada amenities kits that they give you in business class (see photo below).

That’s the second Air Canada item I have recycled. They used to use full-ear headphones with disposable foam covers. They were a perfect fit for the deteriorating covers on my old Sony noise-cancelling headphones. I’ve since upgraded to Bose. 😉

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Richard! The Sony XDR-S41D sounds like a keeper for sure and is certainly compact enough to easily accompany you on travels to Europe. I was not aware of World Radio Paris either–I see they’re available via TuneIn, so I’ll add them to my WiFi radio station favorites!

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