Tag Archives: Digital Radio Mondiale

Paul receives a Funklust DRM QSL

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Jamet, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I am reacting to the latest Radio Waves news items on the SWLing Post:  Funklust is back on air with a boost

Connected to a Kiwi SDR installed in Portugal, I listened to this experimental station on its 15785 kHz DRM frequency and sent a listening report (in the form of an audio recording and a screenshot) to the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen, Germany:
drmtest@iis.fraunhofer.de

I received a nice QSL!

Audio File:

KiwiSDR Screenshot:

The signal was picked up as far as New Zealand one told me. I think reception reports from all over the world would be very much appreciated …

Have a nice day. Best regards.

Paul JAMET
Radio Club du Perche

That’s brilliant, Paul. Thank you so much for sharing the recording and QSL info. Hopefully, they’ll continue to receive reports from across the globe. It might be fun, in fact, to see just how far one could DX this DRM broadcast via the KiwiSDR network. Frankly, good copy of Funklust’s 250W DRM signal in Portugal is pretty impressive!

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Radio Waves: Taiwan Radio Enthusiasts, ABC Radio Still Vital, Funklust DRM, and Democracy’s Reliance on Quality Information

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric Jon Magnuson, who has been taking an active role in helping to curate our Radio Waves tips.


Taiwan radio enthusiasts tune in as Chinese, U.S. warplanes crowd sensitive skies (Reuters)

SYUHAI, Taiwan, May 24 (Reuters) – Shortly after dawn on a southern Taiwanese beach, Robin Hsu’s iPhone pings with the first radio message of the day from Taiwan’s air force as it warns away Chinese aircraft.

“Attention!” a voice says on the radio, speaking in Mandarin to a Chinese military plane flying at an altitude of 3,500 meters. “You have entered our southwestern air defence identification zone and are jeopardising aviation safety. Turn around and leave immediately.”

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained for years of repeated Chinese air force missions into its air defence identification zone (ADIZ), which is not territorial airspace but a broader area it monitors for threats.

Although Taiwan’s Defence Ministry details these almost-daily incursions on its website, including maps outlining the activity, a band of Taiwanese radio enthusiasts like Hsu has been tuning in to related radio traffic and publishing the recordings online. [Continue reading…]

ABC’s oldest medium, radio, still vital in a world of streaming and podcasts (ABC News)

Thelma Denny doesn’t know life without the ABC.

Now 84, the resident of Apple Tree Creek near Bundaberg, was born six years after radio announcer Conrad Charlton announced to the country: “This is the Australian Broadcasting Commission.”

As a young girl, Thelma remembers her father “always had the radio on”, especially for the cricket or her mother’s favourite long-running radio drama Blue Hills.

These days the radio is her comfort and companion, especially since her husband, Ronald, died in 2016, two days after their 58th wedding anniversary.

Still living independently, the great-grandmother loves nothing more than to unwind with Phillip Adams talking from her bedside table each weeknight as she falls asleep.

But ABC radio is also her lifeline, so when her radio went on the blink, Thelma was at a loss.

“That’s been the problem, I can’t get an update on the weather,” she said.

“If there is a storm on, I have to turn off the television and the computer which has the weather bureau site.”

In times of emergency, it’s recommended battery-powered radios are part of home emergency kits, with power outages, poor internet and phone coverage meaning many regional areas’ only source of information is the radio. [Continue reading…]

Funklust is back on air with a boost (Red Tech)

ERLANGEN, Germany — Funklust, a German Digital Radio Mondiale shortwave station that began broadcasting in 2003, has returned to the air after undergoing extensive improvements.

Funklust is the student radio station of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. The station is a partnership between the university and the nearby Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits.

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität describes itself as “one of the largest research universities in Germany,” while Fraunhofer bills itself as “Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization.”

A joint effort

The students produce the program content and schedule. Fraunhofer handles the technical side of Funklust. Programming is mostly non-stop music, but it does carry a few external programs, such as Radio Goethe. The station was originally on the air as BiteXpress in 2003 and switched to Funklust several years later.

Fraunhofer recently updated the station’s equipment, and Funklust returned to shortwave in October 2021 after going off air in 2018.

The original transmitter was a 1,000 watt Telefunken S2525 DRM-capable transmitter. Fraunhofer replaced it with a new RFmondial 250 watt transmitter, which feeds the signal into a vertical lambda/four-monopole antenna mounted on a concrete mast at a height of 58 meters (just over 190 ft.)

A shortwave broadcast station typically broadcasts an analog signal using amplitude modulation. A single transmitter would only carry a single audio service, nothing more. By contrast, a DRM transmitter offers additional signal options, including the carrying of transmission information and other data. [Continue reading…]

Public Media and Direct Democracy (Public Media Alliance)

By Gilles Marchand, Director General of SRG SSR

“The fate of democracies will depend on their ability to produce and disseminate quality information.”

This article was originally published in Le Monde on 15 April 2022.

The debate surrounding funding for public service broadcasting is wide open and has, in particular, been covered by this newspaper. The French Presidential election campaigns have provided various different proposals, ranging from replacing the licence fee with an allocated budget to privatising the entire sector.

Clearly, this is a sensitive issue. It concerns a fragile ecosystem that has been disrupted by international pressure from streaming platforms and turned upside down by social media. It also fascinates politicians who enjoy the rush of being regulators, clients and media consumers all at the same time. Switzerland, with its direct democracy model, is an interesting testing ground as the citizens of this small multilingual and multicultural federal state get to decide regularly on the fate of the country’s public service with a vote.

Switzerland: a testing ground

As such, SRG SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) is the only public service provider in Europe to have come face to face with universal suffrage. In 2018, a referendum on abolishing all forms of public funding for it sparked fierce, unprecedented debate surrounding SRG SSR’s radio, TV and online programmes. The European broadcasting industry watched on in amazement as the battle lines were drawn between those for and against the existence of public service media. In the end, following a lot of intense campaigning, there was a convincing outcome at the polls as over 70% came out in favour of this public service and a licence fee which at the time amounted to around 360 euros a year per household! [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: Sowing Fear in War Zone, Shortwave’s Pedigree, CBC/Radio-Canada Moscow Bureau to Close, and a Voice for Hungary’s Roma Minority

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Russian radio voices sow fear in Ukraine war zone (France24)

Lysychansk (Ukraine) (AFP) – The portable radio in the dark cellar of the rocket-damaged kindergarten was transmitting news in Russian over whistling airwaves about the Kremlin’s military triumphs in Ukraine.

The six frightened women and lone man cowering in the heart of the east Ukrainian war zone had no idea whether to believe the monotone voice — or who was actually patrolling the streets of the besieged city of Lysychansk above their heads.

All they knew was that their building was hit a few days earlier by a Grad volley that left the tail end of one of the unexploded rockets sticking out of the pavement at a sharp angle just steps from the back door.

Their feverish fears vacillated between the idea that their shelter’s lone entrance might get blocked by falling debris and that the Kremlin’s forces might come knocking unannounced.

“The Russians on the radio just said that they have captured Bakhmut. Is that true?” Natalia Georgiyevna anxiously asked about a city 30 miles (50 kilometres) to the southwest that remains under full Ukrainian control. [Continue reading…]

Thoughts on Shortwave’s Heritage and Future (Radio World)

In this guest commentary, DRM’s Ruxandra Obreja dives back in to the shortwave debate

Radio World’s “Guest Commentaries” section provides a platform for industry thought leaders and other readers to share their perspective on radio news, technological trends and more. If you’d like to contribute a commentary, or reply to an already published piece, send a submission to radioworld@futurenet.com.

Below is perspective from Ruxandra Obreja, consortium chairman of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), in response to the commentary “Shortwave Revival a Non-Starter? The Authors Respond.” Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.

Seldom have we seen so much passion and polarizing views as in the recent articles for and against shortwave. From “it’s dead and gone” to “this is the revival,” all shades of opinion concerning this simple and all-encompassing platform have been expressed vigorously.

Shortwave Has a Pedigree

Shortwave, currently used for large-area, regional and international coverage in the developing world, certainly registered a decline in the past two decades (but it never died, as you can see here). This loss of pre-eminence in the developed world after the Cold War is not surprising. The platforms available nowadays, in the so called “global village,” include “basic” internet connections (browsing, emails, messaging apps of any type), to the prolific social media products (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit), as well as video, radio and TV apps, satellites, mobiles give the impression that the whole world is truly connected!

At least this is the view from Washington, London, or Berlin. But there are the same proportion of people in Europe and America with everyday internet access as there are in Africa with no way to access to it. In such regions, shortwave and mediumwave radio remains essential for many, one of only a few reliable means to receive communication.

Since the arrival of AM and FM some seventy years ago, the invention of at least three largely recognized digital broadcasting systems (DRM, DAB/DAB+ and HD) is the most notable radio development. Digital Radio Mondiale — the DRM open-source global standard — is the latest and most advanced of the three systems, but the only one that can digitize radio in all frequency bands and the only digital option for shortwave.

Closing shortwave transmitters and then trying to restart them presents a huge time, effort and financial challenge. However, nowadays, broadcasters can often buy shortwave transmission hours, in digital, too, from third party distributors, and do not necessarily need to rebuild a comprehensive infrastructure. [Continue reading at Radio World…]

Russia to close CBC/Radio-Canada Moscow bureau (Public Media Alliance)

The closure of the public media organisation’s bureau demonstrates further curtailment of independent and free press in Russia.

CBC/Radio-Canada – the only Canadian news organisation with a permanent presence in Russia – has been ordered by the Kremlin to close its bureau. After more than 44 years of reporting from Moscow, CBC/Radio-Canada staff have been told to leave the country. However, Vladimir Proskuryakov, deputy chief of mission of the Russian Embassy to Canada, said they would not be rushed out of the country. He told the CBC News the staff would not be forced to leave in “less than three weeks.”

CBC/Radio-Canada currently has 10 employees working in Moscow, including locally hired staff.

The move is retaliatory and comes two months after the Canadian telecommunications regulator, CRTC, banned Russian state TV stations RT and RT France from broadcasting in Canada. [Continue reading…]

Radio station elevates voices of Hungary’s Roma minority (AP News)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Intellectuals, broadcasters and cultural figures from Hungary’s Roma community are using the airwaves to reframe narratives and elevate the voices of the country’s largest minority group.

Radio Dikh — a Romani word that means “to see” — has broadcast since January on FM radio in Hungary’s capital, Budapest. Its 11 programs focus on Roma music, culture and the issues faced by their community, and aim to recast the way the often disadvantaged minority group is perceived by broader society.

“Roma people in general don’t have enough representation in mainstream media … and even if they do, it’s oftentimes not showing the right picture or the picture that is true to the Roma community,” said Bettina Pocsai, co-host of a show that focuses on social issues.

Radio Dikh, she said, aims to “give voice to Roma people and make sure that our voice is also present in the media and that it shows a picture that we are satisfied with.”

Some estimates suggest that Roma in Hungary number nearly 1 million, or around 10% of the population. Like their counterparts throughout Europe, many of Hungary’s Roma are often the subjects of social and economic exclusion, and face discrimination, segregation and poverty.

Adding to their marginalization are stereotypes about Roma roles in society, where they are often associated with their traditional occupations as musicians, dancers, traders and craftspeople that go back centuries. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: DRM Part of BBC Story, Antennas and Smith Charts, Shortwave “Hot Debate,” Carrington Event, and “Deep Freeze”

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


DRM Is Part of the BBC World Service Story (Radio World)

The iconic broadcaster has been supportive of the standard for over 20 years

The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.

Our old friend James Careless studiously ignores DRM once more in his well-researched, but to our minds incomplete article “BBC World Service Turns 90” in the March 30 issue.

As an ex-BBC senior manager, I would like to complete the story now that the hectic NAB Show is over.

Having lived through and experienced at close quarters the decision to reduce the BBC shortwave about 20 years ago, I can confirm that the BBC World Service decision to cut back on its shortwave footprint — especially in North America, where reliable, easy-to-receive daily broadcasts ceased — has generated much listener unhappiness over the years.

In hindsight, the decision was probably right, especially in view of the many rebroadcasting deals with public FM and medium-wave stations in the U.S. (and later other parts of the world like Africa and Europe) that would carry news and programs of interest to the wide public.

But BBC World Service in its long history never underestimated the great advantages of shortwave: wide coverage, excellent audio in some important and populous key BBC markets (like Nigeria) and the anonymity of shortwave, an essential attribute in countries with undemocratic regimes.

BBC World Service still enjoys today about 40 million listeners worldwide nowadays. [Continue reading…]

The Magic of Antennas (Nuts & Volts)

If you really want to know what makes any wireless application work, it is the antenna. Most people working with wireless — radio to those of you who prefer that term — tend to take antennas for granted. It is just something you have to add on to a wireless application at the last minute. Well, boy, do I have news for you. Without a good antenna, radio just doesn’t work too well. In this age of store/online-bought shortwave receivers, scanners, and amateur radio transceivers, your main job in getting your money’s worth out of these high-ticket purchases is to invest a little bit more and put up a really good antenna. In this article, I want to summarize some of the most common types and make you aware of what an antenna really is and how it works.

TRANSDUCER TO THE ETHER
In every wireless application, there is a transmitter and a receiver. They communicate via free space or what is often called the ether. At the transmitter, a radio signal is developed and then amplified to a specific power level. Then it is connected to an antenna. The antenna is the physical “thing” that converts the voltage from the transmitter into a radio signal. The radio signal is launched from the antenna toward the receiver.

A radio signal is the combination of a magnetic field and an electric field. Recall that a magnetic field is generated any time a current flows in a conductor. It is that invisible force field that can attract metal objects and cause compass needles to move. An electric field is another type of invisible force field that appears between conductors across which a voltage is applied. You have experienced an electric field if you have ever built up a charge by shuffling your feet across a carpet then touching something metal … zaaapp. A charged capacitor encloses an electric field between its plates.

Anyway, a radio wave is just a combination of the electric and magnetic fields at a right angle to one another. We call this an electromagnetic wave. This is what the antenna produces. It translates the voltage of the signal to be transmitted into these fields. The pair of fields are launched into space by the antenna, at which time they propagate at the speed of light through space (300,000,000 meters per second or about 186,000 miles per second). The two fields hang together and in effect, support and regenerate one another along the way. [Continue reading…]

Smith Chart Fundamentals (Nuts & Volts)

The Smith Chart is one of the most useful tools in radio communications, but it is often misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the basics of the Smith Chart. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of impedance matching and VSWR — common parameters in a radio station.

THE INVENTOR
The Smith Chart was invented by Phillip Smith, who was born in Lexington, MA on April 29, 1905. Smith attended Tufts College and was an active amateur radio operator with the callsign 1ANB. In 1928, he joined Bell Labs, where he became involved in the design of antennas for commercial AM broadcasting. Although Smith did a great deal of work with antennas, his expertise and passion focused on transmission lines. He relished the problem of matching the transmission line to the antenna; a component he considered matched the line to space. Continue reading

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DRM Mystery: Benn shares the latest on Turms Tech Station WIPE

The following article by Benn Kobb was posted on Dec. 25 to Glenn Hauser’s World
of Radio list on groups.io. I repost it here with Benn’s permission:


Subject: As the World ‘Turms’

It would seem like 2021 would end with no FCC action on the three mysterious entities requesting licenses under the umbrella of International Broadcasting, but likely involved in sending private messages to trading clients in Europe and Asia.

In fact there has been action, of a sort.

Two of those applicants are still waiting to receive construction permits. The third — Turms Tech, part of Turms Holdings, a subsidiary of Emcor Securities of New York — already has a construction permit and says it has built a 10 kW DRM station in New Jersey.

Turms requested callsign WIPE. It is so listed with the FCC. Turms has no license to operate this station. Yet.

The FCC is apparently not clear about whether Turms intends to use WIPE for conventional broadcasting — you know, the only type of transmission permitted under the FCC rules for such HF stations.

Turms originally told the FCC that it will engage in “broadcast and data services” and “broadcast of financial, economic news and data through distribution of programs generally prepared on the basis of requests by clients.”

Clear as mud. If broadcasting business news on shortwave to DRM receivers is profitable, you’d think that WTWW, WRMI, WBCQ, WWRB etc. would have discovered that years ago.

And what’s that about “data”? The FCC rules are plain that HFBC stations are for broadcasting to the public. There is no exemption to that requirement whether the broadcast is audio for listening or data for decoding.

So to clarify the issues, on Dec. 3, 2021 five FCC staff members asked WIPE’s consulting engineer if he could answer a few questions.

He couldn’t, at the time. Quoting from a record of that online meeting: “The information being sought was clarification of certain general non-technical items that will be possibly proposed by the pending shortwave operation. These type of items or clarifications are not normally items that this [engineering] firm would be knowledgeable.”

Presumably after consulting with his client Turms, he later provided FCC with these answers:

– – –

Q: Clarification is requested regarding the audio and data content of the general service to be provided, if known?

A: Airtime will be sold to anyone interested in broadcasting his contents. Editorial line will focus on contemporary topics, no religious or political contents. More specifically the target we’re looking for is global news and financial information, CNBC style programs.

Q: Will encryption be used in the transmitted signal?

A: No encryption will be used, this is a general broadcast.

Q. Will there be a contract for reception of the signal required?

A. No contract will be required for the reception.

Q. Will a DRM receiver be required for either or both the audio or the data?

A. A DRM receiver will be required for both audio and data.

Q. Will the proposed transmitter site receive other international HF signals to be rebroadcast on the intended operation?

A. No.

– – –

The FCC’s question about contract is especially pertinent, as the FCC considers broadcasting to require no contract between transmitting and receiving parties. A private data operation would involve such a contract, usually for some kind of subscription or other fee for service.

So what should we believe? WIPE will not engage in private data communications, but will instead pursue a sketchy business plan?

On December 23, 2021, RF engineer Alex Pilosov submitted a detailed objection — his second — to the TURMS application. According to Pilosov, “the directors and officers of TURMS do not claim any broadcasting experience, but certainly have substantial business experience, and are aware of the business of trading and data transmission.

“What TURMS claims,” he told the FCC, “is that a company without any experience in broadcasting decides to construct the first International Broadcast station in 20 years dedicated to ‘financial news’ programming, and ‘data broadcast to the general public,’ foregoing any subscription revenues, but somehow able to recoup the setup costs by broadcast operations alone.

“The second possibility, apparent from digging into the facts and associated entities, is that TURMS instead lacked candor in its filings, and that its application for ‘International Broadcast’ is merely a pretext for private data transmission business.”

If and when WIPE goes on the air — on 9.65, 11.850, 13.720 and 15.450 MHz — DRM monitoring by the SWL community should help establish the facts about any possible encrypted or otherwise non-public, non-broadcast emissions from this station.

Benn Kobb

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Radio Nacional da Amazonia prepares for DRM broadcasts

Photo: DRM Consortium

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who share the following news from the DRM Consortium:

Brazil prepares for domestic DRM transmissions to Amazonia (DRM Consortium)

DRM broadcasts from a locally produced transmitter will be originated for the first time in Latin America, as Brazil will officially start digital (DRM) shortwave transmissions through The National Radio of the Amazon towards the vast area of the northern Amazon region, mainly inhabited by indigenous populations.

In another first, Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC), the public broadcaster, placed the order for the high-powered transmitter with a local manufacturer, the BT Transmitters company from Porto Alegre. BT Transmitters signed a contract with EBC for the production of a 100 kW transmitter in the DRM digital system.

The equipment will be used on the 11,780 kHz frequency in the 25-meter band, which is one of the shortwave channels used by Rádio Nacional da Amazônia since 1977.

The purchase for R$3.5 million is the result of an auction held in August 2020, in which other equipment for EBC’s public radio broadcasts is planned to be acquired.

At the end of last year, Nacional da Amazônia carried out tests with the DRM technology using a transmitter of 2.5 kW with the digital power of just 1 kW.  EBC demonstrated then, for the first time in the country, the use of multi-programming and the transmission of interactive multimedia applications.

Despite this low power of the transmitter supplied by BT Transmitters, recordings were reported from different regions of the country and even from North America and Europe (Radiolab – Começam transmissões de rádio digital DRM em onda curta no Brasil).

The results of the tests were published last month by the DRM Consortium.

The DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) standard provides power savings of up to 80% in electricity consumption, a sound quality equal or superior to FM, as well as allowing images and other data to be sent to the radio receiver.

DRM is a worldwide consortium, and more information can be found at www.drm.org.

This story was also noted in Radio World:

DRM Shortwave Will Serve Amazon Region (Radio World)

National Radio of the Amazon orders a 100 kW BT transmitter

National Radio of the Amazon plans to use DRM shortwave transmissions to serve indigenous populations in the northern Amazon region, according to the Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium.

Public broadcaster Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC) ordered a 100 kW BT transmitter to broadcast in DRM at 11,780 kHz in the 25-meter band, a shortwave channel used by Rádio Nacional da Amazônia.

The purchase, valued at about $650,000 USD, was the result of an auction held a year ago for purchase of equipment for EBC public radio broadcasts.

This is believed to be the first domestic DRM installation on a locally produced transmitter in Latin America.

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Radio Waves: Skyworks Acquires Silicon Labs, DRM Response to RW Article, CNN finds Radio Biafra, and Free Online Foundation Course

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Troy Riedel, Dan Robinson, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Skyworks completes acquisition of the infrastructure & automotive business of Silicon Labs (Skyworks)

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul. 26, 2021– Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: SWKS), an innovator of high-performance analog semiconductors connecting people, places and things, today announced that it has completed its acquisition of the Infrastructure & Automotive business of Silicon Laboratories Inc. (Nasdaq: SLAB) in an all-cash asset transaction valued at $2.75 billion.

“On behalf of the entire Skyworks organization, I want to welcome the Infrastructure & Automotive team,” said Liam K. Griffin, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Skyworks. “In addition to a strong legacy of innovation and execution, the I&A business brings a highly diversified customer base that will enable our continued expansion into strategic end markets. Together, we will accelerate profitable growth in key industry segments, including electric and hybrid vehicles, industrial and motor control, power supply, 5G wireless infrastructure, optical data communications and data center.” Continue reading

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