Nautel-Digital-Radio-Showcase-Hal Kneller
Hal Kneller is a 40 year veteran of the broadcast industry working both as an engineer for WGCU, WGSM, WCTO, WPAT as well as owner/operator of five of his own stations.

Hal is a past International Sales Manager for Europe for Nautel. He also worked for iBiquity Digital Corporation as Director of International Broadcast Development where he played a pivotal role in the promotion of Digital Radio.

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HD Radio DRM logos

by Hal Kneller

 

Today we explore some of the recent news from HD Radio™ technology as well as Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (just concluded) as well as the India AutoExpo. Both technologies have some news on the regulatory front. Vatican Radio also just completed a DRM+ over-the-air trial as well.

Both DRM and HD Radio technologies made big splashes at CES. iBiquity President/CEO Bob Struble called this year’s CES “the best ever” for HD Radio technology and showed the latest automobiles with HD Radio receivers, and 60 new consumer receivers also featuring the technology. Twenty-two auto brands feature it, and 2 of the 3 major US manufacturers (Ford and GM) have HD Radio receivers in at least some of their models.

HD-Radio-car-receivers-CES

iBiquity President/CEO Bob Struble shows the latest HD Radio technology for automobiles at CES 2012.

 
Nautel as well as radio station groups, iBiquity, NPR and others all filed comments in December with the Federal Communications Commission supporting asymmetrical digital sideband operation. The US regulatory agency had requested comments on the topic because restricting sideband energy to limit interference while permitting an unobstructed sideband to increase where no interference exists has gained favor with many US broadcasters. First tested on the air at WAMU in Washington, DC in September 2010, Nautel’s HD PowerBoost ™ technology permits increased transmitter efficiency, greater output power and if desired, asymmetric sideband operation. Nautel has pioneered the efforts to promote the use of differential sideband power as a means to increase power while simultaneously holding interference in check, permitting many stations to gain a power increase which otherwise would have been prohibited.
The full engineering report prepared by NPR Labs for Nautel can be found here.

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Delphi's DRM car receiver with the NXP chip at the AutoExpo, January 2012.

Semiconductor manufacturer NXP, along with the DRM Consortium unveiled a new “chip” which is a universal digital radio decoder capable of DAB/DAB+, DRM/DRM+ and HD radio reception. This can easily lead to multi-standard receivers and at the same time, greatly reduce costs. The Consortium and NXP had an unveiling event at the show which was very well attended, and considerable press was generated. See video from CES.

In New Delhi, Delphi, a leading manufacturer of automotive products showed a DRM car receiver with the NXP chip at the AutoExpo earlier in January.

 
 

Vatican-RadioVatican Radio trialed DRM+ over-the-air in one of the most dense radio markets in the world during December and early January. A Nautel VS1 FM/DRM+ transmitter and VS-DRM digital exciter were fed by an RFmondial modulator and Fraunhofer R4 Content-Server. Official measurements and results are not available as of press time, but early indications are that the trial went well. The transmission was into a combined antenna system normally used by Vatican Radio for one of its FM radio stations. The equipment is now on its way to India where it will be shown in February at the Broadcast Engineering Society annual show in New Delhi.

 
During the past year, Nautel transmitters have been used for numerous DRM+ trials in Scotland, Sri Lanka, Brazil and India to name a few.

The DRM Consortium also announced that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has endorsed the extension of DRM as a global standard. DRM+ is now official, and includes all frequencies above 30 MHz in the VHF band. Full story with technical attachments is here.

HD Radio is a registered trademark of iBiquity Digital Corporation
HD PowerBoost is a trademark of Nautel Limited and Nautel Inc.


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