Posted by: calloftheandes | June 30, 2009

Brazil’s Communications Ministry Considers Adopting Digital Radio Standards

Sources: Shortwave Central, Radio World, Microsoft Watch, The Inquirer, HCJB Global

Brazil’s announcement in late May that its Communications Ministry would seek input on a national digital radio broadcasting standard brings new encouragement for the growing adoption of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard in the AM, FM and international radio bands.

Brazilian Communications Minister Helio Costa announced a 180-day public consultation period to select the best digital radio system for Brazil. In its blog site, Shortwave Central called the announcement a “major breakthrough” for the DRM Consortium that anticipates contributing to the dialogue.

At the mid-May congress of the Associacão Brasileira de Emissoras de Radio y Telivisão (ABERT) in which Costa announced the 180-day consultation period, seven experts representing the DRM Consortium made presentations.

In addition, ABERT conferees could listen to the latest generation of DRM receivers with live digital shortwave programming originating from Radio Station HCJB in Ecuador, CVC in Chile and Radio France International in French Guyana. All three broadcasters are part of the DRM Consortium of broadcasters and receiver and transmitter manufacturers.

The National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB) reported earlier last month that getting DRM-compatible radio receivers onto store shelves is a priority. The association’s resolution applauded efforts to roll out digital receivers, but said many models are priced “beyond what the market can bear in Africa, Asia and other countries outside North America and Europe.”

Allan McGuirl Jr. of Canada-based Galcom International said his company’s engineers are working to develop a low-cost, no-frills DRM receiver. Galcom manufactures fixed-tuned, solar-powered radio receivers for many religious broadcasters.

The open global DRM standard was recently selected by the governments of India and Russia for the broadcasting bands in those countries. While it remains to be seen which digital radio standard authorities will embrace, Brazil’s government has been a vocal advocate of open source software. Mexico is also considering the adoption of DRM standards.

HCJB Global and its partner ministries have been actively developing DRM transmitter and receiver technology for the past decade. The mission is also implementing the technology in its server and modulator development at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., and in the upgrade to its HC100 (100,000-watt) shortwave transmitters. HCJB Global is working with a digital radio receiver project at LeTourneau University.

In addition, brothers Marco and Stephan Schaa in Germany have developed the Pappradio RF front-end receiver. Marco, director of HCJB Global’s German World Office, says the office is distributing the inexpensive, cardboard-mounted device that works with a computer to receive DRM signals. For more information, visit the German-language website, http://www.pappradio.de.

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