Saturday, July 05, 2008

DRM Mystery - Bit quiet in Plymouth


In April of last year, BBC Devon started a 12 month trial of DRM, the digital system developed in the mid-1990's and designed to replace long, medium and shortwave. To date, it has been the only UK trial of the system for a domestic service - VT Communications have used Orfordness to beam into the rest of Europe on 1296 and RTL Luxembourg has been fiddling with a UK service (without much success). 100 volunteers were given DRM radios in Devon and both the BBC and National Grid Wireless intended to publish the results after the end of the trial. Well it's now July 2008 so we have to assume that most of the trials have been concluded.

UPDATE July 6th. Mike Barraclough reports below: The tests are still continuing it seems, at the end of April they told participants: "We will be keeping the test transmission on-air for a little while longer as there are some demonstrations we need to do and some final technical results we need to collect. From the 30th April, however, we will not be able to guarantee that the transmission will be on-air or stable on a permanent basis, although it is likely to be present most of the time until at least the early summer. There was a report of the 855 transmissions being received in Tavistock on the drmrx forum June 24.

However, may be conclusions have already been drawn, judging from the passage in the Digital Radio Working Group interim report.

Under these proposals all (radio) services will be migrated from the MW
platform onto either DAB or FM. Therefore the mediumwave frequencies could be allocated for other uses. We recognise that further consideration will need to be made of the usage of LW for radio services.


So DRM, "Doesn't Really Matter"? If it had been a resounding success we would have surely heard all about it by now.

4 comments:

Mike Barraclough said...

The tests are still continuing it seems, at the end of April they told participants:

"We will be keeping the test transmission on-air for a little while longer as there are some demonstrations we need to do and some final technical results we need to collect. From the 30th April, however, we will not be able to guarantee that the transmission will be on-air or stable on a permanent basis, although it is likely to be present most of the time until at least the early summer."

There was a report of the 855 transmissions being received in Tavistock on the drmrx forum June 24.

As you say though no mention at all of DRM in the interim DCMS Digital Radio Working Group report and it was a technology they were asked to consider.

Jonathan Marks said...

Thanks Mike for the update. Seems they will release the findings later in the year, I guess after the summer.

Matthew Reed said...

When they say that the mediumwave frequencies could be allocated for other uses, what other uses do they have in mind?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry too much, as there is no apparent interest in DRM - check out the hit count on drm.org:

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/drm.org/?metric=uv

Sangean has put a hold on the MP40, and only a few very expensive DRM receivers have been produced. Radio Shack stated they are not interested in carrying DRM receivers (guess they got burned by the HD Radio fiasco).

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