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DRM starts South African trial on medium wave

Digital Radio Mondiale is running its first ever test on medium wave generated in South Africa.

The Radio Pulpit test transmissions to greater Pretoria and parts of Johannesburg on 1440 kHz using a 25kW transmitter broadcasting 10kW DRM, is starting with up to two programs and will eventually add all the extra features offered by DRM. 

The tests are being conducted by the broadcaster in co-operation with major South African network operator Sentech and Broadcom International and will run until next year.

Detailed trial data will be gathered, analysed and made public towards the end of 2014. The results will be presented to the national regulator ICASA with the aim of a full licence being granted. 

The consortium says the high quality digital sound of a live medium wave DRM transmission could be clearly heard during the successful launch of the DRM Southern African Platform in Pretoria on 25 June 2014. The platform is a voluntary group that aims to coordinate industry stakeholders in the countries of Southern Africa who are interested in DRM. It joins Indian, Brazilian, German and other DRM national platforms.

Dr Roelf Petersen of Radio Pulpit says he was delighted with the launch illustrating the power of DRM in the heart of South Africa.

“With DRM, people in difficult-to-reach areas will in future be able to listen to crystal clear digital radio,” he says.

“It is early days”, says Consortium Chairman Ruxandra Obreja, “but the excellent DRM sound enjoyed by the participants at the launch, the data provided by credible consultants and the interest shown by other broadcasters, government representatives and manufacturers has made me very optimistic about the future of DRM as a viable solution for the region.”