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DW Digital Radio DRM

Frequently Asked Questions About Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)

Deutsche Welle also has DRM transmissions for Europe. Special receivers are required to receive them. Below are frequently asked questions regarding DRM.

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What is Digital Radio Mondiale?

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is the follow-up technology for short, middle and long wave radio broadcasting. It offers the advantages of digital radio: The sound quality is clear and consistent and the devices are easy to use. DRM has been in development for a few years and has become a global standard. The acronym “DRM” may be used for other things, but it always stands for Digital Radio Mondiale on our website unless stated otherwise.

Where is the DW-BBC-DRM channel available?

The DW-BBC-DRM channel is primarily available in Germany, France and the UK, sometimes also in neighboring countries – even in Russia, Serbia and Scandinavia. The digital programming is also broadcast in Asia, two hours to India and one hour to China.

Besides DW and the BBC, are there other broadcasters using DRM?

You can find a list of the stations having DRM transmissions on the website of the DRM Consortium (www.drm.org or at www.drm-dx.de).

Do I need a new radio in order to receive digital programming?

Yes. You will find information about suitable DRM radios and receiving equipment under www.drm.org

Are DRM car stereos also available?

No, not yet. For all of the latest information, especially on new products, go to the DRM Consortium website (www.drm.org).

Why can’t I receive the digital version of DW-RADIO?

You will need the appropriate receiver to receive digital DW-RADIO. Moreover, the reception of digital programming is dependent on a number of factors. Reception can often be improved when the receiver is positioned in a different spot. It is better when the receiver is placed near a window and away from sources of disruption like florescent lights. It is important to ascertain if the receiver isn’t receiving anything or is only receiving certain stations. Check to see if you can receive other stations, but not DW-RADIO when the receiver is in DRM mode. You should also check to see if Deutsche Welle appears as a station on the receiver’s display, but can’t be heard. The information you provide will help us and the manufacturers to answer your questions and requests. Your receiver’s instruction manual will help with the recognition of this kind of information.

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Are analog shortwave receivers suitable for DRM reception?

No, but in some cases it is possible to modify the existing analog shortwave receiver and to connect it to a PC (equipped with special software).

Why doesn’t Deutsche Welle use DAB?

DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) was developed in the mid-80s as a successor to VHF. It serves a more-closely defined geographic broadcasting area for close range. For DW’s worldwide broadcasting area, short, medium and long wave makes more sense – and that’s where we can use DRM technology.

What does digital mean?

Noise-free radio programs on short, medium and long waves - that is the simple, yet precise, description of what DRM delivers. Up to now, the reception of (analog) programs in these frequency ranges has always been highly prone to disturbances, with noise, fading and other kinds of interference reducing the audibility and listening pleasure. Digital transmissions are completely different – and that is based on the difference between analog and digital signals.

Is it possible to transmit text with DRM?

DRM can be used to transmit virtually all kinds of data. Deutsche Welle currently transmits its name as well as other information, like headlines from DW-WORLD.DE. In test operations, DW also transmitted additional information and even pictures.

Do radio stations need new transmitters to transmit DRM signals?

Many existing transmitters which are now being used for analog broadcasts can be modified so that they will be suitable for DRM. Our current DRM test is run using modified transmitters. In some cases, however, a modification of the existing equipment is not worthwhile and the installation of a new transmitter more favorable. Both older modified transmitters and new DRM transmitters can be used for analog transmissions as well. DRM transmitters can even be used to broadcast of analog and digital signals parallel.

I have heard that there is more than one digital AM system. Is that true?

The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) recommends digital broadcasts below 30 MHz. This recommendation concerns the DRM system used for long wave, medium wave and shortwave, and is currently being developed for VHF. More and more countries are establishing a legal or regulatory level for DRM, or are endorsing it as a recommended technology – including France, Australia and India. In the USA, the IBiquity System is also being used for medium wave and VHF – also known as HD radio. The DRM Consortium is cooperating with iBiquity.