Germany has taken a step toward small-scale DAB broadcasting, with a test facility in the Rhineland-Palatinate Bretzenheim starting to use small broadcasting systems and open source technology.
Designed for smaller stations, the open source software from opendigitalradio.org, along with commercial DAB amplifiers, is being used by Catholic parishioner Studio Nahe, which broadcasts on Channel 12A with a transmission power of 100 W effective radiation power.
“We are using a combination of professional broadcasting technology and open source software based on Linux. This mix gives smaller program providers, such as local radios, a cost-effective entry into the digital broadcasting world,” said Christian Milling, who designed and built the system for Radio Nahe. “The principle is called small-scale DAB, but in terms of reliability and quality, the much more expensive commercial products on the market do not match up.”
The test operation in Bretzenheim will go on for six months. In addition, Die Landeszentrale für Medien und Kommunikation (LMK) in Ludwigshafen, the regional center for media and communication, is planning to issue licenses. Up to 16 transmitters can be transmitted in parallel via the bouquet.
The combination of technology that enables small-scale DAB is designed to make digital radio more affordable for smaller stations.
“DAB+ is radio in excellent quality without noise,” explains studio program manager Michael Pauken. "In addition, the transfer of texts and even images is possible via DAB +,” he said.
More small-scale DAB transmitters are expected to go into operation later this year.