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Wecodec Reports DRM Trial Johannesburg Results

The Westbury Community Development Centre was granted an eight-month license by regulator ICASA

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The final report on the “very successful” DRM trial for local coverage (DRM+) undertaken between March and October by the Johannesburg community station Wecodec (Westbury Community Development Centre) has been presented to the regulator in South Africa, reports DRM news. Its publication coincides with the open hearings of the South Africa regulator taking place in Johannesburg.

The Westbury Community Development Centre serves the disadvantaged communities around the Westbury, Sophiatown and surrounding areas near Johannesburg. It was granted an eight-month license by regulator ICASA.

The executive summary points out that while Wecodec operated a transmitter on 101.25 MHz they did not interfere with two local stations operating at 101.0 and 101.5 MHz. Those stations run much more power than was used for the test. At the same time, Wecodec did not receive interference from the adjacent stations either. “It was demonstrated that the existing “dead” FM spectrum can accommodate a larger number (actually 50) additional DRM radio programs without impacting or needing to restack any FM service,” according to the report.

Three audio programs were transmitted using the xHE-AAC codec along with various text and data services including Journaline. “Bit rates as low as 16 kbps per audio service provided good stereo quality and could prove that this technology is the most spectrum-efficient solution currently in the market…” again according to the executive summary.