NASB NEWSLETTER             www.shortwave.org

 

June 2007

         

IN THIS ISSUE:         

2007 NASB Annual Meeting a Big Success

Broadcasting With a New Voice  (DRM)

New Shortwave Transmitter Users Group

Radio Free Asia Releases Art Series of QSLs May 2007

NASB Participation in Upcoming Shortwave Meetings

HFCC News
USA  DRM’s  4th Annual Meeting

 

 

2007 NASB Annual Meeting a Big Success

NASB's 2007 Annual Meeting took place at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Indiana on May 11. It was preceded on May 10 by the USA DRM Group Meeting at the same location. In this month's NASB Newsletter, we have a news release from HCJB about the two-day conference, as well as an article by Jeff White about the USA DRM Group annual meeting on May 10. In next month's NASB Newsletter, we'll have Jeff White's report about the NASB annual meeting which took place on May 11.

The  NASB  website (see URL above) will soon include photos, audio files, and Power Point presentations from both days of the Elkhart meetings.                                                                                                                 -----

 

Broadcasting With a New Voice
News release from Ralph Kurtenbach, HCJB Global

Digital shortwave radio broadcasts from four international broadcast sites highlighted a recent conference of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters hosted by the HCJB Global Technology Center in Indiana, USA.

"We were able to receive all four signals, including the HCJB signal at only four kilowatts. It was good audio quality," said Brent Weeks, a design engineer with Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. Conference attendees also heard test broadcasts from Radio France International in French Guiana, Vatican Radio in Italy, Radio Canada International in Canada.  The stations are part of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), a global consortium of broadcasters, broadcasting associations, network operators, manufacturers, research institutions, regulatory bodies and others.

"We were getting a good reception of the digital shortwave where normally, with an analog broadcast, it would be marginal at best," Weeks said of the May 10-11 broadcasts received at the annual meeting of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB). "It shows the potential of the digital shortwave medium for long distances and low-power broadcasts. You can go farther with a clearer signal."

Glenn Nelson, a radio frequency technician from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, added: "I was impressed with the DRM demonstrations. DRM may have a large impact on the shortwave market when [digital] receivers become [more readily] available."

The DRM consortium held meetings in parallel with the NASB conference, which have historically taken place in Washington, D.C. "Much to our surprise and pleasure, it was the most-attended annual meeting we have ever had!" said NASB President Jeff White. Fifty-eight attendees took part, coming from the U.S., Canada, Belgium, U.K., France, Germany, Ecuador, Singapore and Russia.

Shortwave broadcasting hasn’t changed much since its beginnings during the early 20th century. Analog shortwave broadcasts usually carry noise of some kind due to interference and fading. However, the development of the DRM technology has the potential to revitalize not only shortwave, but AM transmissions also, by providing digital-quality broadcasts. Most agree that the success of DRM technology depends on the availability of low-cost receivers, an issue addressed by a positive announcement made at the conference. Fraunhofer, a German-based company and one of the principal developers of DRM technology, will begin working with ST Micro Electronics to develop a low-cost, low-power receiver chipset. This is a necessary ingredient in the manufacturing of low-cost receivers for widespread distribution.

Attendees also enthusiastically discussed the possibility of a roll-out of receivers by the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China—a target date for multiple DRM broadcasts, as China is promoting DRM as its digital radio format. All were eager for the digital upgrade to the HC100 (HCJB Global’s 100 kilowatt) shortwave transmitter which has the potential to reach China with digital programming.

Charlie Jacobson, manager of the International Broadcast Technology group of the HCJB Global Technology Center, was excited to be able to "draw special attention to this [DRM] technology by hosting the meetings at our tech center, the only U.S. entity to have developed DRM transmission equipment. It is also a great opportunity to expose a broader segment of radio people to the activities and ministries of HCJB Global." The meetings featured a presentation and tour of the technology center.

Attendees were impressed with the work of the ministry. Allan McGuirl, Senior International Director of Galcom International, observed, "It’s evident the Lord’s hand is upon your ministry. We praise God the way He is using you around the world. We pray that the Lord will continue to build your ministry up to reach many more
unreached people groups through Christian radio."


                                                            -----

Special Voice of the NASB DRM Broadcasts from Canada

We would like to thank Jacques Bouliane and Gerald Theoret of CBC Radio Canada for allowing the NASB to broadcast a series of programs in DRM via their Sackville, New Brunswick facilities from May 1-12, 2007. The NASB received a number of reception reports from listeners who picked up these DRM transmissions in various parts of the United States and also in Germany. We also received audio files of some of the broadcasts, and they were all of excellent FM-like quality, even the one from Europe. The programs broadcast on this "Voice of the NASB" DRM series were contributed by several of our member stations and associate members.

                                                            -----

New Shortwave Transmitter Users Group

Stephen Lockwood (of Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers) has set up a couple of e-mail list servers on his local SBE server.  This is to provide a forum for helpful suggestions for maintenance and operation of the Continental 418 and the Harris SW 100 transmitters. List membership is open to all.  

 

The URLs for the email list servers for the transmitter user groups are listed below.  If you wish to subscribe, click on the URL and follow the instructions.

 

Please forward these to folks that you know that are users of these transmitters.  If there are other models that should be added, please let Stephen know.  (lockwood@hatdaw.com)

 

http://sea.sbe16.org/mailman/listinfo/harris-sw100

 

http://sea.sbe16.org/mailman/listinfo/ce-418

 

Many thanks to Stephen for setting up this forum.

 

                                                            -----

Radio Free Asia Releases Art Series of QSLs May 2007

 

RFA’s Technical Operations Division is proud to announce the release of the company’s new series of QSL cards commemorating the youth of the world, and the spirit of democracy and freedom. The designs of the first three QSLs were created on April 26, 2007 during RFA's annual "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day" in Washington DC; the fourth design, set for use in August, was drawn on April 27, 2006 during the previous year’s event. Each design is one of many drawings made by the children of RFA personnel, inspired by the work their parents create daily at RFA.

 

RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at www.techweb.rfa.org (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX’ers, but also from its general listening audience. Reception reports are also accepted by email at qsl@rfa.org, and for anyone without Internet access, reception reports can be mailed to:

 

 

Reception Reports

Radio Free Asia

2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300

Washington DC 20036

United States of America.

 

Upon request, RFA will also send a copy of the current broadcast schedule and a station sticker.

                                                       -----


NASB Participation in Upcoming Shortwave Meetings

NASB Board member Adrian Peterson of Adventist World Radio is planning to attend and to participate in Reynoldsburg 2007, a shortwave listeners' meeting on the edge of Columbus, Ohio at the beginning of August. In addition, the NASB will have a display at the Mexican National DX Meeting in Mexico City July 27-29, 2007. Vice President Mike Adams will represent the NASB at the the B07 HFCC Conference in Birmingham, England on August 27-31, where we will also have a display. And NASB President Jeff White will attend the 2007 European DX Council Conference in Lugano, Switzerland November 1-4, 2007, where he will take another NASB display and will give a talk about the NASB and the state of shortwave broadcasting in the Americas.

All together, the expected attendance at these events is somewhere around 250-300 persons. Our NASB representatives who will be attending these events would like to take as much promotional material from members and associate members as possible to hand out to attendees. So we ask those of you who read this to contact the person at your organization who is responsible for sending out these kinds of materials to see if they can send items for distribution at these events.  The working language at all of these meetings is English, except for the Mexican meeting where Spanish will be the primary language. 

You can send program schedules, general brochures about your station or organization, stickers, give-away items, etc.  To make this easier, we would like to have all material sent to one central point in Miami, and our Assistant Secretary Thais White will distribute items to those who will be attending events.  You may send any items to:

Mrs. Thais White
Radio Miami International
175 Fontainebleau Blvd., Suite 1N4
Miami, FL 33172

Many thanks for your contributions.
                                                            -----

 

HFCC News

The B07 HFCC Conference will be held in Birmingham, England August 27-31, 2007. It is being hosted by Christion Vision, assisted by FEBA and NASB member FEBC. More information is available on the HFCC website, www.hfcc.org  NASB Vice President Mike Adams on FEBC will be our official representative at the conference, although other NASB members will also be participating.

The HFCC-ASBU Steering Board, meeting in Prague on May 18, agreed that the

A meeting each year (normally held in February) should be a joint meeting with the ABU-HFC (i.e. the Asia-Pacific coordination group). Because of travel distances and the costs of costs of traveling such distances, the HFCC SB feels the venue should alternate between the ABU-HFC region and the HFCC-ASBU region. No host or location has been chosen yet for the A08 meeting, but the likely dates are February 4-8, 2008.

A review of HFCC membership fees is urgent to cover income vs. expenditure shortfalls. Options will be presented at the plenary meeting at the B07 HFCC Conference in Birmingham.

NEXUS-IBA, Italy has applied for HFCC membership. They will be invited to attend as observers at the Birmingham conference in August.

The HFCC is now a Sector Member of the International Telecommunication Union radio sector (ITU-R), so it can attend ITU-R meetings. The SB agreed that the HFCC should take up this opportunity, especially at WRC07, which is very important to the broadcasting service. The WRC07 will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from October 22 to November 17.

The possibility of regular DRM transmissions on the 26 MHz band was discussed at the recent HFCC Steering Board meeting. This raises various regulatory questions, such as should they be coordinated on an international level or just a national level. There is also the question of how to protect international broadcasts on the 26 MHz band from local DRM broadcasts. It was proposed to divide the band into two portions permitting long distance international services into one segment and local services in the other segment of this band. National and regional administrations will need to be consulted on this.

The Steering Board agreed that non-members' broadcast schedule requirements should be included in the HFCC database, but those non-members will not have access to the private portion of the HFCC website. The NASB has been acting informally as a liaison between the HFCC and various Latin American shortwave stations for a number of years now to submit their frequency requirements to the HFCC, and we have recently been contacted by two additional stations in Colombia which would like to be included in future HFCC databases.

An issue was raised by Radio Canada International about the Canadian time-signal station CHU on 7335 kHz, which has had some recent interference issues with broadcasting stations. The HFCC Steering Board believed that this requirement should not be included in the HFCC database, but information about the transmission will be provided to HFCC members outside the database.  Such fixed service transmissions can continue to operate in the 7300-7350 kHz range as long as they don't interfere with broadcast stations.
                                                            -----

 

USA DRM's 4th Annual Meeting

by Jeff White

 

This year's NASB annual meeting was once again held in conjunction with the USA DRM Group's annual meeting.  The two-day conference took place May 10-11 at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Indiana.

 

The USA DRM Group meeting took place on Thursday, May 10.  The morning began with a video about the Global Technology Center, followed by a tour of the installation guided by HCJB engineers.  The Center operates from a 20,000-square-foot facility on five acres in the northern Indiana city of Elkhart.  It has more than 50 missionaries, employees and volunteers.  Broadcasters from around the world come to the Center for technical assistance in establishing or maintaining radio stations.  The Technology Center also carries out technical training, researches current technologies and develops new tools for communicating HCJB's message around the world.  Recent projects at the Center include a solar-powered fix-tuned FM receiver called the SonSet Radio, a regional shortwave transmitter capable of reaching a country or province, and a great deal of work on DRM technology.

 

After the tour and a coffee break sponsored by NASB associate member Comet North America, HCJB's Charlie Jacobson officially opened the meeting.  NASB President Jeff White, who is also the Vice Chairman of the USA DRM Group, explained that the group's chairman, Adil Mina of Continental Electronics, was unable to attend this year because he was on a trip to the Far East, but that he had sent Don Spragg to represent him.  White mentioned that various special DRM transmissions were taking place during the event, including those from HCJB in Quito, the CBC in Canada, TDF from French Guiana, and two trans-Atlantic tests from Vatican Radio.  White thanked Continental Electronics, Thomson Broadcast, TCI International and WMLK for sponsoring the conference dinners on both nights.

 

Mike Adams of Far East Broadcasting Company, Chairman of USA DRM's International Broadcasters Committee, conducted the rest of the day's meeting.  He noted that the original meeting of the USA DRM Group was four years ago in Washington, and that many who attended that first meeting were here again today.  "This is our big opportunity," said Adams, "to get together each year and find out what's going on with DRM in North America."

 

Asking participants to raise their hands if they belonged to a particular sector, Adams found that those in attendance represented broadcasters (both private and public), broadcast engineers, programmers, managers, content creators who don't have a station of their own, network operators who broadcast programs for outside producers, shortwave equipment manufacturers (transmitters, antennas, etc.), receiver manufacturers, consultants, shortwave listeners, amateur radio operators and marketing people.  He noted that it was an interesting mix of people who represented almost all aspects of interest to DRM except regulatory bodies and venture capitalists.  "At the end of the day, we need to discuss what we can do as a group to support each other in making DRM a reality here in North America," he said.

 

Kicking off the series of talks and lectures was Steve Claterbaugh, who along with Larry Broome represented Comet North America at the meetings.  Claterbaugh explained that Comet is a Swiss company that makes high voltage vacuum capacitors.  "RF is more than just transmitters," he said.  "We are also involved in RF energy applications from industrial heating to plasma physics to the food industry.  We as broadcasters typically think that the transmitter is the only RF source there is.  But there's a lot more to it." Comet displayed during the meetings a capacitor with an integrated drive unit used in the semiconductor market that can change frequencies 200-300 times a day to make chips, plasma etching, etc.  More info can be found on the web at www.comet.ch.  Comet sponsored all of the coffee breaks at this year's USA DRM/NASB annual meetings.

 

A DRM Primer

 

The next speaker was Herb Jacobson of HCJB, who has been very involved in the mission's development of DRM products.  Jacobson gave a detailed explanation of the basics of DRM -- its advantages to broadcasters and how it works.  "You're really sending a very carefully crafted analog signal that's converted back to digital in the receiver," he said.  Jacobson explained what kinds of shortwave transmitters can and cannot be easily converted to DRM operation.  For example, Continental model 418 transmitters that are used by a lot of shortwave stations can be easily upgraded, while the Harris HF-100 -- another popular model used by many U.S. stations -- is difficult to convert to DRM because of the limited bandwidth of the PDM system.  However, Jacobson noted that Christian Vision has been working hard on this problem, and has conducted a number of DRM tests using the Harris transmitters at its site in Chile.  He didn't know if those transmissions are meeting the ITU mask requirements.

 

Mike Adams noted that many broadcasters want to use DRM to see their power bills go down by half or two-thirds, but they have to keep the signal clean and within the ITU mask. 

 

Elkhart has been an important shortwave center

 

Adams then introduced Don Spragg of Continental Electronics, who had worked at the HCJB Global Technology Center in past years.   "A lot of history has taken place here which has affected U.S. shortwave broadcasters," Spragg explained.  In the 1930's, local engineer Clarence Moore made a 10-kilowatt transmitter for HCJB in Quito at a plant in Illinois.  Moore invented the cubicle quad antenna for use with this transmitter in Ecuador.  Later he returned to Elkhart and started Crown International, which is located just down the street from the HCJB GTC, to build tape recorders for missionaries.  In 1974, Clarence Moore invited HCJB and Don Spragg to come to Elkhart and build a 500-kilowatt transmitter for HCJB in a building Crown acquired and later donated to HCJB.  Lots of other people who are still working with HCJB were involved in that project. 

"About 1976 or 1977, HCJB saw a need for shortwave broadcasting to China, and Hawaii was an ideal location," Spragg continued.  The plan included the installation of two of the newly developed HCJB 500kW transmitters at a site in Maui.   "At that time, there were only four private U.S. shortwave stations on the air -- KGEI in California, KTWR in Guam, WINB in Pennsylvania and WYFR in Florida [and Scituate, Massachusetts].  The FCC had put a hold on private shortwave broadcasting from the U.S., so a group was formed to make a request to the FCC for permission for private shortwave broadcasting from the U.S. and to apply for a license."  The group pursuing the new station included Moore, HCJB president Abe Van Der Puy, the Rev. Billy Graham (who already had a broadcast station in Hawaii), and a few others.  The group made application for a license for a shortwave station in Hawaii.  The FCC eventually granted a construction permit to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for this station.  "The project was never completed," explained Spragg, "but it was a part of helping open the opportunity for private shortwave broadcasting from the U.S."

                                                            -----

 

Origin and Strengths of DRM

Spragg said that "DRM started because of shortwave broadcasting -- it wanted to go digital."  Eventually, DRM would expand to AM, longwave, digital/analog simulcasting and now FM, which is where we are today.  DRM meets all of the regional requirements worldwide in Regions 1, 2 and 3.  It offers flexibility to meet transmission conditions with various options including high quality audio for local transmission, with more robust modes of voice quality audio and lower quality audio for rough transmission paths.  It can accommodate up to four programs in one channel.  It works
locally, nationally and internationally.  It can be used to transmit voice, music and speech, text, graphics, slide shows, multiple languages.  He explained that DRM can broadcast music in high quality, switch instantly to a lower quality for multiple language voice continuity, then back to high quality for more music.  DRM receivers can pick up station ID's and can retune themselves when a frequency change occurs.  "The radio does the work for you," said Spragg.  DRM can transmit data services, text messaging and news services in the background.

 

Spragg explained that the DRM simulcast mode (analog/digital) is of particular interest to AM stations that don't want to lose their analog listeners.  This mode has been tested in Mexico, where it worked very well.  A report on the results is available on the DRM Consortium website (www.drm.org).

 

DRM can work on 26 MHz, using a linear amplifier with a digital exciter, producing an FM-like signal for local coverage.  Don Spragg said that Don Messer, head of the DRM Technical Committee, was at an ITU preparatory meeting in Geneva the previous week, and he reported that a draft question regarding 26 MHz DRM is running through the process now at the ITU radio section.  "Don reports that everyone was very open and receptive to the idea of including 26 MHz as a usable band for broadcasters apart from shortwave broadcasting which it has typically been assigned to," said Don Spragg.  "The significance of this is that if this is adopted, it can be used around the world -- a band that is only used during high sunspot activity by shortwave broadcasters now.  The concern is that when high sunspot cycles come along, there could be interference issues.  So the ITU is looking at this.  Don [Messer] was quite encouraging.  The process is moving ahead."  The engineers are looking at ways to use directional antennas for 26 MHz to limit the signals to local coverage, and ways to deal with interference issues, controlling the power to minimize interference.  A lot of work is going into this to expand the usefulness of DRM in the 26 MHz band.

 

The main strengths of DRM, said Don Spragg, are that it's flexible; it works with AM, shortwave, longwave and now FM; it works in all international bands and regional services; it has multiple codecs; and it supports future technological innovations.  On the other hand, DRM still has some limitations and issues to be concerned about.  "It doesn't change the laws of science or eliminate the need for frequency planning," said Spragg.  "It will not allow AM to work in areas where analog AM cannot be received."  He recalled a case where a DRM mediumwave test was conducted in the suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand.  "They told us that the DRM signal could not be heard in the city.  But it turned out that the analog AM signal couldn't be heard there either; there was too much noise.  So DRM can't magically get a signal in if analog can't get it in."

 

 

Spragg showed graphics of the areas where DRM is being used currently worldwide, as well as places where it is in preparation -- places like Africa, central Asia and Australia.  Testing is being done in Mexico and Brazil.  (Mediumwave tests will be conducted in Brasilia within the next few months.)  "It's an alternative to HD Radio for some countries," he said.  There are currently 766 hours per day of DRM transmissions, according to statistics from Peter Senger of the DRM Consortium.  The stations with the most hours of transmission include RTL Luxembourg, Deutsche Welle, Telediffusion de France, etc.  "Transmissions are increasing," he noted, "and that's necessary in order to encourage manufacturers to make receivers."

 

So where are the DRM receivers?  Apart from the software receivers that operate when connected to PCs, Spragg said that the early DRM receivers have been based on DSP technology, such as the Radioscape models.  "These receivers are getting down in the 200 euro price range now."  But much smaller chipsets are currently being developed, and this will enable cheaper and handheld receivers to be produced in the near future.  DRM car radios are also being developed, largely because of the combined DRM/DAB receivers that are being produced.  Morphy Richards has a 200-euro receiver available, an example of which was brought by TDF's Michel Penneroux and was on display in Elkhart.  Spragg mentioned that there is a home entertainment-type DRM receiver on the market, a small Digital World Traveller USB DRM receiver, a small German receiver called the DRB30 and another receiver from the Himalaya company.

 

Spragg said that some new receivers will have Internet radio incorporated.  Himalaya is preparing to launch a new version of its DRM receiver.  Prices are dropping.  According to Spragg, Fraunhoffer is doing some work on a new smaller chip that will take the cost of the chip down from the current $50 to as low as 1 euro, thus reducing the price of the receivers dramatically.  The chip enables both cost reduction and a reduction in power consumption.  "These things should be available in the near future," commented Don.  "But it's still going to take some time.  Every new technology takes its time.  DRM is moving along at a pretty decent clip compared to other technologies."

 

What does a broadcaster need to start DRM transmissions?  "I think programming is the key," opined Spragg.  "In the U.K., DAB was languishing until broadcasters decided to put programming on that was only available in DAB.  Then they advertised that programming though traditional radio, TV and newspapers -- if you want to listen to these programs, buy a DAB receiver.  So people started buying DAB receivers.  It's going to take something similar for DRM to take off.  A lot of work has been done by the technology companies to set the stage.  Now broadcasters have the opportunity to step up and help the industry move ahead  by driving receiver sales."

 

From a technical standpoint, the broadcasters need a content server to send the programming to their transmitter and modulate it, Spragg said.  "Antennas won't need much of a change for shortwave DRM.  As for transmitters, if you have a solid state modulator you're in good shape.  DRM conversion kits are available from Continental and other companies."  He said Continental just sent three upgrade kits to FEBC.

 

"DRM has much to offer," concluded Don Spragg.  "It's an exciting time.  DRM has an important place, especially if we're going to see a revival of the shortwave broadcasting spectrum."

 

A sandwich and pasta salad lunch offered by HCJB gave participants time to converse, see the Comet capacitor system and listen to DRM transmissions from Quito, Montsinnery and Sackville.  "It's doing really well," noted Mike Adams, referring to the audio quality monitored from all three stations.

 

Update from Ecuador

 

The first speaker after lunch was Brent Weeks, missionary engineer at HCJB Global in Quito, Ecuador.  Weeks explained that the DRM transmission from Quito was currently in the most robust mode that permits AAC operation.  He said that there are lower bit rate, voice quality codecs that are even more robust, but they are not good for music transmission. 

Brent Weeks has worked at HCJB in Quito for six years.  His responsibilities include managing the audio technology in HCJB's studios.  He showed a slide of HCJB's transmitter building, which is in Pifo at an altitude of 8400 feet above sea level in a valley between two ridges of the Andes mountains, some 20 miles (about 30 kilometers) east of Quito.  Mount Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, could be seen in the background of the photo.  HCJB has three HC-100 100-kilowatt transmitters at this location, plus two more at HCJB Global's shortwave site in Australia. 

The antenna field in Pifo includes an antenna directed to Brazil, another for South America and northwestern North America, another for 49-meter band regional broadcasts to the Andes corridor, a cubical quad antenna used for broadcasting to Europe in the 13-meter band and a steerable antenna with a parabolic reflective curtain which can cover 180 degrees almost due west to due east.  The steerable antenna dipole rolls around on a track.  Airplanes regularly fly by the site en route to the Quito airport, which is located in what is now the middle of the city.  The Quito authorities have decided to build a new airport further from the city.  "The location that has been chosen," Weeks said, "means that our antennas are too high.  We've taken down 18 towers already, and we have more to go."  The site will eventually have to be closed.  HCJB has looked at various options for replacing Pifo.  One option is to build another transmitter site in the mountains.  But HCJB has its own power station nearby, and if it continues to use the power from that station, the options for a new location are limited. 

Weeks said that there has also been a change of philosophy in HCJB Global's mission in the last several years.  The focus is now almost exclusively on transmissions to Latin America in Spanish, Portuguese, Quichua, Quechua and German for the Mennonite populations in Paraguay and Bolivia.  Gone are HCJB's longtime broadcasts beamed to Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.  The only transmission beamed outside of  Latin America now is German to Europe.  Broadcasts to these other regions have been moved to HCJB-Australia and rented facilities like VT Communications in the UK. 

"HCJB is now emphasizing more work in local radio rather than regional and international radio," said Brent Weeks.  With a limited budget, the mission has reduced its shortwave transmissions.  "The fall of the Iron Curtain was a big thing for us," he said.  "We're doing radio work in Russia -- not ourselves directly, but helping others and helping local radio and satellite distribution in Russia."  The mission's practice of "radio planting" helps other people and organizations get local radio stations started in various places around the world.  He said the worldwide population movement from rural areas to urban centers has also affected this change in philosophy.

At this point, Weeks went back to the live audio of the DRM transmission from Quito.  The station had just made a switch, timed especially for the audience at the meeting in Elkhart, to 64 QAM, producing a parametric stereo signal.  The signal-to-noise ratio was 16-17 dB.  There were a few dropouts, but Weeks considered that the signal was doing fairly well considering they were only using between three and four kilowatts of power from a Siemens 10-kilowatt linear analog transmitter.  After a few minutes, the signal went back to a 16 QAM mode for a more robust broadcast.  HCJB had been changing the technical parameters of the DRM broadcast throughout the day.  "You need agile scheduling of transmission parameters," said Weeks.  "We'll go to a less robust, higher quality audio later in the day as propagation improves."

Back to the slide show, Weeks showed examples of radio planting in Ecuador, such as a station located between Quito and the Ecuadorian coast.  HCJB provides the local station with a satellite dish to rebroadcast its ALAS satellite programming -- a 24-hour service that HCJB offers local stations that can't produce 24 hours per day of their own programming.  HCJB has been helping this and other stations with studio installation and transmitter maintenance, "like this one we've nicknamed Lazarus," he said, showing a slide of a transmitter.  "He's been resurrected several times."  This drew laughs from the audience, made up of both religious and secular broadcasters.

Weeks said HCJB is also developing a new ministry called "sister stations," which are stations or networks in North America that work together with sister stations in South America and around the world.

Meantime, a few of HCJB's engineers in Ecuador, including Brent Weeks, are working with the Global Technology Center in Elkhart on DRM development.  One of those areas is the central control system that drives and tells the servo-motors what to do.  "It needs to be upgraded for DRM," he said.  The station has recently done DRM test transmissions for the SWL Winterfest in Pennsylvania, the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas, and the NASB/USA DRM meetings in Elkhart.  Other tests are being beamed to Germany.  "We are getting good reports for the middle-of-the-day broadcasts to North America," Weeks said.

 

And where are the DRM receivers?

 

One of the most-asked questions about DRM these days is where are the DRM receivers that have been promised to be on the marketplace for some time now.  Addressing that question and other commercial aspects of DRM was Michel Penneroux, the Head of International Broadcasting for NASB associate member Telediffusion de France, and Chairman of the DRM Commercial Committee for the past six years.

 

"The receivers are there," Penneroux told the attendees in Elkhart.  He mentioned specifically the receivers from Sangean, Roberts, Morphy Richards and Himalaya, which recently showed a new version of its DRM receiver in Las Vegas.  "TDF is testing these receivers at our lab in France.  We feel that the RF front end must be improved."  These receivers can be purchased on the Internet from the websites of Deutsche Welle,                       T-Systems, Roberts and Himalaya.  (The new version of the Himalaya receiver was expected to be available in the coming weeks after the Elkhart meeting in May.)

Penneroux acknowledged that the availability of DRM receivers has been delayed from previous timetables.  "The problem," he explained, "is in this kind of situation, the timelines of the various players are different from one to the other.  The broadcasters have one timeline.  The transmitter industry has another.  The receiver industry has many products, and what they care about is how many dollars they're going to make out of it.  So you wait until the retailers say 'we want this because the customers are interested in this.'  And till then, nothing may happen." 

 

Penneroux recalled that DRM was launched officially in June of 2003.  The first receiver was shown at the IFA consumer electronics show in Europe.  "At the end of the day, just a few people know how to make a low-cost receiver," he said.

 

Secrecy is one of the difficulties involved, according to Michel Penneroux.  "The numbers are very big -- 2.5 billion receivers to renew.  Manufacturers are very secretive about what they want to do, what are their plans, when they're going to launch.  This is the reality."

 

Another factor is the legal clearances from the national regulatory bodies that receiver manufacturers must wait on.  "For those who wish to launch a receiver in Brazil or in France, for example, the receiver industry must have in hand the law, the rules, the acceptance, the endorsement by the national regulatory body of the technology which is going to be implemented in the receiver.  Until they have this in hand, they wait because they say perhaps another technology will be chosen, and we cannot take the risk."  This is particularly true with AM broadcasting, as many countries are currently debating which digital system to use for domestic AM broadcasting. 

 

Another factor that receiver manufacturers are monitoring is the date of switching from analog to digital technology in various countries:  will there be the same kind of decisions as there were for digital TV?  In Europe, receiver manufacturers would like to know this and it would help them work on their budget, investment, etc., according to Penneroux.  

 

Yet another aspect being watched is the advertising industry and what they think of digital radio.  According to Penneroux, "advertisers are looking for more media, for more radio."

 

"It's not difficult to make the radio," said Penneroux.  "The problem is to make the radios in volume.  I'm talking millions, hundreds of millions of receivers.  Before making these decisions, you must be clear about every detail of the marketplace to secure your investment.  For example, what about the competition?  There's DMB, DAB and IBOC.  The results are not what was expected on AM for IBOC.  So the receiver manufacturers are wondering what's going to happen.  This is a long-term investment." 

 

An interesting consideration is the convergence of technologies -- for example, a combined cell phone and radio receiver.  "There are 800 million new cell phones in the market every year," according to Penneroux.  "Broadcasters' programs could be heard on these things.  This is very important for broadcasters.  There are 540 million GSM subscribers in Europe.  Broadcasters are expecting to have their programs there.  There are two billion cellular subscribers in the world.  China Mobile has 360 million subscribers, and there are five million new subscribers in China every month.  It's really big numbers."

Penneroux lamented that some of the present players in the business are very conservative.  "They don't see that more competition means more money in the marketplace.  They wait around, and we lose time." 

 

He noted that there are combined DAB and DRM receivers in Europe.  In the U.S., he said there could be combined DRM and IBOC receivers.  "And soon DRM+ will be available [for FM broadcasts].  All of these things need to be considered by manufacturers." 

 

Penneroux said that DRM is looking to the renewal of 2.5 billion receivers in the worldwide market.  "The renewal market is about 10% per year.  For the same price, they will get DRM on their radio.  We're promoting digital radio technology, not DRM specifically."

 

Michel Penneroux explained that there are 20 steps to producing a receiver.  These include developing a standard, software, discussions with purchasers, research, chip manufacturing, whether to include an incorporated printer in the receiver (to print administrative and advertising messages, for example), discussions with retailers, developing brand names, etc.

 

Communication is an important part of the work of the DRM Consortium.  National platforms are created.  DRM attends various conventions and informs the industry about what's happening, as well as educating the consumer about DRM.  "The audience is hearing the same kind of content on all radio stations," said Penneroux.  "They're fed up with this, and they're doing their own content," referring to the growth of IPODs for example.  "We have to let them know what's available." 

 

"DRM is selling nothing," maintained Penneroux.  "We're just exposing a standard.  We have an open standard system that's non-proprietary.  We have done very detailed testing.  We are building a digital radio world for the next 20 years.  We are expecting by around the end of this year the first low-cost receiver with an ST chipset.  The receiver will be made in China, will cost less than 50 U.S. dollars, and will have a high quality front end."  Meanwhile, DRM is making promotional tours to places like China and Korea.  "We have very active national platforms in Germany, France, Russia, etc.  We gather all of the main players in each country in the national platforms." 

 

And the work of the DRM Consortium is often quite complex, says Penneroux.  "When you involve a Chinese manufacturer, you have to get a DRM transmitter there for tests.  So you have to talk to local communist party officials, etc." 

 

Penneroux thanked broadcasters like Deutsche Welle, the BBC, RNE (Spain), TDF and TDP among others for doing regular DRM transmissions to try to get the ball rolling from the content side. 

 

DRM car radios are a possibility in the not-too-distant future as well.  Penneroux revealed that "Kenwood -- a leading Japanese automotive radio manufacturer -- is involved in testing DRM for nine months now, together with ST Electronics in Europe, and the results are just beautiful.  It's important to see that such a company has invested so much in DRM in order to be the first in the world to propose to the car industry the DRM option."

 

Radio is alive and well, said Michel Penneroux.  "Advertisers need more of our airtime.  Now it's time to grow the USA DRM Group because we have to go into some lobbying of the FCC, because it's going to be a commercial reality in which the U.S. may also participate and contribute to the business.  So how can you contribute as a broadcaster?  You can contribute with coop advertising plans to promote DRM receivers to make your listeners interested.  Also, buy some of the first receivers as an investment.  You can make your station even more successful with DRM."

 

T-Systems and its DRM Capabilities

 

One of the participants who traveled furthest to attend the meetings in Elkhart was Volker Behling of T-Systems in Germany.  He has worked with domestic customers in Germany in the past, but has been involved in the shortwave division of T-Systems Media & Broadcast for the past four months.  T-Systems is part of Deutsche Telekom, which also operates T-Mobile, T-Com and other telecommunications services. 

 

Media & Broadcast is a stand-alone unit of T-Systems.  It is a leading service provider for analog and digital audio, TV and satellite services for German and international broadcasters.  It is involved in the development and introduction of most media broadcast projects in Germany.  T-Systems has a satellite earth station in Germany for broadcast and data communications.  They have fiber and analog terrestrial networks for FM, AM and TV.  T-Systems is the largest broadcast network operator in Germany and has branch offices in over 20 countries.  It has 1220 employees.  The company's headquarters is in Bonn.  The Juelich transmitter site is near Bonn and Cologne.  They have a small sales office in Toronto, Canada, but all of the shortwave sales are handled from Juelich.          T-Systems is also involved in mobile TV and operates a digital cinema network.

 

T-Systems has 40 years of experience in AM broadcasting, said Volker Behling.  It has three shortwave transmitter sites in Juelich, Wertachtal and Nauen.  At the end of 2007, the Juelich site is being sold to Christian Vision (CVC), but T-Systems has an agreement with CVC to continue using the site for its customers.  T-Systems does frequency management and antenna coordination.  The U.S. IBB is one of the company's customers.

 

T-Systems provides DRM broadcast services for Deutschland Funk and Deutschland Radio, which have mediumwave and longwave networks.  Deutschland Radio carried out DRM tests through T-Systems' facilities using three longwave and six mediumwave transmitters through the end of 2006.  T-Systems operates a mediumwave broadcast facility for the Voice of Russia in Germany.  The company has done a lot of work with DRM single-frequency networks (SFN's), testing capability and coverage in preparation for large-scale SFN's on mediumwave and shortwave.  They have carried out extensive DRM tests to Europe from Wertachtal and from Sines, Portugal.  RTL Luxembourg transmits in DRM with a 100-kilowatt transmitter in Wertachtal and its own 40-kilowatt transmitter in Junglinster, Luxembourg to create an SFN network on DRM to cover France.

 

Behling explained that T-Systems' DRM capabilities currently include one 200-kw transmitter, three 60-kw transmitters and two 40-kw transmitters in Wertachtal; one 40-kw transmitter in Juelich; and one 200-kw and one 40-kw transmitters in Nauen, and this capacity can be increased if necessary.  Programs can be sent via DSL, ISDN, satellite, etc.  T-Systems' current DRM customers include RTL, with eight hours per day from Wertachtal to France; World Radio Network, with a half-hour daily to the UK; and Radio Netherlands and Christian Vision which use DRM capacity on demand to the UK.

 

Portable Missionaries

 

There were two Canadian delegations at the meetings in Elkhart.  Maurice Doiron attended from CBC Radio-Canada's shortwave transmitter site in Sackville, New Brunswick, which conducts regular DRM transmissions.  And Allan McGuirl, International Director of Galcom International attended along with his son Allan David, who heads up research and development on new technology in radio.

Galcom is best-known for its fix-tuned receivers for AM, FM and shortwave applications.  The mission was founded by Rev. McGuirl and two others 18 years ago in Hamilton, near Toronto.  The factory there has an assembly line that includes a robot that finishes five radios every minute.  "We call these little radios 'portable missionaries,' said McGuirl.  "They go into the world and the country.  They don't need a visa.  They don't need a holiday.  They speak the language immediately.  They work 24 hours a day.  We have, by God's grace, sent over 600,000 of these.  We make over 5000 a month and it's increasing every month.  More and more people are wanting them.  They're Fisher-Price quality; you can bang them around and they won't break.  We have seen them go into over 125 countries around the world."

Galcom's fix-tuned shortwave receivers have traditionally picked up just one frequency.  But a new two-frequency fix-tuned radio was developed at the request of missionary Russell Stendal who works with guerrillas and other "unreached" persons in remote areas of Colombia.  "He asked us for a radio to work on 5910 -- one frequency," related McGuirl.  "Then he said, 'Can you make one for 6010 as well?'  They said it couldn't be done, but my son put a few wires together and before long we had a two-band.  So people can switch from one frequency to the other.  We've put over 40,000 of these into Colombia.  It's been exciting to see what's happening as we distribute them."

Rev. McGuirl actually went to Colombia himself to distribute radios among the soldiers.  "We were working in a remote jungle area," he said, "and Russell Stendal and I went up to someone and said, 'Do you want a little radio?'  He looked at it and said, 'No money, no money.'  We said, 'It's OK, you can have it for nothing.'  He looked at it again and said, 'No money, no money.'  I said, 'What do you mean, no money?'  He said, 'No money for batteries.'  We said, 'You don't have to buy batteries; it runs on solar power.'  We showed it to him.  'Oh yeah,' he said.  He went on down the road with his radio on, riding his donkey.  He was so happy.  It's exciting to have these radios which have been such a blessing to many people."

In remote areas of places like Colombia and Mexico, there are missionaries that often fly small airplanes into the jungle and drop the radios in with parachutes.  Women from local church groups make the parachutes, said McGuirl.  "We've probably put over 20,000 radios like this by little parachutes into remote areas which would take months and months to travel to."

Galcom has also assisted in the installation of around 80 Christian radio stations around the world.  The most recent was in Micronesia and consists of an FM and a tropical band 1-kilowatt transmitter.  McGuirl's son Allan David demonstrated a small new low-power (100 microwatts to about one watt) FM radio transmitter that Galcom makes and sells to some of these stations.  "A lot of countries allow up to 10 watts now where you don't need any license," said Rev. McGuirl. 

The Galcom transmitter is very user-friendly.  "You can plug a microphone directly into it," said Allan David.  It also has inputs for four other components, so users can plug in CD players and more microphones, for example.  A built-in electronic mixer with a touch-screen on the front panel is also standard on the transmitter, as is an Ethernet port to receive an audio stream and re-transmit it on the air on FM.  It can also stream audio out to a link on the station's web page.  "So it makes it a very portable radio station that's really easy to operate.  You just plug it in, type in the frequency that you want, and then mix which inputs and outputs you want."  The Galcom transmitter shown at Elkhart is a prototype, but it is soon expected to go into production with a 500-set first run.  It will transmit on AM, FM or shortwave (up to 120 MHz) and will sell for US$500.  

Galcom is also designing a new FM radio with a plug-in card that can play the entire Bible in recorded format, known as the "Audio Bible."  Someone in Saudi Arabia recently inquired about buying 100,000 of these units.

"The next project is redesigning our radio," explained Alan David.  "What we're going to try to do is build a small, thinner version of the radio with the microchip built in.  That's AM, FM and shortwave all in the same radio -- but again, fix-tuned and programmable to whatever frequencies you want received.  One of the things I would like to take away from this conference is more information on DRM and the possibility of making this a DRM receiver."  Galcom's fix-tuned receivers currently cost about $20 per unit in small quantities, but less for larger orders. 

"I was just down in Colombia," Rev. McGuirl said.  "One fellow there had a [Galcom] radio for 13 years and it was still operating."  The batteries can be recharged 3000 times, but the radio can also be operated using solar power alone, which works on indoor or outdoor light even on a cloudy day.  Said Rev. McGuirl:  “Galcom is seeking to be on the cutting edge in radio communication.  We are working along side of evangelical organizations around the world to share the Word of God.”

 

A trans-Atlantic DRM test

 

Between 4:00 and 5:00 pm Elkhart time, Vatican Radio conducted a special trans-Atlantic DRM test for the meetings.  The organ music and special conference ID's were heard with excellent quality and a 21-22 dB signal-to-noise ratio.

 

While listening to the Vatican transmission, the participants in the USA DRM meeting ended the afternoon with a lively open discussion session.  In response to a question about current DRM receivers, Michel Penneroux of TDF said that the DSP technology, which uses many chips,  is an expensive solution and very energy-consuming.  He said Deutsche Welle's technicians that have analyzed the Morphy Richards receiver concluded that the card in it is too close to the antenna and the quality of the RF front end needs significant improvement.  Penneroux said that the company has developed a new version now which corrects these problems, but it is very expensive to build.  "We need mass production of low-cost receivers," he said.

 

Penneroux said some 4000 of the Morphy Richards receivers have been sold so far (at a rate of about 800 units per week) to early buyers in U.K. shops at a price of 199 euros.  There were rumors that Morphy Richards might go out of the receiver business, but the BBC says it was told that the company is improving its DRM receiver and that the new version will be available soon.  Penneroux explained that manufacturers in the U.K. are cautious about new receiver technologies because there are three million DAB receivers in that country which could be made obsolete with the advent of DMB and MPEG4 technologies.  "So manufacturers say they're going to stop to see if changes are forthcoming.  Each manufacturer has its own policy."

 

Another topic discussed was confusing terminology.  Elder Jacob O. Meyer of WMLK said he has found that electronic store employees in the U.S. often don't know much about digital radio in general.  They confuse HD Radio with DRM, for example.  Don Spragg of Continental Electronics said the ideal would be to have a multi-standard receiver that handles all modes.  Michel Penneroux said many people around the world recognize DRM as meaning "Digital Rights Management" rather than "Digital Radio Mondiale."

 

Don Spragg said that satellite radio has done a great job of promoting itself in the U.S., whereas HD Radio has not.  He said radio stations are now trying to promote HD Radio on the air, but at stores like Circuit City the employees don't know much about it.  HD Radio had a strategy of launching itself in 10 cities around the U.S., including New York, Washington, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and Detroit.  Out of some 8000 FM stations in the country, about 1200-1300 are now using HD Radio.  Spragg said that it's a classic chicken-and-egg situation trying to get receivers out on the market.  He noted that there are over 700 hours per day of DRM programming on the air now, "but we have to promote getting people interested in buying these radios and get the manufacturers to make them and sell these radios at a good price.  How do we as broadcasters get this big new technology moving in an effective way?"

 

 

Mike Adams of FEBC said that DRM might be able to take a clue from the experience of DAB in Britain.  "In the U.K. when the first DAB transmissions went on the air, the first radios were expensive but the early adopters bought them.  And these first radios were not made by the name brands -- it wasn't Sony and Panasonic.  It was the little ma and pa companies.  It was the little Galcoms of the U.K. and Europe.  The little guys made radios and started selling them and shamed the big companies to coming into the market.  And the broadcasters began saying 'We're broadcasting in DAB; go out and get it.'  My question is, is there value to the North American market to those who are on the air to promote DRM broadcasts over analog and tell people to go into the stores and ask for them, even knowing that there aren't receivers in the stores yet?  Would it create pressure when Radio Shack says 'We had 20 people come in today and ask for a DRM radio, and I don't even know what it is?  I'd better ask my boss what this thing is.'  Can we create pressure back up the supply chain, even knowing that they're not out yet?"

 

Michel Penneroux replied that "this is the challenge behind the coop advertising scheme, which puts listeners, retailers and broadcasters together.  You know the size of media exposure needed to promote this.  You put on air the program to promote digital receivers in analog.  It's promotion.  It's advertising.  Who is going to place the first orders of 50,000 or 100,000 pieces?  Today it's DRM.  Last year it was X-Box, XM Radio, etc.  This concept is nothing new.  We must have partners strong enough to follow the demand, because there is nothing worse than customers going to a shop and they cannot purchase what they went there to buy.  So the real question is, do we have a manufacturer big enough to invest in 100,000 pieces at once?

 

"And who is that in America?" asked Mike Adams.  Penneroux said he is not that familiar with the North American market, but he thought that Radio Shack might be one possibility.  He has tried to talk to officers at their corporate headquarters in Dallas, but has so far not been able to do so. 

 

At this point, on the half-hour, Vatican Radio increased the power of its DRM transmission from 125 to 250 kilowatts.  The DRM monitoring station at the HCJB Global Technology Center showed an increase in the signal-to-noise ratio from about 21-22 dB at the lower power to about 22-27 dB at 250 kw.  Both power levels produced a very strong, stable DRM signal, so Mike Adams mused that in an ideal world we could monitor this and tell Vatican Radio to drop the power level back down to save energy.

 

Returning to the open discussion, Stephen Lockwood of Hatfield and Dawson consulting engineers brought up the subject of 26 MHz local DRM transmissions.  "That poses an interesting problem for the FCC on several fronts," he said.  He noted that 26 MHz frequencies are allocated for international broadcasting; not local.  But he added that it is an option to request from the FCC a Special Temporary Authority or an experimental license for DRM on 26 MHz. 

 

"The other thing that makes this uncomfortable for the FCC," said Lockwood, "is if you open this up for DRM broadcasting, the question is how do we allocate licenses?  And that becomes an immense can of worms for the FCC on several fronts.  From an engineering point of view, we need to establish desired/undesired ratios and also need to figure out what are we going to do about skywave interference issues....  That's an engineering problem and we can get around that.  But the other side of it becomes who's eligible for a license and how do you allocate the licenses.  The FCC has in the past, like on the FM band, reserved some channels for non-commercial broadcasters and educational broadcasters.  That's certainly one approach.  But the problem is, the minute you open it up for all sorts of folks to make an application there, then the FCC has an administrative problem of deciding who gets licenses and who doesn't, and it goes to the auction process."

 

On another subject, Adrian Peterson of Adventist World Radio asked if DRM has made any contact with Bose, which makes high-end, high audio quality receivers.  Michel Penneroux suggested that this is something the U.S. DRM platform should do.  Speaking of high quality audio, Mike Adams pointed out that "we as shortwave broadcasters have the ability to have national coverage with FM-quality audio."

 

Jon Clark of TCI International remarked that regarding receiver technology, "getting the thing to work used to be the entertainment in itself.  Now you get into your car and your car talks to you.  We're almost at the point where your grandmother can say 'BBC' and the radio finds it for you.  So one of the questions we have to be asking ourselves and the receiver manufacturers is 'What does DRM give them that no other form of delivery gives them?'  And when we can answer that question, then we start giving them a reason to be including DRM in every box that they do.  We don't have a technical problem that has to be solved; we're way beyond that.  And if I was a radio manufacturer and somebody came to me and said you've got to put DRM in all your boxes, my first question is going to be, 'Why?'  And I haven't heard a really compelling reason for that being articulated yet."

 

Mike Adams replied that we know what the unique selling points of DRM are, but we need to agree on them and then communicate them to people.

 

"In the beginning," said Michel Penneroux, "we are just targeting the renewal market.  We must know what the consumer is expecting.  Maybe the FCC will say we need HD Radio for FM and DRM for AM, so radios will have to have both capabilities.  Maybe the USA DRM Group needs to set up a formal association to deal with the FCC.  We did a similar thing in France to deal with the regulatory body."

 

Don Spragg said that maybe we need to look to another part of the world for the answer to DRM receiver manufacturing.  He pointed out that China urgently wants to digitalize radio and TV broadcasting throughout the country, "and once you get China building radios in DRM, they're going to go to the world.  China has the biggest internal market, but they're not just going to sell to their own people.  They're going to sell to the world.  They've bought into DRM, and maybe that's the source that can make this happen.  And you can be part of it, not trying to promote building DRM receivers, but having a signal going in so that people are interested enough to go and look for those receivers."

 

Mike Adams agreed, noting that FEBC's station in Saipan broadcasts exclusively to Asia.  He said that HCJB-Australia, TWR-Guam and Christian Vision in Australia all transmit primarily or exclusively to Asia as well.  "The Chinese are aiming to have their [DRM] transmitters on air for the Olympics in '08," said Adams.  "We will aim to have to have our transmitter on the air for the Olympics in '08.  The Saipan transmitters have just had solid state modulator upgrades.  We're going to roll right onto the next project of getting a DRM exciter and getting at least one transmitter up and running.  CVC is doing the same in Darwin.  Deutsche Welle already has DRM transmitters aimed at Asia but not turned on.  BBC already has a transmitter in Asia that's DRM converted but not turned on, waiting for the right time.  So within DRM, we're going to push the big boys to join us for a launch event and do transmissions to China for the '08 Olympics."

 

Elsewhere in Asia, Adams noted that a DRM workshop had just concluded in India.  "That's another big Asian country that's moving forward."  AWR's Adrian Peterson expanded upon the Indian situation.  "In India," he said, "the long-term plan is to turn all of the internal home service shortwave transmitters into DRM capability.  They have about 25 shortwave transmitters regionally located in the big cities.  So the whole country will be covered internally with shortwave DRM transmissions."

 

In yet another part of Asia, FEBC's Mike Adams said that "in the past, we built radios in the Philippines and gave them away." He noted that HCJB has university students helping build its new "SonSet Radio."  He said that Andrew Flynn of CVC (Christian Vision) told him that they are going to start transmitting in DRM to China when their DRM conversion is done.  "He is going to -- over the air in analog -- teach them how to build a DRM radio" using an existing Chinese kit that works with a computer.  "We may have to look at home-grown ways if we want to use the technology."

 

Adams concluded the session by commenting that "a lot of good brainstorming has happened here," and that those who are interested in joining the USA DRM platform should contact one of the present members so that smaller working groups can be formed.

 

A Visit to LeSEA

 

After the DRM brainstorming session ended, the entire group was invited by WMLK, TCI International, Thomson and Continental Electronics to a dinner at the nearby Bent Oak Golf Club restaurant in Elkhart, which was completely filled by the USA DRM/NASB group. 

 

The final activity of the evening was a tour of NASB member LeSEA Broadcasting headquarters in South Bend, about 20 minutes west of Elkhart by car.  LeSEA operates the shortwave network World Harvest Radio.  LeSEA's Gary Hegland, Wes Hylton and Dave Russell gave the group a guided tour of their facility, which also includes the television studios and Master Control of World Harvest Television and WHME-TV46. To prepare attendees for the tour, former NASB president Doug Garlinger gave a brief presentation about World Harvest Radio before breaking for dinner.  Garlinger worked for LeSEA for 23 years and was in large part responsible for building World Harvest Radio, which went on the air in 1985.

 

Garlinger explained that LeSEA was founded in the mid-1960's by Dr. Lester Sumrall, an evangelist who travelled the world and was familiar with shortwave.  "In the 1930's," said Garlinger, "he was in the empire of Japan, and he was in China before World War II, and he was in Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany.  So he had a fascinating base of experience to know what the value of shortwave could be."  Dr. Sumrall passed away in 1996 and his youngest son Pete Sumrall now runs LeSEA Broadcasting. 

 

LeSEA owns transponder 15 on the Galaxy 4R satellite, which was launched from French Guiana in 2000.  The program signal for World Harvest Radio goes from South Bend up to the satellite, which then feeds their three shortwave stations -- WHRA in Greenbush, Maine; WHRI in Cypress Creek, South Carolina; and KWHR in Naalehu, Hawaii. 

The World Harvest Radio studios and control center in South Bend feed these three locations. 

 

The WHRI transmitter site was originally located in Noblesville, Indiana -- near Indianapolis.  That station opened on Christmas Day, 1985 and was on the air for 18 years.  It had two 100-kilowatt transmitters and two log periodic antennas aimed at South America and Western Europe.  In 1993, LeSEA built KWHR in Naalehu, on the Big Island of Hawaii.  It also has two 100-kilowatt transmitters, a TCI 611 curtain antenna with five beams and a smaller log periodic.  Next, LeSEA acquired WHRA in Maine, which had been built originally by the Christian Science Monitor's broadcasting operation, which sold it to the historic Adventists, and then LeSEA purchased it out of bankruptcy.  WHRA has one 500-kilowatt transmitter and two TCI 611 antennas that can cover everything from Johannesburg to Moscow.

 

 

 

 

 

In 2004, the Noblesville station was phased out and LeSEA purchased WSHB, another former Christian Science station in South Carolina.  The WHRI call letters were transferred from Indiana to the South Carolina station.  The new WHRI has a large antenna field with 17 different patterns licensed, covering Africa, South America, Western Europe and Canada. 

 

Garlinger ended his presentation with a historic audio clip from HCJB in 1942.  Lester Sumrall, once known as the "boy evangelist," was being interviewed in the studios of HCJB in Quito during a visit there.  Garlinger said:  "HCJB planted the seeds not only in Dr. Sumrall's heart to build World Harvest Radio 40 years later, but also in my heart in 1961 when I first picked up HCJB as the very first [shortwave] broadcast that I ever listened to when I was nine years old."

 

                                                            -----

 

NASB  Members:            

 

Adventist World Radio         

Assemblies of Yahweh

Family Stations Inc.

Far East Broadcasting Co.                                          

Fundamental Broadcasting Network

La Voz de Restauracion Broadcasting, Inc.

Le Sea Broadcasting Corp.                            

Radio Miami International

Trans World Radio

Two If By Sea Broadcasting Corp.

World Christian Broadcasting

EWTN Global Catholic Radio WEWN


NASB Associate Members
:

Beth Shalom Center Radio

Comet North America

Continental Electronics Corporation

George Jacobs & Associates

Good Friends Radio Network

Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers

HCJB World Radio                           

IBB    

TCI International, Inc.

TDF

TDP

Thomson  Broadcast and Multimedia                                    

VT Merlin Communications

 

 

National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters

10400 NW 240th Street, Okeechobee, Florida  34972

Ph: (863) 763-0281  Fax:  (863) 763-8867    E-mail:  nasbmem@rocketmail.com