Thursday, January 5, 2012

Adrian Sainsbury of RNZI

Recently I asked Adrian Sainsbury to tell DRMNA about his experience with DRM:

Would you please explain the history and current status of RNZI's use of DRM in the Pacific?

"For many years RNZI has provided Pacific News and current affairs programmes to radio stations in Pacific Islands. Back in 1989 Government funding was provided for one 100kw analogue short-wave transmitter. Pacific stations used HF receivers to relay RNZI news bulletins. Satellite distribution was not an option due to costly distribution.

In 2005 the NZ Government funded a new transmitter to replace the old Thomson transmitter. The new transmitter was designed to operate in DRM or Analogue modes.

Pre DRM they relayed our analogue service. Nowadays RNZI provides radio stations with a PC, antenna and in a Digital World Traveller receiver to use for re.broadcasting. DRM technology provided the opportunity to provide an FM quality signal for re-broadcast."

What are the biggest hurdles encountered when using this method?

"Frequency planning for DRM is more difficult than for AM. When a DRM signal fades below a certain level the audio cuts out. It is similar to cell phone use, slightly out of range and you lose contact."

Will RNZI continue this Pacific feeder service and do you have plans to increase DRM transmissions?

Yes we will continue, but there is no plan at this time to increase our DRM broadcast hours. We would like a second DRM transmitter as back-up for the existing service however.

Is DRM broadcasting being considered for direct SW/HF consumption rather than only as feeder?

"It is regrettable there is extremely limited choice as far the availability of DRM receivers. My personal view is AM is going to be needed for general coverage for many years to come"

Are you involved with other Australasia/Oceania nations regarding
their use of DRM?

"We do exchange information with other DRM broadcasters."

Any headway in New Zealand moving toward DRM30 and DRM+ for other intra and international services?

"No, not as far as I know."

What is the most fun aspect of your job?

"The highlight of my career was and is the frequency planning for the DRM broadcasts. Also I love travel, who doesn’t! I am very lucky as I get to visit Pacific Islands every year."

Thank you Adrian for the fine interview and nice photos. DRMNA enthusiasts value the high quality DRM broadcasts from RNZI and wish you a Happy New Year!

[Photos: UPPER LEFT Adrian with VBTC technicians, Vanuatu. BOTTOM LEFT Adrian Checking reception on Niue Atoll]