Monday, May 13, 2019

NASB 2019 - after action report

Once again, DRM was featured prominently at the National Association of Shortwave  broadcasters annual meeting held at Trans World Radio headquarters in Cary, North Carolina on the 9th and 10th of May. 

Not only was DRM the topic addressed by 4 of the speakers, many of the other sessions related to DRM topics and developments.

A challenge came from Lauren Libby (president of Trans World Radio) for the broadcasters and attendees to create a "Receiver Work-group" to 
brainstorm a way to jump start low-cost receiver development. This challenge was met head-on by the NASB board and a new work-group was formed to begin its focus by the end of May.

The conference featured a spirited presentation and Q n A by Johannes Von Weyssenhoff of StarWaves. 

Johannes proposed that with the correct commitment, he could begin immediate production of $29 USD receivers and $18 USD modules for existing radio productions. 

He has secured prototypes and has a manufacturer in-line for this work, which could start in a few months, under the proper factors.

George Ross of TWR presented on the vast world of low-cost SDR units being deployed globally by hobbyists in pursuit of DRM reception. 

Along with his colleague Mike Sabin, the two discussed the interest they had seen in Japanese and Chinese enthusiasts confirming reception of KTWR DRM tests that occurred last Christmas.

Jerome Hirigoyen of TDF presented a novel project called DRMcast Receiver. This device serves as a gateway whereby DRM is received and decoded and the audio is sent via WiFi to any available smartphone, PC or tablet device through a simple web interface. The unit itself has the antenna and power connections. This low-cost alternative to a conventional radio could serve multiple mobile devices in the vicinity.

Christopher Rumbaugh (your humble admin) of DRMNA presented on DRM consortium updates over the last year and a report on radio enthusiasts he met with 
on a recent trip to Japan. He reported that Japanese radio hobbyists enjoy radio in both digital and analog forms and welcome further 
broadcasts and tests in DRM as well as using other broadcasting initiatives such as Radiogram.

Lastly, it was confirmed by Calvin Carter of Continental electronics that the recent installation of a new 500 kW transmitter at WBCQ in the state of Maine does not include hardware to transmit in DRM. 

He did state that the equipment and modifications could be added to make the station DRM compatible, however.

NASB 2019 at TWR was an enjoyable and informative meeting. DRM is still on broadcaster's minds and hopefully will soon be part of their broadcast plans!