funklust broadcasts in DRM on shortwave

“funklust”, campus broadcaster at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, stands out as one of the radio stations with the most diverse transmission paths in the world. Recently, the station has revamped one of its digital broadcast paths: funklust in Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) on shortwave is now broadcast using a new, modern transmitter.

In the summer of 2003, funklust (known as “bit eXpress” back then) was broadcast digitally for the first time on shortwave (SW) using a Telefunken transmitter. Transmission via DRM on FM radio later followed in 2013, with funklust becoming one of the first DRM radio programs in the world to be broadcast on FM. The entire broadcasting apparatus for DRM on shortwave has now been modernized and funklust has been broadcasting with brand new equipment since October 2021. A Fraunhofer ContentServer R7 is used to broadcast the program, allowing audio content and attractive data services, such as Journaline, TextMessage+ (TM+), and even Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), to be put on air with ease. The funklust transmitter requires an average transmission power of 250 W and operates at the transmission frequency 15.785 MHz. Reception reports received so far confirm that the program can be received not only in Germany but also in Russia, the US, Norway, Finland and New Zealand.

Until recently, a dedicated radio device was required to receive DRM transmissions. Starwaves, a developer of DRM receiver solutions, worked closely with Fraunhofer IIS to develop an Android app, which can be used for DRM reception on mobile devices. The Starwaves radio app is available in the Amazon App store and the Google Play Store and provides Android cellphones and tablets with entertainment, text information and emergency warnings via DRM digital radio — without the need to enter into a contract, independent of the user’s mobile network and based on innovative Fraunhofer technology.

Via Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)

Digital Radio Mondiale — DRM for short — is the digital successor of traditional AM and FM radio. The DRM standard comprises two major configurations: One is for broadcasts on short, medium, and long wave up to 30 MHz and provides large coverage areas and low power consumption with improved quality services compared to FM. The configuration for VHF bands above 30 MHz, including FM, is tailored for local and regional coverage with broadcaster-controlled transmissions and provides stereo services, including surround sound. All DRM configurations use the xHE-AAC audio codec that was largely developed by Fraunhofer IIS. DRM offers high audio quality combined with a wealth of expanded functions and data services, one of which is Journaline, a teletext service for radio via which listeners can access news, the latest sports results, weather forecasts, travel tips, and even educational offers — without an internet connection.

Campus broadcaster “funklust”

Originally a small experimental station with a few workers and occasional broadcasts, the project has since developed into a 24/7 complete radio program. During normal radio broadcasting, over 30 students and alumni of funklust e.V. volunteer at the station, working throughout the academic year to produce a diverse program. Quite a few students have already received training through a comprehensive training program comprising workshops and advanced training weekends. Several former members now work for large German broadcasters such as BR or SWR. From a technical point of view, the station began broadcasting as DRM shortwave radio, originally at the frequency 15.896 MHz. Over the years, the transmission paths have developed extensively. Today, funklust can be received via an online stream or DAB+ (181.936 MHz, Band 6A) in and around Erlangen, Germany. In addition, it continues to be broadcast digitally via DRM (DRM-AM 15.785 MHz and DRM-FM 87.9 MHz) and in analog via “Little Joe” on medium wave (1485 kHz). The shows “funklust auftakt” and “funklust mischpult” can also be received via the Nuremberg FM frequency of max neo (106.5 MHz).

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