Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Engineers Help Train Ecuadorian Telecommunications Staff in Digital Technology

By Ralph Kurtenbach

Ecuador’s telecommunications authorities have agreed to explore and test the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) international digital radio standard with help from two organizations based in the small South American country.

Radio Station HCJB and the Unión Nacional de Periodistas (UNP or National Journalists’ Union) representatives agreed with the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SUPERTEL) to offer training and assist in testing the DRM standard that Ecuador is considering. SUPERTEL will also evaluate other digital radio standards.

After a short signing ceremony in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito on Friday, Oct. 7, training sessions with SUPERTEL technicians began four days later on the campus of Radio Station HCJB.

DRM is an open global standard with intellectual property contributions shared by the consortium members. As an associate member of the consortium, the mission has conducted periodic shortwave DRM tests since 2000. Engineers at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., have also helped develop DRM transmission equipment.

In recent years the governments of India and Russia have selected DRM as the standard for broadcasting bands in those countries. In Latin America, the DRM standard is under consideration by Brazil where the Ministry of Communication held a seminar on digital radio standards in September. DRM consortium members participated in the high-level seminar in the capital, Brasilia.

Many in the broadcasting industry agree that the success of DRM hinges on the availability of low-cost receivers. Manufacturers displayed the receivers (including a USB receiver, stand-alone and car receivers, and one with a GPS system) at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam in September.

HCJB Global Voice’s roots run deep in Ecuador’s broadcasting history, beginning regular radio broadcasts in 1931.Then three decades later the station, established by evangelical missionaries, launched regular television broadcasts. Staff engineers have also developed technologies in the vanguard of the broadcasting industry.

Sources: HCJB Global, DRM

Note: This story appears with a short DRM digital radio promotional video at the Call of the Andes blog site, http://calloftheandes.wordpress.com/

(Harold Goerzen, senior editor, HCJB Global)

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