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View Full Version : DRM at IFA Berlin 2006, report with photos


dk8cb
05-09-2006, 10:26
This year, the DRM booth was much smaller than last year (http://www.drmrx.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1167), DRM presentations from the DRM consortium have been reduced to just a small part of the digital radio booth. Nevertheless, several receivers were shown and could also be listened to. Under a metal roof, with another exhibition floor above and and with a huge number of interference sources like plasma and LCD TVs all around the trade fair, shortwave reception was nearly impossible without an external antenna. Thus, the DRM booth had its own active antenna on the roof and a few of the receivers were connected to this antenna.

Roberts MP-40 receiver
The now already well-known Roberts MP-40 receiver (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Roberts_1.jpg) was demonstrated and seemed to deliver quite reliable reception. However, the mediumwave ferrite antenna that can be connected to the MP-40 via the lower 5 pin-connector on the left side of the receiver (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Roberts_2.jpg) was not shown. The external, roof-mounted active (ie amplified) antenna was connected to the MP-40 through a 6 dB attenuator (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Roberts_3.jpg), perhaps to reduce the risk of intermodulation or to improve power sharing among the various receivers connected to the same antenna. I did not ask for a definitive release date for the MP-40.

Morphy Richards receiver
The new Morphy Richards DRM receiver (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Morphy_1.jpg) was also shown. Since it doesn't come with an external antenna connector, the telescopic antenna had been removed and had been replaced by an improvised cable connection (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Morphy_4.jpg) to the aforementioned external antenna. The receiver's connectors are located on the rear side (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Morphy_2.jpg). A slot accepting SD memory cards for recording and playback is also available on the receiver's left side (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Morphy_3.jpg). There seemed to be a problem with the improvised antenna connector since reception was not very reliable.

It must be noted, that it was difficult to judge audio performance of the receivers, since the acoustic noise level in the hall was rather high and it was even more increased by a band that was playing just across the aisle opposite the DRM booth.

Himalaya DRM2008 and DRM2009 receivers
Two new prototype receivers from Himalaya, a company based in Hongkong, with manufacturing in Shengzen, China, were shown. They are the DRM2008 and the DRM2009. The latter was demonstrated in two versions, a model in a black and one in a white case but with identical controls.
This photo (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_1.jpg) shows all three receivers. The DRM2008 is in the centre, it is based on a design featuring an Analog Devices Blackfin (R) DSP unit. This receiver is a follow-up on the DRM2010 shown at IFA last year. DRM decoder software inside the receiver is based on code obtained from the BBC, further software development is in part carried out by a division of Analog Devices based in India. The DRM decoder is using integer arithmetics. Here (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_4.jpg) is another picture of the DRM2008 receiving Deutschlandfunk on mediumwave 855 kHz. The DRM2008 is controlled via push buttons (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_08_1.jpg), this picture (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_08_2.jpg) shows the display. No antenna connector is provided on any of the receivers except the Roberts MP-40, and the DRM 2009 had to be fitted with an extra, small headpone-type plug mounted provisionally in the rear of the case.

When asked for a possible release date, a representative from Himalaya would refuse to give a date due to the uncertainties involved. It was emphasised that the receivers are still in the development phase and that there are still a few points (aside from not being labeled as a receiver but a "reciever" ;) ) where they have to be improved upon.

The other Himalaya receiver, the DRM2009, shown here (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_3.jpg) in both the black and the white case with the SD card slot clearly visible on the left side of the receiver, is based on the Radioscape RS-500 module. The RS-500 module (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Radioscape.jpg) itself, which is also built into the Roberts MP-40 and the Morphy Richards DRM receiver, was also shown. It could be noticed that the F-connector for the antenna input is no longer mounted directly onto the board, which would make the module connection susceptible to breaking in case of too much force on the antenna connector. Instead, a coaxial cable ending in a coaxial connector is now provided.

All Himalaya receivers come with a nice handle which folds back nicely into the case of the receiver when not needed. This picture (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_2.jpg) shows the handle folded out into carrying position. All Himalaya receivers are fitted with an SD card slot for recording received programmes and play back of this and other content eg MP3 files which may be stored on the card. A playlist (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_09_2.jpg) is displayed during replay from the SD card. I think, I should have listened to the DRM recording from 1858. ;)

In this picture (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_09_1.jpg), the DRM2009 is shown receiving a local mediumwave DRM broadcast on its built-in ferrite antenna. Also have a look at the rear side of the receiver with the battery compartment closed (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_09_3.jpg) and opened (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_09_4.jpg).

Besides the SD card slot, all Himalaya receivers also come with an USB connector, an external headphone plug, an external power socket and they all feature a recessed Reset button as shown in this picture (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Himalaya_09_5.jpg).

The largest drawback of all the receivers shown at the DRM booth is battery consumption. Battery drain on these receivers is rather high, so even alkaline batteries will last only perhaps two or three hours when a DRM station is being received.

Given the conditions inside the hall and the lack of an external antenna connection on some of the receivers, reception performance could not really be judged. However, occasional reception on shortwave was nevertheless possible even on the receivers' telescopic antennae.


The Fraunhofer concept
A major drawback of all the previously mentioned receivers and receiver prototypes is their high current consumption. Since the required mathematical operations are mostly carried out in sequence one after the other, the processor executing these functions has to run at a rather high clock speed. Well, clock speed on the specialised DSPs doesn't have to be as high as on a general-purpose PC running the DRM software or Dream but it is still remarkably high for a portable device and will result in high power consumption and high battery drain.

Developers at the Fraunhofer Institute for integrated circuits in Erlangen, Germany have therefore developed a new DRM decoder, in which the required functions are more or less carried out in parallel and where logic circuits have been hard-wired to carry out the required vector operations. Currently, this design is built using two programmable logic arrays to demodulate the OFDM signal and one ARM processor (a widely used third party processor core) to decode the DRM audio and data services.
This circuit board (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Kenwood_FhG_2.jpg) of the decoder contains two such programmable logic arrays (labeled XILINX) and the ARM processor (labeled ALTERA). The rest of the circuit board comprises peripheral circuits and memory chips. Everything is running at a clock speed of 10 MHz only. Since the logic circuits have been developed using state-of-the-art tools, all the logic wiring is available in a format which can easily be used as a building block library in the design of a dedicated integrated circuit using a silicon compiler. The ARM processor, widely used in mobile phones and other portable devices, is also available as such a library.

The board shown is just an experimental way of putting the circuit to work. In its final version, the whole unit will more or less occupy a few square millimetres on a silicon chip and it can be easily implemented into modern radio receiver concepts. Development is carried out as a joint effort of the Fraunhofer Institute for integrated circuits, ST Microelectronics (a world-renowned semiconductor manufacturer) and Kenwood, a car radio manufacturer. The prototype receiver (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Kenwood_FhG_1.jpg) shown at IFA is fed with A/D converted I/Q IF signals from a car radio using a current design based on an ST Microelectronics chipset.

Kenwood was also showing this prototype (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Kenwood_1.jpg) but it could not be demonstrated due to lack of an external antenna available at the Kenwood booth. The prototype is already integrated (http://stoepplernet.de/drm/IFA06/Kenwood_2.jpg) into the current user interface.

In my view, the Fraunhofer concept looks most promising and it opens a way to mass-produced cheap DRM receivers which will only consume a moderate amount of power.

Thanks for your attention and also thanks to Simone for hosting my pictures on her webserver. Copyright is retained on all pictures. Pictures from this report may only be linked to or used on other webpages if a link to this entire post is given.

Roland

DRM-Fan
05-09-2006, 20:48
Thanks very much for the report Roland. I am getting rather sick of the word prototype though. I had thought at least Himalaya could give a firm release date but no. This is getting tiresome. Why 12 months later are there not any DRM radios ??!! It is like the exhiberters are just conning the public again as last year. OH well maybe in a few years time 1 radio might even be available to buy ! Miracles do happen...sometimes !!

MikeB
06-09-2006, 12:15
Poster to the digitalspy forums has noticed that T-online are now saying the Morphy Richards model will despatch in one week:

http://www.t-online-shop.de/tonline/product.do?action=getProductDetail&ref=pangora&product=19704

DRM-Fan
06-09-2006, 12:25
Poster to the digitalspy forums has noticed that T-online are now saying the Morphy Richards model will despatch in one week:

http://www.t-online-shop.de/tonline/product.do?action=getProductDetail&ref=pangora&product=19704

hmmm ! Going to buy one Mike ?!

df8uo
06-09-2006, 14:12
hmmm ! Going to buy one Mike ?!
I already ordered one last weekend. Will inform you if i got one.
73, Daniel

DRM-Fan
06-09-2006, 18:17
I already ordered one last weekend. Will inform you if i got one.
73, Daniel

OK great stuff, the lack of a antenna socket puts me off a bit mysef still good on MR for being the first on the block as it were

DRM-Fan
17-09-2006, 22:53
I already ordered one last weekend. Will inform you if i got one.
73, Daniel

I guess you are still waiting ?! Next month looks more likely than 1 week as previously mentioned

Dave
M1CTK

MikeB
18-09-2006, 08:49
I guess you are still waiting ?! Next month looks more likely than 1 week as previously mentioned

Dave
M1CTK

The t-online site has changed despatch in one week to despatch in 2 days.

df8uo
18-09-2006, 16:18
The t-online site has changed despatch in one week to despatch in 2 days.

Up to now nothing received :-( As soon as the receiver arrived, i will notify here.
73, Daniel

dk8cb
19-09-2006, 08:31
Today, after initally showing "Ready for delivery in 2 days", the T-Online web shop is now showing "Product currently unavailable" (Artikel derzeit nicht lieferbar).

As always...

Roland

MikeB
19-09-2006, 10:29
And now changed to ready for dispatch in 4 weeks!

DRM-Fan
19-09-2006, 11:09
And now changed to ready for dispatch in 4 weeks!

This is all getting so pathetic, why do retailers fool and con people by giving false bogus dates...MR in the UK said October someone else had an email saying they have no idea of date and price. Who knows what to believe

The MR radio is probably just a so called 'working' prototype like all the others which will probably never see the light of day / be available to buy in other words

df8uo
20-09-2006, 15:35
Hi all,
today i got a friendly mail from t-online shop. They apologize for not having yet delivered. They expect that the receivers will arrive at their logistic centre 18.10.2006. They will be immediately delivered after arrival. I assume i will get a nice christmas present this year or perhaps a nice birthday present next year ;-)
73 Daniel (currently in Jakarta/Indonesia)

Update: In the "German speaking area" you can find the original text of the mail of T-Online shop. However the date in my mail is different from the one of "fairuse". Perhaps he/she will get the receiver earlier ;-)

df8uo
19-10-2006, 13:29
Hi all,
today my morphy richards receiver was delivered. So i did not have to wait till XMAS :-)
As soon as i made some tests i will report
73, Daniel

DRM-Fan
19-10-2006, 18:16
Hi all,
today my morphy richards receiver was delivered. So i did not have to wait till XMAS :-)
As soon as i made some tests i will report
73, Daniel

Looking forward to that ! Maybe some sound samples also ?

dk8cb
19-10-2006, 18:35
A view inside the Morphy Richards receiver would also be quite interesting. :eek:

Roland

Funkerberg
20-10-2006, 18:58
A view inside the Morphy Richards receiver would also be quite interesting. :eek:
Roland

Morphy Richards inside on
thiecom / Moprhy Richards DRM (http://www.thiecom.de/morphy-richards-drm-radio.htm)

Rainer

DRM-Fan
20-10-2006, 19:09
Very good pictures, I am a bit more tempted now seeing these but think I will still wait for the very sleek looking Himalaya 2009 model !

Now we need The Gadget Show to test this !

dk8cb
20-10-2006, 19:40
Morphy Richards inside on
thiecom / Moprhy Richards DRM (http://www.thiecom.de/morphy-richards-drm-radio.htm)


As expected, there's not much inside apart from voltage regulator, LCD and an audio amplifier. It's all done inside the module. I wonder if there is an extra user interface processor at all but it is likely to be required.

The telescopic antenna doesn't seem to be matched at all, at least if one assumes the module to have a 75 or 50 Ohm input impedance on all bands. But who knows. Or is there a coil at the base of the whip?
The pictures could really be a bit sharper.

Roland

dk8cb
20-10-2006, 20:20
A few thoughts on the ferrite antenna.
Four coaxial cables connect the antenna pcb to the module. Since there are only two coils on the ferrite rod, ie one for mediumwave and one for longwave, it may be assumed that the pcb also carries a matching amplifier, perhaps the ferrite antenna is even tuned by the processor.
The four cables could then be used for
1 - supply voltage
2 - tuning voltage
3 - mediumwave output
4 - longwave output.

Just my idea when I looked at the pictures.

The hollow tube below the tweeter is also interesting, perhaps it improves bass response but I'm no expert in this field. I however noticed that the bass response of the receiver was quite impressive when I heard it at IFA.

A close look at the connector interface pcb reveals that the radio is manufactured by the korean manufacturer CENIX http://www.cenix.co.kr.

Roland

dk8cb
21-10-2006, 11:38
After rethinking what I wrote above, I believe that one of the cables is used to deliver an AGC voltage to the amplifier, so perhaps the antenna is not fitted with a tuning diode. But it still may be, then both longwave and mediumwave signals would have to be put out via the same cable.

Roland

DRM-Fan
21-10-2006, 23:58
How crazy though not to have a connection for an external antenna being a SW radio ! Even the compact SW radios from Sony and Panasonic etc years back had this..

Like to know how good MW reception is for DRM, hopefully an inductive MW loop like the Terk I use works ok

Brendan1
22-10-2006, 01:11
And if you live over here in North America, an external antenna is an absolute must. The closest DRM transmitter to my location is 4200 km away. There are no plans to have MW DRM any time soon either: our FCC has only authorized the IBOC system by Ibiquity. The on-air tests of that system have been miserable failures by all accounts, and we certainly haven't seen any radios for it either! I would love to have a DRM version of my Sony ICF7600G!

df8uo
22-10-2006, 11:28
Hi all,
unfortunately due to a lot of travel i donot have too much time to test my new MorphyRichards. To take it with me to the airplane it is too big ;-(
However this morning i made some receiption tests, tuning all available DRM frequencies (9h00 to 11h00 UTC), with a quite promising result. I put the receiver on my desk and used the integrated telescopic antenna just vertical.
The following table gives the result. There are 2 columns per station. The "tuned" column gives the info, if the receiver could detect the DRM signal. The second number (0 to 5) gives the ROUGHLY estimated audio detection. I did not listen more than 2-5 minutes per station (0: no audio; 1 < 10%; 2 10 to 50%; 3: 50 to 80%; 4: >90% 5: no droputs in listening period).

Tests performed between 9h00 to 11h00 UTC
Freq./kHz Station Tuned Quality
5990 RTL yes 4
6085 BR5 yes 3
6095 RTL yes 4
6175 RMC yes 2
7145 RNZI no 0 ;-)
7240 Flevo yes 4
7265 DW yes 5
7295 R. Lux yes 4
7320 BBC yes 5
9470 BBC yes 5
11815 CVC yes 3
13620 MOI yes 3
13810 DW yes 5
15440 DW yes 4
15780 VOR yes 2
21820 DW no 0

In general the receiption seems to be quite good below 10 MHz. I verified the receiption of DW and VOR on 15 MHz with my FT817 and almost perfect signal and good SNR. Also DW on 21820 could be detected. Next i will try to connect an external antenna in a useful way.

The handling of the receiver is not the way a SWL and probably also normal users would like to have it (i could express this also in a more rude way ;-). The quality of the display is also not the best.

Audio quality is good. DAB reception also works fine. I get two blocks here. AM/FM i did not test yet.

More to come perhaps end of the week, when i am back from my next trip. If anybody has an idea how to use the USB in a useful way (e.g. monitoring of reception to create a log) please let me know.

73

Daniel

DRM-Fan
22-10-2006, 11:45
And if you live over here in North America, an external antenna is an absolute must. The closest DRM transmitter to my location is 4200 km away. There are no plans to have MW DRM any time soon either: our FCC has only authorized the IBOC system by Ibiquity. The on-air tests of that system have been miserable failures by all accounts, and we certainly haven't seen any radios for it either! I would love to have a DRM version of my Sony ICF7600G!

I'd like to hear how IBOC sounds, I listen to KABC for the computer show which ID they are in HD another tern for IBOC I guess so surely radios are available now ?

dk8cb
22-10-2006, 12:01
When I look at the Morphy Richards, I do see a potential problem but also room for improvement. Here are my thoughts.

The power supply does not seem to be decoupled from the receiver, antenna ground currents will also flow back through the mains to which the receiver is conneced, via the interwinding capacitance of the power supply's transformer. This will have a positive effect if there are no interference signals on the mains wiring in that it will increase signal strength but should there be unwanted signals on the mains which might interfere with reception, they will also find their way into the receiver.
Experience with a portable receiver, similarly powered by a 'wall-wart' power supply has shown that this may indeed deteriorate DRM reception.

There are two ways to minimise this effect
- use an external battery (perhaps a car battery) instead of the 'wall-wart' power supply (not really practical because of the high power drain)
- try to decouple the receiver from the mains by providing a high impedance in the power supply line
and provide an alternative path to a better ground with less interference.

The latter option could be accomplished by winding the DC power supply cable on a high-permeability ferrite ring and by connecting the receiver ground using the ground terminal of the receiver's power supply connector to proper ground. The ground connection might be done by connection to central heating, water pipes or even a large metal structure that might occasionally be available.
One could build an adapter that provides an extra ground connector and an inline ferrite, no changes would have to be made to the receiver or its power supply itself.

What I would also like to know:
Did the manufacturer provide RF decoupling capacitors across the power supply rectifier diodes? If not, then there is room for improvement there as well. I could imagine that a manufacturer which has got no experience with radios (either CENIX or MR) might have overlooked this necessity. If one often gets hum on shortwave AM signals, then the diodes might be missing. Is the power supply of a switch-mode type?

Roland

df8uo
22-10-2006, 13:17
Is the power supply of a switch-mode type?
Roland

Hi Roland,

from the weight (the thing is quite heavy) and the data shown on the AC Adaptor, i assume there is a transformer inside (Prim: 230V 200mA; Sec: 9V 1.5A).

73, Daniel

dk8cb
22-10-2006, 13:54
... i assume there is a transformer inside

Very good, at least one possible source of interference has thus been eliminated.

Can you try to receive a few strong AM signals and check for possible hum on AM signals? My experience in the past shows that - if it's present at all - it won't be present all the time, it depends on polarisation and angle of the incoming signal, it usually moves up and down like fading.

Roland

Brendan1
22-10-2006, 16:43
In answer to DRM Fan's question, I've never heard either. All tests I recall hearing about MW IBOC were back east, and reports were that it sounded much like a very broadbanded digital signal with a weaker analog signal on top of it. Mostly like a jammer on HF. Remember, In Band On Channel was designed to have both modulation schemes simultaneously on the same frequency, and no report that I read (from non-industry sources) ever said that it worked well, much less perfectly.

IBOC ("HD Radio") is available on a very few FM stations now, but I still have not seen any radios. Apparently there are some high end audiophile receivers available (very limited distribution and very expensive) but they only work on FM, and not MW. We don't have DAB either, those bands are in use for other services, notably TV on the lower band.

MW IBOC is where all original testing was done. SWL's and others listening to favorite stations via skywave reported that local IBOC easily wiped out those stations, even if the IBOC signal was 10 or 20 kHz away. Dual IBOC/analog transmitters often had problems staying on air, with one side or the other going off-air during scheduled times. Ibiquity apparently urged the transmitter engineers to over-modulate the digital signal, so that the data would support their position: many times the transmitters were splattering all over the MW band, wiping out many of the lower powered MW stations near them, both geographically and on the radio spectrum.

I don't know of any IBOC MW activity now. What few domestic radio manufacturers we have here now are those aligned with the automotive industry. They could care less about IBOC, but satellite radio capability is being added to virtually every new car. All you need to do is subscribe and you have either Sirius or XM.

Most people will listen to streaming audio via the Net if they want to have good "reception." HD radio has been called the technology without an audience, since no one wants to spend a few hundred dollars on a radio that may receive only one or two stations. My father is a good example: he listens to a classical station (that does broadcast in HD actually - the only one in Seattle I believe) all day, every day. He has no need to upgrade, when the 20 year old stereo receiver he uses does just fine pulling it in from 160 km away. HD/IBOC on FM is apparently much more limited in range, so why bother? He doesn't have broadband either, so good old fashioned radio works for him.

My two Eurocents worth.

Brendan1
23-10-2006, 03:59
I found a pretty good article on Wikipedia about HD Radio. As far as I know, the information covers the US only, as Canada does not allow HD Radio yet. A little internet research also found receivers are available (but not really advertised), for as little as $175 US for a tabletop model. The advertising for the receivers claims both MW and FM HD Radio reception is possible, but with typically bad published specifications, who knows? As the article states, there is no lawful nighttime HD radio on MW now, due to digital interference issues caused by IBOC. FM is wide open, and a listing of FM stations shows many are already on HD, but since the audience doesn't usually know anything, it's pretty much wasted effort (in my humble opinion). I learn something every day...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Radio

fibber
23-10-2006, 14:28
I figure it will be a disaster when they go to night transmission. Anyway
1190 KEX runs IBOC daytime. They cover 1180 through 1200. 1190 is the AM and 1180 and 1200 have the digital hiss. What a mess. To think DRM could have been the AM format. Ugh!

richard
23-10-2006, 16:55
Looks space like there would have been space to include a second ferrite antenna for HF, or even a small wire frame antenna. How many people will bother to fully extend the telescopic aerial?

They have used a shielded lead from the telescopic antenna. Don’t think this is a good idea. The capacitance between the inner core and outer shield will probably leak some of the high frequency signals to ground.

Richard

dk8cb
23-10-2006, 17:31
They have used a shielded lead from the telescopic antenna. Don’t think this is a good idea. The capacitance between the inner core and outer shield will probably leak some of the high frequency signals to ground.


Since the antenna input of the module is most likely not designed as a high-impedance input but more likely as a 75 or 50 ohm input, the shielded cable is just an extension of the input and does not change anything!
It would however be different if it were a high impedance input.

Roland

DG9BFC
23-10-2006, 17:34
Hi all drm-listeners,
i also see room for additional things in the morphyrichards:
analog recordings should be possible! any QRG ... and any MODE
why not?!? it would be useful to record the news analog or digital
for full and half hours .... on ANY mode ....
what about recording travel news on ukw fm mode to be
available later?!?
and the antenna could be added with an external bnc connector
.... room for homebrewers who doesnīt look for garanty time :-) hihi
maybe there will be another version later?
is there a support for the (hopefully) upgradeable software???
what about ssb-receiving.....
could be managed by software like in sdr or analog ... so there is much room for improvement i think!!!!!
..........the radio is too big to carry it with you to the plane?!?
not a quite good travel-radio isnīt it?!?
best 73īs de dg9bfc