Radio signal distribution is broken down into a number of sub-sectors such as community, national or public, commercial and international, news service and entertainment focused. The signal distribution is based on two frequency bands, namely Amplitude Modulation (AM), i.e. Medium Wave (MW) and Frequency Modulation (FM) bands.
FM provides a high-quality radio signal integrity and is thus favored amongst sound broadcasters. Transmission power configurations vary from 1 Watt (W) to 20 kilowatt (kW). SENTECH high sites provide the ability for customized coverage. Services can be provided to public, commercial and community broadcasters.
MW radio broadcasting signal distribution services are provided over eight transmitter sites, using the radio frequency spectrum 535,5 kHz–1606,5 kHz. This transmitter network supports two public broadcaster radio services, two commercial radio services and five community radio services. Growth projections for MW are informed by the commercial MW licenses issued by ICASA and the on-boarding of a self-providing commercial MW broadcaster. Further growth is dependent on the evolution of MW from analogue to digital standard DRM MW. Digital radio broadcasting will serve as a spectrum-efficient, high quality option for broadcasting. SENTECH completed a DRM MW trial for Radio Pulpit, using a low-profile antenna that showcases the technology.
SENTECH’s commitment to technology evolution and customer satisfaction, saw us pursuing the DAB+ solution and we ran our first trial in 2014. Last year ICASA issued the second DAB+ trial license. DAB+ has been a long time coming, and we are glad to say that the vision is now tangible reality. The future of radio is digital and the future has arrived.
The main objectives of DAB+ trials were to determine if the DAB+ technology could be used as an alternative or supplementary radio broadcast technology. This evolution has become important in the frequency congested radio network. The evolution of FM into a digital era where one frequency that currently carries 1 FM radio station would be able to carry up to 18 stations as well as additional display on consumer information that each radio channel wishes to broadcast. The benefits for SENTECH as well as broadcasters cannot be underestimated. We are at the cusp of a new era for radio.