DRM for FM in the Heart of Europe


On the 13th of October this year a DRM test in the FM band started in Greater Copenhagen (Denmark).

The licence for the test broadcasts has been granted back in September 2020 and runs until 1st August 2022, which can be extended to 30th August 2023.

This is a collaborative project organised by Open Channel, an independent Danish network operator in Copenhagen, with Canadian Nautel (transmitter), German RFmondial (DRM modulator & measuring instruments) & Fraunhofer IIS (Content server) and Swedish Progira (network planning).

The project is supported by Gospell, NXP, partners in Denmark and other non-DRM Consortium members like Bauer Media (supplying content) and Kathrein (antenna).

The frequency allocated is 86.5 MHz and with a bandwidth of 200 kHz, which makes room for two DRM signals. Each DRM signal has a capacity of 186.4 kbps (16QAM, CR 5/8) and accommodates three audio channels and multimedia services, so for the 200 kHz a total of six digital radio stations can thus be broadcast. Further down the line there are ambitions to involve the Öresund region (commonly known in English as the Sound, a strait which forms the Danish–Swedish border) and possibly collaborate with another FM station on the Swedish side.

The trial on the 86.5 MHz frequency has also been approved by the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency. The fact that the experiment is done a bit below the regular FM band (band II 87.5-108 MHz) is due to the fact that there is no space in this dense region. The new receivers for FM/DRM can handle 64-108 MHz.

“We are working on expanding the FM band in Denmark from 85 – 87.5 MHz, so that the Danish FM band goes from 85 to 108 MHz and thereby create more space to introduce digital radio on the FM band”
says Kenneth Wenzel, project manager and director of Open Channel.

“This DRM field trial offers a unique opportunity to showcase the versatility of DRM-FM by packing two DRM signals within a single FM channel allocation demonstrating optimal spectral efficiency for DRM using a Nautel VS transmitter.”
Says Philipp Schmid, CTO at Nautel.

“We are glad supporting Single and Multi-Channel DRM within Europe”,
says Stefan Galler, Managing Director at RFmondial.

“Fraunhofer IIS is glad to witness this pioneering DRM FM trial in Denmark. This trial includes the complete range of DRM services including 3 Audio Channels, Station Logos, DRM Text Messages and Journaline Text Service and is facilitated by RFmondial ContenServer powered by Fraunhofer technology.
Fraunhofer IIS is eager to continue providing full support for the trial in Denmark showcasing the feature rich DRM Digital Radio and its benefits.”
Says Alexander Zink, Senior Business Development Manager at Fraunhofer IIS.

The height of the antenna is 88m and the terrain elevation is 8m (more details below). In phase 1, Open Channel will test single DRM channel with 120 Watt ERP. The coverage probability for mobile reception in Greater Copenhagen is illustrated in the picture belowCopenhagen Coverage

This project is of a significant importance for the digitisation of the FM band in Denmark and if successful for the DRM roll-out in that country and possibly beyond.



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