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Danish Radio on Longwave

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Danish Radio Returns to Long Wave Transmission

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Nautel NX50-LW transmitter replaces two old 300 kW tube transmitters

After a four year absence from long wave transmission, Danish Radio (DR) returned to this frequency band in 2011 using a Nautel NX50-LW transmitter. Programs that were previously transmitted on a medium wave frequency are now carried on 243 kHz.

Part of the Nautel NX Series of high power AM transmitters, the 50 kW NX50-LW brings long wave transmission into the new century with advanced operational features. It boasts industry-leading efficiency of over 90% and outstanding linearity. DRM operation is incorporated in the NX50-LW, as is an industry-grade spectrum and network analyzer. Management of the NX50-LW’s functions is accomplished via Nautel’s exclusive Advanced User Interface (AUI), which offers both front-panel touchscreen and web access to all transmitter parameters and controls. With its 100% solid state construction, the NX50-LW offers hot-swap serviceability and a surprisingly small footprint. The transmitter, fully self-contained, was easily installed by Teracom engineers led by Jens Christian Seeberg.

The NX50-LW replaced two old Telefunken 300 kW tube transmitters, dramatically reducing maintenance and power requirements while still providing the desired coverage. “External AM preprocessing gives the new transmitter almost the same punch as the old Telefunkens, and the sound is less distorted than with tube transmitters,” reported project manager Niels Dreijer of Teracom A/S, the company that installed and operates the transmitter on behalf of DR.

Nautel's Aaron Debaie trains Teracom engineers during commissioning of the NX50-LW transmitter. (Photo by Niels Dreijer)

DR’s Head of Operations, Puk Astrud, said the return to long wave transmission has extended coverage compared to medium wave. When DR previously used long wave transmission, the frequency was shared with Turkey so coverage was restricted. Turkey has since ceased operations on that frequency, enabling DR to extend coverage beyond the Alps. “Long wave has more stable and better coverage than the medium wave channel, which in reality only reached to Hamburg and Oslo,” noted Astrud. “Apart from the fact that the programs can now be heard far into Central and Southern Europe, the change also benefits DR by a significant cut in power costs.”

The target group and some of the core listeners of DR’s long wave channel are export truck drivers, fishermen, yachtsmen and to a lesser degree Danish expatriates. The transmitter’s internal scheduler controls operations, and Teracom engineers are able to remotely monitor and control the transmitter via the AUI over the internal WAN. DR is using the channel for weather forecasts, maritime safety information and their popular morning “Body and Movement” exercise program.

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