Digital Radio


Elf is back in Canberra also.


Yes, 4TAB is to Brisbane as to what 1017 SKY Sports Radio (formerly 2KY) is to Sydney and 927 RSN (formerly 3UZ) is to all 3 are on a commercial licence and evolved out of their former talk back or music formats.

1206 TAB Radio in Perth is different as 6KY moved to the FM in the early 90s and TAB Radio is a new narrowcast licence station from the ground up run by a different operator.


Yes quite disappointing, now I am back to only Smooth worth listening to on DAB+ (Easyhits has too many commercials, might as well listen to FM again). But I knew The 80s was on borrowed time when it went quiet on the eve of the Kinderling Kids move to ARN, I guess they went all out to juggle the bits so ELF radio would be available again (The 80s was just a filler until then, and now it is finally gone).


Yes Perth has 6 (4 FM, 2 AM). And unlike the other TAB stations Perth only ever had 4 commercial stations on AM (6PR, 6PM, 6IX and 6KY). Then came 96FM in the early 80s; followed by the two (6PM and 6KY) converted to FM in the early 90s (and the AM allocations reused by 6RPH (community) and 6TAB (narrowcast)). Finally in the early 00s NOVAFM arrived as the last commercial station for Perth. I guess the early 20s is when the next commercial station should be expected (given 20 year period between 96FM and NOVAFM), and now with the ACMA replanning of the FM band for Perth that is probably what they have in mind.


Yes I think there’s a strong case for a new commercial licence for Perth based on strong population growth. Interesting there were only ever four commercial AM stations although I guess based on the much lower population in the mid 20th century before Perth overtook Adelaide. I’m guessing if they do add another commercial licence in Perth they’ll need to look at another DAB multiplex.

Random Radio
Random Radio

Well if Nova Entertainment (aka DMG radio) get another FM station I am sure it will be Smooth FM which would give mix945 a run for their money (and means FM is listenable again, assuming the FM version of Smooth has as few commercials as on the DAB version we get). Conversely if ARN get another FM station that means with an additional DAB allotment we will get The 80s and The 90s stations (and yet another classics hit station on FM). I can’t see who else would be interested.


The ACMA standard is a distance of 800 kHz between FM stations in the same market, which is what Sydney is already using. 400 kHz between high-powered stations is probably too close for lower quality radios and especially those with analogue tuning.


Thought so. Most of my radios are OK with having 400 kHZ. Cheap and nasty radios would struggle.


[quote=“tvcl, post:2165, topic:231, full:true”]

They do that in Auckland. Three high powered stations literally right next to each other that transmit from the same site so it can be done.

93.4 The Breeze
93.8 The Sound
94.2 The Edge


I thought 800k was the minimum spacing for combining txs into one antenna and therefore became the standard high power spacing. Perhaps Auckland use separate arrays or at least in that case 93.8 is separate but on the same site.


All on the same array on Sky Tower. The largest FM combiner in the world to my knowledge.

Slightly off topic regarding New Zealand, the TV3 analogue service in the Waikato region was on two frequencies right next to each other off the same site. NZ Ch9 and NZ Ch10. Ch9 was for South Waikato and Ch10 was for North Waikato. I suspect the reason for the two transmitters was because of interference issues from Auckland from C4, which was on NZ Ch9 up there.

Still, it’s impressive to see how they could put two analogue channels right next to each other and not have any interference between them.


In addition to being a good separation for poor quality radios, 800 kHz spacing is the most efficient use of the band. It allows adjacent areas to have high power stations half way in between at 400 kHz and the next most distant area to be 200 kHz way.

If the capital city stations were closer together there would be no frequency suitable for the adjacent areas . At 400 kHz separation adjacent areas couldn’t be placed just 200 kHz away without causing interference in both areas; at 600 kHz separation, there would be 2 frequencies just 200 kHz away that would be unusable and the mid point would be on an even frequency.


I’d be interested to hear if they made a suburban community dab network how the reception would be say hhh to northside radio then across to Ryde , to alive FM then across to the northern beaches radio using the same channel.


Also back in Brisbane this weekend.


If they were to be mostly on the one frequency, I think there would be too many cases of jammed signals (ie. signals canceling each other out resulting in no reception at all), particularly in those are on the fringes eg say at Turramurra for 2HHH Hornsby and 2NSB Chatswood.


It would be one channel. So you could hear hhh in chatswood on the same freq. The signal would be just repeated. 9D would be northern community, western Sydney community would be 9F etc.


I don’t think there is such a thing as a channel 9F?

Its 9A to 9D, and 10A to 10D etc as far as I know.

I think the ACMA wants to keep 10A to 10D for DVB-T2 (as it would need that entire bandwidth).


The 6, 7, 8, 11 & 12 blocks are of course, also out of bounds due to DVB-T in metropolitan markets. Doesn’t leave much room to allow for an expansion of DAB+ particularly in regional markets surrounding metropolitan areas.

If/when DAB+ is rolled out to more regional markets, I suspect the ABC/SBS multiplex might have to be same frequency used nationwide (which is actually a good idea if they can get it to work properly) with ABC Local Radio services being transmitted on a commercial/community multiplex.

You might even have the same DAB+ channel for commercial/region-wide community stations being allocated for Newcastle/Wollongong (how the Central Coast can fit into the equation, I’ve got no idea) and Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast similar to how there’s common DVB-T frequencies for those regions? Who knows how all that’d go as far as interference and fortuitous reception is concerned, especially during the warmer months of the year when temperature inversion is most likely to happen.


Yep. It’s very obvious however that the commercial radio lobby want that extra chunk signed over to them instead, to overcome the spectrum issues that DAB+ faces.

The problem for them is that VHF10 isn’t a clear channel - the block A TV unassigned channel varies depending on markets, it is used in Bathurst for example, which would likely make DAB+ usage in Sydney non-viable even if it wasn’t to be used for TV.

There was a technology floated in the planning papers for the regional rollout that local ABC services could use a ‘local window’ in the SFN to provide the correct ABC service for each region. In the papers outlining this technology, the main issue is ‘mush’ outside the intended reception area, but that would be fine if you weren’t trying to have an underlying common service that would be replaced by a local one.

For example, instead of Campbelltown, Lithgow and Katoomba getting unique blocks, an SFN not containing anything directly on it, but with the local services intended for the area inserted from the local SFN transmitters in the specific markets.

That would then create the opportunity to have other SFN infill sites within the Sydney region that would transmit various other community stations - without needing a whole multiplex assigned for them.

I don’t think that last bit would be at all likely - but I’d assume the combined multiplex for those commercial markets would be strongly considered - mostly to avoid Wollongong/Central Coast/Newcastle needing to co-channel on DAB.

Just to be pedantic, those are the 5, 6, 7, 11 and 12 blocks using the DAB channel numbers, which are based on the European VHF standards. The available channels are DAB 8A-9D, which are on Australian TV channels 9 and 9A.


I think I can conclude the restack of Sydney radio including the closing down of AM radio, using dab radio for suburban community radio to gain the space on the FM band (breaking Sydney into Sydney 3 smaller low power networks for which the suburban stations can share ie south, north and west) is a difficult task . This theory would give each community radio station a wider market as well to offset the disadvantage of no longer being on FM anymore. It would also maybe help dab radio to grow with some healthy competition even if it is just community radio.

But this is no where as simple as it seems as per the posts of others. I guess the slow decline of am radios being manufactured will be an interesting space to watch in the coming years (Despite the clear benefits of am radio). In 20 years from now it would if I had my trusty radio, how will Sydney radio and other Metro markets will be structured? Will dab radio be still around? Will 2gb be on the FM band? :slight_smile: Will AM radio still exist?