Open and easy digital broadcasting techniques based on software radio - because digital radio transmission and development must also become democratized.
Broadcasting is sometime considered, by the new generations, as a dying media that will be soon completely superseeded by Internet. However it is a nice, efficient and green way to reach masses without intermediaries but just using radio spectrum directly (despite the fact that the use spectrum is subject to licence). For these reasons and apart from the big public or private broadcasters interests, it has still an interest for local communities. In particular, it offers anonymous listening and is free-to-air (no subscription needed) which is of importance in poor countries or where freedom of information does not apply.
In radio, Analog transmission using AM, FM is still very popular but may be replaced in the future by digital techniques such as DAB, DAB+, T-DMB, DRM30 (Digital Radio Mondiale, for LW, MW and SW) or DRM+ (for VHF). In television, analog transmission using NTSC, PAL or SECAM is being stopped worldwide and replaced by ATSC, ISDB-T, DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-H (for mobile) or other digital satellite or cable transmission techniques.
Transmitting using these technologies usually requires complex and costly equipment out of reach of individuals. However, since the democratization of software defined radio (SDR), a new field of possibilities opens for experimentation, micro networks, etc. In the longer term also if software based radio become also democratized in common receivers, it could even be possible to develop personalized broadccasting system based on free/open technologies for example. The combination of personal (Internet,..) networks and broadcast also offer interesting possibilities (see IMDA and RadioDNS).
So this website will focus on tips, tricks and techniques to produce and receive digital broadcast signals. Most of the content is based on development from research centers, groups or individuals that did the "real work". The objective of this website is to follow developments, integrate them and show applications.
- Demonstration of open source digital transmission chain at IBC, Stand 10.D21 (EBU), 10-14 September 2010
- First licensed open dab transmission for Label Suisse Festival 17-19 September 2010 Lausanne. Live transmission of 8 channels DAB multiplex. Another step in the democratization of digital radio ! !
- CRC announced the release of the source code (GPL) of their software DAB OFDM modulator
- CCC Workshop on digital radio and software radio.
DAB, DAB+ and T-DMB transmission
DAB, DAB+ and T-DMB European digital radio and mobile television standards share the same transmission system. It based on OFDM modulation and use 1.5MHz of spectrum in VHF television band 3 (or L-band in SHF). A transmitter is broadcasting a set of programs, called a multiplex. The system has been designed for mobile use and is robust up to 300km/h.
With the development of MMBTools set made by CRC, it is now possible to run a full transmission infrastructure on a laptop running linux and using a USRP as RF hardware (with gnuradio) or any other similar device.
The transmission chain can be divided in 4:
- The encoding: encoding the sound to MPEG-2 Layer II for DAB, MPEG-4 HE-AACv2 for DAB+ or video in MPEG-4 H.264 for T-DMB.
- The Multiplexer: gather different streams, produce necessary signalling and output a single 2Mbit/s stream in ETI format (Ensemble Transport Interface)
- The Modulator: take the ETI stream and produce the complex baseband OFDM signal ready for upconvert at the desired radio frequency.
- The RF transmission performed by the USRP using appropriate RF daughterboards (Basic TX or modified RFX400).
However thank to the modular approach from these tools it is possible to interface it with other implementations. If there's no other software OFDM DAB modulator implementation at the moment, for the encoding it is possible to re-use TooLame that is an implementation of MPEG-2 Layer II.
- Example of live re-transmission on DAB of an Internet Radio radio station
- Example of live re-broadcasting on DAB of many Internet radio stations
- Example of the creation of a multiplex stream of 2 DAB stations
- Example of the creation of a DAB+ transmission
Info pages on tools
- CRC-DabMux DAB/DAB+/T-DMB multiplexer
- CRC-DabMod DAB modulator
- CRC-Dwap.py baseband player for USRP1
- Band 3 baseband player another band 3 baseband player compatible with recent gnuradio and ubuntu distributions
- toolame MPEG-Layer II encoder
All questions and enquiries on MMBtools should be done directly on their forum
- DAB-EPG API from Global Radio Labs
Find in this section some hardware experiment done with USRP RF front end like daughterboards or external devices (filters, power amplifiers).
The following Ettus daughterboards can be used for transmission in VHF band III:
- Example of RF amplifier for DAB for VHF band III (never connect to an antenna without a license !)
- RFX400 daughterboard modification to operate in VHF Band III (around 200MHz)
- WBX daughterboard wide band coverage
- DAB in L Band test with the WBX daughterboard
- Filter to kill harmonics
- Carrier Shaping Mask
- Antenna for digital radio broadcasting
Despite the fact that FM is an analog technology, it is possible to generate it using software defined radio with enhanced possibilities such as simultaneous transmission of many FM stations.
- Simple FM transmitter using gnuradio
- Stereo FM transmitter using gnuradio
- FM transmission on many channels using gnuradio
- Multiple stations FM transmitter using gnuradio
Open DAB/DAB+/T-DMB software receiver
Software defined DAB receiver (up to logical layer)
- Gnuradio DAB constellation using gr-dab and USRP
- Gnuradio blocks for DAB reception (developments from Andreas Mueller, ETHZ)
Software defined DAB receiver (from logical layer up to application layer).
Open Receiver project from CRC using RDI streams from DAB baseband receivers/decoders.
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM30, DRM+)
Spark free (but not free software) DRM30/DRM+ (also FM and AM) transmitter that supports direct USRP RF output.
Other crazy techniques
Transmission using a VGA card D/A converter as transmitter !