BBC mediumwave DRM tests reveal problems after dark

The BBC’s year-long test of digital mediumwave radio proved a hit during daylight hours but was a serious turn-off for its band of volunteer listeners after sunset.

The trial, held in the south-west of England with a frequency used by BBC Radio Devon and codenamed Project Mayflower, revealed that the area covered by the DRM signal was much bigger than the one covered by analogue AM.

Reception during daylight hours was good and most panellists rated the audio quality as comparable to FM, but not as good as DAB. However, at night there were serious problems with reception, with the signal breaking down entirely in some cases. The BBC said the problem could be solved, but would require it to replan its transmission network or build more powerful transmitters.