[A-DX] Betrieb von LPAMs in den Niederlanden

Reinhard Klein-Arendt
Mo Jun 22 10:47:23 CEST 2020

Hallo alle,

folgende Mail erhielt ich von René, dem Betreiber der niederländischen 
LPAM-Station "Album AM" auf 846 kHz. Die Mail beleuchtet sehr eingehend 
die Schwierigkeiten und Nöte, die sich aus dem geplanten Betrieb einer 
legalen Rundfunkstation in den Niederlanden ergeben [das angehängte 
Dokument, das er im Text erwähnt, habe ich rausgelassen]. Das ist 
gewissermaßen die niederländische Variante zum Thema Lizenzierung und 
Aufbau einer Station in Deutschland, das wir vor ein paar Tagen in der 
Liste hatten.

Beste 73


The laws are VERY restricted too over here, maybe the difference is that 
we had free radio pirates in the North sea and many in the northern and 
eastern parts of the country. Because the voices were so loud to 
legalise this (fine € 45.000,- and confiscation of all the gear), that 
the government started a pilot in 2016 and finalized it in 2019. Because 
also free radio stations are present on FM, they will start a pilot 
local LPFM shortly. Already about 10 LPAM stations got a (LP)DAB+ 
license which is of course very expensive, this is also an option.
A very restricted law because the Telecom Authority (AT) sticks to the 
Genève agreements from 1975!! This means strictly 4,5 kHz audio max. and 
9,0 kHz bandwidth, ridiculous because the AM band is much quieter than 
in 1975 and the British Ofcom allows even 7,5 kHz audio (Radio Caroline, 
Absolute Radio etc.).

You mention free frequencies but unlucky for us, everything is 
restricted to the extreme ☹. To make everything clear, the 13 AM 
frequencies our government owned back in 1975 are free for LPAM. 
BUT…also only to be obtained when you live within the contour of the 
original Dutch broadcast transmitter area! Study the interesting 
attachment, the big three high power transmitters 675, 747 and 1008 kHz 
are to be applied in (nearly) the whole of the Netherlands to 50/100 W 
pep LPAM stations. 1485 kHz (#14) is not in this document, this 
frequency is only for test purposes with 1 W pep and applicable 
everywhere in The Netherlands. The other 10 frequencies have a (much) 
smaller contour because the broadcast stations which long ago where 
transmitting on these frequencies were much weaker, 20 kW (1251 kHz) all 
the way down to 0,5 kW (1116 kHz). This is the reason you see tiny 
contour frequencies like 1116 kHz, only to be granted in Bloemendaal 
near the coast and only 25 km or so around this village. Till now nobody 
applied for this frequency. Unbelievable because Extra AM Amsterdam 
could get this frequency exclusively and is now transmitting on 1332 kHz 
with interference of other LPAM stations om 1332 kHz you see in this 
list always up to date list https://www.radio-tv-nederland.nl/am/am.html 
. 1566 kHz maybe will be the last #25 LPAM frequency one day, this 
frequency is the last broadcast station in The Netherlands, a 1 kW 
Hindustanic radiostation from The Hague. Their license will expire on 1 
September 2022, let’s wait and see what happens.
Also extremely strict and ridiculous is the separation distance between 
LPAM stations according to the power. The government doesn’t look at 
ground wave propagation versus wavelength and ground propagation (dune 
sand, sand, clay etc.). These parameters are VERY important, when you 
are allowed to transmit at 675 kHz and you are on wet ground, it is easy 
to obtain a range of 125 km or more, somebody else on 1602 kHz on the 
beach will not even reach 25 km with the same power! Although these 
parameters are made already in the 30’s of the last century, they still 
are accurate but for the government the separation is the only thing 
that matters!? Even so extreme, when you are 100 m short on 60 km, you 
will not get the license, insane!!

There are 3 power settings allowed:
1W pep exclusively on 1485 kHz, the separation between the stations has 
to be 5 km or more.
50W pep on all other 13 frequencies, you have to be located within the 
right contour for that particular frequency, the separation to another 
station on the same frequency is 50~60 km.
100 W pep is like 50 W pep but the separation to another station on the 
same frequency must be 60 km or more.

Apart from this, the same rules are applicable for the “new” NIB 
frequencies. The new frequencies are “borrowed” from surrounding 
countries, NIB means “non interfering base”. This means that if a 
surrounding country wants the frequency back or you are to be heard in 
this country (not important if this frequency is used) you have to 
cancel your operation! My 846 kHz is one of these new frequencies. An 
example could be that Milan on 900 kHz experience interference from an 
LPAM NIB station on 900 kHz. Of course this will not happen, the LPAM 
station is a mere 100 W pep, Milan is 50 kW ERP.

Now you understand that I applied for 1251 kHz, it is an original Dutch 
frequency and when you check the contour lines, Uden is in the middle of 
the top part of the contour. That means, another LPAM station has to be 
located 50 km or more from Uden but the distance to the borders of the 
contour, the line Tiel/Tilburg, the river Maas, the Belgium and the 
German border, are all less than 50 km. That means that nobody can apply 
any more on this frequency which is nice. The only thing that can 
happen, as you can see, the contour also goes all the way down in our 
province South Limburg so somebody can still apply for 1251 kHz but has 
to be situated under Venlo (50 km or more). Under Venlo nobody is 
interested in LPAM of SDR so I guess that I’m safe for the future. The 
only problem I explained is the ground wave of this 48% higher (than 
846) frequency. The los scan be 8 dB @ 100 km distance, because of the 
smaller antenna (less loss) it probably still will be 6 dB and that is a 
shame fort he coverage!

Last, the costs. Our Telecom Agency (AT) wants € 156,- for the 
application (5 year term) and € 437,- every year for “enforcement”. The 
CvdM, this is the agency which checks if your station name, in my case 
Album AM, is already taken. I have to pay a ridiculous amount of € 
216,95 for 12/7 operation or double for 24/7 operation every year, of 
course I paid for 12/7 (they don’t even now what AM is so a few hours so 
now and then is no problem 😊). Then SENA, these are the song writers, 
first they want € 2.500,- a year but this is ridiculous for the handful 
of listeners, now it costs € 250,- a year after protest. Then the 
Buma/Stemra, these are the record label companies. This is the only 
decent club, they estimate the amount of potential listeners so for 
Amsterdam you maybe have to pay € 2.500,- and for a village like Uden I 
pay € 75,- a year. Al in all I have to pay around € 1.000,- for one 
frequency, a second frequency is “only” the extra AT costs which is € 
437,- + € 156,- / 5 =  € 468,20 every year. Then of course indexation, 
every year you have to pay around +2,5% more (but my salary stays the 
same…). When you want to send a news bulletin…extra costs. When you want 
an internet stream…extra costs. When you want to send commercials…extra 
costs and so on.

Now you understand that this can be barely called a hobby, I only have 
to pay € 42,- a year for 400 W pep for my radio amateur license for 10? 
frequency bands and thousands of frequencies!

The LPAM and future LPFM licenses are bringing big money in the pockets 
of the government (to send to the EU ☹), the costs are in no comparison 
with the amount of listeners. People jounger than 35 years don’t even 
know what AM is. When you explain they laugh, who wants to listen to 
dull, mono audio with interference, hum and noise!? You can’t find my 
station on the internet, not on a modern radio in the car or portable 
radio (only FM/DAB+, thanks to the EU) or radio/tv attached to cable or 
fibre. So only the old(er) listener with an old portable world receiver 
or car radio will be able to listen when you are lucky, in average 0 ~ 3 

All of the above explains that other frequencies then the 24 given 
(1485, the 13 old Dutch frequencies and the 10 NIB frequencies) are no 
option. The Belgium 1512 kHz is perfect, even better the 1494 from Malta 
and more jewels are to be found on AM but no way to get these, the good 
1440 kHz went to Denmark.

A free radio station has it simple and perfect, choose a free frequency 
in the range of 1611 ~ 1680 kHz and with an also illegal 1 kW carrier 
transmitter you can be heard all over Europe, experience yourself on 
various SDR’s at night. Costs…ZERO…the chance of being caught is 
practically zero like on SW, they only home in on FM pirates these days.