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In August 2021 it was decided by the Swiss authorities to switch-off FM by the end of 2024. The aim is to transmit radio in the future only digitally. However, listeners are interested only in the content, irrespective of whether it is broadcast as analogue or digital and still the majority of devices in use are FM receivers.

The Swiss OFCOM suggests to convert existing FM car radios to DAB+.

Basically, it should be said that the car radio is a safety component in the vehicle. The responsibility for this lies with the manufacturer and not with the user. Therefore, stay away from all conversion measures. I asked BMW in Geneva if they could change my old car to DAB+ reception and what such a thing would cost. The answer was clear: we don't do that. Apparently, there is no need for it at all. We were almost never asked this question.

DAB+ reception - with many supply holes in the landscape and questionable RF technical quality, especially in adapter solutions. What are the negative points of conversion or adapter installation? High to very high costs, profitable only for the younger old cars - no or very little integration and networking of the receiver with the car electronics (volume control on the steering wheel, voice control of the system, navigation function, etc. etc.). Unfashionable, impractical, not "sexy" and therefore for many people no reason to act. - in many cases a defaced dashboard with suboptimal (dangerous?) operating ergonomics or even a (dangerous) cable clutter during adapter installation. Active antennas (as often supplied with the adapter solutions) require a perfect RF mass. This means removing the cladding down to the sheet metal and scratching and contacting ground connection surfaces. In some cases, impossible or very dangerous because of the airbags installed there. - the RF frontends of many of these receivers are not designed for mobile reception with multipath reception but only for stationary in-house domestic reception Audio transport solutions from the adapter to the conventional FM radio via a micro FM transmitter are usually only MONO.

So, stay away from such conversion measures.

For years, every car radio has been able to play its own content. If you have read the user manual then you should know that traffic messages can still be received, which will then interrupt your own program. To do this, however, the radio must first be set up correctly. So, without reading the instructions for use, in most cases it does not work. Every car radio has had FM with RDS for over 30 years. All traffic announcements work above this. With radios with DAB+ this is the same and totally equivalent and not a bit better. If FM were switched off, millions of cars on Swiss roads would no longer receive traffic information. That would be totally chaotic. Swiss OFCOM seems to be totally incompetent in this area. How could they even propose such nonsense? These so-called "experts" cost the money of all taxpayers and they do not even act in the interests of the public. What a shame !

It is not too late to continue to protest loudly against all this. We have at least 1 1/2 years left. To this end, we should set up a working group which meets regularly. Where? Best in Bern. Then politicians can also be invited to the meetings. These meetings should end with a press conference. The press should be asked to find out why so few politicians are interested in this topic. Do they not understand the problem correctly?

We at the RDS Forum would be willing to actively support all Swiss with know-how. We know the Swiss approach to traffic information very well from our cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union. Here, in Switzerland, many things are better organized than in the neighboring countries. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that a reasonable solution can be found here soon and also one that would be affordable in the long term. So, let's get to work together soon. We should not despair of the incompetence of the OFCOM authority, and in the end we live in a democracy in which the well-being of all citizens should be a common goal.

Dietmar Kopitz.