ATDI lead engineer Simon Parsons in The Seychelles
Here in The Seychelles, it’s 2500 miles to the nearest other landmass, so cross-border interference is not an issue. The crowded bands of Europe are a distant nightmare although you can perhaps detect it in the regulations that the Seychelles still conform to even if it doesn’t really make a lot of difference. They do it because it’s the right thing to do, which is exactly what one would expect from a proper regulator.
In keeping with the holiday image of the Seychelles, the radio spectrum is the opposite of what we all know in Europe. In my natural environment, radio regulators and planners work hard to ensure that almost everybody has access to all the services they want. Equipment standards squeeze the last ounce of performance from filters, and interference limited planning is commonplace. In the Seychelles, the beaches are empty and endless, and the radio spectrum is pretty-much the same. Of course, the beaches are clean and beautiful because lots of people work hard to keep them that way. The same goes for the radio spectrum, although far fewer people are involved. Getting it wrong is just as dangerous here as it is back in cold, dark Europe. 30C and sunny here, folks.
The starting point is rather interesting. Radio in the Seychelles has gone from almost nothing to mobile phones in one jump. Before mobile phones there was almost no two-way radio and there was no FM radio in the country until relatively recently. Now, there is still very little two-way radio (although it’s increasingly recognised that it has advantages over mobile phones for some applications), and the Seychelles have 3G/4G to rival other countries. They also have several local FM broadcasters, all of which are available on Internet Radio if you’re interested. If you have an Amazon Echo, try asking Alexa to “Play Pure FM Seychelles” or “Play K Radio”. Other AI-based media devices are available and probably work in the same way. To my ears it’s a better listen than many UK broadcasters can manage.
What for the Seychelles in the future? Well, it’s obvious that they’re managing to do The Right Thing and broadcasting is an evolving market. They certainly have plenty of scope for widening the FM services available. The present offerings are very similar and with a recent new entrant for younger people the FM scene is going to be interesting. They might think that a radio station aimed at tourists would be good. That lovely harbour looks to me like it needs an ex-Ross Fisheries Trawler with a very tall mast on it hosting a locally run tourist FM station perhaps capitalising on a Pirate theme. I’m a bit of a broadcasting Anorak, so that’s just my biased view. What’s yours?
*The View From Here is a regular series in which ATDI engineers will discuss some of the more interesting radio markets they see during their work across the world.