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A computational method allowing the calculation of bit error rate in the presence of filtering and some other impairments is described for 16 QAM modulation; a breadboard working at a bit rate of 140 Mbits/s has been implemented and experimental results are compared with calculated values. The possible use of this modulation type for a high capacity digital radio-relay system is considered. Some parameters are introduced for this purpose, especially the net fade margin parameter. In the case of the 140 Mbit/s system in the 10.7-11.7 GHz frequency band, 4 PSK and 8 PSK modulation types are compared with 16 QAM. System gain, frequency arrangement, nodal capacity and outage performances are evaluated.