DAB Radio Reception

DAB Radio Reception

Postby DerekF on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 7:54 am

A bit of a mystery this one. I recently got a new car with a DAB radio installed. Now, my normal route to work is a few miles through the town then on to the motorway. In the mornings the DAB radio reception is poor and unlistenable - constant interruptions and long periods with no reception at all until I get a few miles down the M56 then it's fine all the way to work. When I come home at night, following almost exactly the same route, the radio reception is unbroken, all the way home. Why can I get decent reception in the evening 5.30pm sort time and not in the morning, 6:45am sort of time. It can't be daylight, not now. It doesn't seem to be weather dependent either. Anyone else had similar DAB radio reception problems?
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby speedbird2639 on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 8:18 am

My guess would be where ever the DAB aerial is installed in the car is shielded from the transmitter by the bodywork when travelling in one direction but not when returning in the opposite direction.

The trouble with DAB is that with digital media if the signal is too weak for the radio to decode it you get nothing as the signal goes off a 'cliff edge' - with the old fashioned FM/AM radio if the signal was poor you could often still listen to the programme but with increased level of noise.

I would suggest doing a search on DAB car forums to see if anyone else has had a similar experience with your model of car/ radio and failing that go to an audio specialist. They maybe able to resite the aerial or put a signal amplifier in the car to improve the signal to the radio.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Dan O'Hagan on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 8:59 am

My 4-Series has a DAB radio and I'd not be without it now. Reception is excellent, even in rural Norfolk. There are two blackspots on the drive from Cambridge - just before the A14 joins the A11 at Red Lodge, and again at Snetterton race circuit, but reception only drops for a couple of seconds. Suspect the aerial positioning is paramount, as I've driven rental cars with DAB in the same area and had far less consistent coverage.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Wrexham Mackem on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 9:14 am

Same here - 4-series - and its impeccable, but as Dan says I've found other cars I've spent time in its been hit and miss. A couple of cars ago Mrs WM had a Ford Kuga, and the DAB might as well have not been there, it could only get about three channels and that was intermittent.

When it works, its brilliant. 5 live in decent quality!
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby st24 on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 9:39 am

The only place I ever loose reception in the old Lexus is locally, when travelling around/through Cannock Chase, otherwise pretty much anywhere else in the country it's been pretty good. :music:
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby DerekF on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 10:09 am

Interesting about the direction. I'll try the reverse journey some day. The car is a three year old BMW 5 series so it should be a decent system. I'll try the trip in my wife's 18 month old VW Polo and see if the reception is any better.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby cg_341 on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 10:12 am

DAB is Polos is awful from my experience.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Adie1980 on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 10:21 am

Just bought a brand new Seat Ibiza with DAB and the coverage around the Dorset/Hampshire area is excellent in my experience so far (had it 3 weeks now), Planet Rock is the only station I've found that drops out occasionally (and then it does indeed "go off a cliff edge" as per Speedbird's description)
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby AlexC on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 11:09 am

DerekF wrote:Interesting about the direction. I'll try the reverse journey some day. The car is a three year old BMW 5 series so it should be a decent system. I'll try the trip in my wife's 18 month old VW Polo and see if the reception is any better.


My Polo is about the same age as your wife's car. I find the DAB reception generally OK with a few exceptions when I may switch to FM for a while.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby timuss on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 3:00 pm

I had a DAB radio installed in my car and i wasn't getting much reception if at all, but know i don't know if maybe DAB coverage has got better but i been having great coverage not many drop outs at all. I'm only using a basic stick on aerial which is positioned on the side of my windscreen.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Paul Waggett on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 5:27 pm

timuss wrote:I had a DAB radio installed in my car and i wasn't getting much reception if at all, but know i don't know if maybe DAB coverage has got better but i been having great coverage not many drop outs at all. I'm only using a basic stick on aerial which is positioned on the side of my windscreen.


The type of aerial on / in the car is key to DAB reception, by all accounts.

It needs to be a bee-sting type (or the bar type designed for windscreens) and 'tuned' for DAB. The shark fin type on BMW is not designed for DAB per se.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Thumper on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 6:14 pm

I was going to get a DAB radio in my new car as I had a brand new Renault Captur hire car for a few days and loved the DAB radio. However, I had that car in Hertfordshire and the DAB radio on my stereo system at home does not pick up many channels (rural Dorset), so I changed my mind about fitting a £300 unit to my car only for it to not work locally, particularly as Absolute 80's never works and that's the station I loved the most! Damn you Dorset and your many valleys!
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby cg_341 on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 6:17 pm

A powered pre-amp may help you, Thumper...
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby HeyfordDave111 on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 6:19 pm

Probably B.S. but I seem to remember something about DAB being very unsuccessful when launched because of the price of radios due to the bit rate used.

Something in the back of my game it was originally 128 and got lopped down to 64bit by , I think, the BBC who were investing heavily in the format. I think the bit rate may have something to do with it, but I've never had a DAB radio in a car that's worked properly.

Like I say, probably B.S., and I'd welcome being put straight on the matter.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Brevet Cable on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 8:17 pm

A lot of the stations are down around 60-80kbit/sec & broadcasting in mono.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Dan O'Hagan on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 10:34 pm

HeyfordDave111 wrote:Probably B.S. but I seem to remember something about DAB being very unsuccessful when launched because of the price of radios due to the bit rate used.

Something in the back of my game it was originally 128 and got lopped down to 64bit by , I think, the BBC who were investing heavily in the format. I think the bit rate may have something to do with it, but I've never had a DAB radio in a car that's worked properly.

Like I say, probably B.S., and I'd welcome being put straight on the matter.
Cheers
Dave


When it works, the quality of DAB is superb. I have a little Pure set in my office that is crystal clear and never suffers any drop-out. Sadly I think DAB is best-used in the home as the reception in many cars seems anecdotally hit-and-miss. God help us all when analogue is switched off...
Dan O'Hagan

Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby speedbird2639 on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 10:49 am

God help us all when analogue is switched off...


I thought the last thing I had read on this was they had put switching off the analogue on the back burner as the DAB take up had been well below what was expected and there had been a huge backlash due to people moaning about the quality, poor reception cost off buying new equipment when for most people FM is just fine etc.

@HeyfordDave111 - http://www.techradar.com/news/car-tech/why-dab-radio-in-the-uk-is-broken-and-how-to-fix-it-1217586 You are right - this article from a couple of years ago sheds some light on it. Using a tiny sampling rate on an old codec and broadcasting on mono when we've had stereo on FM for years. Other than freeing up the frequencies so they can flog them off to a mobile phone network I'm not sure where the advantage is.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Wrexham Mackem on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 1:17 pm

The advantage is sound quality. When DAB works its much better than FM in the car. I have crystal clear sound, certainly not mono. That said my radio listening is limited to Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 5 Live and very occasionally talksport, but they are all superb for me. I rarely if ever get drop outs. Like any receiving kit, quality probably varies with arial, tuner and where you are.

(I have a shark fin arial by the way so that can't be the problem in itself. I think they're just faired in bee-stings anyway)
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Alanko on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 1:30 pm

An interesting issue. It might be replicating the journey at the weekend, but leaving at a different time. Or, if the roads are quieter, leaving at the same time. This way you could rule out 1) there being a temporal aspect to the issue and 2) the issue arising from being in close proximity to other vehicles.

My girlfriend's father claims to get better digital reception when the main road near their house is busier.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby Thumper on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 9:21 pm

Hampshire Aviation wrote:A powered pre-amp may help you, Thumper...


Thanks HA, will pay Richer Sounds a visit in the week and give it a go as I do miss sitting down to the radio on a Sunday, have some stations on the TV but not the ones I want.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby DerekF on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 9:55 pm

Well that was interesting. This morning at about 10am I drove part of the route I normally take and had good unbroken reception in both directions. Later on however at about 1:30pm, I only went part of the way and reception on Radio 4, 6music and Radio X was broken and continully interrupted by poor reception - both ways - same as it is in the early morning. The only difference apart from the time was that it was raining this afternoon.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby stratocaster on Mon 20 Mar 2017, 8:49 am

Overlooking the fact that the signal from dab multiplexes are a square signal hence the burbling when reception is poor. Also it depends on the active antenna stuck to your screen (how much it amplifies the signal) and the multiplex power output of said signal. I've noticed that absolute80's has been poor since changing frequencies on the multiplex system. So I'd also take those reasons into consideration.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby HMS Seahawk on Mon 03 Apr 2017, 8:59 am

DAB radio works fine down in Cornwall on my 3 year old car except in a few valleys where the signal is lost briefly.
Interestingly I used to be able to get Absolute 80's radio without any problems but not any more. A while back you had to re-tune to continue receiving it.
I did this but am no longer able to pick up the station anywhere in the county, weird.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby DerekF on Tue 04 Apr 2017, 9:59 am

This morning- unbroken reception - weather dull overcast with drizzle. That must be what makes the difference to the signal strength.
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Re: DAB Radio Reception

Postby speedbird2639 on Tue 04 Apr 2017, 10:33 am

One of the reasons given on https://www.radioandtvhelp.co.uk/interference/rtis_radio/lost_DABradio is unusually high pressure. Overcast and drizzle would seem to indicate low pressure so maybe that is the problem here. A slightly better aerial or signal amplifier on the existing aerial would seem to be the suggested solution.
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