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Having been to two sites this year where FM was very poor or non existent but TV was OK.  

 

Has anybody replaced their FM radios with DAB, if so how did they go about it please.

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I usually find that if FM is very poor then it's unlikely that DAB will be any better, I've got a portable Roberts DAB radio, the car has a DAB radio and the van has one as well and I can assure you that the availability of DAB is a lot less than FM. It's usually fairly OK near centres of population but a lot less reliable when out in the country.  

 

I get a lot more dropouts when driving around when I Iisten to DAB in the car and if FM doesn't work then generally DAB is also non existent. I live about 10 miles north of ELY in Cambridgeshire and DAB is generally rubbish, FM is just about OK but only for the main services from the BBC but most of the other stuff is very iffy.

 

You could try the postcode checker, but DAB doesn't work where I live despite what it predicts and the land is nearly as flat as it can be out in the fens.

Edited by matelodave
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We have DAB portables on both the boat and van, mostly works well. If we don't have DAB signal we stream radio through one of our phones to a Bluetooth speaker. So far we always have one or the other.

 

 

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We have a Pioneer DAB radio in the caravan and we are very lucky if it works most times.   Does not work at all on the continent.   So much for modern technology!  We are going to replace it with an analogue radio with a CD player.

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13 hours ago, matelodave said:

. ... I can assure you that the availability of DAB is a lot less than FM. .... 

 

That's my experience too, recent figures discussed on BBC radio suggest that DAB listening has just exceeded 50% for the first time and has focused thoughts on turning off FM transmissions in the future. I hope that decision is many years away because DAB delivery just isn't adequate in far too many locations. I have two Roberts DAB radios and found that reception in the leafy suburbs of  south Manchester was just not up to it.  

 

If TV reception is OK then I'd look at listening to radio via freeview.  

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Specific caravan sites might help identify why, but DAB is unlikely to work if FM doesn't in the locations you use. .. 

 

Some of the DAB and FM stations will be available on Freeview Lite transmitters.   Many more from main transmitter sites or via digital satellite.    A connection to caravan radio aux in from a TV or set top box would work better for the odd sites where FM is poor?  {Or try a portable DAB/FM radio from home if you have one?}  Streaming is another option but do consider how its data use may affect your costs.

 

Fit a DAB radio and it would be wise to fit a proper DAB antenna to the caravan (and maybe FM/AM, too);  the Status aerial is not ideally matched to VHF or DAB frequencies, doesn't work for AM and is probably 'wrong polarisation' in most locations.   Splitting an existing FM/AM antenna to feed both inputs will lose part of the signal - more than half in most cases, and FM antennas aren't optimised  for DAB frequency reception either.

 

NB  DAB should/will work on the Continent. .. it just depends on which bits people visit.   https://www. worlddab. org/country-information

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Rodders53 said:

 

Fit a DAB radio and it would be wise to fit a proper DAB antenna to the caravan

 

What is a DAB aerial as any piece of conductive wire should give the same results?

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2 hours ago, Durbanite said:

We have a Pioneer DAB radio in the caravan and we are very lucky if it works most times.   Does not work at all on the continent.   So much for modern technology!  We are going to replace it with an analogue radio with a CD player.

Many continental countries use DAB+ rather than the inferior DAB that the UK uses.

Unless your radio is DAB+ compatible you won't get It To work in those countries.  

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11 hours ago, Durbanite said:

What is a DAB aerial as any piece of conductive wire should give the same results?

Aerials or antennae are "tuned" to specific frequencies, so getting one that is the correct length and impedance will help you get better reception than just any old piece of wire especially if you are in a marginal area.

 

Perhaps a peruse of this will enhance your understanding http://www. aerialsandtv. com/fmanddabradio. html

Edited by matelodave
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11 hours ago, Rodders53 said:

Specific caravan sites might help identify why, but DAB is unlikely to work if FM doesn't in the locations you use. .. 

 

Some of the DAB and FM stations will be available on Freeview Lite transmitters.   Many more from main transmitter sites or via digital satellite.    A connection to caravan radio aux in from a TV or set top box would work better for the odd sites where FM is poor?  {Or try a portable DAB/FM radio from home if you have one?}  Streaming is another option but do consider how its data use may affect your costs.

 

Fit a DAB radio and it would be wise to fit a proper DAB antenna to the caravan (and maybe FM/AM, too);  the Status aerial is not ideally matched to VHF or DAB frequencies, doesn't work for AM and is probably 'wrong polarisation' in most locations.   Splitting an existing FM/AM antenna to feed both inputs will lose part of the signal - more than half in most cases, and FM antennas aren't optimised  for DAB frequency reception either.

 

NB  DAB should/will work on the Continent. .. it just depends on which bits people visit.   https://www. worlddab. org/country-information

 

 

 

To clarify I think you mean a Status directional TV aerial, not the radio aerial that Status (as Vision) also make. Mind you that won't work either as its amplifier only covers FM and AM bands, not (yet?) DAB.

Per the 'optimisation' of FM aerials for DAB, given that the DAB frequencies are roughly twice those of FM the aerial will likely work quite well on DAB - it does on my caravan.

 

10 hours ago, bspks said:

Many continental countries use DAB+ rather than the inferior DAB that the UK uses.

Unless your radio is DAB+ compatible you won't get It To work in those countries.  

 

I would rephrase that. Where DAB is available in Europe it is ONLY in the DAB+ format - some places like France, Belgium, and parts of Germany had the Mk1 version that we still have in the UK but either switched it off and started over with DAB+ or simply dropped it altogether.

 

24 minutes ago, matelodave said:

Aerials or antennae are "tuned" to specific frequencies, so getting one that is the correct length and impedance will help you get better reception than just any old piece of wire especially if you are in a marginal area.

 

Perhaps a peruse of this will enhance your understanding http://www. aerialsandtv. com/fmanddabradio. html

 

Come on Dave, having been in the industry you should know better. Aerials for reception will only mismatch and cause problems if they have gain, i. e. are of yagi construction. A single whip aerial - provided it is longer than about ¼ wavelength at the highest required frequency - will work perfectly well on a receiver as car radios (which is what we are talking about here) now use high impedence  aerial inputs so as to avoid the old-fashioned and dreaded tuning required on the aerial input when the radio is fitted. One of the best original fit car aerials I ever had was a single fibre-glass rod about 30" long fitted above the windscreen on a Citroen. Prior to that we had two-way (lo-band) radios (aerial about 38" long) with a car radio interface in line. The car radio would receive French FM not much south of Dartford en route Dover.

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10 hours ago, matelodave said:

Aerials or antennae are "tuned" to specific frequencies, so getting one that is the correct length and impedance will help you get better reception than just any old piece of wire especially if you are in a marginal area.

 

Perhaps a peruse of this will enhance your understanding http://www. aerialsandtv. com/fmanddabradio. html

Thanks I am aware of the above however as far as I am aware there is no such thing as a DAB aerial?  It is a marketing con.

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3 hours ago, Durbanite said:

Thanks I am aware of the above however as far as I am aware there is no such thing as a DAB aerial?  It is a marketing con.

 

Well, there is such thing as a DAB or DAB compatible aerial if it has an amplifier on board as these are usually band filtered to stop them being overloaded by other irrelevant signals.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Woodentop said:

 

To clarify I think you mean a Status directional TV aerial, not the radio aerial that Status (as Vision) also make. Mind you that won't work either as its amplifier only covers FM and AM bands, not (yet?) DAB.

Per the 'optimisation' of FM aerials for DAB, given that the DAB frequencies are roughly twice those of FM the aerial will likely work quite well on DAB - it does on my caravan.

 

 

I would rephrase that. Where DAB is available in Europe it is ONLY in the DAB+ format - some places like France, Belgium, and parts of Germany had the Mk1 version that we still have in the UK but either switched it off and started over with DAB+ or simply dropped it altogether.

 

 

Come on Dave, having been in the industry you should know better. Aerials for reception will only mismatch and cause problems if they have gain, i. e. are of yagi construction. A single whip aerial - provided it is longer than about ¼ wavelength at the highest required frequency - will work perfectly well on a receiver as car radios (which is what we are talking about here) now use high impedence  aerial inputs so as to avoid the old-fashioned and dreaded tuning required on the aerial input when the radio is fitted. One of the best original fit car aerials I ever had was a single fibre-glass rod about 30" long fitted above the windscreen on a Citroen. Prior to that we had two-way (lo-band) radios (aerial about 38" long) with a car radio interface in line. The car radio would receive French FM not much south of Dartford en route Dover.

I could rephrase it,  and I am aware, I was just trying to simplify the reply, as it is now irrelevant as to whether a country initially had DAB and then changed to DAB +, it is what they'e got now that will affect reception.  

 

On the point about Status directional aerials, if you've got one with the 2 extendable rods at the back, for VHF reception, then they would work, as DAB is broadcast on VHF channel 12, the only issue is that, here at least, it's broadcast with vertical polarisation, so unless you've got one on a very long pole, you won't be able to extend the lower rod.

 

Edited by bspks
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Thank you gentlemen, I have learned a lot from your reply's and will ponder my next move.  

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Another way to solve the problem.

Here at Killigruer-site full-22C for 10 days now-25C today-There is no FM -DAB  BBC Radio Scotland-in Scotland terestial TV is from Ireland ok if you like the Irish offering.

However there is satellite reception and with a £26 60cm sky dish quad LNB twin cable and Humax twin tune freesat receiver Iget 78 TV channels and more DAB radio than you can shake a stick at.

You must consider DAB reception for the sites you intend to visit.

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1 hour ago, ancell said:

However there is satellite reception and with a £26 60cm sky dish quad LNB twin cable and Humax twin tune freesat receiver Iget 78 TV channels and more DAB radio than you can shake a stick at.

 

78 TV channels??

Last time i did a Freesat scan (yesterday), there were about 150 tv channels!

So something not quite right there. ..unless your Sky 60cm dish is too small for where you are and you need the next size up for better signals?

That is assuming you want the missing channels. ...

 

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3 hours ago, ancell said:

Another way to solve the problem.

Here at Killigruer-site full-22C for 10 days now-25C today-There is no FM -DAB  BBC Radio Scotland-in Scotland terestial TV is from Ireland ok if you like the Irish offering.

However there is satellite reception and with a £26 60cm sky dish quad LNB twin cable and Humax twin tune freesat receiver Iget 78 TV channels and more DAB radio than you can shake a stick at.

You must consider DAB reception for the sites you intend to visit.

 

You don't get DAB on satellite, just radio. It gets into the system by various means but certainly not through DAB - thankfully!

 

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You get all the DAB radio channels that interest me ie BBC everything on DAB.

I do realise that you need a dish for satellite and an aerial for DAB though.

On the ear both sound the same😀

 

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Can anyone tell me as a non radio geek, what is the purpose of changing from FM to DAB. I like radio at times but I’m not a perfectionist and simply want to listen to a bit of BBC Radio4 or Classic FM. Our old Roberts portable is about worn out but I think I would just buy another the same. We listen to our music collection stored on the phone via a Bose Blue tooth speaker. So, what is the benefit of DAB for someone like us?

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10 hours ago, Ern said:

Can anyone tell me as a non radio geek, what is the purpose of changing from FM to DAB. I like radio at times but I’m not a perfectionist and simply want to listen to a bit of BBC Radio4 or Classic FM. Our old Roberts portable is about worn out but I think I would just buy another the same. We listen to our music collection stored on the phone via a Bose Blue tooth speaker. So, what is the benefit of DAB for someone like us?

If you can receive DAB the choice of programs is greater and the sound quality is better.

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14 minutes ago, nilrem77 said:

If you can receive DAB the choice of programs is greater and the sound quality is better.

 

The choice of programs is greater - provided in the main you prefer pop music of various forms - but the quality is most certainly NOT better.   On the other hand DAB+ of which about four or five national stations use is better or can be potentially so.

Without going into too much detail, on DAB CD quality requires a data rate of 320Kb/s (kilo bits per second)  - which was what Germany used at the start. When the BBC started they used 192Kb for R3 and 192Kb then later 160Kb for all other BBC national stations. Under pressure from the 'broadcasters' OfCom agreed to allow 128Kb as the standard so every broadcaster dropped PDQ. The lowest is now 112Kb but only a few go even that low. Even R3 runs at 128 during rush hours but 160 for the rest of the day.

To put this in context, DAB uses mp2 as its core system: most people listening to personal players/phones etc will be using mp3 at 128Kb and mp3 is an order better than mp2 but still not good although mp3 at 192Kb or higher does approach CD quality for most purposes. DAB+ uses a technology known as aac+ which was developed by Sony - it is very similar to and compatible with mp4 (or m4a) as used by Apple.  (mp2 was designed in the late 80's, mps3 was developed in the late 90s, aac+ came along about  12 years ago.) The difference with aac+ is that you can get the same quality as 192Kb mp2 or 128Kb mp3 at 64Kb or a little higher using aac+.

As broadcasters pay by the data rate you can see where we are going. DAB+ will take over perhaps in about 5 years or so as it will mean owners and users (still) of the original DAB only radios will have to buy new. Most new radios in the last three or four years are DAB and DAB+ but as the technologies are different DAB will not play DAB+.

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Now I am lost so I'll stick to FM, so much easier to understand. I have an On/Off button and that controls it!

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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6 minutes ago, WispMan said:

Now I am lost so I'll stick to FM, so much easier to understand. I have an On/Off button and that controls it!

I was lost to begin with too, but now I’m e en loster! Na not really. John Humphries’ voice sounds rough in the mornings and he is quite irritating at times. Now if DAB could improve those things I might be tempted.

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4 hours ago, Woodentop said:

Even R3 runs at 128 during rush hours but 160 for the rest of the day.

You sure?  Link to the source for that please.   It used to be 160 only when there was a requirement for extra BBC services and 192 otherwise.    There was much listener displeasure at 160!

 

Drivetime: audio compression (Optimod) is (or was when I was working @ BBC) added in and dropped off via presets on the processors at BH to make R3 more audible over the commute in cars etc. ,.  (Also a source of listener complaint).

 

Now they'll be directed to the iPlayer internet stream using AAC+  at 320kbit/s.   That is arguably better quality than  linear Nicam PCM via FM radio (and whatever they've replaced it with since my departure).

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Just found this web site which seems to explain it rather well and in simpler terms than anything I have seen elsewhere.

If you click on Freesat it also gives the data rates on satellite which shows satellite sourced radio is better than DAB and in most cases than FM as well.

 

https://www. astra2sat. com/radio/

 

I take Rodders' point and I stand corrected - confusion (senior moment) between data rates and Optimod (which IMO is heavily overused by Classic for the record.) However the bit about 112Kb as the minimum data rate is correct AFAIAA.

 

As Rodders suggests I too would recommend anyone who has the capability to listen to the so-called HD transmissions of BBCR3 on iPlayer. It has to be heard to be believed! IMSMC they broadcast several of last year's Proms by this method - the realism (having been to the RAH a few times) was staggering. This link from last year explains a bit about it in BBC-speak.

 

https://www. bbc. co. uk/rd/blog/2017-04-radio-3-high-quality-flac-dash

 

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