All DAB advice needed please

Alan Morgan

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E51 Owner
#21
HI @Phil - I'm interested in your earlier comment -
....At the moment the aerial's chucked on the floor & it's working round town with air con on (no interference yet)
I'm suffering occasional interference on my HU - I've yet to investigate the source but tell me more about your AC interference please or where you just commenting on what was said in the manual (above)?

And Amazon UK are currently out of stock - look like you've started a run on them:)
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#22
Hi @Alan Morgan - yes I was only referring to the manual warning about possible interference while air con & wipers were on if the the aerial wasn't fixed to their instructions. Perhaps we're just lucky enough to be in a good signal area.

And Amazon UK are currently out of stock - look like you've started a run on them:)
Oops, I hope nobody's bought one on my say so, I haven't tested it properly yet ;)

I thought it might be worth a gamble at the price though, so we'll see how it goes. :)
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#23
First bit of interference yesterday picking my daughter up from horse riding out in the sticks. Don't know the technical term but I call it "squelch".
And if that's not a technical term it should be :laughing:. The aerial is still loose on the floor.

Anyway I just pushed the knob to switch from radio to music from sd card. And now if I want to play with the aerial to try & improve reception, I know where to go.
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#24
That’s promising, have you had a chance to test the bt phone and music streaming yet? (I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list) ;)
I haven't tested it on the go yet but it's working fine set up in the house - will let you know more when I get it back in the car.

Just noticed they've dropped the price the tw*ts - only by a pound though :laughing:
 

Alan Morgan

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E51 Owner
#26
So, being wide wake early today, I've been reading up on DAB+
  • As you can imagine, there's a fair bit of info on this technology and I started with this wiki info here
  • You can see what DAB/DAB+ stations you are likely to receive at your post code by using this checker here
  • In the UK there is debate on whether DAB+ should superceed DAB with the latter being done away with in some countries but not as yet in the UK.
  • If you only have a DAB receiver it will not work on DAB+
  • FM stations will eventually go - the switching off of FM radio in the UK should have started about now but because the coverage criteria for DAB/DAB+ has yet to be achieved, the program of cessation (of FM) has been postponed for several years
  • So to be on the safe side, don't buy a DAB only receiver - make sure it has DAB and DAB+
  • I have a Pumpkin HU and Pumpkin sell a DAB+ adapter on Amazon but it is not clear if it is also DAB: this is important to know as according to the wiki, DAB is in more widespread use in the UK than DAB+ - and the Pumpkin unit gets mixed user feedback
The DAB/DAB+ aerials supplied with car radio kits look, well, a bit clunky so I'm interested to see how @Phil gets on with his. I've yet to investigate external aerials but personally I think I'd be happier to have an external one rather than something on the windscreen - we'll see!

I have recently noticed poorer quality FM on my previously excellent Honda car radio. I did read some time ago somewhere (but can't find where) that for economy reasons, the companies operating the radio transmitter stations might reduce power to the FM side to boost the DAB side, and given that there is a real push to improve DAB in the UK, I'm wondering if this is what's happening?

Anyone else noticed their FM services being less than they were?
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#27
Sorry Alan, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't got it back in the car yet. Everytime I think I've got a spare couple of hours to have a play, the wife seems to need the car.

I've used the checker you've linked to above & it seems I am in a good reception area as I receive those stations with the aerial loose on the floor.

Because of all the cables associated with the DAB/DAB+ unit, my mini bose speaker, phone, sat nav etc. I am looking at ways to get a tidy install before I decide what to do with the aerial.

Pity you don't live a bit closer as you would be welcome to take the DAB away for a week or so to have a play.

I'll post back soon hopefully with any updates.
 

Alan Morgan

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Premium Member
E51 Owner
#28
...........

Because of all the cables associated with the DAB/DAB+ unit, my mini bose speaker, phone, sat nav etc. I am looking at ways to get a tidy install before I decide what to do with the aerial.
Yes, that will be the challenge. I think I would favour the position I'm showing in the pic below - obviously some sort of home made bracket is needed but it's a good location that can be reached fairly well, doesn't obstruct the view through the windscreen and the cable can find their way into the A pillar.
temp.jpg
Pity you don't live a bit closer as you would be welcome to take the DAB away for a week or so to have a play.

I'll post back soon hopefully with any updates.
:(
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#29
Got to fit the aerial yesterday. As I've never fitted one before I had a flick through this video first & fitted it in the same place.


Back to the car today to test the dab unit. To quote @Baz L the reception was total "shite" - he's got a way with words :). Scanning only produced a handful of stations worth listening to.

I know the aerial works fine because it was great left on the floor of the car for a couple of weeks when I first had it. The only thing that can knacker up the install in my opinion is the flimsy copper strip that sticks to the metal behind the pillar & is awkward to stick properly. The rest of the aerial bits stick easily to the screen & then it's just a matter of running the cable.

I've got some copper slug tape left over from protecting my runner beans so I used some to extend the copper strip & stick it further up & down the metal behind the pillar. Bingo - it's all working again. I've got talksport & the wife can stop nagging me about free radio!

It's staying as it is for the winter now so proper testing begins. I've moved the cig lighter behind the storage drawer to hide the cables as much as possible - I'll post a few pics up this week when I've tidied them up a bit.
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#32
Have you tried switching the power on for your DAB antenna in your radio settings?

The default setting appears to be off...
is that for @Baz L s xtron unit Spencer ? Sounds like it's worth checking because it sounds like he's getting interference when on the move but ok when stationary.

The little unit I've got is ok on both.
 
Last edited:

Spencer Barratt

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E51 Owner
#34
The difference when I found it was night and day, without it I got patchy dab reception in town, almost zero reception in the countryside.

With it on, I only hit a few short black spots when in some valleys in the countryside.
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#35
Went for a drive just out in the sticks today & too much squelch & dropout for my liking so I wouldn't recommend this unit as a dab solution.

Just as a matter of interest when I was getting no dab service at all, I pulled over to check if my phone had a signal & that was showing 4g. So despite my attempts to avoid some parts of the 21st century & bollocking the kids for using their phones on mobile data when we've got a perfectly good infinity wi fi set up at home, I'm thinking of going down the increased mobile data route. Christ I'll be on bloody facebook next :(

The dab unit is fine locally & the sd card is handy to switch to if there's any interference so it will be fine for our use over the winter.

Next time I do the above journey I will set up personal hotspot on my phone & connect my tablet to it & play the same radio station via the internet app to see how it plays. On the way back I'll give "ok google" a try to play music from youtube etc. I've only got 500mb data on my plan at the moment so hopefully that will get me off the drive then I'll put me foot down to see how far it goes :)

The little bit of research I've done so far suggests 8gb monthly data allowance for daily use . Does this sound about right to you guys? Obviously I won't be watching videos while driving - just listening to internet radio & music & maybe sat nav use. But then the kids will want to connect to it though - perhaps I won't tell them ;)
 

Alan Morgan

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E51 Owner
#37
Total data consumption depends on the quality of the source being listened to (the bitrate).

At a bit rate of 128kb/s you'll use 56mb in an hour (give or take a tad) so @Phil Will blow his 500mb data allowance in under 10 hours.
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#38
Total data consumption depends on the quality of the source being listened to (the bitrate).

At a bit rate of 128kb/s you'll use 56mb in an hour (give or take a tad) so @Phil Will blow his 500mb data allowance in under 10 hours.
thanks @Alan Morgan - that will be enough for a few short tests before I make my mind up. I'll download the app so I can check usage on each test.

Looks like another trip out to blow away the town driving cobwebs will be on the cards next week :)

And thanks to @Spencer Barratt too:)
 

Phil

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E51 Owner
#39
Just a little update to be fair to the DAB unit.

Over the last week I've been checking the signal. This can be done in the menu settings.

With the car parked in exactly the same place for each test, local channels to me (Shropshire & Wolverhampton) have varied between a signal of 49 & 58. National channels have been as high as 61 for some reason.

Re-scanning on a better signal day increased the number of stations from 40 to 51 & driving through an area of town where I usually get some intermittent squelch, reception was clear.
 

Alan Morgan

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Premium Member
E51 Owner
#40
@Phil ,
I notice from @Widget signature that he has fitted a DAB radio - I wonder what his experiences with DAB coverage have been, what unit does he have and what aerial?

  • I reckon that the aerials you've used so far could be improved upon, but what with I'm not sure, but I don't think those stick-on ones are very good.
  • Sticking one by the edge of the windscreen (and hence close to the A pillar) is going to shield the aerial from the transmitting station in certain circumstances
  • If you take a look at the built-in aerials in my Honda and Elgrand for instance, there's a fair bit of wire positioned in the middle of the side windscreen panels, and either side of the vehicle (to give good space diversity).
  • A lot of modern cars now have an antenna on the roof which gives a good earth plane and omni-directional signal reception - I'm guessing that this is a prerequisite to ensure the factory fitted DAB radios work to their best
At the end of the day, DAB is still not as good as FM for signal coverage which is why the regulatory authorities have not allowed the broadcasters to switch off FM even though there is much pressure to release the FM frequency band for other uses.