Is it me or is DAB Radio a bit, well...S H Won Tea?

May 2, 2017
98
43
East Sussex
Funster No
48,477
MH
AutoTrail V Line 540
Exp
I'm a newbie
I have a PVC from the esteemed Auto Fail stable and it is fitted with an "XZENT" media unit where people of my age think a radio with two knobs should be. Although I'm sure its the cheapest Chinese made unit that our friends in Grimsby could bulk buy it appears to do everything....just not very well! Navigation is...well, lets just say it's "creative" as some farmers and private land owners will attest following my frequent visits. It plays a CD/DVD beautifully and I have even managed to connect via Bluetooth to my phone and stream music from Spotify...there, see, impressed aren't you! But it's the radio that tries my patience....on MW I can find a couple of stations...on FM I can only find Hiss FM (part of the STATIC group I think).....but DAB is just appalling. Firstly it has to re tune itself every time I turn it on....not a problem but tedious & then it tells me I have 47 stations to choose from most of which are audible for a few seconds before breaking up for good.
Now, I am quite sure it's something I'm doing wrong but does anyone have any ideas why this might be soooo bad? All contributions greatly received and I bow to the eternal wisdom that is the crowd. Thank you.
 
Feb 2, 2015
1,063
1,635
Staffordshire
Funster No
34,975
MH
A class Adria Sonic
Exp
we are still learning
Funnily enough...we have a fiat 500 we drag behind the motorhome . It has built in DAB and Carplay etc. The radio is ok on FM and mw. Put it on to Dab.....It is forever dropping in and out of tune? Im with you here ..either its me or the system?

Kev

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Last edited:
Jan 25, 2013
730
10,255
Dorchester, Dorset, UK
Funster No
24,414
MH
Tribute T620
Exp
Since 1991
I do believe that DAB radio was not designed for use in mobile locations hence the big outcry when FM broadcasting was slated to be abolished. I don't know the technical reasons but I do know that I can get DAB radio in the back of my house but not the front and not at all in my MH! Technical innovation???? Give me the old Home Service and Light Programme, Radio Caroline............ ahhhh nostalgia!
 

Stretto Boy

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 6, 2016
1,415
26,046
Leicestershire
Funster No
45,950
MH
Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 2011
Digital radio is great when you can receive a signal. If it receives the binary code then the quality is superb. If it doesn’t then you get nothing : it just falls off a cliff edge, unlike analogue where the reception degrades gradually. In the UK I think FM is generally better but some stations are only broadcast in digital format.

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OP
Stevewheel
May 2, 2017
98
43
East Sussex
Funster No
48,477
MH
AutoTrail V Line 540
Exp
I'm a newbie
Thanks to all those who have responded, seems like may are feeling my pain! One question...@Lenny HB - Should I have some sort of visible external aerial? Can't see one...where might they put it on a modern Ducato? Happy to invest whats required if it improves matters...would be difficult for it to be worse!
 
Jun 3, 2014
135
260
Ambleside, Cumbria
Funster No
31,791
MH
Carthago Liner for t
Exp
Since April'14
DiggerJon is correct in that DAB was not designed for cars but there are aerial solutions(preference is a dual aerial) and I use it in my van and car without any problems. Generally listen to radio2 and can get it most of the time. The PURE brand is a small British company.

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Sep 10, 2013
1,069
12,461
Chelmsford Essex
Funster No
28,027
MH
C Class
Exp
Getting better
I’ve had superb nationwide DAB from Jaguar in built units for the past ten years. The UK DAB system seems good, I suggest the problems are either in the head unit or more likely the Ariel.
On my MH the fm radio is poor and I’ve changed the Ariel twice, so it’s a bit of a lottery.
 
OP
Stevewheel
May 2, 2017
98
43
East Sussex
Funster No
48,477
MH
AutoTrail V Line 540
Exp
I'm a newbie
Thanks to all responders...I have a few things to work on. Much appreciated.

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Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
20,404
23,591
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
Thanks to all those who have responded, seems like may are feeling my pain! One question...@Lenny HB - Should I have some sort of visible external aerial? Can't see one...where might they put it on a modern Ducato? Happy to invest whats required if it improves matters...would be difficult for it to be worse!
It's probably in the door mirror.
I would fit a roof mounted aerial and you will probably need to fit a ground plane as well. The ground plane can just be a 200mm square of aluminium or ss that has a good earth connection then mount the aerial in the centre of it.
The link that charliesgrandad gave has roof mount ones starting at 80 quid.
 
Mar 11, 2016
4,864
7,419
Bristol
Funster No
41,967
MH
Fiat Ducato PVC
Exp
12
Our radio stopped working on DAB and FM dropping in and out, got a software update from Fiat dealer yesterday and now it’s working perfectly again. Our aerial on roof centre front and the radio is a Fiat Uconnect. 2015 build.

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Apr 27, 2008
8,356
5,917
Eastbourne East Sussex
Funster No
2,327
MH
A Class
Exp
Since 1972
DAB in my car is OK ish but drops out periodically, music quality is inferior to FM but the FM signal degrades if weak. I did have a period of listening to Gold which is DAB only at least around here. Classic FM which I listen to the most is on both and generally FM is best.
 
May 21, 2019
76
51
Newark Notts
Funster No
60,995
MH
Auto sleeper
Exp
2018
Hi My DAB radio which is a Pioneer is great until I start the MH and then it can't find certain station spent hours rerouting the power cables, aerial cables different aerials to find the problem, and then I found the Problem the dash cam was causing it, the dash cam is one that goes over the Mirror so I can use the reversing camera as rear view Mirror
 
Jan 30, 2018
101
93
March, Cambridgeshire
Funster No
52,191
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 2013
I fitted one of these: https://www.dabonwheels.co.uk/product/adjustable-angle-dab-dab-fm-sw-mw-lw-car-aerial/ Fitted to the roof at about a 45 degree angle. Ran power to it from the powered aerial output from the back of the head unit. I soldered a reasonable gauge wire to the through roof thread running down to a good solid earth near the drivers door as an alternative to a ground plane. I can now get a really solid DAB signal where a signal is available, better then I can get on a good quality Roberts DAB radio for comparison, and the FM signal is as good too. Can't say what MW is like as I don't think I have ever tried to tune into a MW station.

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Apr 6, 2019
503
456
Peterborough
Funster No
59,702
MH
C Class?
Exp
1999 Autocruise Impala, bought 2019
I have a Halfrauds £20 dab aerial and works fine stuck on windscreen with good earth.
 
Dec 20, 2018
96
99
Funster No
57,651
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 2004
The Fiat U-Connect radio in my 2019 Laika works brilliantly, using the standard mirror aerial. I've used it from Cornwall to Scotland and it's never dropped out once.

The standard VW fit radio in my Skoda works just as well. I'd never go back to FM.
 
May 29, 2013
1,408
3,549
Tyneside
Funster No
26,231
MH
Chausson best of Flash 10
Exp
Several years now
I have a £15 Halfords DAB aerial sitting on top of the awning box, just sitting on it's magnet base on a little square of mild steel 2" x 2" glued down as the awning box is aluminium. I get GREAT reception, so pleased with it. It's feeding into a pioneer radio.

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Feb 26, 2019
345
560
Surrey
Funster No
58,768
MH
PVC
Exp
N00B !
Autotrail's Xzent thingy is pretty weak. As a Sat Nav, I'd much prefer either the built in thing fitted to my Toyota C-HR, or the stick it to the screen TomTom. Even the freebie Waze app for your smartphone is nicer.

But the DAB radio really sucks. It's bad in my Toyota (top tip don't bother expecting to hear anything driving down the A31 past the Alton area, or even past the Winchester services on the M3). But the Xzent takes that to a new low, and for a vehicle you expect to tour around in to all sorts of far flung places it's wrong to know you'll have one hand on the wheel and the other trying to retune to any sort of radio signal every five minutes. That's a real pain in the lugholes as the radio I want to listen to is only on DAB or internet streaming.
 
Mar 15, 2019
148
98
Funster No
59,148
MH
AutoCruise Stardream
Exp
Newbie April 2019
Our status 570 has a Dab output.. Anyone tried using that on the move for Dab?

Asked the manufacturer and they said its just for when parked up. Seems a shame if you've got a big digital aerial on the roof yet have to fit another for radio

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OP
Stevewheel
May 2, 2017
98
43
East Sussex
Funster No
48,477
MH
AutoTrail V Line 540
Exp
I'm a newbie
Autotrail's Xzent thingy is pretty weak. As a Sat Nav, I'd much prefer either the built in thing fitted to my Toyota C-HR, or the stick it to the screen TomTom. Even the freebie Waze app for your smartphone is nicer.

But the DAB radio really sucks. It's bad in my Toyota (top tip don't bother expecting to hear anything driving down the A31 past the Alton area, or even past the Winchester services on the M3). But the Xzent takes that to a new low, and for a vehicle you expect to tour around in to all sorts of far flung places it's wrong to know you'll have one hand on the wheel and the other trying to retune to any sort of radio signal every five minutes. That's a real pain in the lugholes as the radio I want to listen to is only on DAB or internet streaming.
Thanks Kannon Fodda I believe you and I have the same van ( V Line 540SE ?) and, by the sound of it the same cheap Chinese head unit. This might sound a silly question but does your Xzent unit have an aerial? If so, where have AT fitted it? I can't find mine!
 
Nov 9, 2016
452
2,374
Perthshire
Funster No
46,008
MH
B Class
Exp
3 years of weekending with the odd month here and there.
Both my Mercedes E and S Class have DAB built in and they’re superb sound quality and reception on the road, they rarely drop out but if they do it’s momentary.
 
Aug 6, 2013
8,127
7,085
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
DAB works fine with a decent aerial. No signal fade, no re-tuning, and no detectable hand-over as it changes transmitters. Excellent for vehicle use.

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