back to article Bloke in shed starts own DAB radio station - with Ofcom's blessing

A three-month experiment in Brighton has proved that Digital Audio Broadcasting can be cheap and easy to transmit, opening the way to community and local stations – and perhaps a pirate or two. The experiment was carried out by Ofcom broadcast specialist Rashid Mustapha, though in his own time and at his expense. Despite that …

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  1. Evan Essence

    Nice work. I'm in two minds, though, as it's more lockin for the inferior DAB (inferior to DAB+).

    1. teebie

      Also inferior to fm, from the point of view of most listeners

      1. andy mcandy
        Thumb Up

        however, the best thing to happen to DAB was Radio 5 Live :)

        1. mrfill
          Happy

          R5L may have improved but surely the best use for DAB is 6Music and 4extra. Topped up with a little R4, there's no need to tune any further.

          1. M Mouse
            Thumb Down

            I might be more positive about Radio 4 Extra if the stream was of sufficient bitrate to allow for stereo.

            When it was BBC 7 and only played reruns of vintage content recorded in mono, it served its purpose on DAB. However, they've been commissioning new material (no doubt recorded in stereo) and then playing it on mono R4 Extra ...

            If ever there was a case of squeezing a quart into a pint pot, it's the BBC switching R4 to mono whenever there is audio running on BBC Five Live Sports Extra. BBC R3 is at 192 kbps on DAB, R2 and 6Music are 128 kbps, and yes, you can notice...

            Sorry but DAB just isn't good enough for music and the commercial stations consider DAB a bit of a Fail... cost wise they are laying out extra to provide DAB for a small listening audience compared with FM.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Even so, the fact that he can do it at all is quite nice.

  2. Len Goddard

    Why bother

    Given the lack of popularity and limited penetration of DAB into the home, why would a local station (or a pirate) bother? Audience would be limited to a few DAB adopters and the broadcaster's mum (assuming (s)he had given her a DAB for Xmas).

    1. Andrew Newstead

      Re: Why bother

      Not so limited, perhaps.

      I recently bought a new music system and it has DAB as it's default receiver choice. I set it up and it seems to be quite effective. I think it's true to say that more and more HiFi systems are equiped with DAB straight off the bat so we will probably see the same kind of take up that occured with digital TV when Freeview digital tuners became built in to new TVs, a default switchover.

      I am aware of the argument that states that the dedicated music system will die out as more music moves on line. I'm not convinced by this, I feel that there will continue to be a demand for seperate music systems as there are quite few people out there who still don't use online music providers or radio for various reasons. I myself still prefer the quality of sound produced by CD's over MP3 (not really explored FLAC yet, a bit inconvenient to use) so for the time being a dedicated music system still has a place in our house.

      1. Paul_Murphy

        Re: Why bother

        Try FLAC - much higher quality than MP3 and said to be the equivalent of CD. Obviously file size is higher, but a large harddrive is the cure for that.

        I use FLAC at home and convert to MP3 for my tablet which I use for commuting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why bother

          > I use FLAC at home and convert to MP3 for my tablet which I use for commuting.

          And this has what to do with Digital Radio Broadcasting (DAB)?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why bother

            > And this has what to do with Digital Radio Broadcasting (DAB)?

            Well, at least there is an IT angle.

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Why bother

          "equivalent of CD".

          I would guess there is a lot wrong with that statement. Sadly. :/

      2. Mage Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Why bother

        Useless for really portable use. FM & AM are better. DAB is a dinosaur.

        DAB+ is NOT better, just cheaper as they fit in more stations.

        DAB isn't "green" for Receivers or for a single channel of transmission rather than a bunch of stations multiplexing the data to the COFDM modulator. FM was popular BEFORE the patents ran out and they are still trying to promote DAB.

      3. Gav Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Why bother

        If you think CDs deliver noticeably different sound to that of an MP3 at a decent sample rate, then you either have inhumanly advanced perceptions, or are deluding yourself.

        It's all bits being converted to sound waves.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Why bother

          Even at a high sample rate, lossy digital compression is effectively audio compression. It normalises everything; you lose the clarity and peaks and deep bass just plain disappear. On any remotely decent hifi system you can hear the difference and you don't have to be some audiophile or freakish mutant or the idiot who spends a squillion quid on a gold-plated, jewel encrusted cable to do so. I noticed it one day playing the Master and Commander soundtrack. The CD version had this incredible deep thump in the bass that was missing from the ogg and mp3 versions I played over the same speakers. Even a q10 vbr ogg was missing it.

          Of course if all your CDs are the hopelessly compressed, pumped up noise they sell so often these days then of course you're not going to hear a difference - a bit more lossy compression really won't make any significant change to that - but if they've been put together by a competent sound engineer then the difference is as between night and day.

    2. Alan 6 Bronze badge

      Re: Why bother

      It's not so limited at home any more, digital; listening at home is increasing rapidly.

      Where it is limited though is in cars, there's still too few cars with DAB as standard, they only seem to come as massively overpriced options.

      I sat in many, many expensive cars at the weekend and hardly any had a DAB radio fitted as standard kit, as far as I'm aware it seems to be just Mini, who've been fitting them as standard since 08 reg, and Ford who are leading the way.

      DAB in cars is mostly OK, I live in the arse end of Lancashire, and my DAB equipped Mini copes pretty well in most areas I drive, although it always drops out as I drive past Lancaster Uni on the M6, I don't know if it's caused by the thick stand of trees by the side of the road, or some dodgy kit they're running in the Uni

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why bother

        The thing is, outside the UK and to a limited extent the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, DAB is pretty much unheard of in the rest of Europe and the World.

        If you were to drive through continental Europe, your digital radio reception would be very patchy to say the least, mostly limited to around major cities. The rest of the time you would get no stations at all, unlike normal FM (limited range but plenty of stations to choose from), AM (limited quality, full of crackling during thunderstorms, limited choice, but countrywide range for European-sized countries), or SW ("This is London"... those were the days!)

  3. Pete 2

    More stations than listeners?

    > a Raspberry Pi could have filled that role

    'cept that the RPi doesn't have an audio input - hence the need to generate the stream elsewhere and pipe it in using IP.

    But really? DAB - does anyone care?

    1. Danny 14

      Re: More stations than listeners?

      I have DAB in the car. It just came with the car so i wasnt going to complain. It has a weird quirk (due to my wiring lots of extension cables for various chargers in the car) that DAB craps out when I plug too many things into the 12v sockets (or maybe the crap ebay plugs that generate noise more likely).

      Anyway, in my recent trip down the M6,61,60,62,1 I did miss DAB R5L cricket so it does have its uses. also having to retune FM on such journeys is a pain too.

      1. Chris Miller

        @Danny

        'retune FM' - I can't remember having to retune FM in the car since RDS came in decades ago, though I came back South from Carlisle a couple of months ago on the pretty route (avoiding the M6), and there are some real FM blackspots near places such as Orton. A mate has a new Ford with factory-fitted DAB and he reckons he can get from Bucks to Lands End without any reception problems, so coverage (or radios?) must be getting better.

        1. Lunatik

          Re: @Danny - On retuning

          My impression is that car radios have actually gotten worse at following RDS AF in the past 15 years.

          I never used to have any problem but cars nowadays don't seem to handle it as well as they used to, or stations (mainly, it has to be said, endless bloody Heart, Magic, Galaxy, Real etc. crud) just don't implement properly.

          In any case, DAB is little better as stuff drops in and out of MUXes as you drive about.

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: @Danny

          FM channel hopping is instant and with RDS automatic. DAB Mux switching is PAINFULLY slow. Even within a mux channel changing is slow due to the MP2 (or AAC on DAB+, probably slower!) decoder buffer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Danny

            "FM channel hopping is instant and with RDS automatic."

            I think, as per a couple of comments already, you meant "was instant" not "is instant".

            I've had RDS radios in car and at home for a very very long time.

            In the last year or so since losing my ten year old Peugeot which had a nice but not particularly sensitive RDS/FM radio, I've used two VAG cars. One had actually a remarkably good FM radio - very sensitive, used to regularly pick up BBC Derby and BBC Oxford traffic reports (e.g. via RDS TP/TA) in suburban Birmingham. But although RDS auto follow is referenced in the manual, it doesn't seem to be implemented. The other was no better in that respect.

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: I did miss DAB R5L cricket

        that is why God gave us Long Wave, so we can hear TMS throughout the whole civilised portions of the planet. And france.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I did miss DAB R5L cricket

          "so we can hear TMS throughout the whole civilised portions of the planet. And france."

          I gave you a thumbs up just for the remark about france (was the all lower case spelling intentional?)

          1. Robert E A Harvey

            Re: about france

            Of course, or as they might say: 'May Wee' (wocab)

      3. MrT

        12v adapters...

        ... are probably the cause of it - I bought a few for several cars and was careful to pick ones that had good reviews in that respect - not had a problem with Belkin single USB, Griffin twin USB, or even a generic brand twin from Amazon marketplace (last one is not in a DAB-equipped car though). However, some just put out so much RF noise that they can even overwhelm FM, or put out a really loud hiss. My commute takes me right past a TV mast, which will also do it for FM and DAB over about 300m radius.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 12v adapters...

          Various models made by the VW group (at least in the Audi and VW brands) have the option for a 220VAC socket built into the car. Saves screwing around with adaptors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More stations than listeners?

      "But really? DAB - does anyone care?"

      The BBC do - they've got to justify spending license payers' money on a system that's not fit for purpose.

      OK DAB/DAB+ modes 2,3 & 4 are of use for national broadcasters in countries like China, Australia, India but why bother for a small country like the UK?

  4. B-D

    Just as NTSC was backronymed to Never Twice the Same Colour, I'd love to see the moment when DAB means Dead And Buried.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Joke

      Did Anyone Bother?

    2. g.marconi

      As a totally free and high-quality method of radio reception DAB is excellent. Most developed countries have used it for years and it has become very popular. It was available in north america some years ago (at least in Canada) but it was dropped for some reason that most people suspect was pressure from the fee-paying satellite-radio providers. There is no point in being negative about somethin just because you cannot have access to it yourself !

  5. Archivist

    Pedant alert!

    " three-segment aerial"

    I presume you meant to say "three element Yagi".

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: Pedant alert!

      I was thinking that myself. I couldn't see anything with three segments in the pic but I did see a nice three element Yagi.

  6. gcla72
    Megaphone

    Now I can get the BBC* again

    I used to love listening to Delbert Wilkins on the *Brixton Broadcasting Corporation

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Now I can get the BBC* again

      Crucial memories there Winston, crucial :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now I can get the BBC* again

        "Crucial memories"

        I wonder if Lenny got paid for the advert. Did you?

        ;)

  7. Simon Rockman

    Go for it

    Launch Radio Vulture in Clerkenwell.

  8. John Styles

    Hoorah!

    I look forward to the pirate DAB radio. The FM pirate that turns up in Oxfordshire from time to time adds to the gaiety of nations. Ah, bless the youth that can say things like 'a big shout out to the Chinnor Massive' without any sign of irony. What it is to be young.

    Does anyone remember Thameside Radio (the London Sunday evening land-based pirate) doing a pirate TV thing one Christmas - it was quite a powerful signal, I could get it in Amersham (1984 according to Wikipedia which sounds about right to me)?

  9. Jon Green

    DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

    So - how many car radios handle DAB? Exactly. I'd bet that a lot of community radio's listened to in the car, but 95+% of car users don't have a DAB radio.

    And that's the way it's likely to stay, for now. Few people are changing their car radios - not least because many of them these days also run the in-car displays, and users don't want to lose that. Even brand new cars don't have DAB: I just checked the Renault site, for example. Not one mention of it.You want a Ford Mondeo? DAB will be another £350. Fancy it? Me neither.

    I'd love this to change. The extra range of stations is great, even if the "burbling water" in low signal areas isn't. But for the time being, the sensible place for community stations will remain the limited range of FM frequencies still being made available, and this DAB experiment is likely to remain just that - an interesting experiment.

    1. Alan 6 Bronze badge

      Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

      The bubbling mud effect is handled well in my Mini, as soon as the error rate reaches a certain level it just cuts out, but it's happening less & less as the transmitter power is being pumped up.

      As for them not being supplied in cars, this is a real issue. I was at Carfest over the weekend and each car I checked had no DAB as standard, this applies across the range from Kia to Bentley (there was no Rolls stand, so I couldn't check them).

      If you want one as standard it's just Mini and some Fords, the rest range from £150 to £7500 options. Yep, if you want DAB in a Bentley you have to opt for the NAIM audio pack which costs more than a new Dacia Sandero...

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

      Which is, all in all, a ridiculous state of affairs.

      DAB is/was designed for a *moving* receiver. It uses a transmission frame that can tolerate a 15% timing overlap from and adjacent transmitter on the same frequency and carrying the same programme. The intention was originally (I believe) to have a large number of low-frequency transmitters.

      So we make DAB in cars effectively aftermarket only, use only the main transmitters, and complain that it doesn't work with a stationary receiver indoors...

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

        I did consider getting an iPod sized one to plug into the car's audio "in" jack so I could get the cricket back while driving.

        Even that is expensive - £50-£100 for one, and I don't know how good reception would be stuck in the glove box where it would live, tuned to its one lone station sipping power from the 9V socket.

        There is a Pure one that rebroadcasts the Decoded DAB as FM for use in a car. How nuts is that? I need a radio to turn the radio broadcast into another radio broadcast so I can listen to it.

        An aside, why have car makers dropped AM and LW from their receivers?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

          There is a Pure one that rebroadcasts the Decoded DAB as FM for use in a car. How nuts is that?"

          I have that. Pure Highway. Sticks to the windscreen just above the dash on a bendy stalk and comes with stick on clips to route the power and aerial wires in place.

          I'd intended to also connect the line out to the cars line in but the FM re-transmission works great so I never bothered with the extra wire.

          Changing channels on it is more of a fiddle and I don't like to do that while driving other than using the preset buttons and I can control all the other audio from the steering wheel buttons (CD/mp3, USB stick etc). This means I use FM for most radio and just use digital for R4Extra and Planet Rock.

          Also, as others have said, Ford seem to have DAB built in as standard on low-mid range cars. When mines in for a service I get a little Ford courtesy car with DAB.

          1. Robert E A Harvey

            Re: Changing channels

            Changing channels? why?

            is there more than one TMS then?

        2. Robert E A Harvey

          Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

          >An aside, why have car makers dropped AM and LW from their receivers?

          Because they are part of a dark and terrible conspiracy.

          or

          Because they can't be bothered to suppress plug leads any more

          or

          because they are designed by juvenile members of the pink-trouser brigade with no knowledge of the world beyond rap music and bright orange socks, and have not even heard of long wave.

          or

          because Blaupunkt is having a laugh at our expense selling junk to half-wit buyers in large corporations who are so far removed from the consequences of their decisions that they are quite likely to put digital Radio Mondiale in there next.

    3. Len Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

      Quite a lot has changed in the last twelve months. DAB is now standard in all Minis, BMWs, Fords, Volvos and Audis. Most other brands have it as standard on some models and as option on others: http://www.getdigitalradio.com/digital-radios/in-car/manufacturers

      Last quarter 35.4% of all new cars changing hands have a DAB radio standard and at the current rate it will be 50% by the end of the year. At the same time car sales are have increased quite a lot recently after years of slump (UK car industry raises annual sales forecast, www.ft.com/cms/s/0/14a401e4-fe6f-11e2-97dc-00144feabdc0.html) so by this time next year DAB usage in cars will look fairly different.

      Of course, it will take some time before 50% of all Britain's cars have DAB but there is a fair bit of momentum, finally.

      1. [email protected]

        Re: Sorry, but no.

        Definitely not standard in all fords.

        Very recently brought a new fiesta (zetec, so fairly high up the spec list). No DAB. USB, Bluetooth. SYNC, but no DAB.

        Was an option, for several hundred more pounds.

        From what i saw, none of the models, except maybe the Titanium (highest end) mondeo had DAB as standard

        1. Len Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Sorry, but no.

          That's odd, Ford's announcement to add it to all models was widely publicised:

          Ford to set DAB standard from 2012 (http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/ford/mondeo/34622/ford-set-dab-standard-2012)

          Ford to offer DAB radios as standard by the end of 2012 (http://www.t3.com/news/ford-to-offer-dab-radios-as-standard-by-the-end-of-2012)

          Ford to Standardize DAB Radios Throughout UK Product Line by Late 2012 (http://radiomagonline.com/digital_radio/ford-dab-radio-standard-uk-2012-0406/)

          1. [email protected]

            Re: Does seem odd

            from this (from your first link)

            "Digital radio offers more stations and improved sound quality, and is already standard on all Fords bar the Fiesta and Ka. It will be fitted to these car in the summer, and to commercial vehicles over the next 12-18 months."

            Printed 2011, you would imagine that to be the case, but unless it is very, very well hidden, I can assure you it's not there. FM, and AM (I think) long wave (good enough to get test match special at least), but no DAB.

            I'm actually tempted to print a few of these off and head down to my dealership and see what's going on

            1. Len Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: Does seem odd

              Very strange indeed. Ford's announcement was widely reported back then in a variety of media, from IT and consumer electronics to broadcast and motoring media.

              I'm almost tempted to believe your local car dealer is trying to charge you for something that comes standard. They would never do that, would they?

              1. Eradicate all BB entrants

                Re: Does seem odd

                Not to me it doesn't, it would have been announced by the marketing department. Standard OP for marketing, announce something then hope production can actually deliver.

          2. [email protected]

            Re: Sorry, but no.

            http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/Fiesta/Features-and-specifications

            Quite near the bottom, £300. Style and Zetec only.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry, but no.

          > Definitely not standard in all fords.

          Could the OP show me *any* Audi in any market where it comes as a standard?

          Personally the only use I have for the radio tuner is TMC (Traffic Message Channel), but out of curiosity.

          1. Len Silver badge

            Re: Sorry, but no.

            There you go, this is for the UK. I expect them to do the same in Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and soon the Netherlands too.

            A3 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a3/new-a3/audio-and-communication/dab-digital-radio.html

            A4 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a4/a4-saloon/specifications.html

            A5 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a5/s5-coupe/specifications.html

            A6 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a6/a6-saloon/specifications/se-equipment.html

            A7 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a7/a7-sportback/specifications.html

            A8 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/a8/a8/technology-as-standard/dab-digital-radio.html

            Q5 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/q5/q5/specifications.html

            Q7 - http://www.audi.co.uk/new-cars/q7/q7/specifications.html

            Although Audi announced to have DAB standard per April on all models (http://www.dealerupdate.co.uk/dab-radio-for-all-audis/) they apparently have supply issues which delayed DAB on the A1 and Q3: http://www.a1-forum.co.uk/a1forum/viewtopic.php?t=17262&p=106732

      2. Jon Green

        Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

        Well, Ford's web site still has DAB as a £350 cost-extra for Mondeos, for instance - I checked that before posting. If they're rolling it out as standard, it hasn't hit their product marketing material quite yet, but it's a welcome advance.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DAB? I'll just get out of my car first...

      > Even brand new cars don't have DAB: I just checked the Renault site,

      No neither cars nor Renaults tend to have DAB?

  10. Lunatik
    Mushroom

    Persistence is futile...

    Die, DAB, die.

  11. Tanuki
    FAIL

    The free-radio movement would love there to be a "digital switchover" to DAB from FM - because it would then free up so much more FM bandwidth in which they can pump out their bangin' choons !

    As to DAB, well recently I dug out my old DAB radio and did a "full rescan": I was surprised to see that the only COM Mux it was able to receive was still advertising a number of stations ('Chill', for example) which closed down years ago.

    1. Neil Dawson

      Chill's not dead

      Chill is by no means dead. It's one of Global Radio's tiny little automated and (last time I checked) ad-free stations, a hang over from the GCap days.

      It's still on DAB in London, on it's web stream and on the UK Radioplayer platform.

      it has quite a following among the clubbing community (I'm told)

      http://www.helpmechill.com/

      1. Tanuki
        Mushroom

        Re: Chill's not dead

        Alas, Chill went away on the local mux a couple of years back... sio why's it still being listed in the EPG?

        These days I do most of my casual listening to the likes of di.fm: their "vocal trance" stream's just right as background for some serious zonefile-manipulation.

        1. Soruk
          Go

          Re: Chill's not dead

          Another vote for listening to DI.FM - now all I need is a good stable 3G signal in the car...

  12. teapot9999

    Community radio - who needs it?

    I do not want some amateur telling me that the local station toilets are out of use.

    What radio is lacking in this country is choice of music stations, we need something like Sirius XM in USA.

    1. g.marconi

      Re: Community radio - who needs it?

      Why bother with subscription-based radio when DAB works extremely well, carries the usual huge range of stations for all possible tastes, is relatively cheap to buy and widely available for home, and as we have seen above, getting better for cars.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Community radio - who needs it?

      we need something like Sirius XM in USA.

      Sirius XM is crap. It's like having an MP3 player with someone else's short playlists on it, and it drops out every time you go under a bridge. A tree-lined road makes it unusable. I don't even bother to turn it on when I get a US rental car these days, I just take my own USB stick with me.

      1. Len Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Community radio - who needs it?

        I get the feeling that most Europeans' experience is based on renting a car in the US. A rental car where you usually don't notice the cost of the receiver and the monthly subscription fees. Sirius XM is an encrypted AAC+ stream, not Free to Air, unlocked by paying a fee. I seriously doubt Europeans, used to FTA radio, would pay subscription fees to listen to Heart.

        Besides, Sirius XM uses relatively low bitrates. 32 Kbps is fairly common and high bitrates such as 64 Kbps are rare. (Sirius Satellite Radio still sounds awful after all these years - http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57471903-47/sirius-satellite-radio-still-sounds-awful-after-all-these-years/) Compare that to DAB+ bitrates on the continent which are usually in the 48 - 96 Kbps AAC+ range, making DAB+ sound better than Sirius XM.

        All we now need is DAB+ in the UK.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Embarrass the broadcasters with proper quality

    A pirate could run the full max bitrate and impress everyone with really great audio, showing up the terrible low bitrate fiasco we have at present. That would amuse me greatly :)

    1. Len Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Embarrass the broadcasters with proper quality

      A pirate could also easily decide to use DAB+. All the kit described here can be used for DAB+ (it needs to be useful for the rest of Europe too, obviously) and it is just a setting in the software.

      The only thing that might hold DAB+ back for community stations (apart from the sizeable number of DAB-only radios in the UK) is that licensing fees for DAB+ haven't been paid for with an open source solution (http://www.opendigitalradio.org). As the last DAB patents have now expired, it is slightly cheaper.

      Of course, a pirate wouldn't be bothered by additional licensing fees for DAB+...

  14. Mike Brown

    love DAB in my car

    Bought a 2nd hand vectra that had a rather great extras pack installed, and DAB was one of the bonuses. I really miss it in other cars now. Planet rock, team rock, and god are all firm favourites of mine. from now on if i buy a new car, it will have DAB

    1. Gav Silver badge

      Re: love DAB in my car

      Wish my car had it. The situation with DAB in cars is ridiculous. I was excited by the idea when DAB broadcasts first started, but here I am still waiting for in-car DAB that doesn't involve lunatic pricing.

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      @Mike Brown

      The downside was having to drive a Vectra.

  15. Andy 97

    Chicken / egg

    While I fully support the Ofcom gentleman for his efforts in running this pilot broadcast, I wonder how long the major mux owners will stand for this kind of thing.

    1. Len Silver badge

      Re: Chicken / egg

      I'm not sure the mux owners would care that much.

      The solution presented in this report to prevent having to install expensive filters is using a very low power transmitter. This solution is useful for stations that just want to cover one town. I doubt the big mux owners are interested in anything smaller than an entire county.

      1. Andy 97

        Re: Chicken / egg

        The point I was making Len is that it means a potential DAB broadcaster can now circumnavigate all th at tedious back-haul to the central mux area (forget where it is, but someone will), pay a huge sum for a 64kbps allocation and spend the rest of the time adjusting the dynamic range of the audio to compensate.

        The cartel that runs a majority of these facilities counts on an ability to charge for their investment.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Conor Turton

    "The mask defines how square a signal must be, as radio transmissions trend towards the bell-shaped, thus spreading into neighbouring bands at their base."

    Wrtten by someone with absolutely ZERO knowledge of radio communications.

  18. Herby

    Data rates...

    Can (and do) vary. Anything less than the 44.1 a CD uses is losing out something. Sure there are compressors, but most (mp3) are lossy, and throw away "details" of the sound. Thankfully there are some (FLAC comes to mind) that are truly "lossless" in their operation.

    If you want to see the effects of a VERY low bit rate, try the traffic channels on your handy (USA) XM radio. It is truly terrible. Sure one can understand the voice, but it has NO high end, and takes a great deal of concentration to really "comprehend" the content.

    FM is a better way to do things. Simpler radios and better functionality. RDS helps in this regard. The digital junk they promote here in the USA is a joke, and many broadcasters are waiting to just get rid of it. So, I (along with others) just wish it to DIE.

  19. Burbage

    Next week....

    Lady in attic starts own telegram service.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what was the point of DAB?

    I never quite understood the DAB thing. I do have a DAB radio in the kitchen which is permanently tuned to Radio 4. But it could equally be a FM radio given that it never moves and the quality is only ever as good as a small portable mono radio can give.

    As for the car, there is a standard FM radio. It works fine. When I'm on long journeys, I occasionally press the auto-tune button and all is well. The quality is as good as you could expect in a car full of engine and kid noise.

    I'm guessing I'm reasonably representative of a large part of the UK radio listening public and I can't see any point in DAB. Am I missing something?

  21. DeliberatusFreeman

    matchmaking for raspberry pi's.

    Interesting; I should get in contact with this bright fellow.

    I have a pi here with a program in it which I wrote, which turns it into a robotic radio station. It plays the NBC tri-tone (from the 1940's) a station identification, a random commercial, and then plays a randomly selected program from a randomly selected program library. It then plays another commercial, and repeats the loop 7 more times, then does a station identification.

    My pi and his pi should cross their wires together and put something interesting to put on the air, like my 230+ hours of old timer non copyrighted radio programs.

    1. Len Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: matchmaking for raspberry pi's.

      Interesting. Have you ever looked into OpenDigitalRadio.org? http://www.opendigitalradio.org

      It would, of course, technically make you a radio pirate which could never be the intention...

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