Changing my AM-FM RADIO to a DAB model

Dec 10, 2007
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I wasn’t too fussed about not having DAB Radio in my Caravan- at least that is until Chris Evans moved to Virgin! But seriously my Coachman has a digital tv/ radio antenna on the roof,is it compatible with DAB radio also? I know you can purchase an adapter to connect to the rear of the radio, but will that in itself do the trick, or do I need an additional ariel fitting to the van?

Thanks Jim
 
Jan 3, 2019
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My 2 pennies worth, caravan aerials for radio whether it be fm or digital wouldnt have to be as powerful as a dab aerial for your car since your not moving around, i have a chinese dvd/dab in my car which came with a cheap stick on antenna for the windscreen, 90% of the time while driving its a good signal, 100% of the time while stationary its perfect.
My venus also has a digital tv/radio antenna but it also has a seperate stubby antenna for the fm radio so I'm guessing digital tv/radio must mean dab.
If all else fails then 12v dab antennas are cheap on ebay.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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If you're unable to do that and if all else fails a cable for a few quid which connects to your phone and you can play your Spotify through the radio if you have it on your smartphone as what we do .
 
Oct 22, 2018
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I put one in my caravan a couple of months ago. bought a dab aeriel from halfords and stuck the base down with sticky pads in overhead storage. All good and works fine.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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It would help to know the type of antenna system fitted on your van and its age. If it is a Status 570 or something like that with a VP-range amplifier then it is already DAB compatible. A bit of digging and Googling will reveal all.

If it is the VP-type then three things:
If it has a radio output and a couple or three TV outputs you might ask what is the difference? The TV outputs and the radio output all carry the same VHF/FM, DAB, and TV signals except that the TV outputs are amplified but the radio output is not. Just move the radio cable from the radio outlet to a TV outlet.
DAB signals are ALL vertically polarised, that is the aerial needs to be vertical which may or may not comply with the needs of your TV signal!
DAB is not necessarily transmitted from the same site(s) as your TV or FM signals but as it uses the pull-out rods at the back of the aerial unit (in practice no need to extend them), if vertical it will be omni-directional. If the aerial is horizontal for TV then you may suffer twice, once because the aerial is the wrong polarity and second because when horizontal it is directional then it may not be pointing the right way.
The best way to split the incoming signal to the radio for the two sockets is to use a splitter like this. You can use the existing cable from the amp to feed the car radio from one of the splitter outlets. You will need to make a F-type male to F-type male cable to link the amp output to the splitter input. Finally I suggest you get a short flexible cable something like this. If you make the DAB pigtail as caravan makers do with thick cable, the cable will likely push against the caravan wall behind the radio and force the SMB (smaller) connector off the radio.
Finally, consider getting a JVC radio as it has the advantage that many others don't of not forgetting radio memory contents when you switch the caravan power off.

PM me if you need more help.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We are changing our useless DAB radio for an analogue one. We use CLs and on many CLs the signal is intermittent. On the continent it is a waste of space!
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Why should DAB not work on a CL? There is no difference between a CL and a CMC or any other site in terms of signal.

Question: does DAB on your radio actually work at all?
As I said in my earlier contribution, the connector (SMB) for the DAB aerial is only push-on and can easily be pushed off the radio part of the connector by pressure against the (often RG58) cable used by the caravan manufacturer.
If you are using a Ring or Vision plus telescopic aerial fitted to the side of the van it will not work as it is amplified but does not include the DAB frequency band.
If your van has a Status directional aerial (as is common these days) it needs to be vertical to make DAB work unless you are very close to a DAB transmitter and consequently have a strong signal.
Finally, again as above, if the aerial amp is a Vision Plus VP3 or similar which has outputs marked TV and (one marked) radio, move the cable from the radio outlet to one of the TV outlets as the radio outlet is not boosted but the TV outlets are and they all carry the same signals.

In respect of use in Europe, agreed only some countries use DAB but to be exact they use DAB+. Does your radio work with DAB+ or is it just plain DAB? If you want to know and it is not splattered in text all over the front of the radio, when you have a DAB signal see if you can receive Jazz FM (yes, Jazz FM on DAB). If you can then the radio works with DAB+, if not then that is the reason you cannot get DAB in Europe.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Woodentop said:
Why should DAB not work on a CL? There is no difference between a CL and a CMC or any other site in terms of signal.
Question: does DAB on your radio actually work at all?
Some CLs are in remote areas and the terrain does not help. The radio does work if you are in line of sight of a transmitter if you are lucky. When we wanted it the most last year in Spain, zilch!
Still not sure why people get excited about DAB as same sound as the FM analogue radio. Actually the analogue radio does sound better but that could be the quality of the speakers! Our old fifty year old radio still works fine on FM, MW, SW and LW when we ca pick up the latter two.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Buckman said:
Woodentop said:
Why should DAB not work on a CL? There is no difference between a CL and a CMC or any other site in terms of signal.
Question: does DAB on your radio actually work at all?
Some CLs are in remote areas and the terrain does not help. The radio does work if you are in line of sight of a transmitter if you are lucky. When we wanted it the most last year in Spain, zilch!
Still not sure why people get excited about DAB as same sound as the FM analogue radio. Actually the analogue radio does sound better but that could be the quality of the speakers! Our old fifty year old radio still works fine on FM, MW, SW and LW when we ca pick up the latter two.

Spain does transmit DAB but the coverage has been reduced from 52% to 20% to allow for the roll out of DAB+. This begs the question does you DAB radio work with DAB+?
If you want to know more about which countries transmit what on DAB have a look at this.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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DAB and DAB+ use two different codecs to transmit programmes. Yor need a radio with teh correct decoder to receive either of the systems. In the UK the early transmisson Digital standard used MP2 audio codec, and the first radios only decoded this format.

Then sneakily the UK has started to allow smaller stations to use DAB+ which uses HE-AAC v2 audio codec, THis is about twice as effective as the old MP2 system and has opened up more stations slots. Unfortunately older radios cannot decod these DAB+ signals, but they will often see and log the station name when a scan is conducted.

This change has been poorly advertised, and it means anyone who has invested in the original DAB MP2 receivers will either have to be dienfranchised from receiving the newer statons or re invest in newer recivers. From my own perspecive ther are far fewer producers of DAB+ gear so the market is small and still very expensive.

As to the technical audio competence of any of the DAB and DAB+ stations, The higher the bit rate the better the fidelity should be. In the UK, BBC R3 is the only station that braodacsts DAB at 192kbps Most other stero stations braodacts at 128kbps, and several stations only broadcast Mono at 80 or as low as 64kbps None of these figures compares to true CD perfomance. DAB+ stations can get away with a lower bit rate as teh codec has greater error detection and corection protocols, but they are still lossy formats which might not satisy audiophiles.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Its interesting to note that the UK DAB+ stations all transmit in pure stereo, whereas everything else that is not mono uses joint stereo. (Google is your friend for those that have never heard of joint stereo.)

I have to say that JazzFM takes some beating in DAB+ even if it is only 32Kb!

It is also interesting to note that DAB+ will work where good old fashioned DAB will not even on the same mux!
 
Dec 10, 2007
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Thanks everyone for your comments. To lessen my chances of having a problem, I stayed with the same brand (Pioneer) and replaced my AM/FM cd radio for a DAB Bluetooth model which had an identical casing and connectors. As per an earlier post, I purchased also from Amazon a DAB splitter Ariel adaptor which again was a doddle to fit. The whole process took about 10 mins and the radio amazingly worked first time. All I had to do was to pair in my phone (again very easy) and select which digital stations to save into the memory.

All working perfectly and we now have a Chris Evans resorted to our Caravan.
Thanks again to all for their comment most helpful
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Dodger524 said:
Thanks for the up-date.

You had persuaded me to change my radio for a DAB+ until I got to the bit about Chris Evans.

Yeah that's what I thought too !
I was also reading thinking champion that you had managed do it then read the Chris Evans bit :lol:
 
Oct 2, 2021
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Thanks everyone for your comments. To lessen my chances of having a problem, I stayed with the same brand (Pioneer) and replaced my AM/FM cd radio for a DAB Bluetooth model which had an identical casing and connectors. As per an earlier post, I purchased also from Amazon a DAB splitter Ariel adaptor which again was a doddle to fit. The whole process took about 10 mins and the radio amazingly worked first time. All I had to do was to pair in my phone (again very easy) and select which digital stations to save into the memory.

All working perfectly and we now have a Chris Evans resorted to our Caravan.
Thanks again to all for their comment most helpful
Hi, I wonder if your caravan is a Coachman by any chance? Also, could you tell me what the model number of the Pioneer Dab radio you fitted?
 

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