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Thread: DAB Radio Reception

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasgas View Post
    Sorry to be a real thicko Mike - I am older than five and that's my excuse - but what exactly is a thumb-drive? I've just hurt mine trying to open a tin. Perhaps I should have used a thumb-drive?
    Errm - not sure if you are serious about what a thumb-drive is there gasgas

    But in case you are serious it's a USB memory stick that is not much bigger than the bit that fits in a USB socket. For those who are interested I have attached a pic of the one that arrived from Amazon this morning. It's the little blimp on the left-hand side of the laptop just down from the "enter" key. Such a tiny thing but has 64GB capacity!

    Especially useful for radios (car or otherwise) that support USB sticks because these tiny things hardly protrude at all and are therefore less likely to get knocked / snapped off (as happened to my daughter!)

    Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Mike, you can be quite certain that your radio has both permanent 12v and switched 12v. It needs the permanent 12v to keep the memory alive, and the sw 12v from the ignition switch SW or AUX position so that it cannot be turned on and left on to drain the car battery. Join both the wires together and connect them both to their respective radio connections.
    Oh for a job that still pays you even if you can't be bothered!
    The trouble with a hotel is that it tends to stay in one place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasgas View Post
    Mike, you can be quite certain that your radio has both permanent 12v and switched 12v. It needs the permanent 12v to keep the memory alive, and the sw 12v from the ignition switch SW or AUX position so that it cannot be turned on and left on to drain the car battery. Join both the wires together and connect them both to their respective radio connections.
    Oh for a job that still pays you even if you can't be bothered!
    Actually there are two sorts of memory in common use today. The sort in your PC/Laptop which only retains its contents for as long as there is power supplied to it (i.e. normal RAM) and the sort they put in SD cards, USB sticks, SSD disks and the like that which retain their contents when removed from the power source. But I'm sure you knew that But your point is well made. So long as the loom carries a permanent live (I take your word for it that it does) it's a simple soldering job, and I know he is capable of that because he fixed a remote central locking fob for me when one of the micro-switches needed replacing (too fiddly for me!)

    TBH I'm no longer bothered about having the radio on in the van when we are camped up. The Roberts radio we take with us can both receive DAB and has a slot for a USB drive so I will just take the thumb-drive out of the van radio and put it in the Roberts while we are camped up.

    When I take it in to have a better aerial fitted I will still ask the fitter in more assertive terms why it is "so complicated" to have the radio run off a permanent live feed

    See you in Sherwood?

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caz View Post
    If digital radio is as rubbish as digital TV then I shall keep my non-digital radio for as long as I can. I think the Government of the day did us a major dis-service when they switched the TV over so quickly. They certainly didn't worry about the environmental impact of all those big CRT TVs being thrown away and new digital ones built at all.
    We used to be able to get TV in all the rooms of the house - Granada/BBC North on one side and Midlands on the other, now we can only get Midlands on the south side.
    We used to watch TV in the caravan on most campsites we went to - now it's more often the case that I can't pick up any signal at all.


    I don't bother with a TV when I'm caravanning but I do like to listen to the radio, but often can't pick up a signal for that! It's not a DAB, just a standard radio with FM. WHY did we have to do away with long wave and medium wave??? They WORKED for goodness sake. At home I listen to radio 4 via the telly as the signal is so much better. All I seem to get with any radio these days is lots of white noise. Drives me nuts
    Cynthia.

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    Try a portable dab radio Cynthia there's loads of stations you'd like.

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    Talking about long wave and AM etc. We have a Tecsun PL660 for traveling in Europe it has shortwave, Long wave, air band, single side band and good old FM. It's Chinese but really good quality, short wave is as alive as ever.

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    Mike- yes I was being serious, I haven't heard of a thumb drive. Thanks for updating my knowledge base of memory sticks. Reminds me that in 1975 I joined Nationwide Building Society at their Computer Centre in Swindon. We were just bringing our 300 branches on line, connecting them to the main frame. It had 30 Mb of memory. You can run 300 branches on 30Mb. Why do we need all this memory? So that we can treat music that has taken talented people a lot of effort to write and record, and chuck it into a stick for us to play while we are doing something else, then discard like a used match. Hi Fi has gone down the same drain. We'll have 3k bandwidth music soon.
    The trouble with a hotel is that it tends to stay in one place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch View Post
    Try a portable dab radio Cynthia there's loads of stations you'd like.
    That's assuming I could get a signal!
    Cynthia.

  11. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasgas View Post
    Mike- yes I was being serious, I haven't heard of a thumb drive. Thanks for updating my knowledge base of memory sticks. Reminds me that in 1975 I joined Nationwide Building Society at their Computer Centre in Swindon. We were just bringing our 300 branches on line, connecting them to the main frame. It had 30 Mb of memory. You can run 300 branches on 30Mb. Why do we need all this memory? So that we can treat music that has taken talented people a lot of effort to write and record, and chuck it into a stick for us to play while we are doing something else, then discard like a used match. Hi Fi has gone down the same drain. We'll have 3k bandwidth music soon.
    When I worked for IBM, you could run 30 green-screens down a 9.6 kbits/s line. When PC's first appeared they were limited to 640 Kb of memory, and 10 MB hard disks were considered more than adequate. But technology has moved on at frightening speed, and in the process made possible things the ordinary person couldn't do back then (not all for the better, but that is a whole other thread!)

    As someone who both makes music and listens to it every day, I don't see the harm in listening to music while performing other tasks. In fact when I am doing "right brain" tasks, I find listening to someone else's musical creation inspiring - helps my own creative juices to flow Music has been digital since the invention of the CD. Back then you either carried a bunch of CDs around or you copied them onto your PC hard drive. Only problem was that a like for like copy took up a lot of disk space, hence the invention of the likes of MP3. MP3 and friends are just clever compression algorithms, where you can chose the degree of trade-off between sound quality and file size. Having oodles of memory, cheaply available in such a small package, means music lovers no longer have to make that trade-off.

    Personally I find MP3s ripped at 256 Kbit/s perfectly adequate for my ears, which means a 3 minute song takes up roughly 6 MBytes of storage. At this bit-rate my whole collection would easily fit onto a 128GByte thumb drive. As someone who enjoys music wherever I go, this advance in memory density is of great value (not something to be discarded on a whim ). What goes on my thumb-drive is simply a mirror copy of what I have stored on my system at home so I only have the one music collection to manage. My CDs are now stored away in the loft (I have lost many on my travels in the past!)

    To your comment about 3k bandwidth music, streaming services over the internet generally offer 196 Kbits/s as the "high quality" option, which seems to suit most folk and is well within the capabilities of your typical broadband connection. DAB in the UK lags behind this because of the way it has been implemented. For example the BBC has gathered all its stations into a single "ensemble". Each "ensemble" is transmitted over a single frequency, meaning the various channels have to be multiplexed. This severely limits the bandwidth that can be allocated to any single radio channel, often resulting in poorer quality than even FM!

    As for HiFi, I have had expensive turntables, amps and speakers in my time, but found myself seduced by the quality of the engineering and sound production in general, rather than enjoying the artistic content. So I got rid of all of that, along with my vinyl collection. CDs and MP3s are just fine for me these days.

    Keep on rockin' in the free world

    Mike
    Last edited by bluesdoctor; 14-04-2017 at 09:13 PM.

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    What with Tinitus and a general loss of hearing in the medium to high frequencies that I now have, I must tend to agree with you mike, there is little point in having equipment you can't hear.
    The trouble with a hotel is that it tends to stay in one place.

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    We have three DAB radios given as pressies. I can describe the DAB service in one word - CRAP!. I now have my 30 year-old music centre (remember them?) with external aerial routed all through the house, permanently tuned to Classic FM. In the camper and caravan we use an old portable tuned to whatever local station provides decent music.
    As we don't have a television, radio is important to us, so I don't know what we will do if everything goes to DAB.

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    The Japanese electronic kit whether it be radio or tape or CD or whatever I reckon is the best ever made for Joe Public to consume. The stacked hifi units were made superbly well and knock spots of current offerings. I have a mini JVC unit that plays tapes, CDs and radio, it has a 12v socket at the back and when playing it through some Revox speakers it is brilliant. The JVC unit and the Revox speakers fit in a standard caravan eye-level cupboard, and this plus it running off 12v are the reasons I bought it. It has given me many happy years of use when I used to do contracting work around the country.
    I was driving down the road the other day listening to some BBC personage talking about taking the main BBC programs off FM, giving the same bad statistics about what could be done with the FM frequencies WHEN they switch off FM. They said that local pop-up stations could use FM. Huh. No thanks. Of course they spouted the same stuff about digital radio as they did with digital TV: you can have 184,394,827,349 radio stations on DAB. Oh yes? Who wants the same number of crappy radio stations as we have crappy TV stations? It takes ages to find what you want in amongst all the rubbish, life is too short to sort through 184,394,827,349 stations.
    If Theresa May has 'keep FM' in her manifesto I'll vote for her.
    The trouble with a hotel is that it tends to stay in one place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emmerson View Post
    We have three DAB radios given as pressies. I can describe the DAB service in one word - CRAP!. I now have my 30 year-old music centre (remember them?) with external aerial routed all through the house, permanently tuned to Classic FM. In the camper and caravan we use an old portable tuned to whatever local station provides decent music.
    As we don't have a television, radio is important to us, so I don't know what we will do if everything goes to DAB.
    I must admit I am very disappointed with DAB in the car. I assumed because it was digital that it would be better quality than FM (or AM), and given that it was rolled out relatively recently, that reception would be at least as good as FM. However the more I look into it the more I realise that DAB has been done on the cheap in the UK. The "go digital" campaign aimed at getting us to all switch over is a bit of a con if you ask me!

    The upgrade of our standard Berlingo radio to a Kenwood KDC-BT7000DAB has been mostly a waste of money. As a radio, DAB reception is very patchy when we are out on our travels. Also this radio has an annoying feature where if you happen to tune to a strong station on FM - ClassicFM say - and it can also find a good ClassicFM signal on DAB it will switch automatically to the DAB channel. When the DAB signal drops out (as it does reguarly) it doesn't switch back to FM

    It has an input for a USB memory stick, with maximum capacity of 64GB. This is enough to get a fair number of CDs ripped as MP3s at a reasonable bitrate (i.e. good quality audio). However it takes nearly 5 minutes for the radio to "scan in" the USB stick contents! This happens every time the radio is switched on, and when you switch between radio and USB stick! I loaded up about 200 CDs onto USB stick, giving each CD its own named folder. However as you scan through the CDs, the radio displays the folder names as "folder1, folder2, folder3" etc. No clue as to what the folder contains. What a waste of time!!! Later on I read somewhere that this model of radio can only realistically cope with USB sticks of no more than 16GB capacity.

    The only saving grace is that the bluetooth connections seems to work without any problems thus far. I am able to beam music to the radio off my phone, which has no problems organising my music and serving it up by named folder. This arrangement would be fine if my phone was not also my SatNav!

    In summary I would definitely NOT recommend the Kenwood KDC-BT7000DAB and would advise anyone thinking about upgrading to DAB to do some research first, especially concerning favourite stations and coverage in frequently visited areas. For us it has been a waste of money, not just the cost of the radio itself, but also the installation costs.

    Like others on here we have a decent portable radio (Roberts) which works just fine when we are camped up.

    Mike & Jane

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  18. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by emmerson View Post
    We have three DAB radios given as pressies. I can describe the DAB service in one word - CRAP!. I now have my 30 year-old music centre (remember them?) with external aerial routed all through the house, permanently tuned to Classic FM. In the camper and caravan we use an old portable tuned to whatever local station provides decent music.
    As we don't have a television, radio is important to us, so I don't know what we will do if everything goes to DAB.
    If you need an external aerial for good FM then one will also be needed for DAB. My FM reception is not good . The DAB portable sounds great but only works in certain positions. However, for my HiFi I installed a DAB antenna in the attic with excellent results. Also a fan of the Roberts brand.

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    See my earlier thread. I had exactly the same experience with my Kenwood DAB radio, except that it got chucked into a dark corner of the garage before I got round to trying to import music into it. I have actually now re-installed it but made sure it won't switch to DAB by not connecting the DAB antenna to it. The reason I have installed it is that it is preferable to the lah-de-dah touch screen thing that came with the camper. You have to take your eyes off the road in order to push a small area of the screen with a touch screen thing, whereas at least if you have a radio with a knob at least you can reach over and twiddle it without looking away from the road.
    If it needs a special antenna for it to work then they should say so. If they supply an antenna then it should work with that antenna. And the dealer should make it clear before you buy it that it won't work unless you have a sooperdooper antenna stuck to your roof.

    FM forever!
    Last edited by gasgas; 19-04-2017 at 04:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasgas View Post
    If you're up there, Artoo, have you tried AM? It's many years ago since we were there but we could get French and Spanish stations perfectly. It's the E layers reflecting the signals, of course.
    Apologies Andrew, only just seen your post as I'm catching up after several internet-less days.

    Only had the Roberts and the built in cab radio with us, neither of which is AM capable.
    Geoff

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    The upgrade of our standard Berlingo radio to a Kenwood KDC-BT7000DAB
    Mike - we would love to upgrade our Berlingo radio - I think it is the RD3 model. I am concerned that it is integrated - i.e. it feeds the little console above the dash. It also has steering wheel controls but I think those are standard, it was the curved fascia shape and the dashboard console feed I was worrying might not be standard.

    Was that Kenwood a simple plug-in replacement? What did you do re the curved fascia and the dashboard console?

    Having USB, Bluetooth, Line-In and MP3 facility would be very useful.

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