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DAB in Ireland: RTE multiplex closed

  • 17-11-2003 10:52am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,035 ✭✭✭rlogue

    WestBriton informs me that he obtained good DAB reception on a portable DAB radio in the foothills of the Dublin mountains.



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,021 ✭✭✭Mike 1972

    RTE ? BBC ? Digital One ? Pirate ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Yes, up at Killakee, the car park in the Dublin mountains, using a Portable Pure Evoke II

    It was from Divis, only the BBC mux, nothing from Score.

    So, is it possible with an outdoor Band III aerial in a residential setting on high ground???

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,021 ✭✭✭Mike 1972

    Maybe someone could start setting up "DAB deflectors" :D

  • Originally posted by DMC

    So, is it possible with an outdoor Band III aerial in a residential setting on high ground???

    By all accounts, I'd say it is.
    It would depend on location too obviously as , there must have been a line of site gap somewhere between where West Briton was and Divis.
    This could be a fluke gap letting it through possibly, methinks considering the height and extent of the Mourne mountains, and the extremely low power of these types of signals.

    I'll be in london before XMAS and probably will bring home a DAB radio now, considering, on the hills above me, regular reception of analog FM from manchester and south Wales is possible.
    Indeed it's possible up there to roam on welsh mobile signals
    A nice FM aerial on my mast which has a clear view out to sea would be interesting maybe when hooked up to the Dab.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 145 ✭✭West Briton

    Band II UK is horizontal, while DAB is vertical. Might not compute. Plus, for a little bit extra sterling you might be able to get the proper ironmongery.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,021 ✭✭✭Mike 1972

    Ummm Band 2 UK is actually MIXED (Horizontal and Vertical) and has been since the mid 1980's
    FM aerial polorisation

    A VHF band 3 TV aerial (the type used for RTE TV from Kippure, Mt Leinster, Mullaghanish, Maghera or Truskmore) should be good for DAB provided its wideband

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    DAB is totally vertical, as the Psion Wavefinder I have was designed for the vertical signal.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 28,128 ✭✭✭✭Mossy Monk

    sometimes i wish i lived on top of the Comeragh Mountains

    damn this sea level situation i am in

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Hmmm. Well I'm impressed!

    It did work tonight, 100% quality signal in that location while outdoor on the BBC DAB mux from Divis. Also able to pick up BBC Radio on FM from 3 sites, Divis, Camlough and Kilkeel on the car radio. Considering the latter two are on 4kw and 200w respectfully, and watching Paxo doing Newsnight on nothing more than a handheld LCD TV, I'm flabbergasted! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Just an update on this...

    In March RTÉ announced this.. (Thanks for link!)

    I bought this in Newry on Friday....

    A lovely piece of kit and as it had FM RDS too, I bought it. (OK I had my eye on it for quite a while! :D) In the car park of Currys, I was able to tune into the BBC national mux.

    Again, as West Brit discovered, Killakee makes my DAB radio hum! :) And today,in Longford (in the foothills of Cairn Hill) I was able to tune into the Score Digital mux, great reception there with its long telescopic aerial. My big test will be back home at the folks place. I think its possible.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 ✭✭✭BrianD

    ...good to see you have it tuned into 92.1FM!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Well, it was as sure as hell not going to be tuned into 98FM!! :D

    Today is the day when I bring it home...

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,846 ✭✭✭✭eth0_

    What happened, DMC, what happened! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    North Meath... Zilch. :( But I will try again, there are a few high points around Kells worth a look...

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    From our good friends over at

    Looks like 2006 it will be, and not before. Damn it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Right... update time....

    News for Cavan, North Meath and Mid-Louth folk... its possible!

    Time for a pic ... image_mapDAB.gif

    I used the telescopic aerial only, on the Roberts DAB radio pictured above.

    Firstly, you will need height. Loads of feet above sea level is desirable or the equivalent electricity pylon.

    So lets look at the points marked on the map. The Black lines denote "as the crow flies" line from Divis, where the BBC National Mux broadcasts from.

    1. Loughenlea Mountain, between Kingscourt and Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. This is the site of the old Eurovision link to the North for RTÉ, and its high up. Bailieborough is the 2nd highest town in Ireland, so I also tried on the main street. No look there, but up on the side of the mountain (great views) I got both the BBC and Score mux. The BBC was defo from Divis, but I dunno where Score came from. Unlikely Brougher, maybe Black Mountain, near Divis?
    Signal Quality was excellent.

    2. Moynalty, Co. Meath. Close to home, Not a sausage. But I wouldn't rule it completely out on account of....

    3. Spire of Lloyd, Kells, Co. Meath. The Spire might not be open, (60 ft more would be nice!) but its a high spot in itself at the bottom, with clear views North. The BBC mux was gettable here only, no Score. With account for Moynalty, it is in-between Lloyd and Loughanlea in terms of LoS, so possibly with a big rig, you would get it.

    4. Hunterstown, Ardee, Co. Louth. Here, you are on the N2, on the turn just south of the GAA pitch, on the north flank of Mount Oriel, with a great view North. Like Lloyd, BBC only, and reception was OK if a little bubbly, 40-50%. If it was any less, it would be unusable. Bubbly sounds are really signal dropouts, where the signal is weak. So an outdoor aerial is the best option here.

    5. Killakee, Dublin Mountains.
    As described before.... but just on this map, the signal travels comfortably 100 miles without interruption.

    Other locations not on this map but have been known to get DAB, Score can be got at Cairn Hill in Longford and in around Sligo, from Brougher.

    Something tells me a webpage with this info should be designed! ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Another weekend, another ramble... and some specatular results and some failures....

    Same conditions as above.....


    1. (beside Dun Laoighaire.)
    Killiney Hill (car park).
    Once you get a spot through the foliage... the BBC mux come through. Anyone who has as clear a view north as can be seen from the Car Park on Killiney Hill, you should be able to recieve it.

    2. Mt. Leinster, Co. Carlow/Wexford.
    Now... interesting this.... there are no real roads on the east side of the mountain, so I was unable to find out if anything will come through from Wales (which I doubt as none of the west Wales transmitters like Presely have DAB, Moel-y-Parc near Rhyl does).

    BUT ASTONISHINGLY, a full 141 miles from Belfast, crystal clear BBC mux, and bubbly Score! And not even at the top at the transmitter, but on the way up and at the RTÉ locked gate.

    Don't believe me?


    Now the bad news....
    Wicklow/Arklow 'fraid not, but willing to try if you have height and clear reception of Moel-y-Parc TV and Radio, you may have better LoS than I had from roadside tests.

    Well, I'm still astonished! :D

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 28,128 ✭✭✭✭Mossy Monk

    from Mt. Leinster that would have been unbelievable except for the pictures :eek: :eek:

  • Very good.
    You are at least 2000ft there ( you didn't climb the hill to the left of the RTÉ gate then... for another 3-400 ft or more... :D )
    Bear in mind that athmospheric pressure is quite high at the moment which would have helped.
    That said at 2000ft plus there aren't too many obstacles higher than that to the north of you once your start point is west of the wicklow mountains.
    Obviously there are hills higher than that in the mournes but at the distance south that you were and your point inland a line of sight or a waving signal( one that slips out by the side of hills once you are far enough away from them ie not in their shadow ) could be coming into play
    Croghan mountain would be an interesting trial point as it has a commanding view over the entire east,North east and south East of the Irish sea as well as to the North up to the Sugarloaf, though with some significant mountains in the way as you look north...
    Mind you that doesn't always stop signals from the north and north west as we know down here in Arklow with cairn hill coming through.

    Anyways for another day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭bkehoe

    Not surprising on mt leinster, freeview can easily be got from Divis as well as Presely & others in wales there, no amps, etc required ;). They've even got a freeview box hooked up to the tv in the kitchen, which works perfectly all year round, which is quite amazing considering the way the tuner would be desensed by its close proximity to the transmitting antennas. I know it isnt DAB, but I'm just commenting on whats possible from the site. It is afterall, the highest transmission site in Ireland i beleive. :)

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 157 ✭✭SF1

    should i get a dab radio in the north. what channels can i get in north dublin.
    any help will do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Merged with existing thread.

    Location, location and location. Height helps too. Whereabouts specifically in North Dublin are you?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 157 ✭✭SF1

    im living in edenmore and i can see the mountains.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭lawhec

    Well I finally took the plunge earlier this week and decided to get myself a DAB Radio, especially with the offers that are going at Argos at the moment. I got myself the Acousitc Solutions Portal 2 radio which has a combined DAB/FM radio, not bad for £48.

    Taken straight out of the box with the use of the whip antenna the sensitivity doesn't seem too good :( on FM at least with even the usually uber-strong signal of Q101 giving a bit of hiss in stereo while on DAB the Score Multiplex (12D) was picked up reasonably well from Brougher Mountain, although aerial and radio postitioning is more crucial than FM. There wasn't a sniff of the BBC Multiplex from Divis, although the BBC site says that I souldn't be able to get it anyway.

    However the whip antenna on this radio is detachable and in its place is an F connector socket which can take an external aerial. I happen to have in my attic a set of wabbit-ears (whose dipoles seem suited for Band III) set 180 degrees from each other, vertically polarised taped up to a wooden beam with a downlead down to me own room for use with an FM aerial which gave decent results compared to an ordinary FM whip.

    With an F-Connector attached to the downlead and taken into the DAB/FM radio there was a massive improvement. On the Score Multiplex the signal level was now showing 14 to 15/16 whereas with the whip it was usually 8 or 9 and the BBC Multiplex now came blasting through with 12 to 14/16 in strength. Not bad considering the whip placed against a windowsill on the first floor facing Belfast could not pick up a sniff! It seem the grounding of an aerial very important in this case, something the whip didn't have. On FM there was a big improvement as well with Q102 and Highland coming in with clean stereo whereas with the whip they where poor in mono!

    As for the quality, it was recently rumoured that the BBC recent bought new encoders for their DAB services and certainly listening to them it is quite hard to the untrained ear to tell most of the stations compared to FM, although remember this is a portable and not a Hi-Fi. However the Score multiplex was a different story. Cool FM & Citybeat sound OK, I haven't a reasonably good FM signal to compare them with though a little bit of artifacting is noticable. Q102 however was noticably poor with an a lot of artifacting. I don't know if it's the encoder or processing but compared to FM it's no contest. It is in fact shocking. For those without DAB, Q101 carries Q102 overnight, taking their feed from the DAB service. If you can & yer up late, switch between 101.2 and 102.9 with a set of earphones and the difference should be very clear. The Q Radio engineers should be looking to take the Q102 feed from FM instead of DAB, especially as a decent signal from Q102 can be received in Omagh.

    Nevertheless it is very good to have the extra choice available, with BBC 5 Live sounding loud and clear a bonus. At the price I got the radio for, and if you can get both multiplexes it is certainly worth considering. Extras on the Portal 2 include Stereo speakers, a line-out (say for a Hi-Fi), six presets for both DAB and FM and FM also has RDS display.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,439 ✭✭✭Richard

    Q102 however was noticably poor with an a lot of artifacting.

    It always sounds "squelshy" to me any time I listen. I've wondered how they get it from Derry to wherever SCORE Mux it together (Newtownards?).

    The BBC Manage a lot better with Radio Foyle for DTT.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭lawhec

    It always sounds "squelshy" to me any time I listen. I've wondered how they get it from Derry to wherever SCORE Mux it together (Newtownards?).
    If it sounds like that on FM it sounds a lot worse on DAB. A closer listen also makes out the bad artifacts on other station on the multiplex. BBC's job is a lot better.

    My guess is that Q102 gets down to the multiplexer either via a microwave link or an ISDN line.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,439 ✭✭✭Richard

    If it sounds like that on FM it sounds a lot worse on DAB.

    No, I meant on DAB. I've never heard it on FM!

    I wonder if we'll ever get DigitalOne here in NI. Aren'e they supposed to be releasing more frequencies? I know there is still an issue with ROI VHF TV.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC

    Missed this....

    Comreg seem to think that a DVB-T on Band III might be better than DAB.... which is basically Freeview without the TV.... Interesting...

    And a good site for British & Irish Radio and DAB frequencies...

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 101 ✭✭maisflocke

    DMC wrote:
    Comreg seem to think that a DVB-T on Band III might be better than DAB.... which is basically Freeview without the TV.... Interesting...

    They are not the only ones. There is talk about it in France & Germany too -the arguement is that DAB technology is over 10 years old.

    As DAB has not really established itself in many countries, me sees a potential crisis for this standard.

    Will DAB follow the likes of D2 MAC or PAL+ ? :confused:

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,726 ✭✭✭✭DMC


    Digital radio coverage expanded
    BBC digital radio coverage in the north and north-west of Northern Ireland is to be doubled, corporation chairman Michael Grade has announced.

    Three new transmitters will be sited at Brougher in west Tyrone, Limavady and Sheriff's Mountain in Londonderry.

    Speaking in Belfast, Mr Grade said the first two of these DAB transmitters would come on stream in late spring.

    By the end of the year Northern Ireland will be the first UK region to have almost 100% digital radio coverage.

    Mr Grade said the new transmitters would "hugely benefit" digital radio owners in these areas of the country.

    He was speaking at a dinner attended by local community representatives and the BBC's Board of Governors, in Belfast on Tuesday, to mark the expansion of the service.

    "It's our job as governors to represent the public interest, to be the voice of the licence-fee payers and to ensure that their concerns are fully taken into account when the BBC makes its decisions," he said.

    He added that the "digital deficit" in the province had been identified as a major policy issue by the Broadcasting Council of Northern Ireland.

    He said: "They pressed the BBC hard to speed up very significantly its roll-out of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) in Northern Ireland.

    "They made their case with vigour and persistence. And it worked."

    The chairman also said BBC Northern Ireland would be piloting an "ultra local" television experiment in the Coleraine area by the end of 2005.

    "The BBC has now begun to experiment with "ultra-local" television.

    "Taking a small geographical area and producing ten minutes an hour of truly relevant local news and information, available on digital television and broadband," he said.

    "And because it's digital, it's available on demand, around the clock, whenever viewers want it.

    "The BBC hopes to start proper pilots soon - and if it works out, it is proposed to develop up to 60 such areas around the UK."

    BBC NI Controller Anna Carragher said the announcements were a signal of the BBC's commitment to audiences in Northern Ireland.

    "We are committed to bringing exciting and unique services that fully reflect the lives and concerns of all of our viewers and listeners," she added.

    Digital radio listeners will be able to tune-in to the BBC's portfolio of new digital stations:

    # 1Xtra.

    # Five Live Sports Extra.

    # 6 Music.

    # BBC 7 and the Asian Network.

    # The BBC's existing national radio stations and BBC Radio Ulster are also available on digital radio.