Digital (DAB) Radio

On Saturday 11 July 2020, there were 68 digital radio stations audible in Southborough with decent reliability on the original DAB standard.  The newest arrival is the speech station “Times Radio” that is commercial free and launched on 29th June 2020. It has the rough format of Radio 4’s breakfast “Today” programme.

In the past decade, a new more efficient transmission DAB standard (that gives better quality using the same bandwidth) called DAB+ has been introduced.  There are a further 34 stations audible using this DAB+ format, so a receiver bought in the last ten years should be able to receive an extra 34 stations, so a total of 102 DAB stations are audible in West Kent.

Is this a good enough reason to invest in a new DAB/DAB+ radio?  It depends if any of the stations listed below appeal to your tastes.

For older radios, the full range of 102 stations will be listed, but the ones transmitting in DAB+ will generate only silence.

The list of FM stations audible in the area can be found here:

I have included in my DAB listings below the 7 easily audible multiplexes in West Kent. These are the ones provided by the BBC, the two commercial national multiplexes (Digital One and Sounds Digital Network), the one Kent local multiplex and the 3 multiplexes for London that are audible (although the London ones are weaker signals).

After that I have listed separately the stations on the Surrey, Sussex and Essex multiplexes that can be picked up in Southborough – but not very reliably.

The higher the kbps value, the better the quality. The original format DAB is only as good as FM when 192kbps or more is used, although the difference is probably only obvious with good stereo speakers.  The “s” means it is a stereo signal.

In DAB+, 40 kbps is considered equal to FM quality.

Speech stations in Bold; Classical Music stations in Bold italics

DAB most Sets BBC Mplex kbps
BBC Radio Kent Kent 128s
BBC Radio 1 BBC 128s
BBC Radio 1 Extra BBC 128s
BBC Radio 2 BBC 128s
BBC Radio 3 BBC 192s
BBC Radio 4 BBC 80*
BBC Radio 4 Extra BBC 80
BBC Radio 5 Live BBC 64
BBC R5 Sport Extra BBC 64
BBC 6 Music BBC 128s
BBC World Service BBC 64
BBC Asian Network BBC 64
BBC Radio London Ldn2 128s

*When BBC R5 Sport Extra and BBC Parliament and Daily Service are all off air, then Radio 4 is sent at the better quality 128kbps stereo. Often after 9am, Radio 3 is reduced in quality to 160kbps to allow Radio 4 to broadcast in 128 kbps stereo during 5 Live Sport Extra transmission times.

DAB most sets A-C Mplex kbps
Absolute UK D1 80
Absolute London Ldn1 80
Absolute 80s SDL 80
Absolute 90s SDL 80
Absolute C Rock Ldn3 64
Adventist Ldn2 80
Athavan Radio Ldn3 64
Bloomberg Ldn3 64
Capital London Ldn1 128s
Capital UK Kent 128s
Classic FM D1 128s
Country Hits Ldn1 80
DAB most sets D-H Mplex kbps
Dilse Radio Ldn3 64
Dubai Now Ldn3 64
Fix Radio Ldn2 64
Gaydio Ldn3 80
Greatest Hits Kent 80
Greatest Hits Ldn1 112s
Heart Kent Kent 128s
Heart London Ldn1 128s
Hits UK Kent 80
Hits London Ldn2 128s
DAB most sets J-L Mplex kbps
Jazz FM Mono Ldn2 80
Kiss Mono D1 80
Kiss Stereo Ldn1 112s
Kisstory D1 80
KMFM Kent 128s
LBC Phone ins D1 64
LBC London News Ldn2 64
Lyca Radio 1458 Ldn3 64
DAB most sets M-R Mplex kbps
Magic Soul Ldn1 64
Magic UK D1 80
Magic London Ldn1 80
Matryoshka Ldn3 80
Mellow Magic SDL 80
Mi-Soul Ldn2 64
Punjab Radio Ldn3 56
Planet Rock SDL 80
Premier Christian SDL 64
Premier Praise SDL 64
Premier Gospel Ldn3 80
Polish Radio Ldn Ldn3 96
DAB most sets  S-Z Mplex kbps
Scala Classical SDL 112s
Smooth Kent Kent 128s
Smooth London Ldn1 128s
Smooth Country Kent 128s
Smooth Country Ldn2 128s
Sout Al Khaleej Ldn3 80
Sunrise Radio SDL 64
Times Radio SDL 64
Talk Sport D1 64
UCB 1 Christian D1 64
UCB 2 Christian SDL 64
Virgin Radio SDL 80
Voice of Islam Ldn3 64

Here are the stations available only on newer DAB+ digital radio sets:

DAB+ new sets A-C Mplex kbps
88.3 Centreforce Ldn2 32s
Absolute 00s Ldn1 32s
Asian FX Ldn2 32s
BFBS Forces SDL 24s
Capital UK D1 40s
Capital Xtra D1 40s
Cap Xtra Reloaded D1 40s
Chill (Smooth) D1 32s
Chill (Smooth) Ldn1 40s
Chris Country Ldn2 32s
Fun Kids UK SDL 24s
DAB+ new sets G-L Mplex kbps
Gold London Ldn1 40s
Gold UK D1 40s
Heart 70s D1 40s
Heart 80s D1 40s
Heart 90s D1 40s
Heart UK D1 40s
Heart Dance D1 40s
Jack Radio UK SDL 32s
Jazz FM Stereo SDL 32s
LBC News D1 24s
Love Sport SDL 24s
DAB+ new sets M-Z Mplex kbps
Magic Chilled Ldn1 32s
Magic Musicals Ldn1 32s
Nation Radio Ldn2 32s
Radio X D1 40s
Radio Maria Eng Ldn2 32s
Smooth UK D1 40s
Talk Radio SDL 32s
Talk Sport 2 SDL 32s
Union Jack SDL 32s
Virgin Anthems SDL 32s
Virgin Chilled SDL 32s
Virgin Groove Ldn2 64s

For people living in certain parts of Southborough (e.g. on high ground) stations on the following 3 multiplexes are also audible:

SURREY MULTIPLEX  (8 stations inc 4 DAB and 4 DAB+)
Heart Surrey DAB 112s
Eagle DAB 128s
BBC R Surrey DAB 128s
Premier Gospel DAB 80
Atlantis (Oldies) DAB+ 32s
Fun Kids Jnr DAB+ 32s
Podcast Radio DAB+ 32s
Release Radio DAB+ 32s
Heart Sussex DAB 128s
Smooth Sussex DAB 128s
More Radio DAB 56
BBC R Sussex DAB 128s
Hits Radio DAB 80
Greatest Hits DAB 80
Smooth Country DAB 128s
Capital Brighton DAB 128s
Heart Essex DAB 128s
Smooth Essex DAB 128s
Essex Radio DAB 128s
BBC Essex DAB 128s
Hits Radio DAB 80
Greatest Hits DAB 80