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 C Rock||Ldn3||64|
|DAB most sets D-H||Mplex||kbps|
|DAB most sets J-L||Mplex||kbps|
|Jazz FM Mono||Ldn2||80|
|LBC Phone ins||D1||64|
|LBC London News||Ldn2||64|
|Lyca Radio 1458||Ldn3||64|
|DAB most sets M-R||Mplex||kbps|
|Polish Radio Ldn||Ldn3||96|
|DAB most sets S-Z||Mplex||kbps|
|Sout Al Khaleej||Ldn3||80|
|UCB 1 Christian||D1||64|
|UCB 2 Christian||SDL||64|
|Voice of Islam||Ldn3||64|
Here are the stations available only on newer DAB+ digital radio sets:
|DAB+ new sets A-C||Mplex||kbps|
|Cap Xtra Reloaded||D1||40s|
|Fun Kids UK||SDL||24s|
|DAB+ new sets G-L||Mplex||kbps|
|Jack Radio UK||SDL||32s|
|Jazz FM Stereo||SDL||32s|
|DAB+ new sets M-Z||Mplex||kbps|
|Radio Maria Eng||Ldn2||32s|
|Talk Sport 2||SDL||32s|
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+)|
|BBC R Surrey||DAB||128s|
|Fun Kids Jnr||DAB+||32s|
|SUSSEX MULTIPLEX (8 DAB stations)|
|BBC R Sussex||DAB||128s|
|ESSEX MULTIPLEX (6 DAB stations)|