On the eve of RTE shutting down a 500KW medium wave in favour of many many sites x 5-10KW DAB I thought I better record what DAB sounds like in my house, or down my street or inside the shops. Walking down the street was OK to bad – Shops not possible at all.
This is a recording inside my house (where there is no signal) so I go to the west facing window where Three Rock is visible from, and at a height of 1.5M I record RTE News on the RTE MUX.
The result is typical of all the DAB sounds I can hear in my area, except indoors where there is zero signal & no noise and no sound at all.
Verdict, DAB has great difficulty reaching Baldoyle & Portmarnock from Three Rock. shame as I used to reach Three Rock on 4w UHF no problem. We have the line of sight, we are about 14KM away but we are sea level, and DAB struggles down low. Building penetration at these signal levels is a joke. DAB here at this location is a joke.
Sentence: as DAB is aging (its 18 going on 23 years old and getting on) it would be best to lock it away and not let it be left around for broadcasters to play with anymore. It had its day, I was on the fringes of a group that had the foresight and great plans to kick start DAB in Ireland in 1994, from offices in Baggot Street Covenberg tried to interest all the broadcasters in the state to wake up to Eureka 147 D.A.B. – there was insufficient interest to sustain itself. Going at it now, where there are plenty of affordable sets spilling in from the UK fails to make DAB any better when compared to modern rivals. It does help adoption where programming alone will not move people from FM to DAB (btw MW to DAB is crazy). But with reception like above no one will move. Retailers beware ~ you will need a good returns policy on sets sold or DAB MUX holders like RTE NL need to increase power fast. While I was writing this I got a call from Dave Evans in Balbriggan. He is using a pure €70 DAB set up there and getting the Three Rock DAB (not Louth) with the whip up, when asked did he listen to FM with a whip up the answer was no.
My comments previously on DAB on the Organgrinder Blog on Guardian Unlimited