DAB is a system of adding several radio channels onto one transmitter. The signal is divided out among multiple stations. Its very efficient of spectrum, i.e. you can cram in far more signals onto one single frequency, albeit at the expense of poorer audio quality. 
DAB National Coverage map for BBC

DAB & DAB+ stations

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DAB radio antenna
DBA Radio with DAB+
DAB signals are very high frequency, around 200 MHz and  weaken very quickly. A good aerial is usually needed to pick up a robust signal. The higher this is placed the better, and the more reliable signal you will get.
It's important that a DAB receiver gets sufficient signal, which needs an external aerial. For a portable radio in a strong signal area a built in telescopic whip antenna may suffice, otherwise, its important to place an aerial as high as possible, and in the clear from building clutter.
This antenna's amplifier provides a lot of gain and will help you pull in a signal more strongly than you might otherwise expect. Click HERE for details.
DAB+ in-car converter
This superb receiver can add DAB  and the exciting new DAB+ format to any existing FM car radio.  No need for a mess of wires either - the unit picks up the DAB signals and then rebroadcasts them (using a totally legal miniature FM transmitter). You then tune in your FM radio where you her whatever the DAB receiver is tuned to.This unit will play the latest DAB+ stations, as well as the  old fashioned DAB signals, and you still keep use of your FM radio.
The DAB+ in-car converters cost  only £109.99       Details HERE.
A.   Digital One Network
The original DAB service, which transmits programmes of the BBC National channels, the national INR service Classic fM, and some other commercial channels such as Heart, Capital, Magic, and Smooth. 
B   Sound Digital
(Launched Feb 2016). Some stations migrating over from the original Digital One network plus a couple of new stations, and two reborn national services previously closed down (Virgin Radio and TalkRadio) which will launch in March. Sound Digital can be heard across half of the UK.
DAB National station logos
DAB 2 Sounds Digital Logos

2.  Regional

DAB Stations

The regional licences are for small areas usually covering a few hundred miles, the size of a  county, which roughly corresponds to BBC local radio areas. These muxes carry the BBC and the regional commercial services run by the big groups, plus many 'filler" services of non stop music. 
They have different names in different parts of the country. Some areas can hear two or even three local multiplexes, but in many areas listeners can hear none at all.
local DAB station logos
regional DAB station coverage map
Glasgow, and Cambridge.
Each of the 'small scale' DAB muxes carry about half a dozen stations and some use the superior DAB+ format. This enables better audio quality at lower bit rates, which in turn means more stations can be accomodated in the bandwidth available.
Most of Europe, Australasia and many other countries have adopted DAB+ for this reason.  The experiment was a success and the initial batch of stations have all had their licences extended to 2 years. OFCOM plan to expand the network once new legilsation is in place.
DAB Digital One National coverage map
The big problem with DAB is that, because it is on a higher band of frequencies than FM, it doesn't travel so well.  It's easily absorbed by buildings and the ground so many additional transmitters are needed, even in a small area.
To kick start the DAB system, the regulator gave only one licence for each area, and one national licence.  A multiplex is called a mux and is a single transmitter that carries to many programme services.  It was left up to the multiplex operator to licence programme suppliers, for provision of  radio stations' or channels. 
High Gain
DAB Antenna
A new transistor
portable will probably be needed for DAB+ reception. This sleek looking model from AZATOM runs off the mains or its own batteries, and it will pull in the latest DAB+ stations as well as the older DAB channels.  The Azatom also has the standard FM band and a radio alarm feature. There are 20 preset channels  to store your favourite radio stations.
The Azatom's display has scrolling text and station indication - no more wondering what the radio station you are tuned to, or what it is they are playing. The unit is only £29.99 - click on the picture above for more details or to order one direct from Amazon.
There are three sizes of DAB mulitiplex:
1.  National    
2.  Regional 
3.  Local   (Trial period)

1.   National Multiplexes


& Stations

There are now 2 national multiplex (mux)  operators in the UK:

DAB radio needs

a decent antenna

DAB Multiplex Operators

& Stations

There are several main transmission providers of DAB radio signals who transmit the multiplexes (aka 'mux') in the UK.
BBC  The BBC runs a national radio multiplex, covering most parts of the UK. It carries only the BBC's national services. More details on the BBC's website.
Digital One operate the UK's first National Multiplex,  covering the majority of the UK.  Digital One website.
Sound Digital covers about half the UK and is the second digital network which launched in 2016.


The UK's radio regulator, OFCOM, announced that the nine month licences will be extended to run for two years, i.e. until at least 2018.

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Small Scale Trial DAB

Several small transmitters were authorised on a 'trial' basis in 2016 in the following towns and cities:
Regional multiplexes  are run by two private consortia:
MXR Digital, and Switch Digital.  MXR are owned by Global radio, Seal, Smooth and Arquiva. Switch Digital is owned by Carphone Warehouse and The Wireless Group (previously called UTV Media).
There are several local multiplexes of stations, many run by transmission company Arquiva, and others by CE Digital, UTV, Bauer and the Digital Radio Group. There are ten areas with trial licences, now being extended to the start of 2018.
Digital Radio UK is a conglomerate of the multiplex operators  and helps run the Digital Action Steering Group, whose aim is to persuade the population to adopt DAB.  Click HERE for the latest version of their plan.
Programme is simply supplied 'down the line' and the radio station usually has nothing to do with transmission, which all is done by the MUX operator.
The system did become very expensive with fees being kept confidential, and well over £1 million pa.  Even a station getting carriage in a relatively small area will be expected to pay around £100,000. Some regional muxes are now a little less than this and 'ILR' station size fees are about £75k a year.
In 2015 the UK regulator gave permission for ten experimental 'small scale' DAB multiplexes. These carry from 6 to 10 channels  and usually cover a city area, such as Manchester, Norwich & Portsmouth.
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Majority Barton
mains radio
This is a classic-looking radio, with a wood-finished cabinet,  offering ultra-modern performance. With its wood effect finish the Majority Barton would make a great addition to your home, in the lounge, the kitchen or the bedroom, as its alarm and clock features are just what you need for a gentle early morning wake up call.
The Majority Barton wood-effect radio has punchy audio that rivals that of much larger radios. It has digital (DAB & DAB+) and FM radio reception - with 20 (10 DAB+ & 10 FM) easy to use channel presets.
The Barton's upright style and small footprint makes it great for in the kitchen or bedside areas where space is often limited. You can set the Barton to wake yuou up with your favourite radio station, or an audible alarm.
Automatic time set - When you plug the clock in for the first time, the current time will be immediately shown in the display. Other features on the Majority Barton include: alarm clock, sleep function, clear LCD display, earphone socket, telescopic aerial, and a simple auto-scan tuning feature, very useful to find new stations that often pop up on the DAB bands without gret fanfare.
Normally selling at around £70,
Amazon currently have this unit
for just £39.95, including FREE delivery.
Majority Barton DAB Radio

Digital Radio

Certification Mark

The Digital Radio Certification Mark (known  now as the “tick mark”) identifies and gives greater assurance to consumers that the DAB digital radio products and services they are buying are future-ready and will enable them to receive the available DAB, DAB+ and FM radio stations. In order to be granted use of the tick mark, manufacturers must meet the minimum specification. In order for the manufacturer to prove that they meet the minimum specification, they must put their product(s) through testing.
This is because the first wave of DAB radios are now becoming obsolete as they won't upgrade, and are unable to receive the DAB+ stations, which use less bandwidth and offer far superior quality to the first wave of DAB.
DAB radio receiver

More information

The UK's leading seller of tech kit, EBuyer, have an excellent article explaining more about DAB, and whether it might become the standard for radio receivers.  Its unlikely to be for some time, however their article  and web site also have some amazing bargains on the latest equipment. Well worth a look. Click Here.