FM and DAB antenna cable services

What are good DAB and FM cabling installations? DAB is broadcast from a UK wide network of transmitters and can be listened to via a DAB radio. To receive DAB, you must be in a good coverage area and tuned correctly.

Portable radios need to be in the best possible position and, if using an external aerial, it is important to have a good installation.

Coverage and location

Your radio must be in a good DAB coverage area to receive BBC services. Have a look at our Transmitter Checker to see what BBC services you can receive where you are. If you live in a basement flat, or your building is steel-framed or reinforced concrete, coverage may be affected.


Most DAB radios can be tuned easily at the touch of a button. Sometimes a full scan is required. Portable radios should be tuned in a location in your home where the best possible signal is received. Most DAB radios come with built in signal strength meters which can be helpful. From time to time radios should be re-tuned in order to discover new stations.

Telescopic aerials

Telescopic aerials on portable radios should be fully extended to receive a good signal. Tilting and swivelling the aerial will help to get the best signal. Broken aerials may affect reception.

Outdoor aerials

An externally mounted aerial can be attached to many types of DAB portable radio and hi-fi systems. DAB aerials are different from FM or TV aerials, so you need a good quality DAB-specific aerial. An indoor aerial may be good enough, but for the best reception use an outdoor one. Ideally, this should be on the roof or high up on the outside of the building, though it may also give good results in the loft.

Cables and Connectors

If you have an external aerial, a radio signal will always lose some of its strength as it passes along the cable and through the connectors. It is important to minimise the loss by using good quality cable and connectors.

DAB radio in cars

DAB uses different frequencies from FM radio. We advise you check that your antenna is able to receive DAB, in the majority of cases you will need a new antenna. An exception is “helically wound” FM aerials. See our guide on DAB radio in cars