DAB Portables Review

DAB - Digital Radio
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a2c39a
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Joined: 23 Dec 2014 07:02
Location: 4km NE of Tacolneston, Norfolk.

DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 14 Jan 2015 20:30

Sangean DPR-65
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Sangean DPR-65 showing added ext. ant. jack.
Case size 125mm x 75mm x 28mm.

Small and light, (of similar size to a PL-310 but more rounded).
Easy to fit in a pocket.

Power from 2 internal AA size cells or 5V DC via side mounted power socket.
(Using Eneloop type, 2000mAh, low self discharge cells, it gives good battery life for a DAB radio.)

Key Lock switch.
Very useful to stop accidental switch-on and battery discharge, while in a bag or pocket.

Receives FM/DAB/DAB+.

Uses a two line LCD.

Easy to use for DAB DXing.

Shortcut to Manual Tuning.
(Press and hold the Select button)

In Manual Tuning mode the Signal level meter is constantly displayed on the top line of the LCD.
This makes finding and peaking a weak DAB signal fairly easy.
Channel Number and Frequency are shown on the second line of the LCD.

Signal level meter shows blocks with a square indicating the threshold level positioned 6 blocks up from zero.

In Manual Tune, MUX Name scrolls in with Channel Number/Frequency when the signal is strong enough.
(Usually only 1/2 bars needed!)

Ability to review most of the MUX/Service Info (MUX Name, Channel Number & Frequency, Audio Encoding), for MUXs that have been received, without a signal present.

The Bit Rate display, in the MUX/Service Info, shows the encoding method (MP2/AAC).
AAC indicates reception of a DAB+ MUX.
(This can be reviewed after the signal from the MUX is no longer present.)

Audio will stream from a weak MUX when only 2/3 bars of signal are shown. It will be 'ploppy' or 'bubbling mud' but it will stream!

I have added a 3.5mm c/o external antenna jack (as per DE1103 and PL-310).

This radio is very good for DAB DXing.

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a2c39a
Posts: 114
Joined: 23 Dec 2014 07:02
Location: 4km NE of Tacolneston, Norfolk.

Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 14 Jan 2015 20:37

Wintal DAB10B
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Wintal DAB10B (Microspot RA-318?)
Case size is 170mm x 100mm x 44mm.

Too big to easily fit in a pocket.

Power from 4 internal AA size cells or DC 6V socket.
(Using Eneloop type, 2000mAh, low self discharge cells, it gives relatively short battery life typical of a DAB radio.)

No way to prevent accidental switch-on and battery discharge, while in a bag.

Receives FM/DAB/DAB+.

Uses a two line LCD.

No shortcut to Manual Tune, it must be selected from the Menu.
(Press Menu, press Right, press Enter/Disp).

In Manual Tuning mode the Signal level meter is constantly displayed on the bottom line of the LCD.
This makes finding and peaking a weak DAB signal fairly easy.
(Channel Number and Frequency are shown on the top line of the LCD.)

Signal level meter shows blocks with a square indicating the threshold level positioned 5 blocks up from zero.

In Manual Tune, MUX Name replaces Channel Number/Frequency when the signal is strong enough.
(Usually 1/2 blocks needed.)

No ability to view MUX/Service Info unless the MUX is being received at adequate signal strength.

The Bit Rate display, in the MUX/Service Info, shows the encoding method (MP2/AAC).
AAC indicates reception of a DAB+ MUX.
(This can only be viewed while the MUX is being received).

This receiver is good for DAB DXing but does not have so many useful features as the DPR-65.

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a2c39a
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Joined: 23 Dec 2014 07:02
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Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 14 Jan 2015 20:51

Sony XDR-S40DBP
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Sony XDR-S40DBP
Case size 180mm (190mm over projecting Volume Control) x 95mm x 35mm.

Too big to easily fit in a pocket.

Power from 4 internal AA size cells or DC 6V socket.
(Using Eneloop type, 2000mAh, low self discharge cells, it gives relatively short battery life typical of a DAB radio.)

No way to prevent accidental switch-on, while in a bag.

Receives FM/DAB/DAB+.

Only a single line LCD!

Manual Tune does not have a shortcut, it must be selected from the Menu.
(Press Menu, press Up 4 times, press Enter/Disp)

Manual Tune displays (and alows selection of) the Services in the Manually Tuned MUX if there is a strong enough signal.

Only Channel Number is displayed in Manual Tune.
There is no signal meter!
(This radio does have a signal meter [numbers 00 to 99] but it can only be displayed when a service from a MUX is being streamed. This is of little help when DXing.)

In Manual Tune, a Channel is only checked for signal at the instant Enter/Disp is pressed to select that Channel to check for a possible signal.
There is no way to continuously monitor a channel for a weak signal.

MUX Name is not displayed in Manual Tune.

Channel Frequency is not displayed in Manual Tune nor in MUX/Service Info, only Channel number.

MUX/Service Info can be viewed when that MUX is not being received.

Data encoding method (AAC/MP2) is not shown in the MUX/Service Info.
AAC indicates the reception of a DAB+ MUX.

This receiver can be used for DAB DXing but it's single line display, 'one shot' Manual Tune and other deficiencies, make it difficult.

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a2c39a
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Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 14 Jan 2015 20:55

Pure Evoke 1
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Pure Evoke 1 an Oldie but Goodie.
Case size, 210mm x 148mm (170mm inc. handle) x 110mm.

Old, wooden case, original Pure DAB radio.

Power 12V DC from external mains adaptor (or 12V battery).

Receives DAB.
(Does not receive FM or DAB+).

Receiver uses a 2 line LCD.

No shortcut to Manual Tune, it must be selected from the Menu.
(Press Setup, turn Tune 1 click, press Tune, turn Tune to select Channel to check for signal, press Tune.)

In Manual Tune mode the Signal Meter is constantly displayed on the top LCD line, Channel Number and Frequency below.
When signal is strong enough, MUX Name replaces Frequency.
(All good for DAB DXing.)

Signal level meter shows blocks with a square indicating the threshold level positioned 5 blocks up from zero.

Not really portable, no DAB+, not recommended for DAB DXing (but by all means use it if you already have one!).

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a2c39a
Posts: 114
Joined: 23 Dec 2014 07:02
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Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 14 Jan 2015 21:04

Roberts RD-3 (Gemini 3)
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Roberts RD-3
Case size, 280mm x 160mm (200mm over handle) x 80mm (90mm over antenna).
This is a bulky, typical 'old style' Roberts radio.

Power from 230V mains or 6 internal C size cells.

It receives FM/DAB.
(Does not receive DAB+)

Uses a 2 line LCD.

There is no signal meter in Manual Tune mode. This makes it difficult to find weak signals when DXing.

However, it has one function which is better than many other DAB radios I have tried.
Press and hold Select to enter Manual Tune mode.
When in manual tune mode and a MUX is strong enough to receive (name has appeared in the display), pressing Select again will display All the Services in the one MUX you have Manually Tuned (including hidden ones!).
Most other radios that I have tried will simply display the alphabetically sequenced Services List for all MUXs the radio has ever received when Select is pressed a second time.
A similar system is used by the XDR-S10DBP but no MUX name, no Hidden Services.

Almost certainly obsolete and not recommended for DAB DXing but it does have one good point.

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a2c39a
Posts: 114
Joined: 23 Dec 2014 07:02
Location: 4km NE of Tacolneston, Norfolk.

Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by a2c39a » 13 Feb 2017 21:29

Roberts Play (Mono).

Case size: 163mm x 105mm x 35mm
Bigger than the DPR65 but smaller and more comfortable and ballanced than the DAB10B.

Power from 230v mains via a 7.5v psu or by 4 internal AA size cells.
There is a switch in the battery compartment to change from Rechargeable NiMH to Alkaline cells. When set for Rechargeable NiMH, the mains psu will charge the internal cells.

For other features please refer to the Sangean DPR65 as the operation of this radio is identical.
It is also the same for the Sangean DPR69+ and it is because of this that I bought and tested this radio.

I have compared the sensitivity of the Roberts Play with my Sangean DPR65 and my Wintal DAB10B.

I can confirm that the sensitivity is slightly better than the DPR65 and, in my opinion, equal to the Wintal DAB10B (which is the same as the Microspot RA318 known as "Das DX wundermaschine" in Germany).

I think the feel and look and ease of operation of this radio make it preferable to the Wintal DAB10B and I highly recommend it as the best portable radio available for DAB DXing.

daveB
Posts: 1004
Joined: 07 Oct 2014 16:49

Re: DAB Portables Review

Post by daveB » 11 Nov 2017 15:38

Does the Roberts Play actually have an external antenna jack? The picture of the rear shows something on the top right hand side marked ANT but I can't make out if the silvery metal thing is actually an aerial socket or is blanked off.
SDRPlay, AirSpyMini, RTL dongles, SB920s, Yamaha TX930. 5 ele compact yagi on rotator at 18ft agl. FM5 facing east, FM5 facing south, FM3 facing NE, OIRT dipole, 3-ele Moxon vertical facing east.

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