Blaupunkt Woodstock DAB-FM switching for BBC stations

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by duncanb, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. duncanb

    duncanb
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    I recently installed a Blaupunkt Woodstock DAB54 radio, and am for the most part happy enough with it. However amongst it's many features it says it can be configured such that if the DAB signal strength becomes too low it will automatically retune to an FM frequency for the station being listened to (to the extent that the station also broadcasts on FM).

    I have seen this work fine for some stations (e.g. Classic FM), but it does not seem to work for any of the BBC stations. Unfortunately for me, I listen mostly to the BBC's stations and in an area of marginal reception. I had hoped the unit would automatically retune from DAB to FM. The effect is for a less than satisfactory listening experience - periods of good sound, punctuated by long periods of silence.

    Does anyone else have this problem? If so, is there a solution?

    I did speak with someone at Blaupunkt today, who suggested, if I understood the conversation right, that Blaupunkt had elected, for commercial reasons, not to implement this DAB-FM switching feature for BBC radio stations.

    - duncan
     
  2. hornydragon

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  3. duncanb

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  4. duncanb

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    ...that is, in addition to the existing FM aerial already fitted to the car.

    -duncan
     
  5. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Perhaps a better external antenna would help, Iwould mail bluspot and ask their help.
     
  6. duncanb

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    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I appreciate that the aerial I have may not give me the best signal, and that a better aerial may help improve the quality of reception, and hence reduce the impact of the fact that the radio does not seem to want to retune from DAB to FM and vice versa. This may be the route I have to follow, although ultimately it's only a workaround and not the solution I really want.

    The problem I am trying to address for the moment is not so much how to get improved DAB reception, but how the radio copes with poor/insignificant DAB reception. According to it's specification it should automatically retune from DAB to a matching FM station, but for BBC stations it does not.

    Initially I am really trying to understand if it is just me/my radio/my installation that has this problem, or is this "feature" common to all such Woodstock DAB radios, or maybe even all DAB radios.

    I have searched what Internet resources I can find, and there is no reference to this issue anywhere (although I would appreciate being pointed at anything which suggests otherwise). This inclines me to think it's my installation that has a problem, or maybe no one buys DAB radios to listen to BBC stations.

    So, does anyone else with a Blaupunkt Woodstock radio, or for that matter any other in-car DAB radio experience this, or is it just me?

    -duncan
     
  7. Fred Smith

    Fred Smith
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    I have a DAB 52 and on commercial stations DAB / FM switching works fine, I think it's OK on BBC but as I rarely listen to the Beeb except for DAB / MW stations i.e. Radio 5. I cannot be sure but will check it out and report back. Another person is using my car for the next few days so there will be a delay in testing and reporting.

    PS the Blaupunkt internal glass aerial is crap, I know I have one which I am going to send back and refit a previously used external aerial.
     
  8. duncanb

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    Fred - grateful for any feedback you can give me.

    You are probably right regarding the internal aerial. At the time it seemed like a low impact easy-install solution. Experience driving along the M4 Swindon-Reading each day is that I lose signal say half a dozen times for as much as a minute at a time, and the signal as reported by the "signal strength meter" fluctuates wildly at the best of times.

    -duncan
     
  9. RBZ5416

    RBZ5416
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    This feature is switchable (page 85 of the manual) & will only work if the FM signal is of sufficient strength when you lose DAB. Page 85 also talks of DAB/FM switching needing to be set to "auto". I wonder if the "follow" feature needs to be enabled for each multiplex? Was it Blaupunkt you spoke to or Bluespot? Whoever it was clearly had no idea what they were talking about. Blaupunkt are on 01895 83 8880.
     
  10. duncanb

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    Crocodile - it was definitely Blaupunkt that I spoke with. The person I spoke to hinted that I was not the first person to report the symptoms.

    I have studied page 85, and yes I know the DAB-FM the feature is selectable. If I set it to Auto, then only commercial stations seem to switch automatically, but not BBC stations. Even if I set it to Manual, it only works like the manual says for commercial stations.

    I'm sure I don't have a problem with FM signal strength

    Good point about maybe the setting needs to be done per multiplex - worth a try. I appreciate the suggestions.

    -duncan
     
  11. RBZ5416

    RBZ5416
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    I'll see if I can get it to work on my Pioneer. Like Fred Smith, I never listen to BBC 1-4 on DAB & the commercial stations that I listen to are DAB only. I'll tune to a BBC station on DAB & unscrew the aerial from the roof & see what happens.
     
  12. RBZ5416

    RBZ5416
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    It works - well at least on the Norwich BBC multiplex. I tuned to R2 & the Pioneer switched from DAB to FM & back on several occasions. The DAB signal had to deteriorate to the point of total loss before FM kicked in but kick in it did. I wonder if it could be a regional thing with your local BBC multiplex?

    It was interesting to compare DAB/FM while on the move. When the signal was good there was absolutely no way of differentiating between DAB & FM. This confirms what I've thought about DAB for in car use ever since I bought it - unless you want to listen to stations that are DAB only it's a complete waste of time & money.
     
  13. mose72

    mose72
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    Hi all

    I was looking into a Blaupunkt DAB radio and was on some forums, the guys i was speaking to also mentioned this problem of switching or not as the case may be in marginal areas. However they did say it was one of the best head units they has heard.
     
  14. duncanb

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the several responses, suggestions and feedback. I appreciate it.

    Based on my experiences with the Woodstock DAB54, feedback through this forum and a phone conversation with Blaupunkt technical support I have concluded:

    - The Blaupunkt Woodstock DAB54 (and possibly the earlier 53 & 52 models) do not have the capability to automatically or semi-automatically retune from DAB to FM and vice-versa for BBC stations.

    - The facility to automatically retune seems to work fine for at least the several non-BBC stations that I have tried.

    - This behaviour is not related to whichever "transmitter" you receive the signal from, and is not a fundamental limitation of the technology.

    - I was led to believe that Blaupunkt made a specific decision not to implement this facility on the Woodstock DAB54 (and possibly the earlier similar models too) specifically for BBC stations because they could not agree on a price for licensing the technology/methods/encoding or whatever from the BBC. It was suggested to me that this "would have added several hundred pounds to the sale price". [Presumably others, e.g. Pioneer, made satifactory arrangements at no massive cost].

    I probably could install a far better DAB aerial than the one I have, which would probably reduce the number of signal dropouts that I experience when listening to BBC DAB stations, but the fact is that at some point when the signal disappears the radio will refuse to retune itself to what is apparently a perfectly satisfactory FM signal.

    If you do not listen to BBC stations then this will probably be of no importance to you. However I do listen to BBC radio stations and this lack of advertised facility is a big draw-back. If I had known all this before I bought the radio, I probably would not have bought it.

    I would be more than grateful for anyone who is able prove that the facility does work or can be made to work on my radio, but for the moment I believe it cannot by design.

    Cheers,

    -duncan
     
  15. RBZ5416

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    Sounds like you're getting the same sort of runaround from Blauplunkt that I got from Pioneer when I tried to question them about DAB text. It seems like these Head Offices exclusively employ morons.

    I think that the notion that the technology needs to be licensed from the BBC is nothing short of :censored:. If all you want is standard BBC fare then I would suggest that you return it as "unfit for it's purpose" under the Sale of Goods Act & just replace it with something with a particularly good FM tuner (which excludes Pioneer).
     
  16. rozzar

    rozzar
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    my dab53 gets stuck on dab radiotext sometimes, especially on 1xtra. otherwise, its a great headunit actually. i get away with a conventional roof mounted aerial, except its actually inside the car near the back window!!
     
  17. Richard5

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    Hi all

    Sorry about the long post, but I had the same problem with my DAB53 I purchased last Feb from Bluespot.

    It has it's own external aerial, plus the original car FM aerial and wouldn't switch.

    I e-mailed bluespot the following (I had other problems as well, as can be seen from my e-mail)

    The response from Bluespot was as follows

    Not sure about the answer to question 5 as mates with Sony's etc play MP3 CD's fine from the same point when switched on and off (but thats a different thread all together)

    MMC playback is still very hit and miss, but I am still overall pleased with the unit, and if they could make the features work as advertised I may even upgrade to a DAB54.

    Just my two pennys.
     
  18. Fred Smith

    Fred Smith
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    Apologies for the late response.

    DAB 52. Basically just to confirm what has already been said / confirmed. DAB / FM auto switching does not appear to work on BBC stations, on commercial Digital One and Reading Now ensembles the stations that I have listened to, do switch OK.

    RDS traffic announcements. If listening to DAB the radio bleeps to indicate it is receiving an RDS traffic announcement on FM but it does not switch to FM so that you could hear it, so I find myself leaving RDS traffic announcement function switched off.

    MP3 on MMC. I find if a file is longer then fifteen minutes i.e. a radio show recording of thirty minutes (approx 28Mb) only the first fifteen minutes will playback, however if the same file is burned to CD-RW the whole thirty minutes playback OK.
     
  19. p_harman

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    DuncanB

    As I see it the problem is that the BBC program IDs that are used on national DAB differ from those used on RDS, which means that the woodstock sees them as different programs and will not switch between the two versions automatically.

    For example on DAB, the Radio 1 PID is C221 but on RDS it is C201.

    On the other hand Classic FM uses C2A1 both on national DAB and and RDS.

    This problem appears to be down to the multiplex operators not getting coordinated with the broadcasters, and is not unique to the UK.

    It appears to be less of a problem on the new multiplexes, for example Now Norwich appears to be OK, but the older Now C&E multiplex in Essex has no coordination at all. It does not even coordinate PIDs with adjecent multiplexes such that the PID for The Storm (C6CA) is different to that on DRg London (CCC9) and therfore the woodstock will not retune while driving into London, which works fine with XFM on Capital multiplexes in Kent and London and FM (C0B8).

    The DAB info comes from www.wohnort.demon.co.uk and the RDS info comes from http://www.dxradio.co.uk/ukrdscom.html.

    Paul
     

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