Troubleshooting DAB reception

DAB reception problems can be caused by many things. It is often a process of elimination to find the cause. 

If the sound begins to burble or cut out altogether or you have lost a radio station it is probably due to one of the following:  the signal has weakened due to a network fault or there’s a problem with your equipment or installation.  

Transmitter faults

By using our transmitter tool, you can check which DAB radio services are available at your location. It will also show you any transmitter faults. Currently it reports on network DAB stations only; Local and Nations radio faults are not included.

DAB uses multiplexes to group services together. The BBC network stations, e.g. BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4 are grouped together in a single multiplex. Nations and Local radio services are carried on a mix of commercial multiplexes. 


Try switching your radio on and off. If you still have a problem use the ‘autotune' function to re-tune. If this does not work, a full re-scan might be needed. Check your radio manual for specific instructions on doing a full re-scan. Further information and guidance can be found by visiting the Get Digital website.

Portable Radios

Ensure the telescopic/integrated aerial is fully extended. Try moving the radio around to see if you can find a better position where you get good reception of all the stations you want to listen to.

Many Digital radios have a signal strength display which enables you to position the Radio for the best reception (usually a number of blocks) as a guide of reception quality. Unfortunately, some radios are less sensitive than others and need careful positioning to work reliably. If your radio displays signal strength, use this as a guide to ensure the best position.

In most circumstances the supplied telescopic aerial should be perfectly adequate, and as a rule of thumb DAB aerials tend to work best when vertical and extended at least 35 cm. If your radio reception is poor then you should consider the fitting of an external aerial for best reception quality. Even in good areas an external aerial will guarantee optimum performance and will also ensure consistent listening quality.

Our DAB installation guide provides further information.

External aerials

It is important to check the cables and the aerial for damage and that they are operating correctly. Make sure any cables between your radio equipment and aerial are connected securely. 

Damaged Cables

Water can get into external cables and can cause reception problems. 

Car Radios

Radio reception can drop out when on the move due to changes in topography. 


Radio signals can be affected by fine weather including high pressure. The only solution is to wait for the weather to change, you should not re-tune during this time.

Lost reception of one or more stations within a multiplex

If all other stations are working ok and you have just lost one station. The problem could be due to a number of reasons; the station may have stopped broadcasting or have moved multiplexes rather than a radio fault. All of the stations in one multiplex should be behaving the same way. 

What to do

Try switching your radio off and on. If this does not help use the 'autotune' function to reinstall the stations into the memory or talk to your dealer or manufacturer.

Qualified Installer

The BBC cannot recommend individual installers. The CAI (Confederation of Aerial Industries) is a recognised trade body which will be able to put you in touch with one of their members in your area.