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              dabonwheels DAB Star Performance Rating

Think all DAB car aerials are equal?  Click here

A good aerial is essential.

More than anything else, your choice of aerial is likely to determine whether you are disappointed or delighted by in-car DAB.

Any radio system is only as good as the weakest link, so if you buy a radio with 'Six Star' reception rating and use it with a 'Two star' aerial, you will only get 'Two Star' reception.

To help you in your choice, every model of radio and every model of aerial has been thoroughly road tested by dabonwheels and given a Star Rating for its on-the-road DAB reception performance. 

For a map illustrating the approximate performance difference between a Three Star aerial and a Six Star aerial, please see here

   Six Star.  Unsurpassed.  Near-perfect reception within the official coverage and fringe areas. Listenable reception in many areas with no official coverage.

   Five Star.   Excellent.  Near-perfect reception within the official coverage areas and listenable reception even in some areas with no official coverage.

   Four Star.  Good.  Excellent reception within the official coverage areas.  Some useful fringe area reception.

   Three Star.  Fair.  Will provide listenable reception in strong and medium signal areas.  Few patches of no reception within the official coverage areas.  

   Two Star.  Will provide listenable reception only in strong signal areas.  Patches of no reception, even within the official coverage areas.   

    One Star.  Better than no aerial.  Will provide listenable reception only in the very strong signal areas.  Multiple patches of no reception, even within the official coverage areas.

More about DAB car aerials

As a rule of thumb (with the exception of magnetic aerials) the quicker and easier an aerial is to install, the worse its performance.

That makes sense if you think about it, because there would be no point in making an aerial that is more time-consuming or difficult to fit, unless there were a performance or other gain.

For top performance, a car aerial needs to be as high as possible, with an unobstructed 360 degree 'view', and near vertical.

Official DRDB DAB car aerial advice is here
DAB aerial converters
Use an existing FM/AM aerial but will NOT work with amplified aerials such as Beesting, built in the glass etc.
Performance is rather unpredictable.
Internal glass mount aerials
These are quick and easy to fit but even the amplified models don't provide the very best reception because (1) they do not protrude above the vehicle roof and (2) it's not normally possible to mount them near vertical.

The dipole type (e.g. JVC HAL-1 Mk II) generally give slightly better reception than the smaller aerials.

Once fitted, most cannot be removed and re-fitted, so if you change cars or need to replace the windscreen, you will need to buy a new aerial.  However, Kinetic have recently introduced a novel re-useable version, the Kinetic STIC DSA-3001.

Internal glass mount aerials will not work properly, if at all, on or behind metallised or heated glass.  Because this type of aerial is DAB only, you must retain your existing FM/AM aerial.
External glass mount aerials
These are quite quick and easy to fit and should provide better reception than internal glass mount aerials because, properly fitted (1) they protrude above the vehicle roof and (2) are vertical.  None are amplified.

The best of this type (e.g. Kinetic DEGA-T4002) work exceptionally well.

If you change cars or need to replace the windscreen you will need to buy a new aerial or aerial re-fit kit (not available for all models).

Will not work properly, if at all, on metallised, double glazed or heated glass.  Because this type of aerial is DAB only, you must retain your existing FM/AM aerial.

Magnetic mount aerials
Quick and easy to fit, a roof-mounted magnetic aerial such as the Kinetic MagnetwiG DMA-1002, will give far and away the best reception of the 'no holes required' aerials, even though none of this type of aerial are amplified. 

Magnetic aerials can be quickly removed and re-fitted but you do have to live with the cable visible on the roof, so magnetic aerials are not the most stylish solution.

Because this type of aerial is DAB only, you must retain your existing FM/AM aerial.
Body mount aerials
Unamplified, permanently fitted aerials (e.g JVC HAL-3) which, if roof mounted, will provide reception fully equal to a magnetic aerial, without visible cables.  Can also be mounted to a wing or other panel such as the boot lid, at slight expense of performance. 

Because this type of aerial is DAB only, you must retain your existing FM/AM aerial.
Beesting type roof / body mount aerials
Best by literally miles, these amplified roof/body mounted magnetic aerials (e.g Kinetic DRA-6001) will give far and away the best reception of all.  Whilst they are certainly not a 'quick-fit' option, they do look provide a factory-fitted look on almost any vehicle.  If you prefer their appearance, stubby versions such as the Hirschmann Auta 16V DAB are available.

Can also be mounted to a wing or other panel such as the boot lid, at slight expense of performance, but must not be mounted on a surface whose underside is exposed to the elements.

If your vehicle currently has a built-in-the glass FM/AM aerial, installing a 'DAB/FM/AM kit' variant will probably improve your FM/AM reception as well.

No currently available model is a suitable replacement for aerials incorporating GSM, GPS or rear-screen washer jet.

Which beesting bundle do I need?  See here

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