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Radio reception in Europe


bcnu

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I like to listen to BBC radio while driving as well as to catch up on news in the evening. Does anyone have suggestions about suitable systems for use in mainland Europe or even remote parts of the UK? Long wave, medium wave and FM all fade away with distance, and DAB is no better. That seems to leave just the World Service. Unfortunately, they have cut back on short wave transmissions, which leaves local FM relays, satellite transmissions, Digital Radio Mondiale and the internet. The first and last of these are not much use while travelling.

 

Are there any satellite radio systems that will work while travelling, in particular that do not need a dish to be aimed at the satellite?

 

Does DRM actually work? The BBC don't seem to be advertising it much nowadays.

 

Thanks in advance for any hints or tips.

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We find that using a Transit MK7 and its fitted radio, we can get Radio 4 on 198KHz all over Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Most of France (varies a bit in the south), western Germany and for quite a way up north in Norway (past Tronheim).

 

On the limits, Radio 4 does get quite 'hissy' and is best listened to when stopped, but we have found it to be acceptable and certainly better than nothing. Perhaps an aerial upgrade is what you need?

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bcnu - 2010-01-10 1:46 PM

Does DRM actually work? The BBC don't seem to be advertising it much nowadays.

ASIUT, much egg on face with that! IIRC testing was done during daytime and everthing seemed fine, they then put out prototype equipment for test in home envioment, in evening the amount of interferance messed up signals, back to the drawing board to come up with a more robust system last I heard.

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I should have mentioned the BBC World Service Web page at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/institutional/2009/03/000000_western_euro.shtml

in my original enquiry.

 

648 kHz medium wave and 198 kHz long wave reach the nearer parts of Europe, but only for a few hundred kilometres.

 

The FM relays on VHF are given at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmeguide/, but they are typically only available in cities and at odd hours.

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However, from my point of view the World Service is absolutely useless for keeping up with home news.  It is a semi-propagandist government organ for telling the world what we (the UK as represented by the government of the day) want it to hear, and appears largely dominated by reporters with trans-Atlantic accents (no objection to this per se, but I can't understand why a British point of view doesn't come from people who at least sound like Brits).

Most of the news is "World" news, and the other programmes tend to have a largely "outward looking" profile.  It just isn't for travelling Brits to keep in touch with home.

It is also subject to no end of wandering wavelengths on short wave, necessitating frequent re-tuning to different wavebands as night follows day, and as time slots are taken over by different broadcasters.  It is frequently of very poor reception quality, and you really need to be a radio nerd with, I suspect, quite specialised equipment, to get anything truly audible over the background hisses, bleeps and whistles.

If you do succeed, what you get isn't what what you probably wanted, and is of questionable value.  For home news, it is far easier to use a WiFi point and pick up BBC news from that, or sniff out a UK paper if you have to have UK news while abroad.  Personally, I prefer to leave it all behind, and do not want home news while elsewhere.  It just breaks the spell!  I'll get my own coat!  :-)

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And don't forget if you have an Internet connection (WiFi available on many continental sites) you can listen through the relevant websites, as well as keeping up to date with your favourite TV programs on iPlayer etc.

Clive

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CAB - 2010-01-11 9:08 PM

 

And don't forget if you have an Internet connection (WiFi available on many continental sites) you can listen through the relevant websites, as well as keeping up to date with your favourite TV programs on iPlayer etc.

Clive

Whilst you can get BBC radio via the internet, iPlayer, and similar offerings from the other UK channels, is not available outside the UK.

 

Andy

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Andy_C - 2010-01-12 10:49 AM

 

 

Whilst you can get BBC radio via the internet, iPlayer, and similar offerings from the other UK channels, is not available outside the UK.

 

Andy

 

After numerous false location identifications I thought the BBC had dropped this restriction. I don't recall problems with iPlayer when in France last Easter - can any of our overseas "residents" confirm or otherwise comment?

Haven't tried other UK commercial TV offerings.

Clive

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CAB - 2010-01-12 4:56 PM

 

Andy_C - 2010-01-12 10:49 AM

 

 

Whilst you can get BBC radio via the internet, iPlayer, and similar offerings from the other UK channels, is not available outside the UK.

 

Andy

 

After numerous false location identifications I thought the BBC had dropped this restriction. I don't recall problems with iPlayer when in France last Easter - can any of our overseas "residents" confirm or otherwise comment?

Haven't tried other UK commercial TV offerings.

Clive

Well, it looks as though 'some' content is available on iPlayer outside the UK: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/download_programmes/outsideuk but you won't be able to keep up with the soaps etc...

 

Andy

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Andy_C - 2010-01-12 10:49 AM

 

Well, it looks as though 'some' content is available on iPlayer outside the UK: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/download_programmes/outsideuk but you won't be able to keep up with the soaps etc...

 

Andy

 

That makes sense - not a "soap" fan and looked mainly at news and current affairs.

Another thought. Internet Radios have been around for some time e.g.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Box-Wi-Fi-Internet-Player/dp/B000H5U404

Not tried or even seen one myself - but the reviews are generally good and there is access to 100's of radio stations worldwide (with WiFi connection).

Clive

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A simple aerial upgrade is just a few twists of bell wire around the top of the aerial mast and running a length to a convenient spot elsewhere on the vehicle. To gain any benefit it needs to run the length of the vehicle. When parked up on site this can be extended by running it up a tree.

Also you can listen on line to the majority of BBC national and local stations.

The World Service is also relayed on FM in a lot of European Countries and there is also the diminishing BFBS.

I take podcasts of my favourite programmes and audio book and compilations of radio shows like the Navy Lark and Round The Horne all avaialable from BBC shops.

~

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yeti - 2010-01-17 11:35 PM

 

A simple aerial upgrade is just a few twists of bell wire around the top of the aerial mast and running a length to a convenient spot elsewhere on the vehicle. To gain any benefit it needs to run the length of the vehicle. When parked up on site this can be extended by running it up a tree.

~

 

That's relying on pot luck.

Aerial length is dependent on the frequency of the transmission you are receiving and should be an calculated as a fraction of the wavelength, for small aerials normally half or a quarter of the wavelength.

 

Useful site for calculation aerial length:-

 

http://www.crompton.com/wa3dsp/hamradio/antcalc.html

 

 

 

 

 

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