FAQs : FM and DAB

Can I use a TV aerial for FM radio ? / Can I use a TV aerial for DAB radio ? : A TV aerial is designed for a different frequency band (UHF) than FM and DAB radio which are both VHF. You can still get some FM or DAB reception from a TV aerial but only if you live in a strong signal area. An additional problem is that many aerial amplifiers will actually filter out FM or DAB signals. More detail on FM/DAB reception from TV aerials.

FAQ : FM and DAB aerials and reception

What is FM and DAB radio ? : FM stands for frequency modulated and is analogue radio transmission. DAB is digital radio transmission, i.e. it is transmitted as digital data which is decoded in the receiver, though technically (as with digital TV) DAB is broadcast from the transmitter as an analogue waveform upon which the digital data is modulated. Both FM and DAB are transmitted within the VHF band, though DAB frequencies are in the top half of it and FM in the bottom half. More detail on FM and DAB aerials.

Can I use an FM aerial for DAB, or a DAB aerial for FM ? : Since the frequencies for FM and DAB are fairly close many FM aerials will work to a certain extent for DAB and vice verse. However, DAB aerials with baluns in them tend to filter out FM, and horizontally polarised FM aerials are the wrong polarity to pick up DAB at peak efficiency. Combined FM and DAB aerials are available but do not work as well as separate FM and DAB aerials diplexed together. A vertically polarised FM Half Wave open dipole works very well for FM and also pretty well for DAB. More details on FM and DAB aerial tests.

What is the best FM aerial ? : Whilst there is no such thing as the best TV aerial, when it comes to FM there is (nearly) an answer : the FM Half Wave open dipole. The great majority of sites in this country will get a perfectly acceptable FM signal with one of these aerials and they perform significantly better than round "Halo" omni FM aerials. If installed vertically the FM Half Wave also happens to work quite well for DAB. Despite all this they are actually the cheapest aerial we sell, so why would we be trying to sell you one of them unless they're as good as we say ? ! ? More details on the FM Half Wave dipole.

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