Why does a pocket radio pick up stations that my tuner does not?

My small Roberts radio picks up all stations but my Denon tuner does not, even with an outdoor aerial. The name of the stations are displayed, but no sound — even a small pocket radio picks up the missing stations.
– Eddie

When a DAB radio station has no sound, but is listed on a digital radio, it could indicate that the particular radio station is being broadcast in DAB+.

DAB+ is a newer version of DAB. Several stations in the UK are now broadcasting in DAB+ instead of the original DAB. We have more information in our ‘What is DAB+?‘ answer.

Most digital radios manufactured in the last few years by brands like Roberts and Denon do receive DAB and DAB+ stations. If you purchased your Denon tuner a few years ago it might not be able to receive DAB+ stations. Your Roberts personal radio, although being smaller with the headphones acting as an aerial, may support DAB+ stations.

Denon don’t currently offer a standalone consumer DAB tuner on their website. The Denon TU-1800DAB was a popular model in the mid-2000s, but its manual doesn’t mention DAB+. Denon offers a professional grade DAB+/FM tuner but this may not be suitable for your setup. Onkyo and Yamaha do currently offer DAB+/FM tuners.

The way in which radios which are not compatible with DAB+ handle these stations varies between devices. Some radios simply ignore the stations and don’t list them, like a Tesco radio we reviewed in 2017. Others, like a Panasonic hi-fi we’ve tested do list the stations and they can be tuned into – but there is no sound.

Many listeners have radios which don’t receive DAB+ stations. Several shops still sell radios which don’t receive DAB+ too. When buying a new or used radio or tuner it’s worth checking that it will receive DAB+ stations. If the radio carries the digital radio tick mark it will receive DAB, DAB+ and FM radio stations.

Should you purchase a new tuner the existing outdoor aerial should continue to work.

If a radio station is unavailable, either due to a weak signal or because the station has ceased broadcasting, you will normally see an error. A message might be displayed on the screen indicating ‘No Service’ or ‘No Signal’.


Still have questions?