The Celsus AN3012DAB is a DAB digital radio glass mount antenna which fits to the inside of a car windscreen. The antenna is active with a built-in amplifier to boost the DAB signal.
Glass-mount antennas like this are normally easier to install as they don’t need any changes on the outside of a vehicle. Cables aren’t needed over the length of the vehicle – only from the windscreen to the DAB car stereo or adapter.
In this review we’ll install the antenna with our Sony DSX-A510BD DAB car stereo in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. We’ll see how easy it is to fit and how well it performs with reception of local and national DAB stations.
In the packaging
The antenna comes with a small installation guide. The step-by-step instructions are clear, well written and easy to understand. This includes useful diagrams for right hand drive and left hand drive vehicles. Finally there is a list of specifications.
Compared to some antennas which come with no instructions at all this is great to see. Following the helpful instructions should help ensure the antenna performs at its best. They also provide some confidence that the installation is being completed correctly.
The antenna comes as a complete unit with the antenna, signal booster, copper strip and cable supplied as a single piece. Compared to some antennas that need assembly this should make the aerial easier to install and avoids poor connections.
Preparation is always important when installing DAB windscreen antennas. Steps should be taken to ensure that the antenna will be affixed in the correct location and that the glass is clean for the self-adhesive surface. The antenna didn’t come with an alcohol wipe for cleaning the glass, but these are available to buy.
The installation guide recommends following some pre-installation steps first. This is because the antenna cannot be moved once the adhesive surface is on the windscreen. Masking tape can serve as a useful guide here. The A-pillar trim and the radio will need removing to attach the copper strip and route the cable.
Each part of the antenna is then affixed to the windscreen, peeling off the backing on each part in turn.
A coaxial cable is already attached to the antenna which is more than long enough to reach the radio. The other end has a SMB connector which plugs straight into our DAB car stereo. We switch on the stereo, check that antenna power is switched on in the menu and then scan for digital stations.
After re-installing the trim we noticed a tiny light in the signal amplifier, confirming that power is being received. Although we have installed several similar antennas before we didn’t encounter any problems.
On the driveway the radio found all the available stations in the area. A coverage checker predicts good reception of local DAB stations and fair reception of national BBC services. After scanning for stations all the UK’s national services and some extra local stations were also found.
We tested the antenna on a mix of local and rural roads and the A1(M).
On local roads the reception of local stations like BBC Radio Tees was very reliable with no loss of reception at all. Reception of national services was also OK with no noticeable loss of signal.
When driving through an area with poor DAB coverage the antenna also performed well. In parts of an A road where car radios often lose stations for several seconds the sound dropped out only very briefly. On a part of road with no predicted coverage at all for some national DAB stations the reception was actually fairly good with some occasional loss of signal.
On the A1(M) in this area we would expect good reception of all national DAB stations. The antenna performed accordingly with no break-up of stations at all.
The antenna reliably received all the stations that should be available according to a digital radio coverage checker. It was also possible to receive some stations which were not predicted to have good or fair reception. But as expected more frequent losses of reception did occur with those stations.
Verdict on the Celsus AN3012DAB antenna
The Celsus AN3012DAB glass mount antenna performs well, is easy to install and doesn’t take up much space on the windscreen. Using 12V phantom power from the DAB car stereo and the common SMB connector is also beneficial as it avoids a separate power lead and converting the connector from SMA to SMB.
Installing the antenna was easy with the included installation guide. We’ve seen a few incorrectly installed windscreen antennas which don’t perform well, but a good installation should be achieved with this guide.
Reception was very good with the antenna and our Sony DAB receiver. We completed several journeys without losing reception of local DAB stations at all.
The antenna is available for £40 directly from Celsus.