Choosing the right DAB+ aerial

Having the optional DAB+ adaptor can significantly increase the usefulness of your Android headunit, but they often come with an inferior stick-on glass aerial. It may not even be worth the effort to fit the stick-on window DAB antenna because they have such poor reviews over the country complaining of poor signal and station coverage. Go straight for the upgrade for DAB+ quality.

Poor signal –> Better aerial

The quality of the received DAB+ signal can be significantly increased by fitting a better quality aerial and, where possible, site it on the roof. Roof mounting an upgraded aerial is more accessible when an existing FM aerial is present, as this becomes a more straightforward swap.

Traps to avoid

Pitfalls in picking a replacement DAB aerial is finding one with a lead that is too short. Measure roughly what is needed and remember to include extra for routing around the trim. The critical factor is that excess cable can be hidden, but extending the cable can be difficult.

Trap two to avoid picking the wrong connector. Not all DAB USB adaptors have the same connector and are often overlooked until they don’t fit.

A quick check can save frustration, so look for one with the correct connector. SMA connectors have a thread, and the plug and socket of the SMA screw together. At the same time, the SMB-style connectors have a snap-together join, with no turning required to make the connection.

If you have found yourself with the wrong connector fitted, don’t worry. There are kits of adaptors here that will give you every everyday universal fitting assistance for SMA male/female to SMB male/female.

Other connectors

Other connectors could be MCX or MMCX. MCX and its smaller sibling, the MMCX, are push-fit ‘snap together’ connectors but smaller in size than the SMB system. If you find you have no thread, but SMB is too big, consider it could be MCX and use this adaptor kit.

Twigs and Sharks

When it comes to the type of aerial upgrade for DAB, they often include an FM antenna integrated, but there are also options for GPS in the same unit. Many of them are amplified, and each extra feature has its cable to install and hide.

Twigs are the stick-type antenna DAB aerial and are suitable for most vehicles, except for some high tops or vans near their maximum height.

A shark fin DAB antenna can be helpful here as they are much shorter but still give a good DAB+ signal. The sharks are often chosen because they match OEM fitting or look better.

Other connectors

You may have blue or white square connectors; these are fakra not usually found on the universals but quite common on OEM. Just specify fakra if you need that for either DAB, FM, or both,

It can be prudent to connect all the cables before installing the aerial on the roof, but if you don’t and the plugs don’t fit, don’t worry. An adaptor is available; it is just a case of working out which one you need.

I am an staff blogger. I have been using Android on my devices for many years and have learned a lot about the features and best hardware to keep up with the latest Android versions. I also make the coffee ☕

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