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A High-Quality DAB+/FM Tuner, Pt.3

In this month's final part, we explain how to use the DAB+/FM Stereo Tuner and describe the menu system. We also show you how you can upgrade the firmware if necessary and describe various features of the tuner in detail.

Pt.3: By Mauro Grassi

Now that you’ve completed the assembly of the DAB+/FM Stereo Tuner, it’s time to connect it to an amplifier and get it operating.

The first thing you’ll need to ensure good reception is an antenna. If you are in a strong reception area, a simple “rabbit ears” antenna may be sufficient to pick up the digital stations but it probably won’t be good enough for FM reception. Instead, we recommend that you use a roof-top TV antenna to ensure good reception of both the digital and FM stations.

If you want to listen to both DAB+ and FM stations, it is best to use a dedicated FM antenna. This is because DAB+ can operate at full quality with a much weaker signal than FM. Therefore, even if the FM antenna picks up the DAB+ stations with a fraction of the strength as for FM, it should still provide good digital reception.

If you are mainly interested in tuning in to DAB+ stations, a television antenna is a reasonable choice. This is because DAB+ channels in Australia occupy VHF Band 3 which also contains TV channels 6-12. Of course virtually all Australian television antennas will have elements to pick up channels 7, 9 and 10 and so they should also pick up the DAB stations on either side.

The ultimate solution would be to feed the signal from a VHF Band 3 antenna and a dedicated FM antenna into a combiner and then into the tuner. However, unless you are far away from the transmitters, a single antenna should do the job.

Navigating the menus

Pressing the Menu button brings up the menu system. You can then navigate to a sub-menu either by using the VOL-UP and VOL-DOWN keys on the remote or by using the rotary encoder. Pressing SELECT on the remote or pressing the encoder will then select that menu item.

You can also select a sub-menu directly by pressing the number key associated with it. A sub-menu item has square brackets which contain its menu number, whereas a simple menu uses round brackets.

Once inside a menu, you can use the encoder to vary the setting up or down, or you can use the VOL-UP and VOL-DOWN on the remote.

A menu is exited by pressing the DIMMER (EXIT) button on the remote or the EXIT/MODE pushbutton on the front panel.

You can also enter a numeric setting directly, in those menus which take a numeric setting. The display will change as shown in the screengrab of Fig.7 and will give the minimum and maximum allowable settings.

As well as changing some of the default values in the menu system, you can also customise the splash screen.

When power is applied to the tuner, it initially displays a splash-screen bitmap for a second or so. However, if a memory card with a 160 x 80 monochrome bitmap file called “splash.bmp” (in the root folder) is inserted, this will be displayed instead of the default splash screen.

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Fig.1: the main menu screen. There are 11 sub-menus to navigate through.
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Fig.2: a typical readout from the LCD when the tuner is tuned to a station.
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Fig.3: the LCD shows the mute status each time the MUTE button is pressed.

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