Burbling noises and breakup on DAB radio

Burbling noises and breakup can indicate a weak DAB signal. It could be due to either a transmitter fault, poor coverage or related to the weather.

Transmitter problems and coverage

Each DAB multiplex is broadcast using a specific frequency and the transmitters used by that specific DAB multiplex all use the same frequency. This is known as a single frequency network (SFN). If you can receive a service from more than one transmitter, then you get the benefit that your radio combines the signals from all the transmitters it can receive. If there is a problem with one of the transmitters you can receive, you may start to hear burbling noises or break up as there may now not be enough signals for good reception.

Use our transmitter tool to see the status of your local transmitters and also to see whether you are in a good DAB reception area. The transmitter tool can only show faults with BBC services.


Weather impacts are rare for DAB but certain weather conditions allow the DAB signals to travel further than normal. This can have a negative effect on an SFN and result in burbling noises or break-up of the audio. 

Interference to DAB

Once a reception problem has been ruled out, you will need to start eliminating possible electrical interference. Our troubleshooting DAB interference help guide is a good starting place, or you can use our problem assistant tool.