5 years of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex – in our own words

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex. We’ve put a series of posts on this website today where we and our supporters reflect on the last five years. Here we reflect on our own progress.

Ash Elford, Digital Development Manager, Angel Radio
“I just wanted to write a short note to say thank you. Thank you to everyone that has supported Angel Radio and our Solent Wireless Portsmouth DAB multiplex over the last five years, and a thank you to everyone that has supported our stations along the way.

Without the hard work of the CRC and the ODR community, I probably wouldn’t be writing to you today to celebrate such a momentous location. So thank you to the CRC and ODR community as well as Rash Mustapha (Ofcom) and Peter Davis (formerly Ofcom) for pushing through the regulatory steps to make our trial licences possible.

I don’t want this to sound like an award acceptance speech, so I will wrap up by saying thank you to Tony Smith and Alan Beech for supporting me with this project, along with our service providers, Ofcom and Factum Radioscape.

If you want to learn more about our journey, please join me on Facebook this evening at 20:00 for our live stream.”

Tony Smith, Station Manager, Angel Radio
“I’m immensely proud of what Ash Elford and Angel Radio have achieved over the past 5 years of our Portsmouth small scale DAB multiplex.

Leading the UK radio industry by introducing DAB+ and slideshow, and proving its commercial value, has been an exhilarating experience. Seeing well established companies like Radio Caroline, Starpoint and The Breeze using our service alongside community stations, Express FM and BFBS Portsmouth, and new broadcasters, Little Radio, Cosoro Radio and Atmosphere Radio is proof that Portsmouth’s small scale DAB service has been able to bring large and small, old and new radio stations to a whole new audience.

We have been able to help radio stations like The Flash to fulfil their potential by providing them with the ability to make the transition from internet only, to DAB, to full-time FM Community Radio.

As with most innovative projects there have been both technical and financial problems, but each of these have been successfully and quickly solved along along the way and they’ve helped our Portsmouth small scale DAB multiplex to become stronger and more resilient.

Bringing 28 radio stations onto digital radios through a multiplex for Portsmouth and the surrounding areas is something that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago. To have been at the forefront of, not only making that dream come true, but also making it affordable to even the newest, smallest radio stations is something we are immensely proud of.” 

Alan Beech, Managing Director, Commtronix (our engineering contractor)
“It hardly seems like over 5 years ago when I took that phone call from Ash, asking if I knew about DAB, and could I install a transmitter for him? It was to be a baptism of fire.

Everything I thought I knew about DAB and the conventional way of producing and transmitting was turned on its head when I saw the open source low cost implementation and I knew right away this was a game changer. Much midnight oil was burned getting to grips with the technology, and it is hard to believe the initial 9 months trial has now been 5 years!

Working until the early hours on many occasions, loading new configurations onto the multiplex or adding (and debugging!) new features in conjunction with the software developers became the norm. But when those features were added there was a sense of satisfaction knowing that we were among the first in the world to do so. 

Behind Brighton we were the second small scale DAB service to launch in the UK, and it has been my pleasure to be part of it, to push the technology (quite literally) beyond breaking point, and see the service flourish.  I look forward to the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years and what may be achieved.

2 thoughts on “5 years of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex – in our own words”

  1. Absolutely loving 60s, which I’ve just discovered. Delighted to find Radio Caroline available as well and I’m looking forward to listening to that and several others of your stations, music and news.
    East Wittering

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