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poor man's radio antenna  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Anybody have a suggestion on how one improves FM radio reception without spending a bunch of money?  The radio in question has a wee little whip-type antenna. 
 
MJ Solaro
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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Well, there's two kinds of answers to this kind of question. You can either troubleshoot your existing antenna, or you can try building one from scratch.

It's obviously cheaper to try to fix what you got first. Try this:
1.  Rotate the angles of the antenna. Some cheap-o ones are not omni-directional.
2.  Remove obstacles between the receiver and the signal.
3.  Switch your radio from stereo to mono. Sometimes that can help.
4.  Check if your antenna is powered or passive. Passive antennae work better in conditions near the station. Powered antennae might be required for signals farther away from the station.
5. Try boosting the signal with a dipole fm antenna (only 4.99 at radioshack)
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062691


 
paul wheaton
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How do you get something like that dipole antenna to connect to the whip sticking out of the radio?  If you just connect both of the metal bits, will that make a difference?

 
MJ Solaro
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I'm not sure. Does your radio have an antenna input? An FM input looks like an "F" connector jack. A little metal screw probably sticking out of the back. If you have this input, you can stick any external antenna, like the dipole one, into your radio easily...
 
paul wheaton
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Nope.  This is just a plain little boom box. 

I guess I was thinking that someone might say to attach a bunch of foil or something.
 
Leah Sattler
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At my house an antenna adjustment utilizes silly putty, metal hangers,tinfoil and misc wire. I can see two channels in my bedroom now (nice during tornado season around here)
 
Jimmy Pardo
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paul wheaton wrote:
Anybody have a suggestion on how one improves FM radio reception without spending a bunch of money?  The radio in question has a wee little whip-type antenna. 


Hey Paul,
I found this...might be of some help.
FM Radio Antenna PDF

I'm actually really interested in building a radio(AM or FM receiver) from semi-scratch. Like maybe a glorified crystal radio. Do you know anything about making either FM or AM transmitters? Perhaps short wave radios? I'm curious as to which would be easier to build, but more importantly which would be a more valuable communication device.
 
paul wheaton
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Here is a fascinating tidbit. 

A fella that is almost done getting a degree in electrical engineering came by the other day and we got to visiting about this. 

We then took a ten foot long wire and attached it to the antenna and while keeping it as level as we could, we rotated it a bit throughout the room.  We had massive improvement. 

In the end, the fella told me that I could improve it further if I were to attach this wire in a straight line to a piece of wood near the ceiling, adjust it to the point that I got the best reception, and then ran the inner wire of a coax cable from the existing whip antenna, to the new antenna.

Today we're gonna experiment further with a roof mounted antenna.  More news as events warrant!

 
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