Although drive-in church services are growing in popularity, FM radio is still with us and available even if your internet connection is down. While streaming needs a strong internet connection, FM needs a strong signal. If you are not strong, this is what you can do to improve it.
Causes of Poor FM Radio Reception
To understand how to improve FM radio reception, let’s try to work out first what affects the reception quality.
It may be too far from one or more station transmitters to receive a good signal, but it may also be too close. If you are too close to a transmitter, the signal can overpower your radio and, in some cases even damage it.
For the radio that is used at home, the walls and anything made of concrete is a great obstacle for radio waves. As a result, your favorite radio with good reception for indoors may still need some extra hand which you could do by placing it closer to the window.
Radio signals can be affected by physical obstacles such as hills, buildings, and trees. There are household building materials, such as plaster, concrete, aluminum cladding, metal roofs, aluminum-coated ducts, and ducts, and solar panels limit the efficiency of antennas placed indoors or in the attic. Moreover, because FM radio transmissions require the reception of a line of sight, over very long distances, the curvature of the earth can also block the reception.
Moving or Intermittent Obstacles
Weather (wind, rain), interference from certain types of electrical equipment, cell towers, and airplanes can also affect FM radio reception.
Station Frequencies Too Close Together
A near and distant station may be acceptable, but their frequencies may be close together. This can cause interference where each station is listening at the same time but is distorted.
The ability of a radio tuner to distinguish between two stations transmitting on nearby frequencies is called selectivity.
If you live in a valley or urban area with tall buildings, you may experience multipath interference. The same signal may be coming directly from a station transmitter, as well as bouncing off a hill or building. Since the signals are not reaching the antenna at the same time, you will experience strong noise distortion. If you receive a stereo broadcast, the stereo indicator will blink repeatedly as your radio cannot lock into a stable signal.
Type of Antenna
You may have multiple station transmitters in your local area, but they may not be in the same location. On the other hand, if you have a multi-directional or omnidirectional antenna, interference is more likely.
Number of Radios Using the Same Antenna
If you have more than one radio connected to the same antenna using a splitter, the signal will lose strength.
FM Tuner Sensitivity
Another factor that affects the reception of the FM signal is sensitivity. Sensitivity is how tuned a radio can receive radio signals of varying intensity.
How to Fix Poor FM Radio Reception
Now that you know what causes poor FM radio reception, you can use one or more of the following options to amplify or clear your signal.
Remove Obstacles You Have Control Over – Make sure your antenna has a “view” as close to the line of sight of the radio station’s transmitter as possible.
Check and replace antenna connections: Make sure the antenna and radio connections are secure. Check for brittleness and fraying. If you have an outdoor antenna, the cables can wear out when exposed to the elements or chewed on by pets or wild animals.
Make sure the antenna connection terminals are not rusty. If possible, check for cables or cuts along the entire length of the cable. If it is worn, replace it with new cables, preferably 18AWG RG6 cables because they are durable and you will not have a bandwidth problem.
FM Antenna Connection with RF Coaxial Cable
Onkyo and RCA
Run a frequency scan- If you have a stereo or home theater receiver, after verifying the location and antenna connections, run a new frequency or tuning scan (if this feature is provided). As the scan progresses, it will stop at every station it receives, just press scan or tune to continue scanning. This process also allows you to add bookmarks to your favorite stations using predefined settings so you can access them directly instead of manually tuning each time.
Switch from stereo to mono- FM radio stations often broadcast both mono and stereo signals. Although listening to music in stereo is desirable, FM stereo signals are much weaker than mono signals. Depending on the transmitting power and distance from the station, you may be able to receive a stable mono signal, but the stereo signal may be weak or have none.
Use a rotor – If you have an outdoor antenna and receive radio signals from various directions, adding a rotor to relocate your antenna when necessary could help. However, this solution is expensive with prices for a complete kit ranging from $ 100 to $ 200 or more.
Move your antenna –If you have an internal antenna, placing it near or on a window will prevent interference from materials used to build walls. Also, place the antenna as high as possible. However, if the cable length from the antenna to the radio receiver is too long, the signal may be weakened.Use a signal booster – If you have trouble receiving FM radio signals and have only one “radio,” you can place a signal booster (also known as a signal booster) between the antenna and your receiver or radio to boost the signal. Simply connect the cable coming from the antenna to the input of the amplifier and the output to the antenna input of your radio or receiver. You need to plug the amplifier into power for it to work.