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#1
Old 10-28-2005, 09:35 PM
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Can I boost the reception of a compact portable FM radio?

Can I boost the reception of a compact portable FM radio? If so, how?

I have had few "Red Greene" kind of ideas, but I don't want to light myself up like a Xmas tree, lol.

e.g. - attach an amplified antenna to the pull-out antenna via a piece of wire with alligator clips at each end. Bad idea?

Anyone have any GOOD (and very cheap) ideas to boost my signal gain?
#2
Old 10-28-2005, 10:35 PM
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As an ex-Radio Shack Manager I sold lots of antennas. Amplified antennas are generally a waste of time and usually amplify noise and signal, not just signal. There are a few scenarios where they can be helpful, but these are fairly limited.

Unless you have an external antenna input attaching something directly to the existing antenna of the radio is not going to do much in most cases. Your best bet is simply to get higher quality portable radio with an external antenna input, and good FM sensitivity and selectivity, but that's not going to be super low cost.
#3
Old 10-29-2005, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro
As an ex-Radio Shack Manager I sold lots of antennas. Amplified antennas are generally a waste of time and usually amplify noise and signal, not just signal. There are a few scenarios where they can be helpful, but these are fairly limited.

Unless you have an external antenna input attaching something directly to the existing antenna of the radio is not going to do much in most cases. Your best bet is simply to get higher quality portable radio with an external antenna input, and good FM sensitivity and selectivity, but that's not going to be super low cost.
Thanks for the input, astro. You being someone knowledged in said area, are there any particular brands / models of small portable radios, with outstanding reception capabilities, that you would recommend?

I love classical music. My favorite classical station transmits from approx' 40 miles away and it's difficult to get on all of my house radios. (Strangely, I never have any trouble receiving my favorite station in the car.)
#4
Old 10-29-2005, 01:06 AM
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Location: Anderson, IN,USA
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Generally, I agree with what astro said. However, I can say from experience that alligator-clipping a length of wire to your telescoping antenna can help if you happen to guess right about the length of the wire and if your length of wire is aimed at the station, and you remember not to ground the far end of the wire. With roughly 30 feet of wire thrown over the steel rafters in a steel walled factory, I was able to bring in a low-power Public Radio station. I was lucky. Somebody more knowledgable than me might be able to tell you how long the wire should be.

Now, for a home stereo, that's a different matter. I have an Archer FM antenna from Radio Snack in my attic, with an amplifier hooked to it, also from Radio Snack. Coax cable runs to my Carver receiver in the family room, and I can pick up stations I shouldn't be able to get.

Once, I got Pittsburgh, for 20 minutes. Some guy babbling about Challenger Deep.
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#5
Old 10-29-2005, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
Generally, I agree with what astro said. However, I can say from experience that alligator-clipping a length of wire to your telescoping antenna can help if you happen to guess right about the length of the wire and if your length of wire is aimed at the station, and you remember not to ground the far end of the wire. With roughly 30 feet of wire thrown over the steel rafters in a steel walled factory, I was able to bring in a low-power Public Radio station. I was lucky. Somebody more knowledgable than me might be able to tell you how long the wire should be.
Amateur radio operator here. The wavelength of the FM broadcast band is about 3 meters. In theory a quarter wavelength would be ideal for a simple wire antenna. Thus length should be about .75 meters.

However, experimenting with random lengths of wire oriented in various directions is worth trying. If that doesn't work, a better radio may be needed.
#6
Old 10-29-2005, 02:37 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: High Desert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
Once, I got Pittsburgh, for 20 minutes. Some guy babbling about Challenger Deep.
Oh, I think I heard that broadcast! Was it sometime in the early '60s?
#7
Old 10-29-2005, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: East Coast of USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bzwilak
Thanks for the input, astro. You being someone knowledged in said area, are there any particular brands / models of small portable radios, with outstanding reception capabilities, that you would recommend?

I love classical music. My favorite classical station transmits from approx' 40 miles away and it's difficult to get on all of my house radios. (Strangely, I never have any trouble receiving my favorite station in the car.)
I've read some good things about Tivoli, CCrane, Sangean and the GE Superadio. I haven't tried them, but I've been doing a little reading, looking for a good table radio, and these companies seem to have good reputations online. The CCrane and GE might not have the best speakers for music.
#8
Old 10-29-2005, 01:11 PM
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I was under the impression this was at work and that's why you were limited to a portable radio. If it's a home install You best bet is to install an external Radio Shack FM directional antenna. They are not expensive ($ 20-30) and will gather signal very effectively. If external install is not possible you can also do an in attic install of the smaller 6 foot ones but this does drive down signal somewhat. If you have an existing external UHF- VHF TV antenna installed this will also make an acceptable FM antenna in many cases (VHF section "wing" dipoles) . You can install a rotor but this drives the cost up a bit, and if it's just one station you're interested in you really don't need it.


See FM Reception Tips


Having said all this I just checked the Radio Shack website and apparently they no longer sell outdoor TV-FM antennas.
#9
Old 10-31-2005, 03:10 PM
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Location: Anderson, IN,USA
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I second the recommendation for the GE Superradio. You can't beat it for FM reception in an inexpensive radio ($100, last time I checked) and it has a darn good AM section, too.
#10
Old 10-31-2005, 03:29 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,864
I'm also interested in a good quality compact FM radio, so I looked at the GE Superadio on a couple of websites. The big thing I don't like about it is the analog tuner. Is there another good compact radio with a digital tuner?
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