Do you want to listen to your favorite FM radio show or the big game on AM radio, but you can’t get good reception inside? This can be very frustrating. Luckily, there is a way to set up your radio to get great reception inside any building. As an audio expert who has dealt with every possible type of signal issue, I have compiled the most effective strategies for boosting the radio signal in a building. The ball game is about start, so let’s get it working.
What Causes a Bad Radio Signal?
The main reason for a bad signal is probably some other signal getting in the way. This could be from another device in your house, such as electrical equipment or a cordless phone. The radio signal can also be weakened by obstacles, like the walls of your house. Metal stoves and plumbing can worsen the problem. Mountains and electrical grid installations in the neighborhood can also cause interference.
How To Boost Radio Signal the Easy Way?
The solution to getting great sounding music in your house might be very simple. This can be very hard and expensive. We will tell you the easiest and cheapest way to boost radio signals in a building. We will start with the easy methods first.
- Move the radio near a window – Try a few different sides of the building. In each location, move the antennae around in all directions. Getting a perfect signal might just take a little experimentation.
- Switch to Mono – Many radios have an option to choose between ‘Stereo’ and ‘Mono’. The crackling sound might go away in the Mono mode. You will lose some sound quality, but if that is not too important then this could be your easy fix.
- Change outlets – Try plugging the radio into another outlet. Extension cords and other devices running on the same circuit can cause interference. Plug it straight into the wall. You can also try unplugging other devices. Neon and aquarium lights are well-known signal killers. If you know which circuit you are on, try a different circuit.
- Seek out other signals – If you use a cordless phone around the house, it could be causing your interference. Turn off heaters, A/C units and power tools. See if that helps.
- Shield your Wires – Corroded and frayed wires can cause problems. If a piece of equipment is found to be causing the problem, look at the wires and replace any that don’t look good. Wires can be shielded by wrapping them in a product called ‘magnetic shielding foil’. A more expensive product is ‘shielded conduit’.
How to Boost a Radio Signal in a Building, when Easy Fixes Don’t Work
You tried the easy solutions first. However, you still aren’t getting the signal you need to listen to your favorite talk show, while you putter around the garage. It may be time to take more decisive measures. First, it is necessary to talk to you about your radio.
Not all radios are created equal
I’ve gotten better reception out from my 1980’s Walkman, than my fancy stereo system. There fore, this isn’t about spending a lot of money. There are still two issues when you buy a radio that you want to know about.
- Sensitivity – the smallest amount of signal power that your antenna can function on. Your antenna should be able to use a weakened signal. However, this is less important.
- Selectivity – the receiver’s capability of separating the desired signal from other unwanted and undesired signals. This is more important.
If it is too sensitive, it will pick up all kinds of distortions. When I was living in a cabin in the Oregon coastal mountains, I had a terrible signal. My problem was solved by buying a radio with the best selectivity that I could find.
Outdoor Antennae or Antenna Boosters
What happens if the signal won’t come into your house? You should go to where the signal is. There are several options for improving your signal using additional antennae. Here are the best choices and some tips on how to make them work for you.
- Indoor Antenna – Purchase a better antenna that picks up the signal loud and clear and connect it to your radio. The best antenna is a single strand of wire that is stretched straight up and down. Send it as high as possible. I’ve even successfully used speaker wire but copper-clad wire is better. Old fashioned rabbit ears also work great.
- Outdoor Antenna – Purchase an outdoor antenna and mount it to the roof. You may want to check local regulations, if you decide to buy a very large one. It can also just be outside the window, or anywhere the signal is strong. The higher is usually the better.
- Signal Repeater – The best way to connect to your outdoor antenna, is through a shielded wire that is directly connected to your radio. If that is not an option, you can get a signal repeater. Run a coaxial cable from the outdoor antenna to the repeater. Your radio can then pick up the signal from there.
- Go Wireless – you can also set up a radio in a place that gets the signal. The next step is to use a transmitter that repeats the signal to your radio.
Listen Online or with Bluetooth?
Many radio stations stream their programming online. If you have an internet connection, this may be the solution to your problem. You can use your phone or computer and then plug it into any radio or speaker with an auxiliary plug. Bluetooth speakers and headphones allow you to set up anywhere and easily change locations. The biggest drawback is that you generally can’t get live sports online on the radio, unless you have a special subscription.
I like to have the soundtrack of my life playing, while I keep busy. It may be rocking’ out to some great music, sipping’ tea with public radio on the weekends, listening to the game, or enjoying the never-ending babble of AM talk. If you still enjoy live radio as much as I do, make an effort to get that signal working today.
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