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 so 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 type of signal issue imaginable. I have compiled the most effective strategies for you to boost 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 interfere.
How To Boost Radio Signal the Easy Way?
The solution to getting your music coming in the house sounding great might be super simple. If you decide to go big, this can be very hard and expensive. You want to know the easiest and cheapest way to boost radio signal in a building, right? Let’s start with the easy methods first.
- Move the radio into 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 between ‘Stereo’ and ‘Mono’. The crackling sound might go away in Mono mode. You will lose some sound quality, but if that is not a concern 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 straight into the wall. You can also try unplugging other devices. Neon and aquarium lights are notorious 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, this could be causing your interference. Turn off heaters, ac units, power tools. See if that helps.
- Shield your Wires – Corroded and frayed wires can cause problems. So, 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’. More expensive is ‘shielded conduit’.
How to Boost Radio Signal in a Building when Easy Fixes Don’t Work
You tried for the easy solutions first. You still aren’t getting the signal you need to listen to your favorite talk show while you putter around the shop. It may be time to take more decisive measures. But first, I got to talk to you about your radio.
Not all radios are created equal
I’ve achieved better reception out of my 80’s Walkman than out of my fancy stereo system, so this isn’t about spending big bucks. Still, there are 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 make use of a weakened signal. But… this is less important.
- Selectivity – the receiver’s capability of separating the desired signal from other unwanted undesired signals. This is more important.
In fact, 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. I researched and bought the radio with the best selectivity that I could find. It completely fixed the problem.
Outdoor Antennae or Antenna Boosters
Signal won’t come into your house? Go to where the signal is. There are a variety of 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 that to your radio. The best one is a single strand of wire stretched straight up and down. Send it as high as possible. I’ve even used speaker wire for this with great effect, but copper-clad wire is better. Old fashioned rabbit ears work great too.
- Outdoor Antenna – Purchase an outdoor antenna and mount it to the roof. You may want to check local regulations if you decide to go huge. The outdoor antenna can also just be outside the window, or anywhere the signal is strong. Usually the higher the better.
- Signal Repeater – The best way to connect to your outdoor antenna is through a shielded wire 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, and then your radio can pick up the signal from there.
- Go Wireless – you can also set up a radio in a place that gets the signal. Then 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 change locations with ease. The biggest downside to this is that you generally can’t get live sports online from the radio unless you have a special subscription.
Around the house or out in the shop, 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 the never-ending babble of AM talk. If you still enjoy live radio as much as I do, make the effort to get that signal working today.
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