The strength of signal reception on your FM radio is all dependent on the distance gap between your radio receiver and the transmitter station. One way radio operators double down on the signals they receive is by using suitable antennas.
Antenna traps radio reception and stabilizes them for transmission. Even in cases where there is unstable or weak reception, antennas can still maintain some fair to good connection over a period than cases where there are no antennas at all. Here is a complete guide on making a homemade FM antenna booster
The advantages of radio antennas go beyond locating the most reliable signals or boosting sparse signals. Still, they also can find very long-range radio signals and transmit them to your receiver.
The usefulness of radio antennas can never go overstated, and they are a necessary tool in every two-way radio communication, and no radio operator can do without them.
Hence, this article will cover a few causes of poor reception and then take you through a few steps on how to make a simple antenna to improve the reception of an FM radio receiver.
What Are The Reasons For Poor FM Radio Reception
We discussed above the importance of having a radio antenna and why it is useful for establishing robust two-way radio communication. To build a perfect antenna to that effect, we should understand what causes poor FM radio reception. Below are a couple of reasons behind it.
Distance between transmitter and receiver
Distance plays a huge role in how well or how poor your radio signals will turn out.
It is not always the case that having your radio sighted far off from a transmitting tower will turn out in you have poor reception.
Sometimes too, if your radio receiver is also close to a transmitting tower, it might result in an overload that can even cause severe damage to your radio.
Atmospheric conditions play a massive role in the smooth or bumpy flow of radio signals in the air.
The weather state at every point in time is also a determinant factor of how far a radio signal can go.
You can expect to have poor reception with the radio signal in extreme weather conditions like rainy, stormy, snowy, and hazy weather conditions.
Interference Of Neighboring Stations
Sometimes interference between neighboring stations can distort reception where a radio receiver might find it hard to interpret the signals of either one of them, thereby resulting in uncoordinated overlap in the message.
Certain objects can sometimes obstruct the line of communication between your radio receiver and transmitter in the way like trees, thick vegetation, and tall buildings.
Even certain conductive materials like iron and steel inside a building obstruct the free flow of radio signals.
Type of Antenna
At times, the kind of antenna matters a lot in the smooth propagation of radio signals. A uni-directional antenna will pick up only one signal being broadcasted by a transmitting station.
In contrast, a multidimensional antenna will transmit from different sources, often leading to distortion in service.
The Tuning power of a radio is also a determinant factor in how well the radio signal will do. Some tuners are more potent than others and can detect any reception; however, faint it is.
Identical Radio Antennas
When two or more stereo systems share the same antenna, there is bound to be a loss in signal power across all systems, leading to poor reception.
Materials Needed To Build An Radio Antenna
When trying to build an antenna from scratch, there are a few essential materials or tools you need to have in place to make sure that your antenna is up to spec and in perfect working condition. Below are six materials you need to make it work
- Wire Cutting tool
- Three-eight inch copper tubing
- FM radio receiver
- Solder machine
- A hacksaw
- Co-axial cable
Steps to Making a Homemade FM Antenna Booster
Take about 3 feet of the coaxial cable and create a Y shape with the 3 foot part of it positioned at a perpendicular angle to the other part of the coaxial cable.
Using a sharp object or a plier, peel out about 2 inches of the insulator to expose the naked wire at the bottom of the remaining piece of the coaxial cable.
Then you look for an antenna outlet at the corner of the radio receiver. It is always highlighted with a symbol to let you know where it is.
Taking each of the coaxial cables around the outlet mouths on the receiver rear. Most of the time, it has a lever that allows you to lift and clip the wire with it.
Now connect the coaxial cable to the radio receiver by making one twisted cable from two cables and attaching it to the receiver outlet, usually a raise-and-clip-down lever.
After securing the coaxial cable in place, position the radio receiver very close to a window outlet, stretching the wire around the window screen or pane.
While outside of the building, take the wire and look for a way to extend on a tall structure and secure it with a pin or sharp object to avoid it being distorted.
Then separate the two wires in different Y-directions to form an antenna shape.
You are almost through at this point.
To confirm if your homemade antenna is working correctly, look for radio signals by putting on the receiver and tune in for the reception, searching for any available station or radiofrequency.
In case you are still having a hard time tuning for a stable signal, you can change your radio’s location to another place within the building to try out for better reception.
At this juncture, feel free to extend more wire as the case may be in the event you don’t get perfect reception of choice.