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Best FM Powered Indoor Antenna???

 

Bronze Member
Username: Paul_t

Post Number: 66
Registered: Dec-03
With the holidays here my family has been tuning in FM stations more these days and I have also been listening to more FM radio now that we have a couple decent stations (Music wise). The T antenna that came with my NAD T752 just isn't bringing the stations in well, too much static and not as clear as I would like... any suggestions on what is the best FM Powered Indoor Antenna at a resonable price??
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Honestly, with enough book study and application study, I can tell you there's no point. Don't waste the cash.

A power amplified indoor antenna is still taking the raw signal it gets, and trying to make it cleaner. Not stronger, not more 'full' of data. So however weak the signal is, that's what you're getting. The only thing the pricier powered antennas are good for, are filtering out noisy interference on neighboring frequencies when ALL signals are strong. (like in an urban city location) More on this in a minute.

The real issue at hand is the way RF works, and the way you are receiving it. It is largely a line of sight or reflective wave transmission method.

You need to try moving the antenna physically around more; not twisting or turning, but relocating it up to half a wavelength away (up to 3 feet) to see if you are in a 'dead spot'.

If relocation does not help, then it's time to get outside of your walls, or get higher. Home wall's block alot of the signal, and height gets you clear of any ground based obstacles that could defract the frequency wave, scattering it to the point that it is no longer a clean transmission (overlay, ghost waves, etc)

The absolute best antenna will always be as high on your home as possible, clear of obstructions, and tuned in length to near the frequency you desire to receive. (since FM is a band, 98.5, the middle of the band, is considered the tuning point typically)

The reason thus a powered antenna is good for urban areas only, is because the signal strength is high for all frequencies being broadcast (short distance) and the massive amount of reflection the waves get bouncing off the exterior of all the buildings around you. Thus, your antenna gets overloaded with neighboring channel noise, and a good filter that kills things down, then reboosts the desired frequency only helps to seemingly 'single out' your desired channel. This applies ONLY to those powered antennas that require 'tuning' for the chosen channel; if it's 'non-tunable', it's worthless, no matter how much it cost. (*cough*some-terk-crap*cough*)

Thus, for your application, your 'static' is an indicator that the signal is just plain weak; not being muddled by neighboring channels. A powered antenna would 'dampen' all the neighboring frequencies, and just try to reboost the desired channel which it has little to work with initially. End result; same signal strength.

If you care, more study on 'radio waves' and googling 'radio transmission' or 'radio antenna' will fill in all the pieces.

E.

 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Oh, I'll also add that I'm sure there will be a few people that will post back; 'But I bought one and it works great!!!'....

I'll cheerfully ask, 'Did you install the antenna in the same place?'

Most the time, the answer is 'No.'

Alot of those times, the relocation of the antenna is what probably did the trick. LOL.

(relocation due to an accommodation of some larger, floor standing unit, or some wall hanging unit, or some large art deco looking piece of bent metal tubing, etc etc)

E.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Landlockedph

Post Number: 12
Registered: Dec-04
Some of what Elmosaurus says is relative. Positioning is important... talking antennas now.

Apparently, having more "application study" than Dinosaurus... I can say that the Terk type powered antennas most definitely improve FM reception. BTW... I earned my First Class FCC license in 1973. No amount of "book study" can replace real-world experience.

Unfortunately Paul, trial and error is really the only way to determine what works best in YOUR situation. Start with an inexpensive ($30) Terk Tower from your local Best Buy or Circuit City and work your way up to one that provides the results you're looking for. Try moving them around a bit (within reason) and you will see a marked difference in performance.

And yes, I have received great results from powered antennas installed in the same location as I had previously tried the T antenna.

Good luck!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

No one has discussed the possibility that you have a problem with multipath reflections. Are there any tall buildings or structures within a few miles of your location? Do you know the location or direction from your home for the antennas of the station(s) you want to pull in? Do you have any idea how far away the antennas are from your location? Though not as popular as they once were, if there is a HAM operator in your area, you could have interference from their antenna.
It seems to me the folks who have responded have all offered good advice without knowing enough about your situation to accurately diagnose the cause of your problem. Reception problems, in particular FM problems, can only be taken on a case by case situation. What may work in your home may be less than satisfactory for your neighbor. FM reception can vary from room to room within a single home.
In general, high and directional is the best starting point; but, if you could do some homework and provide us with some answers, the chances you will get good reception is improved.


I have a T752 connected to an outside antenna. Because I live two miles from downtown Dallas I had a very directional antenna installed. When I lived a mile closer to downtown, reception was considerably worse due to reflections from the buildings. Fortunately, in Dallas, 95% of our radio and TV antennas are located in one area called Signal Hill. This makes pointing a directional antenna much more convenient.

If you would prefer to just start experimenting with powered antennas, I would try to find a first choice that can be made directional by its orientation. Remember that amplified antennas often do little more than amplify the crud that is riding along with the signal.


 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Paul,

In the end, it will be your money and time spent; make SURE wherever you buy any powered antennas from offers a return policy.

J. Vigne asked the right questions that I sort of tried answering without asking whether or not they were pertinent. He's most certainly right on; the more information you can supply, the better we can help track down the cause of your poor signal. As you can see, reception and the 'art' of RF handling is largely as he put it, a 'case by case' basis.

And Chuck,

I'm not disputing that powered antennas CAN work in SOME occurences; but based on WORK EXPERIENCE, (not just 'book study' as you imply) I see ALOT more of them getting returned/not used than I see genuine success stories. (price versus performance gained) Selling them with blind faith to someone that asks about them without first sharing the fundamentals of RF propogation so that they'll be an informed and educated buyer, seems like a potential financial and emotional headache for that poor soul.




Sometimes we all WANT to be able to throw money at a problem, and assume all will be well, but there are times (especially when dealing with aerials and RF wave propation) that free alternatives exist also, at the price of a little learning and understanding.

E.

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