How to Improve a Boombox FM Antenna?
Boomboxes have been around for a very long time now. Every few years, it undergoes serious changes to keep up with the technological advancements. The current generation of boomboxes are compact, high-quality, and possess wireless features. However, some still use it for its old-school FM radio function. So, we decided to talk about how to improve a boombox FM antenna.
While FM radio’s popularity may not be as high as what it used to be probably two decades ago, there is still a set of people who listen to the FM radio every single day. The downside now is that boomboxes either have a short antenna or don’t have one at all, which means terrible audio quality.
Thankfully, this is not the most difficult thing to fix. In fact, a couple of tweaks here and there, and you get a boombox FM radio with better audio clarity. Let’s dive in to find the solution.
What Is FM Radio?
Before we even begin talking about the ways to improve the FM antenna on a boombox, we will talk briefly about what an FM radio is for our younger audience who are clueless about FM radios.
The FM in FM radio stands for frequency modulation. It was developed by Edwin Armstrong in the 1930s in the United States. In this, the sound gets transmitted through the changes in the frequency.
FM radio has fewer changes in amplitude. Hence, it is capable of producing a significantly cleaner sound that allows for a much smoother transition from one channel to another with very little or even no audible static.
That being said, FM signals are easily affected by physical barriers, which is why, when using your boombox to listen to the radio indoors, it very rarely works. The FM radio ranges in the spectrum of 88 to 108 MHz. Hence, you will notice all the FM channels to be in numbers between this range.
How Does the Antenna Affect the FM Radio?
An antenna is something you see on most cars and old-timey radios. These come in several different shapes and sizes, which depend upon the frequency it is trying to receive. These shape and sizes may be something as simple as a stick, a long wire, or even something as bizarre as a massive satellite dish.
The basic concept of the antenna is that it is a collector of radio signals. If it is capable of attracting a good amount of radio waves, you will have better audio quality. Having a short antenna or a broken one or one that is cramped up inside a ton of physical barriers can severely affect the antenna’s ability to attract the radio waves, which ultimately affects the FM radio.
How to Improve a Boombox FM Antenna
If you are the kind who was good at fixing that old-timey TV reception, then you will definitely be a natural at fixing the FM radio antenna. Some of the top reasons that affect the FM radio reception include the quality of the antenna itself, the number of obstacles in the way, and the strength of the signal that you are trying to receive.
Below we offer you a step by step guide on how you can improve the antenna on the boombox:
- If the boombox does not have an antenna, to begin with, then you would need to purchase one. Ideally, a simple dipole antenna would work great. Connect this antenna onto the boombox’s FM antenna input on the receiver. Since the signals of the FM are directional, you will need to experiment with the positioning of this antenna in order to find which is the best position that works for you or for the station you are trying to receive.
- If the previous step did not work well, then you can try using an indoor amplified antenna. This is something you will easily find in any electronics store or online shops. However, we suggest not to buy one unless you are assured to get a guarantee to return it for full credit, especially if there is a possibility that it does not solve your problem.
- Another reason why your signal could possibly be weak is that you could be living very far away from the transmitter. If you believe that is the case, then it would be ideal to find out how far away the transmitter is and then, accordingly, install an outside antenna. It is essential that you mount it as high as you possibly can. If you are primarily interested in getting radio signals from just one or few stations that are in one direction, then opt for a directional antenna and point it exactly in the same direction toward the transmitters.
- If you are using a portable boombox with FM radio wherein the power cord is basically the antenna, then try to stretch the cord as long and straight as it possibly can and continue experimenting with the positioning again.
- Ensure not to be using the boombox in a room that has a ton of physical barriers. Try using it close to a window or under open skies to see how well you receive that radio station’s signal.
- You could also try temporarily switching onto the monaural mode in order to improve the weak signal on the FM radio of the boombox.
No Antenna Available? D-I-Y It!
If there is no antenna available, then you can try making a homemade antenna. These work quite well too. In most cases, a piece of wire can become an antenna without any fuss. This wire can either be thick or thin. Ideally, a cheap or free wire is the best. Preferably choose a wire with a plastic coating as they tend to be safer, but even a bare wire will do fine.
In order to try this hack out, take the wire and attach it to the antenna terminal. Run this wire through window casings and the drapery rods. Throw the wire completely out of the window onto a nearby tree or on the roof. This will most likely get you some decent FM radio reception.
We hope that our top tips on how to improve a boombox FM antenna have helped you in your quest to find better radio reception of your favorite FM radio channel. While we may have given you quite a few of them to work with, always start off by trying to stand near a window because that usually works the best.