How to Make a Simple Antenna to Improve the Reception of an FM Radio Receiver

FM radio receivers need an antennae to pick up the signal a radio station transmits. FM radio signals are a much higher frequency than AM and therefore have a much more limited range. Installing a better antennae can lead to improved reception. FM stations only have about a 75 mile range and any receiver more than 50 miles away may need an improved antennae.

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Making the antennae out of speaker wire.

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Measure out three feet of the ten foot length of speaker wire.

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Split the dual speaker wire at the three foot mark. Create a large "T" with each three foot length placed perpendicular to the remaining seven foot of unseparated speaker cable.

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Strip the insulation of about two inches of cable at the end of the seven foot length of speaker cable.

Connecting the speaker wire to the receiver

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Find the external antennae connection on the rear of the receiver. It may be labeled "ext. ant" or "ant."

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Wrap each of the two speaker cable wires around the posts at the external antennae connection. If the connection is a clamp-and-hold device then clamp and hold.

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Twist the two wires together into a single wire. This is only necessary if the external antennae connection is a single post or clamp. There is no electrical current running through the antennae wires and joining the two wires will not run the risk of shock.

Extending the antennae

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Place the receiver (and if possible the entire stereo system) near a window.

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Run the antennae wire under the window across the sill and around any window screen.

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On the outside of the window attach the wire to a location as high as possible. A small finishing nail may be needed to support the wire.

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Extend the two separated wires in opposite directions outside the window. Tack a finishing nail at the end of each wire for support as needed.

Checking FM radio reception

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Turn on the receiver and check the signal level for all desired stations.

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Relocate the stereo if possible to another window on the other side of the room or building if reception is still not acceptable.

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Consider adding add more wire to the two extended leads if step two does not achieve the desired results.

Adding length to the two antennae leads

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Cut a length of speaker wire.

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Split the two wires into single length pieces.

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Strip insulation from one end of each length of single cable exposing about one inch.

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Strip about one inch of insulation from the end of the antennae leads.

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Twist the exposed wire of one extension to one antennae lead. Repeat on the other lead. Extend the total length of the two longer leads and support with a finishing nail if necessary.