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

By Wesley Tucker

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.

Things You'll Need

  • FM radio receiver with external antennae connections
  • 10-foot length of dual speaker wire
  • Wire stripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Tack hammer
  • Finishing nails (if needed)

Making the antennae out of speaker wire.

Step 1

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

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 1

Cut a length of speaker wire.

Step 2

Split the two wires into single length pieces.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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.