How to Strengthen AM Radio Reception

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Although the golden age of AM radio is long past, it's still popular for news, talk shows and sports broadcasts. Noisy reception, though, is a common problem. Several simple techniques can ensure that you're pulling in the best signal possible.

Things You'll Need

  • At Least 1 Foot (30 Cm) Of Wire

Step 1

Check to see whether your radio has an input for an AM antenna. If it does, you can attach a length of wire--measuring at least 1 foot (30 cm)--to see if that improves reception. Experiment with moving the wire around.

Step 2

If you've got a portable radio with only a built-in antenna, try turning the radio around to find a position where reception improves. By the way, the telescoping antenna that comes with portable AM-FM radios has no effect on AM reception.

Step 3

If the radio plugs into the wall with a nonpolarized plug (where both prongs are the same size), try reversing the plug in the outlet. Moving the plug to another outlet might help, too.

Step 4

If possible, position an indoor radio or its antenna near a window. AM reception is affected by walls of brick, metal or concrete, not to mention aluminum siding.

Step 5

Other potential sources of interference are electrical devices in your house--anything from a fluorescent light to a TV. Try positioning the radio away from these things or switch them off while you enjoy the ballgame.

Tips & Warnings

  • AM reception is usually better at night because AM radio signals bounce off the ionosphere.