How do I improve reception on AM radio?

Marchboom

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When I walk the dog every morning I take a small AM radio. The road makes numerous turns and with that the reception fades in & out. Is there any way of correcting this problem? The radio doesn't have an external antennas jack. Are there small AM radios that don't have this problem?

Thanks.
 

mmckenna

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The 'ferrite bar' antennas used in these small radios tend to be fairly directional. As you are walking, it's probably pointing away from the station you want to listen to. Periodically reorienting it would be an easy solution.
 

Marchboom

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Right now that's what I'm doing but it's a pain to keep changing it's position. I'm considering opening up the case and possibly attaching some type of wire antenna but it would be a trial and error experiment.
 

Marchboom

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This is the radio I have:

amazon.com/gp/product/B000G6M91G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I tried to open up the case but after 2 screws were removed I couldn't figure out how to open it without breaking something.
 

krokus

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You could try an external coupled antenna. It would be a bit unwieldy for portable use.

If the AM station you are listening to has a stream, it might be easiest to listen to that, while walking the dog. (Streaming it yourself, from a better receiver at your house is an option.)
 

mitbr

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The AM station you are listening to may already be streaming online and you could use your cell phone to hear if you have an internet connection!
Tim :cool:
 

spongella

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Excellent question. I hear 'ya. I use a Sony headphone radio on AM and have the same dilemma. As mmckenna so aptly stated, AM radios use ferrite bar antennas which are directional. Weaker stations can disappear when you change direction. It's just a fact of life I guess. There are radios that can accommodate an external rotatable antenna such as the CountyComm. As you change direction while walking the dog you'd rotate the antenna for the best signal. That might be your best bet.
 

KK4JUG

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I notice you're in northern Idaho. Well, the terrain is not helping you any. Short of getting a radio with an external antenna that you can manipulate, you might be out of luck. As others have said, with AM radio, it's all about the antenna.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Size matters... with ferrite loopstick antennas... but with a small AM radio there is limited room for a decent antenna.
However, some AM pocket portables are hotter than others The Eton Traveler III is very sensitive on AM and seems to lack
that anti-AGC soft muting. It looks to be discontinued so if you can find one, grab it. The follow on radios in the Traveler
series may be just as good.
 

Boombox

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I see the radio you've got now. Don't try to modify it. It will just wreck the radio.
The problem is AM antennas, by their nature, are directional. You could partially solve the problem by making sure the radio is oriented on its side, which would make the loopstick orient up and down, and that might help ease the directionality a little.

Or get a radio that has a little more pull, which may naturally would be a little bigger. The maker or your radio has a few small portables that you could still stuff in a coat pocket (or in between your coat and your shirt) that might have more sensitivity and you'd have less problems with directivity.

Tecsun also makes a few very small portables that might have better AM band performance than your radio.
 

KK4JUG

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I see the radio you've got now. Don't try to modify it. It will just wreck the radio.
The problem is AM antennas, by their nature, are directional. You could partially solve the problem by making sure the radio is oriented on its side, which would make the loopstick orient up and down, and that might help ease the directionality a little.

Or get a radio that has a little more pull, which may naturally would be a little bigger. The maker or your radio has a few small portables that you could still stuff in a coat pocket (or in between your coat and your shirt) that might have more sensitivity and you'd have less problems with directivity.

Tecsun also makes a few very small portables that might have better AM band performance than your radio.
I don't think locating the radio that close to his body is going to help. The radio will be even more directional that it was. The antenna need to be away from anything that will interfere with the signal.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Took the Traveler III on a bike ride to a local park early this morning just to see how well it would perform in a noise free environment.

The results were as follows:

CFZM AM 740 Zoomer Radio Toronto and WGN AM 720 Chicago both 50kw and both 200 miles distant both with solid signals.

50kw WLW AM 700 Cincinnati at 250 miles weak but copyable.

5kw WTVN AM 610 Columbus at 200 miles was weak to moderate but copied OK.

Tuning up to the X-band, Urban format stations WPRR AM 1680 Grand Rapids and WQLR AM 1660 Kalamazoo both 125 miles away and both 10 kw both sounding like locals.

Tried tuning in 50 kw KDKA AM 1020 Pittsburg 250 miles away but its otherwise solid signal was being interfered with by a nearby local 5kw daytimer on adjacent channel 1030. This illustrates the downfall of most portables... they lack selectivity. Selectivity is what costs money and a economical pocket portable is not likely to have great selectivity. However, as can be seen from the above results, the sensitivity is excellent.

So, for a take along pocket portable, the Traveler III is a great companion.
 

Boombox

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I don't think locating the radio that close to his body is going to help. The radio will be even more directional that it was. The antenna need to be away from anything that will interfere with the signal.
I've never noticed much interference from the body being near the radio, whether having pocket radios in my shirt pocket or having a Sony Walkman strapped to my upper arm. If you place your hand right over the area of the loopstick on some radios (like my Sangean PR-D5), yeah, you may get static. But having a walkman-style radio in your pocket or on your arm probably isn't as much of an issue as the directionality of AM reception in general -- as the OP is describing.

It sounds like he already has the radio near his body. so orienting it differently could reduce the directionality of the reception.

It would be worth a shot, at least.
 

Marchboom

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So far I just turn the radio to get the best reception. Just what has to be done with AM I guess.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to my question.
 
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