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wyatt 06-26-2010 06:25 PM

Poor Radio Reception
I recently swapped my car radio with a tape deck for a newer radio with a CD player, USB port, and HD radio. Unfortunately, the radio tuner seems to be really bad, and I can no longer listen to my favorite radio stations to and from work :mad:.
I have been looking at options for improving the radio reception, and came across a radio signal amplifier. Has anyone used one? If it helps, it would be worth the money.
Also, my antenna is broken off (and has been for years), so replacing it with one of these would also help (if it fits). I never had this much trouble getting radio stations in my life! I effectively took out my radio and installed a USB MP3 player... Are there any good antennas out there that would do the job (on the cheap)?
I was thinking I could go to a junk yard and poke around looking for a Geo Metro and take it's OEM antenna (it should fit my Suzuki Swift)... but if I would be better off looking at antennas from different car antennas, perhaps I would start there. Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks.

dcb 06-26-2010 06:53 PM

I would start with a straightened out one of these:

daring4 06-26-2010 07:05 PM

If you only listen...never mind try the coat hanger!

SVOboy 06-26-2010 10:34 PM

You did plug your antenna back in, right? :p

dcb 06-27-2010 11:44 AM


Originally Posted by Old Tele man (Post 181007)
...XM radios used much, much smaller "tuned" antennas.

XM is for chumps (why listen for free when you can pay money for morons like stern?) Why bring up XM anyway?

dcb 06-27-2010 01:21 PM

But the OP doesn't have XM, and now you bring up cellphones. Think precision/relevancy.

If you want to make the point that antenna lengths are dependent on the frequencies being used, and have a suggested length for this instance, that would be infinitely more precise.

wyatt 06-27-2010 02:42 PM


Originally Posted by SVOboy (Post 181022)
You did plug your antenna back in, right? :p

Yes I did! The problem is that the antenna is snapped off, and it was repaired once, and that snapped off... leaving me with no hole to put a hanger down. I was able to pull in stations to program (automatically) by touching a length of wire to the nub that is left, and I got the rest manually. The problem isn't when I am sitting in front of my house, it's when I start moving. I guess maybe I should start in a junk yard looking for a "new" antenna, see what the improvement is and go from there.
So nobody has experience with the "antenna signal boosters"?

daring4 06-27-2010 03:54 PM

Hit up the junkyards for stock parts, sounds like alot of yours is missing or broken.

But on the bright side I just found out I'm a chump! I dont listen to stern though...where I camp there are no radio stations available.

I'm guessing your new radio has a less sensitive tuner where your old one would work ok without external antenna. I'd give you mine off the Fiero if it would fit, I don't use it just the Xm :)

Arragonis 06-27-2010 04:44 PM

I replaced my VAG radio with an aftermarket one with USB stuff because I have a lot of MP3s and I hate burning them to CDs. I had a similar issue in that I couldn't get a lot of the stations I used to get and adding a signal booster sorted that out. It turned out the original unit had a SB built in - worth the money, or at least worth a try.

dcb 06-27-2010 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by daring4 (Post 181130)
But on the bright side I just found out I'm a chump! I dont listen to stern though...where I camp there are no radio stations available.

LOL, I thought of some locales where XM would probably be an improvement after I typed it :) Around Shi-town it doesn't make much sense though.

C'mon wyatt, piece of wire sticking in the air, you can do it.

Phantom 06-28-2010 01:06 PM

You said that you could get a signal when you would touch metal to the nub, so try running a ground strap from the antenna to the body of the car and see if it works. It might give you feed back but you could try.

Other wise just replace the antenna if you have an old pair of rabbit ears for a tv wire it to the antenna input and try placing it in the car by the windows till you can get a good signal and mount it there. I would recommend just trying the front upper and lower windshield then the back. That way you can remove it from view and keep drag down.

wyatt 06-28-2010 01:16 PM

You guys are giving me some good ideas... I think I might see if I can get my hands on some alligator clips to do a test run with, they might have enough gripping power to hold onto the little nub that is left... I have also started thinking about how I might be able to go about backing the screw out... It may be possible for me to hack saw a notch into it and use a flat head screw driver to back it out, then I could try the coat hanger idea easy. I will keep you updated of what I do... but I think in the end I will be junk-yarding a new antenna, hopefully one that is retractable into the A-pillar, for long trips when I will be using the USB MP3 player instead of searching for stations.

will88 06-29-2010 06:54 AM

so how did it work

wyatt 07-08-2010 01:05 PM

Well, there just isn't enough of a nub to hacksaw a slot, or to attach anything to. I tried soldering to it, but the solder doesn't stick, and trying to drill out the center of the screw, but that proved more difficult than even I expected. I have a tip on a junk yard with lots of Metros, so I am planning on going and finding a (hopefully) reasonably priced antenna. At least if I am able to test it out, I will know if it helps. Otherwise, I will try the $8 signal booster. If I wind up with both a new antenna, and the job is easy enough, I can switch things out, so I will be able to test the new antenna, the signal booster, both, and report back with findings. If the antenna works well, I will have no need for a signal booster however...

IsaacCarlson 07-08-2010 02:46 PM

My stock unit has a SB in it and I can get stations that are way out of range for most people.....I'd get a new antenna and a SB.

Creeper 09-15-2010 11:02 AM

Have you tried a filter for the incoming signal. While the antena may be one problem it may not be the whole problem. Newer decks pick up interfirence from the cars electricle systems. A filter will help reduce or stop this noise and clean up the signal. If you want an antena on the Cheep check out ebay you can get tones for next to nothing and some are even short and stuby. The work very well belive it or not.

IsaacCarlson 09-15-2010 11:50 AM

they have stubby antenna at wal mart for $7 I think.

Danncomm 09-15-2010 11:54 AM

You could try using an easy out to get the old stubs out of the antenna base. You would need a drill, bits, and an easy out for the size drill bit you use. Then you could go to a auto parts store and pick up a $7 after market rubber ducky so it wouldn't break again.

wyatt 09-15-2010 01:00 PM

I haven't gotten around to adding a SB/Filter/New Antenna yet. The SB I want is on Amazon, and we haven't had an order in a long time. The antenna I want is sitting in a junk yard somewhere. The filter is a new idea, I'll have to look into one and see what it entails.

Jacks_hon 10-29-2010 04:55 AM

2007 Mazda 3 Sport: I have poor radio reception on certain local FM stations - any similar problems/solutions?

wyatt 10-29-2010 11:12 AM

My status on this is still unchanged from post 19. But the ideas for me are:
1. New antenna (since mine is broken)
2. Filter (since my new fangled radio may be picking up static from the car's electrical system)
3. Signal Booster (since it sounds like my old radio had one, and my new one doesn't)
Maybe you could try the signal booster if your antenna is in good shape and your radio is factory (I would suspect that they wouldn't install a radio that would have static issues due to the car). I saw them on Amazon for under $10.

gone-ot 10-29-2010 04:02 PM

...use some clear Scotch™ tape and tape a length of thin copper wire across the very top of the windshield (on the inside) and then down along the passengers-side A-piller. Connect the end of this wire (now an "antenna") to the antenna connection on your radio.

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