When you decide to go DXing and your local FM stations simply aren’t cutting it, you’ll probably want to get a better signal. The best way to do this is to utilize an outdoor FM antenna. You can purchase these antennas from eBay, Amazon, and various other retailers.
When choosing an FM antenna there are two things that are hugely important – durability and quality of reception. You will want an outdoor FM antenna that will last for years, but more importantly, you will want one that is designed to filter out interference so your audio is crisp and clear with no static.
The FM Antenna
FM radio is an informal kind of radio that uses the portion of the short wave of the radio spectrum to communicate information over long distances.
Unlike television and satellite radio, FM does not have an exclusive signal and thus anyone with a radio capability can receive the radio broadcasts. This means that FM radio signals can be weaker than those from television or satellite. However, this does not mean that FM radio service is faint. It can still be very clear with clear dialogues and music playing when listened to properly.
Having the right antennas can be the difference between getting good reception and getting a weak signal. It’s important to make sure you choose the best antenna for the job because most people install them wrong. Fail to do so and your signal will be weaker than ever before.
Take the time needed to learn everything there is to know about installing and using outdoor antennas. Don’t just jump into the deep end when it comes to installing outdoor antennas. Learn how to win back those lost signals and increase your overall signal strength.
What you need to install FM Antenna
First, a few words about FM antennas. These antennas broadcast radio waves, and they consist of one or more individual pieces of wire or copper tubing. The shape, diameter, and length of each piece depend on the frequency of your desired signal.
You can categorize them into 2 types external and internal antennas, each serves a separate function. So, for example, if you want to use FM radio to talk on a street in New York City, you will need to install an individual piece of wire bent to fit into the right size window in your house.
You need to consider the following when you install an FM radio, especially one with a portable unit.
- Firstly, you will need to determine the exact frequency you wish to receive. This will depend on the type of radio, battery type, and operating style.
- Secondly, it is advisable to have a listen as it is essential that you understand your surroundings and any nearby obstacles. Not only will this help you identify any obstructions but can also help locate any hidden nearby frequencies coming from other locations
Durability and quality of reception
The positioning of your FM antenna is very important for the realization of your project:
- Do you want to achieve maximum gain while minimizing losses on low-frequency signals?
- How long do you want your FM antenna reception to last?
It depends on several factors, not the least of which is the quality of the reception.
Antennas are designed to be resilient, but don’t expect miracles. A good antenna will give you the best possible performance even if it is rather scattered around your home. It is, however, essential to keep your antennas clean of debris and other small particles that could cause dips in signal strength.
Types of FM Antennas
You will see various types of antennas on the market. Metal or copper is the primary element for building antennas. They have various colors but they are all made to work together so that you can receive signals from the radio waves created by a communications satellite or other devices.
The Helix Antenna
The Helix antenna is a prime example of combining practicality and technology in a piece of kit designed to do one thing and do it well. Helical antennas are wire antennas that consist of one or more conducting wires wound in the form of a helix. It can operate in two modes. The first is the normal mode, and the second mode is the axial mode.
If a helix has a small circumference compared to a wavelength and the pitch of the helix is small compared to a quarter-wavelength, then that helix is called a normal mode helix. This antenna is often used on the HF, VHF, and UHF bands in mobile communication application
The helix operates in the most efficient mode when the circumference of the helix is near the wavelength of the signal. it is used in some animal tracking and some spacecraft communications,
The Rhombic Antenna
The Rhombic Antenna is noticeable because of its shape A rhombic antenna is an antenna consisting of four parallel wires laid out in a diamond or “rhombus” shape. It was most commonly used for high-frequency (HF) point-to-point broadcasting in the case of long-distance skywave propagation.
Each brand of FM antenna has its own unique characteristics which can make it better or worse than the others. When choosing an FM antenna you will have to balance the benefits it provides versus the drawbacks it may pose.
It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type of FM antenna before setting out on a search for the best one for you. Knowing what characteristics make up an excellent or less excellent antenna will allow you to decide if it is an upgrade or downgrade in quality when choosing between antennas in the future.