AM Radio

This is for british dopers mainly…

I live in Dublin and wasw tonight listening to BBC Radio Five Live for the match…as you may know it broadcasts on three frequencies on the AM band…693, 909, 990.

909 was inaudible because of the interference

990/693 barely audible - ok sound; when one was bad the other wasn’t

is it this bad in Britain? can I improve the reception here…I cannot move the radio unit its a big-ass thing

Thanks a million

Generally, you improve reception by getting a bigger antenna. The more surface area the radio waves can hit, the more chance you have of getting enough of them to get good reception. Having directional antennas might also help, if you want to invest in something a little more complex than a metal pole.

Also, since I’m assuming Dublin is over the horizon from anywhere British radio stations would be operating, recall that the radio waves have to skip between the atmosphere and the ground (or ocean) to get to you. A cloudy or stormy day, or one with particularly strong auroras, can play hell with reception.

glass onion may also be inside the ship zone. What I mean by that is radio waves hit the reflective zone and bounce back to the surface with about the same angle with which they left the surface. Waves leaving London might come back to the surface 700 Km. away. If you are inside this range you will not get good reception.

The above numbers are for illustrative purposes only. The distances depend a lot on antenna design and the height of the active reflective layer at the time.

This page, although not what I was searching for, has an illustration:

“skip zone” not ship zone! Sheesh!

There may be problems involved in hooking that up to an AM set (I’ve never seen an external antenna hookup on an AM band radio).

I’d like to know how to do this, too. I used to have a 1952 Zenith tabletop model that actually had a wire loop antenna on the back panel instead of the ferrite rod. Best AM reciever I’ve ever had.

Maybe if I can design a replacement for the ferrite rod antenna in my current radio… hmmm…

A little OT perhaps, glass onion, but are you aware that Radio 5 can be listened to over the net? This assumes unmetered internet access of course.

If you have SKY Digital you can also listen to Five that way together with all the other BBC and independant stations.

or to the digital freeview channel. Listen to the world cup cricket that way as I do not get Sky. Pissed my kids off as they couldn’t watch their cartoons

my stereo came with an AM antenna attachment. Reception is flawless. just looks like a rectangular piece of plastic that plugs into the back of my system. (although i’m sure there’s more to it than that)

glass onion, this is a subject very close to my heart, being one who lives in Dublin, is a Radio 4 addict and doesn’t rate Irish talk radio much (except for David McWilliams on NewsTalk 106).

The sad truth is that long-distance MW reception is terrible, especially in the evening - the atmospheric “heavyside layer” comes down and Fench stations bounce along with it on the same frequency as 5 Live. And there’s really not much that can be done. You can get extended and active antennas, but they only amplify the interference. The only real solution is if you’ve got a few hundred Euro to spare, and you can get a fancy Sony worldband radio (the ICF SW07 is my dream radio, but alas too expensive), that locks onto and follows a particular signal.

You can also get 5 Live on Cablestink (NTL), too - just plug a co-ax cable from socket #2 in the wall box into the back of your tuner.