Funky radio signals

I have a friend who’s home shares a hilltop with a radio transmitter antenna. We call the hill “Funk Mountain” because no matter what station your cars tuned to it will start playing Kool and the Gang or Parlament or something along those lines as you approach her house.

Music can be heard coming from toasters and curling irons, as well as more surprising things like teacups and shoe-trees. I can personally attest to the fact that the song “Brick house” was once heard, faintly, but audibly, coming from her makeup bag.

Which brings me to the subject of “Gilligans Island”. Specifically that one episode Gilligans dental fillings picked up radio signals.

I can’t seem to find anything on the web about REAL examples of this phenominon. Everything I find is anecdotal (your sister-in-law’s brother’s cousin doesn’t count).

Urban legend or not? I put it to you.


I believe metal, crystaline, and ceramic inanimate objects can pick up radio signals, in the AM frequencies. This was the physics of crystal diode radios. They used no batteries, just a crystal diode hooked up through some electronics and an earphone. They were great if you didn’t have a battery-powered radio while camping in the woods. Especially at night, I could get LA AM stations in Colorado through my little crystal diode kit.

I know radio frequencies are supposed to be innocuous, but I’d be seriously concerned that that much radio energy is going through her house. Does she live at the base of the broadcast tower itself? If not, if she’s a respectable distance from it, she could call the FCC to see if the station is in some violation of FCC rules.

Last time Cecil looked, the jury was still out.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Several years ago when I used to run a high powered (1000 watts)pirate CB station my neighbors could hear me on there telephones,TVs,stereos,etc.
Being that close to a broadcast stations transmiter(very high powered 5 kilowatt+) the things you are describing are not unheard of.

t lion

" I Wonder What Happens When I push THIS Button? "

The folks at are convinced that it is true.

An interesting anecdotal account can be found here.

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

To answer your question AWB, her house is atop a lower ajacent hill to the broadcast antenna, so the thing peers down upon her. I believe it broadcasts both AM and FM as well as some kind of voice traffic (she thinks it’s a taxi dispatching service).


Here’s a link that might help out :wink: :

Here are some links to the Amature Radio Relay League and the Federal Communications Commision that deal with the type of problems that your friend is having.

I hope this info helps.

t lion

" I Wonder What Happens When I push THIS Button? "

seems that AM signals ‘cross over’ more that FM ( Tha’s prob in one of Lions links, but why rely on authorities? Thanx for the links lion, one of you good buddies lives down the street is running a linear that interupts reruns of Gilligan) Every once ina while I can get skip on the Tv and watch the same show on two sets slighty out of kids still build crystal sets? Did any body else stay up late at night and send off for true splinters of the true cross from XERF Ciudad Juarez?

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Lucille Ball aided the war effort in WWII. She was receiving enemy radio transmissions in her dental work. She kept hearing clear, distinct language, and gave the info to the authorities. Ain’t that somethin’?

Eh, not exactly, GirlFace:

“Come on, Phonics Monkey–drum!”

Okay, so it wasn’t language. The gist of the story is correct. Sheesh!

Mr John
You are correct about Ampitude Modulated RF being more prone to cause interference.
A lot of consumer electronics are designed to be cheap to build and RF shielding adds cost.
It can be cured in most cases by adding Ferrite beads or chokes to speaker and power wires on the device being interfered with.
Call the FCC on your neighbor with the linear amp.
If he is a Ham Radio Operator then his station will be inspected as to construction,purity of emitted signal and complince with regulation.
If he is a bootleg CB operator then his equiptment will be confiscated and he will be fined.
The skip you are talking about is well known to Hams and it happens all the time all year round on High Frequency/Shortwave bands.

t lion
Ham since 1994

" I Wonder What Happens When I push THIS Button? "

      • !
    • -(frowning), , ,
      • I used to have a phone that if you dialed “1” and listened, you could very faintly hear a local AM station’s broadcast. The scary part was, the first time I noticed it was during the Dr. Laura Schlessinger show. - MC