One of the most irritating things we all face in our lives is the weak radio signal in a building or car. Radio signals (whether dual-way Radio or regular FM radio) somewhat travel directly to your radio from the transmitting tower and tend to get distorted whenever an obstacle comes between. Materials like Bricks or Metals and noise from computers & other electronics can make radio signals impossible to receive. If you are also facing the same struggle, we will tell you some effective ways to boost radio signal in a building. Let’s begin.
Causes of Poor Radio Signal
Before heading to the ways to boost radio signal, it is essential to understand the possible reasons for having a poor radio signal. Here are some of the prevalent causes:
1. Stationary Obstacles: FM radio transmission requires line-of-sight reception, and thus any stationary obstacle like building, trees, hills, or even construction material like concrete, aluminum, metal roof, solar panels, etc., can limit its effectiveness.
2. Moving Obstacles: Sometimes, when station frequencies are too close together, you can face interference. This usually happens when you are in a moving vehicle like a car, airplane, etc.
3. Antenna Type: The antenna affects everything related to radio signals. There are various types and sizes of antenna available depending upon the type of device they are installed into. If the device has a directional antenna, it will only catch radio signals from one direction, and distortion will be less.
In the case of a multi-directional antenna, interference is more likely as the device can capture signals from various locations.
4. Multipath Interference: Mounted areas like Valley or urban areas tend to receive fewer radio signals due to their slope or height. So if you live in any such sites, signals can bounce about and reach the antenna at different times.
5. Shared Antenna: If you have more than one radio connected to the same splitter or antenna, the radio signal will lose strength, and you will experience lousy quality signals.
6. Too much or Too little distance: When the radio transmitter is too close to the antenna, the signal can be overpowered, resulting in the damage of sound quality and distortion. Similarly, if the distance is too much, the signal will lose its strength, and you will face weak or distorted signals.
How to Boost Radio Signal in a Building? – 7 Effective Ways
1. Amplify the signal with the Right Antenna
The antenna plays a vital role in receiving good signals on the radio. If you have a strong FM signal, but the antenna is weak, you need to amplify it using the following three ways:
- Installing an indoor antenna: Also known as the aerial antenna, an Indoor antenna directly goes on the device for which you want to amplify the signal. Since it amplifies the radio signals, this type of antenna is also called an amplified antenna. It works wonders when the original antenna of the device is not strong enough.
- Installing an outdoor antenna: Sometimes, even after having an indoor antenna, the signal is too hard to receive, and in such cases, you need an outdoor antenna. The outdoor antenna works similarly to an indoor antenna, but instead of placing it close beside the device, you need to install it far away. Outdoor antenna often helps you to receive excellent signals irrespective of the building or vehicle you are in if you choose the right one.
- Use Signal Amplifier: Just like an antenna, a signal amplifier also enhances signal frequency so your device can receive it better. Instead of being directly on the antenna, the signal amplifier goes between the antenna and the device. It is better in terms of installation and performance than an indoor antenna. The only difference is that this type of amplifier has to be connected to an outlet to work. You can connect the signal amplifier to any device from Old TVs to FM amplifiers, etc.
2. Attenuate the Signal if Needed
If your device is too close to the transmitter, you need to attenuate the signal to get the best audio quality. To attenuate the signal, you need an excellent quality signal attenuator. There are many attenuators available in the market, but we will suggest you go for the small inline units between the radio device and the antenna. These units reduce the signal’s gain from 3dB, 6dB, or 12dB to the right one.
3. Remove Obstacles
In some scenarios, the antenna works fine, and the device also captures signals, but you experience a low sound quality or a little distortion, which might be because of the obstacle around the device like walls, metal roofs, or any other electronic device.
The only solution to this situation is to move to a lighter environment with no obstacle around the radio to receive signals without any distortion.
4. Switch Radio Signal Type
There are two types of sound on the Radio: Mono and Stereo. Nowadays, most advanced devices have stereo sound, but some still have mono. If you find a mono signal and it doesn’t play correctly, keep changing the signal to capture the right one.
Sometimes, it also happens that you may capture the stereo, but the device is in mono. In such a scenario, you have to change the device settings from Mono to Stereo to fix the issue.
5. Test the Frequency
Most of the FM radios come with in-built radiofrequency testers that search the air for radio signals. If you have a home theatre or stereo system, run a frequency scan to check which station receives good signals and then mark your favorite stations via preset.
6. Check and Replace Antenna Connections
Sometimes the antenna looks fine, but the device just doesn’t get any signals. In such a scenario, we think that the device is faulty, but it is actually the antenna that needs replacement. To ensure whether the antenna needs replacement or not, check the terminals of some antennas and input as in many cases, it gets burned, rust, or break. If possible, check the entire cable for breaks or cuts.
In case of broken or rusty cable, replace with new cables, preferably 18AWG RG6 wires, as they are durable with more minor bandwidth issues. Depending upon the quality and brand, the price of the antenna cable may vary from dollar to dollar.
7. Redirect the Antenna
One of the most effective and simple ways to boost radio signals in a building is to simply redirect the antenna to check which place receives better signals. If the antenna is not directly attached to the device, you can easily move it around the areas where it receives signals more quickly.
It is advisable to place the antenna outside the window as high as possible to receive better signals. Also, there must be no obstacles or obstructions around for a better experience.
How to improve radio reception in my house?
To get better radio reception in your house, you should consider using an external antenna. In this case, a loop antenna will make a good choice. Place your radio near the window and make sure the rear is facing outside. Also, keep any electrical appliances away from it, so it doesn’t interfere with your radio signal.
What are the primary causes of poor radio signals?
Various reasons can lead to poor radio signals in your house. Some of the main causes are stationary obstacles, moving obstacles, antenna type, and multipath interference. The radio signal loses strength when you connect multiple radios to the same antenna or splitter. The same thing will happen when the distance between the radio and the antenna is too much. Another possible reason could be that the antenna is too close, which causes the signal to get overpowered.
What can interfere with radio signals?
There are plenty of things that are known to interfere with your radio signal at home. This includes sewing machines, electric drills, hairdryers, light switches, doorbell transformers, phone chargers, computing devices, washing machines, fluorescent lights, and all other types of electronic appliances.
These are the best possible ways to boost radio signal in a building. Both antenna and radio quality must be excellent with a lighter environment (obstruction-free location) to receive proper signals. We hope the above-mentioned ways will help you with the low signal problem.