best am fm radio
August 27, 2006 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Which am/fm radio is most powerful?

I work at a office where am/fm receptions are bad....
I have most difficult time listening to my favorite am/fm stations.. they do come out... but with very bad noise...

I tried GE superradio from it was worse than my RiteAide special am/fm radio...

What model should i get? or should i try to get a larger antenna...?

I am hoping to spend as little money as possible..
posted by curiousleo to Technology (10 answers total)
By Powerful you mean sensitive, I presume. Office buildings full of buzzing flourescent lights and other electronic devices and computers can stir up alot of radio noise and the metal structure also contrubute to the reception problem. Near a window ? A directional antenna will probably be the most effective method for getting either am or fm. You may have better luck getting streaming audio over the internet.
posted by Agamenticus at 7:09 PM on August 27, 2006

You need a better antenna. I haven't purchased any radio receivers in a long time, but I can tell you that asking for "more power" will get salesmen trying to sell you higher-wattage amplifiers and speakers, which is not what you need. I don't know what the proper term for what you want is, but the idea is higher gain and higher noise discrimination, in terms of the antenna and receiver. Any HAMs care to let me know what the correct terminology is?

Is there any chance you can stream radio via your PC? In my area (washington, DC-ish), all the major radio stations have live web feeds.
posted by Alterscape at 7:11 PM on August 27, 2006

Response by poster: All the major radio stations do steam.. but my company computers are secured from listening to any stream radios or similar... I can not get IT to enable them...

Yes I need high gain radio with great reception...
I heard that GE Super Radio can pickup many bad receptions.. but it wasn't the case for me... as i said it was worse than other cheaper radio in my office.
I guess I can buy $5.00 radios until i hit the jack pot.. but i rather get one nice radio from advise i get here..
posted by curiousleo at 7:20 PM on August 27, 2006

I work inside of a concrete building and the rebar makes a nice faraday cage out of the place. There are the windows of course, but then a few years back they put a nice energy conservation film over the windows which appears to be conductive and completes enclosure of the cage. The film was not applied perfectly to one of my windows and I stuffed an antenna into the edge where the film does not reach. It isn't perfect but I went from crappy reception on one FM station to getting a dozen or so which are listenable. If you have windows that open then an outside antenna can be great. If you just have a bad location then a better internal antenna can help. As for the radio, often the cheapies get the tough stations better. They trade off fidelity for sensitivity. A good shortwave/FM radio may be your best bet. They are not focused on fidelity, but rather put a premium on reception and tend to be sophisticated. If your radio has no antenna jack just attach a length of wire to the antenna.
posted by caddis at 7:27 PM on August 27, 2006

I've been looking into this for a while for my own similar reasons. So far the concensus is that there is no concensus. Some people swear by the Super radio III, others by a cheap 10.00 radio. Most people do agree that the Snagean models are amongst the best. Here's a site where some radio nerd, ahem sorry, some self appointed expert compares a few. go to
posted by Gungho at 7:44 PM on August 27, 2006

I've got a pretty high gain Sangean that with the right antenna can pick up 25kw shortwave stations out of Dubai. I dragged it to the basement one day and had trouble picking up an AM station broadcasting 10 miles away.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:05 PM on August 27, 2006

Second what caddis said. If you're in an office building, your reception is going to suck regardless of what radio you get, especially if you're toward the middle of the building, and if there are other tall buildings nearby. But if you want a quality tuner, go for something with shortwave functionality, since they generally use a higher grade of components than those for regular old am/fm portable radios.

I've had really good luck with my Chinese knock-off (purchased from eBay) of the Grundig Yacht Boy 360.
posted by Brian James at 8:52 PM on August 27, 2006

As everyone says, it's an antenna you need. Hang one out a window, andyou should be able to pick up more stations.

When I was a kid, my parents gave me a cheapo AM tube radio. If I put it near a metal lamp, I could listen to BBC and Radio Moscow shortwave broadcasts. (Harmonics, I'm told.)
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:16 AM on August 28, 2006

Someone asked for a HAM? I'm not the best on this, but I can tell you that the two main points mentioned are correct, but need to be combined. You need a suitable antenna and you need to have that antenna in a place where the radio signal reaches. Putting the worlds best antenna in a metal box won't help.

That said, you are getting something, so there is hope. You'll need a radio that offers accommodations for and external antenna for AM and an external antenna for FM, since the two designs are very different.

Next, you'll need an external AM antenna. They look like a bunch of wire formed into an oval. This is directional, so turn it every-which-way until you find the best location and position.

You may wish to investigate signal amplifiers. These typically take a weak signal, amplify it, and filter the results.

A good source for all things involving broadcast radio is the C. Crane Co.

If you find their offerings too pricey, you may be able to find a radio made before 1970. They tended to have much better AM antennas in them.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:56 AM on August 28, 2006

you could try using the ground from the eletrical system (round hole on a plug) and running a wire from antena to it so thus using the GROUND (most often the plumbing of the building as your massive antena system) I have done this as a ground for inside antenna systems for cb, ham rigs years back and it boosted signal alot. but note i had as "Ground" vs antenna itself so a ground plane with radials and it was the grounding of the system vs the antenna but have read many shortwave users who have said it was an a esome antenna as well especially in large
and tall buildings.
posted by SlyDaCat at 1:33 AM on August 29, 2006

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