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Old 05-07-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
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Improved Radio Reception?

Odd as it is, I (still) like AM radio. Sometimes just to get the local "flavor" of a place. Sometimes to listen to news, etc. Anyway, in my trailer the reception is quite bad. I imagine there is a cool way to add a good AM antenna to an AS - somehow - isn't there?(Wishful thinking). Anyone have any recommendations? Found anything useful?
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #2
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Why not an aftermarket automotive AM/FM antenna? Should be able to find one at a place that does car audio for a living.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:25 PM   #3
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Any auto parts store, Amazon or Walmart should have car radio antennas. Finding an antenna is the easy part, running the wiring is the issue with Airstreams.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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I think I will need something more than a simple telescoping car antenna. Yes, that is one kind of minimal solution - for sure. I am looking for something that would add some real DX capability to a good radio.

As to the wiring - - ARGH, yes. That is going to be a challenge I think. I am definitely not going to drill a hole in the roof! :-)
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Drill the hole in the side of the trailer. See some old threads around here (and as UT94 as well).
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:10 PM   #6
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I took the old antenna off of this one, but what I did was tie a string to its cable and then pulled it through. so now I have this string that hangs out the hole ha! But later will find an original one to replace it.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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Improved Radio Reception?

Greetings redwoodguy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
I think I will need something more than a simple telescoping car antenna. Yes, that is one kind of minimal solution - for sure. I am looking for something that would add some real DX capability to a good radio.

As to the wiring - - ARGH, yes. That is going to be a challenge I think. I am definitely not going to drill a hole in the roof! :-)
I don't know how much it improves AM radio reception, but my '64 Overlander has what was installed by the factory on coaches with radios . . . a whip antenna. I haven't had any problem pulling in a variety of radio stations wherever I am parked. I think that you can make out the whip radio antenna installation in the photo below:



It is probably a solution that would be too obvious on a late model coach, but it worked well for the Vintage Airstreams.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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Thanks Overlander---
That looks like there is a coil on that whip about half way up - is there? So far, that's all I have found. Maybe that will be just fine. I have a message out to an old ham radio friend. I'll see if he has any ideas too.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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I used the original whip antenna for my new Sony car stereo. Works great. Rewire was a bit of a challenge , but that's the fun of a vintage trailer.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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Improved Radio Reception?

Greetings redwoodguy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
Thanks Overlander---
That looks like there is a coil on that whip about half way up - is there? So far, that's all I have found. Maybe that will be just fine. I have a message out to an old ham radio friend. I'll see if he has any ideas too.
I had to double-check as I was nearly certain that it was a standard solid whip . . . what you are seeing is a guide that keeps the whip from vibrating against the skin of the coach.

Kevin
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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When it comes to DXing (listening to distant stations) the AM band is highly directional. The ideal solution would be a loop antenna that could be rotated. You could also try clipping one end of a long piece of wire onto the external antenna and fastening the other end to a tree. For that matter, if the radio has an attachment for a wire antenna you could attach the longest wire you can find to it (50' or so) and run the wire out a window, to a nearby tree. Move it around to pick up different stations. Just make sure it's insulated wire so it doesn't ground out on the window frame. There are probably dozens of commercial antennas and boosters available from Ham Radio Outlet and the like, but they would all need to be outside to get good reception. Or you can just sit outside with a portable radio. By the way, the old FET (field effect transistor) radios are a lot better at picking up distant stations than modern MOS (computer chip) ones are. My personal record is picking up a station in Regina Canada from my house near Oakland CA.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:06 PM   #12
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Mr. Bill,
That's helpful info there. I think I will give that a try next time. I have a few portable AM radios and will try jacking in a long wire from outside. Can I assume the gauge of the wire is not crucial? I have some long spools of wire that are maybe 22ga. insulated.

I didn't know that about FETs.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Bill View Post
When it comes to DXing (listening to distant stations) the AM band is highly directional. The ideal solution would be a loop antenna that could be rotated. You could also try clipping one end of a long piece of wire onto the external antenna and fastening the other end to a tree. For that matter, if the radio has an attachment for a wire antenna you could attach the longest wire you can find to it (50' or so) and run the wire out a window, to a nearby tree. Move it around to pick up different stations. Just make sure it's insulated wire so it doesn't ground out on the window frame. There are probably dozens of commercial antennas and boosters available from Ham Radio Outlet and the like, but they would all need to be outside to get good reception. Or you can just sit outside with a portable radio. By the way, the old FET (field effect transistor) radios are a lot better at picking up distant stations than modern MOS (computer chip) ones are. My personal record is picking up a station in Regina Canada from my house near Oakland CA.
Okay, you made me throw out my brag: my personal best is from the early 90's, visiting my sister in Seattle and then listening in the car to KGO AM from San Francisco to get info about the giant Oakland Hills fire from "back home."

I just took a quick look at one of my vendors: Crutchfield has a variety of amplified antennas and they have good advisors: you can phone them up and discuss your needs.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:44 AM   #14
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Back in the 60s, I was a teenager in Denver, Colorado. On warm summer nights, we used to drive up to Lookout Mountain where you could see the city lights spread out below, watch for shooting stars, contemplate the origins of the universe, and tune in those distant rock-n-roll AM superstations that you could only pick up late at night, like KOMA in Oklahoma City!

This is where I first heard Wolfman Jack booming in from some overpowered transmitter across the border in Mexico. We were living the movie "American Graffiti" -- a much simpler, but troubled time in history...

=====================

KOMA, Oklahoma City: http://www.komaradio.com/komainfo.aspx

"Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, KOMA was the favorite of teens all across the western US. With the big 50,000-watt signal and the relatively few rock-n-roll radio stations across the plains, KOMA was the main station for the hits. KOMA (along with handful of other legendary stations including 890 WLS, Chicago; 1090 KAAY, Little Rock; 1060 WNOE, New Orleans; 770 WABC, New York; 800 CKLW, Windsor/Detroit; and 1100 WKYC, Cleveland) could be heard on car radios, in homes, and everywhere a kid could tune in. Often teens in New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and other western states would eagerly await sunset when the mighty 1520 would come booming through with the newest hits of the day. They would sit in their cars on hilltops, turn it up at parties, or fall asleep with the radio next to their beds as they listened to Chuck Berry, the Supremes, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Beatles. Soldiers in Viet Nam even reported tuning in KOMA to give them a little feeling of being back home.

"Led through the 60’s by Program Directors Dean Johnson, Dale Wehba, and Perry Murphy, some of the best-remembered DJ’s spun the hits each day and night. Charlie Tuna, Dale Wehba, Don McGregor, Paul Miller, John David, Chuck Dann, J. Michael Wilson, Johnny Dark, Buddy Scott, John Ravencroft, and many others were among those who played the hits from the studios in Moore, Oklahoma. And everyone remembers “Yours Truly KOMA” and the “kissing tone.” This was definitely an era where radio was fun. It was more than just the music. It was a magical blend of personality, jingles, contests, and fun mixed with the greatest music that defined the era and continues to live today.

"These were considered by many to be the best years of radio. And for baby boomers across the western US, KOMA was king."

=================

Note: I don't think KOMA broadcasts were actually received in Vietnam. Recordings of US radio station programs were rebroadcast on U.S. Armed Forces Radio.

(Sorry; didn't mean to hijack this thread.)
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