AM/FM Radio Antenna - Reception Issues

Submitted: Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:43
ThreadID: 22961 Views:15374 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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We are having problems with our AM/FM Radio reception and want to know if there are any tips or tricks we could employ to get a better reception.

We have a Toyota Hilux SR5 2003 model and have just disconnected the original automatic pop up AM/FM antenna and replaced it with a rubber one which is now located on the front bulbar. We disconnected the pop up one as we have an awning on the roof which is housed in an aluminum case and every time we turned the radio on it would pop up and hit the awning and buckle and also when it was touching the aluminum was causing interference.

So now that we have the new $15 rubber antenna the reception is even worse. Will spending more on a better Ariel make much of a difference and if so what are some good ones? Not only is this a problem for listening to the radio but also makes listening to the iPod via an ITrip (FM Transmitter) completely hopeless because of the crackles. We have been to Auto One, Super Cheap Auto, Dick Smiths etc and all they seem to have are these cheap rubber antennas, so really don’t know what else to do. Would replacing the lead/wire that runs from the antenna make a difference?

Hope someone can help as music is a necessity for us going around oz!

Cheers, Mel
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Reply By: Footloose - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:55

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:55
Your original aerial was probably "tuned" to the radio by means of a small adjustable capacitor in the radio. Re tuning it will give you some reception but the rubber duckie will never be as good as a decent car aerial.
AnswerID: 111161

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:08

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:08
Have you made sure your aerial is earthed to the b/bar and that the b/bar is earthed to the chassis properly?
AnswerID: 111166

Follow Up By: Melly - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:30

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:30
ahhh no! We r just hacks having a go, really don't know the first thing about this sorta stuff. But I'm sure we could figure that out. Thanks!
FollowupID: 367574

Follow Up By: Utemad - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:10

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:10
Beat me to it.

Do you have spotlights on your bullbar? Does the noise get worse when they are turned on?

Try earthing your bull bar direct to the battery and see what happens.

I have a 3ft or there abouts am/fm whip antenna that I mounted in the factory guard position. Get excellent range. I think it cost about $25 including base from Olbis. Could be worth a look. Looks like a 27Mhz antenna and has the same mountings.
FollowupID: 367576

Follow Up By: Melly - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:31

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:31
Yep we do have spotties on the bull-bar, will test if that causes any interference. Cheers!
FollowupID: 367580

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:15

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:15
What sort of Deck/Radio are you using? The genuine Toyota Tape player or a third party one? Different units have different sensitivities. However in saying that, it does sound like there is a problem (quite possibly earthing as mentioned above) with the antenna as it should at least be able to pickup the ipod transmitter.

I've never used the Rubber ones, I just installed a switch on my electric hilux antenna so I could "force" it to stay down when offroad or listening to CD/MP3s.
Why don't you just re-install the origional power antenna and just disconnect the power to it. You will then be able to pull it up by hand to the height that best suits. Or even better do what I did and put a switch on it, you can then make it go up and then just cut the power at the height you want it at and it should stay there.

I've installed a cheapo MP3/CD player in the surf and even with the antenna down it still picks up all the main FM stations driving around town, so you should be able to sort it out one way or the other without too many dramas...
AnswerID: 111178

Follow Up By: Melly - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:37

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:37
Yep we are using just the factory CD/Tape player that came with the car. The antenna does pick up the iPod Transmitter, it's just really crackly..which is partly the reason we replaced it as the original antenna didn't have a great reception with the iPod Transmitter. But now its even worse! I know it's not the Transmitter as it works perfectly on the same frequency in my car and in the house (89.5 FM).

The switch sounds like a cool idea!
FollowupID: 367581

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:47

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 13:47
Yeah and it's a peice o'cake to do too!
FollowupID: 367583

Follow Up By: BenSpoon - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:09

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:09
A tip for the use of the ipod- Try set it to as high a frequency as possible so you have a better sounding transmission- The higher the frequency, the more detailed the transmission can be.
Also, make sure you dont put the volume above 75% when the itrip is plugged in, or it will just pump out heavy distortion- the bass will overload the itrip and make it all sound crap.

Is there any difference in reception when the car is turned off?
FollowupID: 367591

Follow Up By: Melly - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:24

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:24
Hi BenSpoon

Thanks for that info, i didn't know about setting it to a high frequency...I will give that a go. I do always have it no higher than 75% though...worked that one out early when i was playing Nine Inch Nails full volume..haha
FollowupID: 367593

Reply By: Member - Alan - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 17:43

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 17:43

This is not answering your query but its in the same vein...

To improve AM signal when camped, try connecting your jumper leads together , lay them out on the ground and clip one end to your "metal" car aerial. Saw a Shire Ranger do this up on the Gibb RR a few years ago , ABC came through load and clear. Don't think this would work on a rubber aerial.


AnswerID: 111211

Follow Up By: Member - Peter R (QLD) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 18:56

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 18:56
Or clip a long piece of plastic coated wire to aerial and at the other end attach a sinker via a piece of fishing line.
Throw the sinker end into the highest tree you can.
When leaving pull the wire down and watch out for the sinker.

FollowupID: 367612

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 20:27

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 20:27
I would get engine whine coming through when travelling in low reception areas which was shacking when listening to the footy. The solution was simple I pulled off the fuel control rod and turned the ignition off -still could drive (love those low tech diesals) and no whine
AnswerID: 111225

Reply By: fatz - Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 06:25

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 06:25
Mel, not sure if you thought of this or if it will work. Why not loosen your orignal ariel and tilt it to one side or the other so it does not hit the case you describe? It's very easy to do.
AnswerID: 111246

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 07:05

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 07:05

Have worked in western Qld, and NT, for over 40 years, where AM reception is either ordinary, or non existent.

You need to get rid of the rubber ducky aerial, and get one of 27 Mhz look-a-like's mentioned by Utemad. They are available from Mobile One, in 3' and 5' sizes. Get them by mail order, or from CB specialists. Have bought a couple in Winton, that are branded Axis.

The 5' ones will give EXCELLENT reception, picked up 3SR, in Shepparton, Vic, about 10.30 AM, while travelling around station, 200 km south of Winton.(in Winter)

The Toyota AM/FM sets are usually pretty good, in sensitivity dept, and make excellent Mantle Radio's for indoor use. They are made by Fujitsu, and even the poverty pack radios are very sensitive.

Don't think the latest radios need tuning to the aerial, like the older types.

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Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 111248

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 18:01

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 18:01
The other alternative that no body has suggested is to get so far away from civilzation that no reception is possible no matter what antennae you use. Then you will be relaxed and not need the radio.


Sorry couldn't help myself. I know what a pain it is when anything doesn't work the way it should. Hope something above solves your problem.
AnswerID: 111278

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