It would seem that what could be simpler than an antenna for an ordinary music center? It is easy to use: just turn on the device, catch the desired radio stations and enjoy your favorite music. At first glance, this is true, but, as is often the case, there is also the other side of the coin. Let’s try to understand the features of FM receiving devices and find out why sometimes it is better to make an antenna with your own hands.
What are antennas
In the case of standard antennas for boomboxes and music centers, everything is more or less clear. Most often, these are ordinary folding metal rods of a retractable design. In rare cases, when the standard antenna does not cope, it is possible to use additional signal amplifiers.
So, there are directional and non-directional antennas. Conventionally, they can be divided into:
- Disk (a familiar plate, which can often be seen in private homes, as a rule, such devices catch satellite broadcasts).
- Rod-shaped (pin), rounded type (ordinary rod, which was shaped like a circle) and straight.
- Wire (most often it is a bending wire, which can be given any shape and fixed in that position).
The shapes and sizes of antennas are not limited, the most daring solutions can be found on sale, but the sound quality depends not only on how they look, but also on the characteristics of the music center itself. Not every micro system will be able to fully exploit the capabilities of the receiving antenna, and this is often the reason why many people choose to experiment with these devices.
Let us dwell in more detail on how you can improve the radio signal with your own hands, without resorting to financial investments.
DIY FM antenna
If for some reason industrial solutions are not suitable, then you can assemble the FM antenna with your own hands. The procedure is not the most difficult, especially for those who already have some experience in working with radio devices. The antenna can be made in several ways.
Anyone can make it, for this we need a few simple tools that are available in every home:
- A piece of copper wire.
- Ordinary kitchen knife.
Note that far from all regions of our country, the FM signal stably covers the entire territory. In some remote areas, a conventional built-in music center antenna is not enough. In this case, device owners begin to try to amplify the signal on their own. Most often you can see how a standard FM antenna wrapped with wire. In other cases, this wire is taken out of the window (for example, into an open window), in the hope that this will somehow amplify the signal. Indeed, often this practice helps, and the radio still manages to be caught.
So, let’s take a closer look at how to make such a standard antenna amplifier with your own hands. This is done in stages:
- Take a piece of copper wire.
- Measure the length you need and cut with pliers or wire cutters.
- Now strip the cut piece of wire with a regular knife.
- Next, you should securely wind the cleaned wire to the existing antenna and try to catch the signal.
If significant improvements have not occurred, then you should pay attention to the back side of the music center. In the area where the plug sockets are located, there is often a so-called input for additional antennas. Some manage to amplify the signal by sticking a wire into this socket, but it is worth noting that this practice can lead to unstable operation of the device as a whole, and sometimes to breakdowns. In addition, the effectiveness of this method is highly questionable.
From an old TV antenna
If the amplification by a wire-type device did not help, you can try to collect rod antenna. It is highly directional, moreover, more resistant to urban interference. Most often, it is made from an existing old television antenna, taking into account the fact that some television broadcasting frequencies have shifted or even switched to online or satellite broadcasting.
A directional whip (rod) antenna consists of a power element (boom), two passive directors, a loop vibrator and a reflector. Its size directly depends on the range in which the signal is received.
In order to make it yourself, you need:
- Fix the load-bearing structure from the outside of the building.
- Plug the wire into the appropriate socket of the music center (to make it, you will need a plug for the appropriate socket and the ability to work with a soldering iron).
- Search for radio stations.
Foil with fiberboard
This is one of the simplest options where a minimum of effort is required, as well as materials.
Important! Such solutions are less effective than others. Therefore, with a strong distance from the signal source, it is better to consider other options.
To make an antenna you will need:
- a small sheet of fiberboard;
- ordinary metal foil;
- cable with a good screen at 50-75 ohms;
- plug for connection to musical equipment;
- soldering iron.
Cut out a hollow square or rectangle from the foil. The best option is 50 by 50 cm with a perimeter thickness of 2-3 cm. If the signal source is at a considerable distance, then the overall dimensions can be increased. After we bring the dimensions of the fiberboard under the resulting foil figure. At the same time, a small cutout (1-2 cm) must be made on the latter.
Next, glue the foil to the fiberboard sheet using clerical glue. We solder the central core of the cable and the screen to the bottom of the antenna. In this case, the distance between soldering should be at least 3-4 cm. The antenna can be use both indoors and out.
From a pipe
You can take on arms conventional pipes, which are used in the installation of house communications. It is important that they are free of rust and foreign oxides, such as limescale and other dirt. All this makes signal transmission difficult.
You will also need:
- ferrite core;
- insulating tape;
- brass foil;
- copper cable with a core of 0.25 mm;
Advice! The ferrite core can be found in the flywheel transformers used in old tube TVs. If there are problems finding brass foil, then we use ordinary copper foil instead.
We lay paper and electrical tape on the ferrite core in two layers, and then place the foil so that the coil is overlapped by about 1 cm. In this case, the sides should not come into contact with each other. On the resulting screen we wind the wire in 25 turns with three equal taps (at 7, 12 and 25 turns). After all the screens are wound on the contour and connected. It remains only to connect the plug.
From coaxial cable
Antennas of this kind showed themselves perfectly with an unstable signal. The equipment adequately works in a thunder-storm, at a heavy snowfall and other bad weather. But provided that it is used good cable, type SAT-50 or DG-113. If indoor placement of the antenna is planned, then the domestic RK-75 is quite suitable.
- television cable;
- two-meter plastic pipe;
- mast made of iron or wood.
We measure from the end of the television cable about 70-75 cm and remove the insulation, being careful not to damage the screen and the core itself. It is best to pre-stretch the synthetic braid, and then gently strip it towards the cut.
Next, we fix the cable inside the plastic pipe and fasten the structure to the pole. The search for the optimal signal is carried out by rotating the mast. If the source is at a considerable distance, then the pole can be made longer.
In the process of preparation, the main thing is not to damage the screen. Then the antenna will receive a signal with a minimum amount of interference.
Do not forget that the signal tends to deteriorate, and sometimes completely disappear at night, and also depending on weather conditions. For example, in rain, snowfall or strong wind. True, it should be noted that if there is a signal, the whip antenna will ensure its high-quality transmission. In addition, not all music centers are able to improve signal reception in hardware. In particular, this problem is observed for inexpensive modelswhere no change in signal reception level is observed regardless of which antenna is connected to the system.
In rare cases (as an experiment), users try to improve reception by plugging a conventional common house TV antenna into the FM jack. In no case should you do this, it does not always help, most often there may be problems with short circuits and power surges.
Also, don’t forget that:
- The presence of a confident reception is possible only in conditions of focus on the signal source.
- In the evening and at night, the signal is significantly weakened due to the absence or reduction of long-range reception.
The antenna for any music center can be made by hand, the main thing is to carefully follow the instructions and be patient.