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How to Make a Simple Antenna to Improve the Reception of an FM Radio Receiver

Updated March 23, 2017

FM radio receivers need an antennae to pick up the signal a radio station transmits. FM radio signals are a much higher frequency than AM and therefore have a much more limited range. Installing a better antennae can lead to improved reception. FM stations only have about a 75 mile range and any receiver more than 50 miles away may need an improved antennae.

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  1. Measure out three feet of the ten foot length of speaker wire.

  2. Split the dual speaker wire at the three foot mark. Create a large "T" with each three foot length placed perpendicular to the remaining seven foot of unseparated speaker cable.

  3. Strip the insulation of about two inches of cable at the end of the seven foot length of speaker cable.

  4. Find the external antennae connection on the rear of the receiver. It may be labelled "ext ant" or "ant."

  5. Wrap each of the two speaker cable wires around the posts at the external antennae connection. If the connection is a clamp-and-hold device then clamp and hold.

  6. Twist the two wires together into a single wire. This is only necessary if the external antennae connection is a single post or clamp. There is no electrical current running through the antennae wires and joining the two wires will not run the risk of shock.

  7. Place the receiver (and if possible the entire stereo system) near a window.

  8. Run the antennae wire under the window across the sill and around any window screen.

  9. On the outside of the window attach the wire to a location as high as possible. A small finishing nail may be needed to support the wire.

  10. Extend the two separated wires in opposite directions outside the window. Tack a finishing nail at the end of each wire for support as needed.

  11. Turn on the receiver and check the signal level for all desired stations.

  12. Relocate the stereo if possible to another window on the other side of the room or building if reception is still not acceptable.

  13. Consider adding add more wire to the two extended leads if step two does not achieve the desired results.

  14. Cut a length of speaker wire.

  15. Split the two wires into single length pieces.

  16. Strip insulation from one end of each length of single cable exposing about one inch.

  17. Strip about one inch of insulation from the end of the antennae leads.

  18. Twist the exposed wire of one extension to one antennae lead. Repeat on the other lead. Extend the total length of the two longer leads and support with a finishing nail if necessary.

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Things You'll Need

  • FM radio receiver with external antennae connections
  • 10-foot length of dual speaker wire
  • Wire stripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Tack hammer
  • Finishing nails (if needed)

About the Author

Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.

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