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6.2 Analogue Radio Reception

g1Weak signals or hiss on FM
For a portable radio set, you could try extending the telescopic aerial and moving the radio around. If you adjust the tuning you might find a stronger signal. Check to see if there’s any work going on at the local transmitter.
If you still have problems there may be an obstruction or hill blocking the signals. Moving the radio to another room, higher up or near a window may help, but an outdoor aerial or amplifier may be the best solution.

g2Interference on FM
If you can hear a twittering noise, or even have two stations at the same time, you might need a directional rooftop mounted aerial. If you can hear a ‘pirate’ radio station coming over the top of your normal signals, you can report it to OFCOM who can investigate it further

If you have problems listening in the car, check to see if you have the same interference when the ignition is switched off. If it only happens while the engine is running, there’s probably a problem with the car’s 'suppression equipment' - sorry but you’ll need a competent car electrician to put it right.

Bursts of buzzing or crackling on FM are often caused by electrical interference. The commonest cause is a faulty thermostat, so try turning off appliances such as heating systems, fridges etc for a period to see if the problem stops. Faulty thermostats should be replaced as they may cause the appliance to fail later on. Occasionally the cause can be something outside your own property. If you are certain this is the case, you can contact OFCOM to report the problem but please note they can only investigate interference to radios using an external rooftop FM aerial.

g5Bad reception on MW or LW
MW/LW signals are prone to electrical interference from everyday objects such as street lamps, flashing signs, power lines or railway lines. The problem can get worse at night as signals travel further after sunset; you may be picking up unwanted broadcasts from other transmitters. Most MW/LM radios use an internal ferrite rod aerial, try moving the set around. Careful tuning may find a stronger signal and help minimise any interference.

If you can hear distorted 's' or 'z' sounds (e.g. making them sound like 'ssshhh') try moving your radio around. If you are using an outdoor aerial, try moving that. If you’re still having problems you may need a directional rooftop aerial. Distortion can also happen from getting too much signal. In this case, try adding an 'attenuator' between the aerial and the receiver. These come in various decibel values and are available from electrical shops and aerial installers.

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