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9.8 What makes the best FM radio antenna?


This article is from the rec.audio.* FAQ, by with numerous contributions by Bob Neidorff others.

9.8 What makes the best FM radio antenna?

Although there is no "best" antenna for everyone, one of the
most directional is the "rhombic". Being very directional, this
antenna can select one weak station out of many strong ones, or
one group of stations originating from a general direction.
In addition, very directional antennas are good at reducing
multipath interference, a problem which is more severe in
cities with tall buildings.

This antenna is very long, and made up of four pieces of wire
with feedline at one end for antenna connections and a resistor
at the other for termination. Rhombics for FM broadcast band
use are at least 15 feet (4.5 meters) long, but can be made
fairly narrow, less than 3 feet (1 meter) wide. A more narrow
antenna will be more directional. A longer antenna will give a
stronger signal.

Another very directional antenna is the "yagi", which looks just
like a common TV antenna. You can even use a common TV antenna
as a very good FM antenna. The FM and TV bands are very close
together. It has the advantages of being cheap, directional,
and easy to rotate.

One of the simplest and easiest to make antennas is the folded
dipole, made from 300 ohm twin lead. It is approx. 58" long.
This antenna is surprisingly good for receiving signals in a
moderately strong signal area. Folded dipoles come with many
tuners and receivers as a standard accessory. They are also
available for approximately $2 at audio and department stores.

Whatever antenna you have, you can often get it to work better
for specific stations by moving it. In the case of the folded
dipole, sometimes it works better vertically, and other times it
works best horizontally. Sometimes, you can get that one
elusive station to come in perfectly if you bend the two ends of
it at funny angles. Don't be afraid to experiment. One
warning. As atmospheric conditions change, the best antenna
placement may also change.

An excellent reference book on antennas is printed by the
American Radio Relay League (ARRL). It is called The ARRL
Antenna Book. Currently in its 17th edition, it is a 736
page large, illustrated paperback which includes a disk
of MS-DOS software. It costs $30 plus s/h. It has fairly
complete antenna theory, practical information such as
charts, drawings, comparisons, and tips on construction
and adjustment. ISBN 0-87259-473-4. The ARRL is founded
and chartered as a non-profit organization to better
amateur radio, and antennas are a vital part of amateur radio.

American Radio Relay League
225 Main Street
Newington CT 06111 USA

Also useful:

Practical Antenna Handbook by Joseph J. Carr
Tab Books #3270/McGraw Hill - ISBN 0-8306-3270-3


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