EV's Best Top Rated FM and HD Radio Antenna Guide & Reviews

Very interresting topic

I live in a real rural area, fm is very easy to pick up. I currently have a pioneer car stero hooked up in my room, running throw a antenna booster. I can pick up stations with easy form more than 200 miles. I have a very direction antenna, during right weather contions I can pick up stations in three different directions on same frequence. I think once I counted the stations I was picking up to be over 80 that was in one direction. If I turn my antenna it could have easily been over 100. Weather affects fm much easier than it does tv, I do not really understand why.

According to the website fmfool, I pick up way more stations. Than it suggest in my area. One station I pick up is over 150miles away, I pick it up all the time, it does not even list it on fmfool.com.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Thanks for sharing your experiences CurtDawg. Good FM reception is generally easier than television reception, analog and digital. The reason being primarily that FM audio is a smaller bandwidth transmission (less data) than video which also has an audio component. Also FM broadcasts are in the VHF band which is more distance friendly in general.
 
fm now and hd radio to come

Orginally said (Good FM reception is generally easier than television reception, analog and digital.)
Yeah that is the case in my area. I have found that the larger the antenna the better fm recptoin is in general. I have used aluminum foil and received stations form over a hundred miles away.

Does the new hd radio fall into the vhf band. I can see down the road if hd radio is like digital tv where it may run into some problems. Like when you are in your car and the signal is weak on the anlong, it can be heard with some fuzz at times in the station, hd radio if signal is real weak problemly will not do anything. Thats just my guess, I have not done any real research because where I live it is not avaiable yet. It will be interresting going foward. To see wants happens with this.

One more thing, want are some of the best radio tuners on the market withe the best sentivity. I have a pioneer car radio with a super tuner 3 in it. Its the best I have ever owned.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Hey, CurtDawg

HD Radio is in the VHF Band, specifically 88-108 Mhz, which would put it right alongside FM broadcasts, which it is. Its actually an offset carrier, from the main FM analog broadcast. There can be 2 HD broadcasts on either side of the primary Analog broadcast, and their power is 1% of the analog broadcast.

Your guess would be spot on. HD Radio has a digital cliff, just like DTV. Current designs usually switch back to the analog primary when its on the cliff. In fact when HD Radio is on the cliff of reception, it can be annoying as the receiver switches back and forth from analog to digital. This is similar to the old Stereo/Mono switching which was also annoying. The solution for this is a forced Analog switch, like a forced Mono switch of yor. The highly regard Sony FHD1 doesnt have a forced mono switch but some modders are adding one.

The Pioneer SuperTuner IIIs were and are fantastic analog FM tuners. They originally hit the market in the 80s. I remember the SuperTuner II's as well, which were also good. The hayday of FM tuners was late 70s and early 80s. The Clarion MagiTunes were good too. Car Stereos had their own specific issues that changed some of the design critierias order of importance for FM tuners....which just happen to make them better at longer distances, though you limit stereo seperation as a result. Never the less, I remember the SuperTuner III which was prominently advertised on the front of nearly every Pioneer car head unit in the 80s. Very nice!
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
I bet these are way in the negative gain....postage stamp sized FM antenna.

Fractus antenna enables FM radio in new portable devices

10/11/2007

Fractus has announced its first standard antenna for the FM frequency. The FracFM antenna's compact dimensions (32 X 11 X 1.6mm - about one third the area of a normal postage stamp), make it a suitable high-performance solution for portable devices such as ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), gaming devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), private mobile radio (PMR) and laptops.

FracFM requires no active amplification or tuning, meaning it covers the entire FM frequency range (78-108 MHz), without the need for extra components, providing not only high performance, but also cost savings and a reduced bill-of-materials. The antenna has been designed and tested with the user and the different propagation environments in mind to ensure consistent performance.

A traditional antenna design approach requires an antenna that is longer than most portable devices. This means the antenna has been integrated into the headphone cable, rendering the device useless without it and unsuitable for use with Bluetooth headsets. Additionally, incorporating the antenna into the headsets has required extra components, resulting in an increased bill-of-materials and higher costs.

Using its fractal antenna technologies, Fractus has designed an internal FM antenna that offers reduced size, simple integration into a device and a good level of performance in terms of gain and efficiency. The antenna has been produced using low cost surface-mounted technology (SMT), eliminating the need for new manufacturing processes or materials. FracFM is 50 ohm terminated, linear polarized and omnidirectional - as well as RoHS compliant.

Samples and demo boards are available upon request.

Fractus antenna enables FM radio in new portable devices
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Small portable antenna conundrum...

Meet FM antenna design challenges in portable devices

As wireless usage models become more popular in portable devices, customers are demanding wire-free FM radio reception with embedded antennas. This article discusses maximizing sensitivity to improve FM reception using an embedded antenna and the methods to achieve that goal.

By Natalian Zhai, Silicon Laboratories, Inc.

Page 1 of 2

Courtesy of Mobile Handset DesignLine
02/02/2009

Frequency Modulated (FM) radio has been used for years in high-fidelity music and speech broadcasting, offering excellent sound quality, signal robustness, and noise immunity. Recently, FM radio has witnessed an explosion of interest from the market for its applications in mobile and personal media players; however, the traditional FM design approach requires a long antenna, such as a wired headphone, which limits its usefulness for many users who do not carry the wired headset. Also, as wireless usage models continue to be a growing trend in portable devices, more customers can benefit from wire-free FM radio reception using other FM antennas while listening with either a wireless headset or a speaker output.

This article introduces an FM radio receiver solution that enables the antenna to be integrated or embedded inside the portable device enclosure, making the headphone cable optional. It starts with the goal of maximizing sensitivity; follows with methods for achieving the maximum sensitivity, including maximizing efficiency at the resonant frequency, maximizing antenna size, and maximizing efficiency across the FM band with a tunable matching network. Finally, this article describes an implementation of the tunable matching network.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
Hey, CurtDawg

HD Radio is in the VHF Band, specifically 88-108 Mhz, which would put it right alongside FM broadcasts, which it is. Its actually an offset carrier, from the main FM analog broadcast. There can be 2 HD broadcasts on either side of the primary Analog broadcast, and their power is 1% of the analog broadcast.

Your guess would be spot on. HD Radio has a digital cliff, just like DTV. Current designs usually switch back to the analog primary when its on the cliff. In fact when HD Radio is on the cliff of reception, it can be annoying as the receiver switches back and forth from analog to digital. This is similar to the old Stereo/Mono switching which was also annoying. The solution for this is a forced Analog switch, like a forced Mono switch of yor. The highly regard Sony FHD1 doesnt have a forced mono switch but some modders are adding one.

The Pioneer SuperTuner IIIs were and are fantastic analog FM tuners. They originally hit the market in the 80s. I remember the SuperTuner II's as well, which were also good. The hayday of FM tuners was late 70s and early 80s. The Clarion MagiTunes were good too. Car Stereos had their own specific issues that changed some of the design critierias order of importance for FM tuners....which just happen to make them better at longer distances, though you limit stereo seperation as a result. Never the less, I remember the SuperTuner III which was prominently advertised on the front of nearly every Pioneer car head unit in the 80s. Very nice!
This thread whole thread is :thumb:

EscapeVelocity, do you think FM Radio will ever be replaced by HD Radio?
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
I dont think Im qualified to answer that question. However certainly digital is the future. HD Radio is actually an off set carrier standard....so maybe another digital standard will replace both....and perhaps other transmission methods will kill OTA as we know it.

Look into teh crystal ball....tell me what you see.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Resources on FM Interrference Sources and Tracking Down and Indentifying the Sources.

Interference on AM and FM Radios
By Donald Kerr

As the use of transmitters, receivers and communication devices increases, so do the disruptions in signal reception. As a rule, FM receivers are less affected by crackling noises than AM receivers. Conversely, AM radio is not as susceptible to the signal reflection phenomena.
FEDERAL
COMMUNICATIONS
COMMISSION

COMPLIANCE & INFORMATION BUREAU

INTERFERENCE HANDBOOK

This electronic version of our "Interference to Home Electronic Entertainment Equipment Handbook" is provided as a service to our customers on the World Wide Web by the Compliance and Information Bureau of the FCC.

Interference is any unwanted signal which precludes reception of the best possible signal from the source that you want to receive. Interference may prevent reception altogether, may cause only a temporary loss of the desired signal, or may affect the quality of the sound or picture produced by your equipment.

Interference to home electronic equipment is a frustrating problem; but, fortunately, there are several ways to deal with it. This handbook provides a step-by-step process for eliminating the interference.

If your problem is not eliminated by following the steps in this handbook, you should follow the instructions in the owner's manual of your equipment for contacting the manufacturer. We have provided a list of manufacturers. If the manufacturer of your equipment is not listed, look at the beginning of the list for additional help.
 

JeepJeep

DTVUSA Member
Thinking about giving HD radio a try in my car. I see a lot of sites suggesting a dipole type antenna for hd radio reception, is that a MUST?

Very nice article, I'm only on page 3 so far. ;) Maybe I'm asking something already covered?
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Hey JeepJeep! Welcome to the Forum.

Im no expert on vehicle installations. However Ive seen systems designed for adding HD Radio into BMW factory stereos that included an amplified horizontal dipole antenna in the kit.

Its good to hear from someone that liked the guide. I havent gotten to the hands on comparison testing yet, and am still working on the intro. Its more focussed on home antennas, as well.
 

JeepJeep

DTVUSA Member
Hey JeepJeep! Welcome to the Forum.

Im no expert on vehicle installations. However Ive seen systems designed for adding HD Radio into BMW factory stereos that included an amplified horizontal dipole antenna in the kit.

Its good to hear from someone that liked the guide. I havent gotten to the hands on comparison testing yet, and am still working on the intro. Its more focussed on home antennas, as well.
Just beginning my research. :) I've seen a few people recommend the dipoles along with amps on other forums with little regard to what really necessitates the need for either one. Will be checking in often. I've only gotten to page 5 of this thread today.
 
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