Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
July 23, 2014, 05:02:02 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an E-Mag Subscription: It will not get torn up or crushed if you back over it with your bus.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: What is Anyone Doing for Best AM Radio Reception ??  (Read 2217 times)
Gary '79 5C
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 613




Ignore
« on: December 23, 2010, 05:00:42 AM »

I did not wish to derail Grant's post, so here we go.
I have not sprung for Sat radio, and have a Pioneer radio. I have been advised that current technology car stereos do not have great AM receivers due to the lack of interest vs the FM side of things. I can not comment on that, but my AM recp. is poor. I have replaced the roof antenna without improvement.

I have a '83 MB 300D which gets great AM recp with a standard antenna. I regularly receive Detroit, Boston, Chicago stations early morning (I am in NJ). I am looking at installing a used MB Becker radio to replicate in the bus.

Any suggestions from the board ??

Thanks in advance, Merry Christmas, from one whom has been blessed in many ways, and Thankful for all !!

Gary
Logged

Experience is something you get Just after you needed it....
Ocean City, NJ
bevans6
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4528


1980 MCI MC-5C




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 05:34:02 AM »

The only thing I am thinking is that the antenna is pretty important, that and creating a decent ground plane.  That means putting the antenna in the middle of the metal roof, not on a fiberglass roof cap.  Going to a good radio can't hurt either.  AM signals are also pretty directional, so having a steerable antenna or one designed to be omni directional is worth while.  I have heard that some high end car radio systems would actually have multiple antennas and the radio could select which one to use based on multipath issues for FM, maybe they did something similar for signal strength for AM.


Just random thoughts on this, it's been so long since I worked on AM radio stuff.

Brian
Logged

1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
trucktramp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 260




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2010, 07:33:47 AM »

Make sure that your antenna has a good ground to the bus.  I had a Freightshaker that had terrible AM reception (which was pretty normal for them).  I jumped the antenna base to the cab with a short wire.  Seemed to improve the reception.  You won't get good dx (long distance) reception during the daylight hours but when the sun goes down especially during winter the stations should boom in.  Look for WLS Chicago on 890 mhz, WGN Chicago 720 mhz,  WLW Cincinnatti 700 mhz,  WSM Nashville 650 mhz,  WOWO Ft Wayne 1100 mhz.  There are more, I just can't remember them all. 
Logged

Dennis Watson
KB8KNP
Scotts, Michigan
1966 MCI MC5A
8V71
Spicer 4 Speed Manual
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2536


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2010, 08:59:51 AM »

Gary,

Many modern car stereos, likely including your Pioneer, do not have a provision for an external AM antenna.  The antenna input on those radios is connected strictly to the FM receiver, and the AM receiver uses a separate wire-wound ferrite inside the radio case as its antenna.  For these radios there is little you can do to improve reception.

Older car radios, particularly AM-only models, do have an external antenna input for the AM stage.  Note that an AM antenna and an FM antenna are actually different lengths, and car antennas used to be a compromise between them  With the decreasing importance of AM and the fact that many legacy AM stations are clear channel anyway, modern car antennas tend to be optimized for FM.

Lastly, AM is far more sensitive to EMI, one of the reasons FM is more popular.  On a car, most of the EMI issues are from the ignition and charging systems, and modern cars have filter capacitors installed in key spots to keep the EMI to a minimum.  On a bus conversion, there are many additional sources of EMI, such as inverters, chargers, appliance ignitors, fans, air conditioners -- the list goes on.  It is almost impossible to reduce the EMI on a working coach to the point where AM comes in clearly.

We have an AM stage in both our dash radio and our A/V receiver/amplifier and we can almost never get AM.  It's very frustrating to pass one of those blinking yellow lights on the side of the road with a sign that says "When flashing, tune radio to 1610" or similar; we can seldom get it.

If you need to rely on clear channel AM radio stations while out in the boonies, get a radio with an external AM antenna input (a 1983 Becker would probably work great) and put a dedicated AM antenna on your roof -- a dipole running nearly the length of the bus might work best.  Then shield the radio case itself as much as possible, use double-shielded antenna lead-in, and put filter capacitors on any major noise sources.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 09:02:33 AM by Sean » Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
James77MCI8
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 338





Ignore
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 05:41:38 PM »

I have used these in the past with success.

http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/am-antennas/terk-am-advantage.aspx
Logged

77 MCI 8
8V-71 4 spd
pvcces
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 750





Ignore
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 09:56:00 PM »

Years ago, what was called a TRF was used to improve AM reception. One of the reasons it worked as well as it did is that this was an additional tuned RF amplifier. This meant that the frequency you were trying to receive was greatly amplified, while the various interfering noises were not.

If you hunt around, you ought to be able to find such a radio. We find them occasionally in portable models, such as some multiband units that had shortwave bands. There are quite a few ham radios that would be good for speech, but only so-so for music.

Good luck!

Tom Caffrey
Logged

Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
Suncatcher
Ketchikan, Alaska
Gary '79 5C
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 613




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2010, 12:44:42 AM »

Thanks All !!

I think I will begin with checking the antenna inputs on the Becker and then replace the antenna.
The current antenna is centered on the bus roof, grounded to the metal roof. I am suspect of the antenna wire, but the FM reception is quite acceptable.
Just looking to pass time when driving with a little talk radio, but alas the Pioneer is next to zilch AM reception, with current setup.

A dipole running the length of the bus reminds me of an older aircraft ADF antenna, strung from above the windshield to the top of the tail. This is/was of course a AM radio antenna, but for directional purposes. I remember flights returning from west of Pittsburgh & tuning in to (listening as well) to WKYW 1060 Phila station. This antenna was convenently located close to my home airport.
Logged

Experience is something you get Just after you needed it....
Ocean City, NJ
Depewtee
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 214





Ignore
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 05:07:29 AM »


Just looking to pass time when driving with a little talk radio.



Have you considered the Sirius/XM satellite radio service?  You can sign up for the Sport + Talk Radio plan for only $9.95 a month.  You can buy a Sirius/XM capable radio for as little as $49.00.  I have XM in my daily driver and after 5 years the "coolness" and variety are starting to wear out, but it is so nice to have on long road trips - tune into a talk radio program/station and listen to it, uninterrupted, until you reach your destination. They make radios now that you can move from vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to house, or wherever to wherever.
 
XM Radio

Just another option,
Brian S.
Logged

Brian Shonk
Fort Walton Beach, FL (Florida Panhandle)
1981 Prevost LeMirage Liberty Coach
1984 TMC MC-9
Gary '79 5C
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 613




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2010, 06:31:17 AM »

Brian,

You are absolutely correct. However the untold story is that I am trying to get out from under the oppressive NJ taxes(property,sales,income), and get to the Sunshine State that you hail from, saving for retirement. I know, I know, just how is $ 120/year going to make a diff Huh?
As I mentioned previously, I am still running a 1983 MB on my daily commute(135miles roundtrip). So, I qualify for a certified CheapSkate. If you wish further clarification, on my certification, I will refer you to my Wife.....

But, to acknowledge, You are correct, Sat Radio is the way to go.
Logged

Experience is something you get Just after you needed it....
Ocean City, NJ
ArtGill
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 198




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2010, 04:15:37 PM »

Has anyone tried a long wire from the front to the back of the coach?  How high will it need to be off the roof?  My stations as a teenager were WABC, WBZ, and WAPE.  I have a station just out of good reception that plays my NC?SC Beach Music.  I also  DXed  AM Broadcast stations. 

I'm going to start another thread about antennas.

Art

Logged

Art & Cheryll Gill
Morehead City, NC
1989 Eagle Model 20 NJT, 6v92ta
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2536


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2010, 05:40:04 PM »

Has anyone tried a long wire from the front to the back of the coach?  How high will it need to be off the roof?


The answer is:  As far away from the body of the coach as practical.  More important is the length; you should try to get as close as practical to 28'9", which is exactly 1/32 of the wavelength of 1070 kHz, or the center of the AM broadcast band.  1/16, which would be better still, is too long at 57'6".

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Mex-Busnut
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1108





Ignore
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2010, 11:29:23 PM »

One more option is a short-wave converter to add 4 or more shortwave bands to your AM radio. These show up from time to time on fleabay.

Who else on here is a licensed ham radio nut? In the U.S., I am KA5SUT and in Mexico I am XE1UFO
Logged

Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
1981 Dina Olímpico (Flxible Flxliner clone), 6V92TA Detroit Diesel
Rockwell model RM135A 9-speed manual tranny.
Jake brakes
100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5391




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2010, 08:54:20 AM »

Who else on here is a licensed ham radio nut? In the U.S., I am KA5SUT and in Mexico I am XE1UFO

I have a ham radio license, but Ia m most certainly not a radio nut.  I don't even recall my callsign.  I got my license strictly to buy a transmitter for rocketry.

Funny story:  I never opened the book I bought to study for the exam.  I went through the test online a few dozen times.  I passed the first try.  There was a 16 year old at the test who had failed for the 4th time and he studied like crazy.  (I only ever used my license for a non-adjustable transmitter that transmitted a string of beeps and my call sign in morse code from time to time.  I got rid of the transmitter some time back as better ones came out on unlicensed spectrum.)
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2536


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2010, 09:56:19 AM »

I have a ham radio license, but Ia m most certainly not a radio nut.  I don't even recall my callsign. 

Brian, your call sign is KC0QBB and your license expires in May, 2013.  You have Technician class operating privileges.

-Sean (KE7HJC)
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!