FM antenna recommendations? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2020, 11:00 AM   #1
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Name: William
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FM antenna recommendations?

Folks,
The 1m-long wire I connected to the antenna jack on the after-market car stereo I installed in the Trillium is pitiful. Though the radio in the Outback picks up all kinds of stations, the Trillium is in its dead zone. Works fine when we are at home, where I can see the broadcast tower on top of Pinnacle Hill, but it's hard to get NPR while out in the boonies, though the Outback does just fine. I think I'm in the market for a reasonable antenna. The whip antennas are unimpressive in other close-by RVs I've sampled. Any suggestions for something better out there?
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 09-19-2020, 11:41 AM   #2
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TV antenna??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Lindenfelser View Post
Folks,
The 1m-long wire I connected to the antenna jack on the after-market car stereo I installed in the Trillium is pitiful. Though the radio in the Outback picks up all kinds of stations, the Trillium is in its dead zone. Works fine when we are at home, where I can see the broadcast tower on top of Pinnacle Hill, but it's hard to get NPR while out in the boonies, though the Outback does just fine. I think I'm in the market for a reasonable antenna. The whip antennas are unimpressive in other close-by RVs I've sampled. Any suggestions for something better out there?
Thanks,
Bill
First of all, vhf TV antennas also do a good job of receiving FM radio. Have you tried hooking the TV Lead to the radio? Some new DTV antennas are UHF only and this is a problem because some stations moved back to VHF.
All my RVs have used an AM FM RV Antenna With Adjustable Ball Base for Top or Side Mounting . That way I can also get AM radio, and drop the antenna for storage by loosening a screw .
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:06 PM   #3
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N o idea if it will improve your situation, but I added a Shakespeare AM/FM antenna in place of the 12" supplied with my trailer.

I still have a problem with weak FM stations - the converter & solar controller produce enough RFI to blank extremely weak stations. When they are off, the combination does better than the Ford 150 radio.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:30 PM   #4
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Since FM radio frequencies fall between old vhf tv channels 5 and 6, find an old bow-tie indoor tv antenna. If it has the flat 2 wire connector, connect it your radio through a 300/75 ohm adapter. You may have to modify it to fit your radio. That should work inside your fiberglass trailer. Kenneth's suggestion, above, is probably what you'll want for a more permanent solution.

Good luck trying to get NPR on WXXI FM very far from the Webster transmitter except for the hours they're also on 88.5, WRUR. (I live in Chili.)
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Eberhardt View Post
Since FM radio frequencies fall between old vhf tv channels 5 and 6, find an old bow-tie indoor tv antenna. If it has the flat 2 wire connector, connect it your radio through a 300/75 ohm adapter. You may have to modify it to fit your radio. That should work inside your fiberglass trailer. Kenneth's suggestion, above, is probably what you'll want for a more permanent solution.

Good luck trying to get WXXI on FM very far from the Webster transmitter except for the hours they're also on 88.5, WRUR. (I live in Chili.)
I have no problem getting WXXI in Oswego, NY (68 miles from Rochester) but that might have something to do with the 54' tower my FM antenna sits on...
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:26 PM   #6
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car stereos use a rather different antenna connector than most other FM and VHF setups... most home FM and VHF antenna connections are either 2 wire 300 ohm flat cable (using two screws with U lugs on the wires), or a 75 ohm coax F connector (same as cable TV uses). Aftermarket car stereos use 'motorola' plugs that are 75 ohm like the F, but its hard to find adapters.

of course NOW I look for one, and boom.
https://www.amazon.com/CBK-Supply-64.../dp/B0756LMJQB

this will let you use any sort of 75 ohm VHF antenna. if you have a flat lead 300 ohm antenna, this 'balun' (matching transformer) will work in conjunction with the above adapter,
https://www.amazon.com/outstanding-M.../dp/B07RR1VFM6


edited: to correct 75 ohm vs 50 ohm
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:26 PM   #7
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"I have no problem getting WXXI in Oswego, NY (68 miles from Rochester) but that might have something to do with the 54' tower my FM antenna sits on... "

And a straight shot across the lake.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
car stereos use a rather different antenna connector than most other FM and VHF setups... most home FM and VHF antenna connections are either 2 wire 300 ohm flat cable (using two screws with U lugs on the wires), or a 50 ohm coax F connector (same as cable TV uses). Aftermarket car stereos use 'motorola' plugs that are 50 ohm like the F, but its hard to find adapters.

of course NOW I look for one, and boom.
https://www.amazon.com/CBK-Supply-64.../dp/B0756LMJQB

this will let you use any sort of 50 ohm VHF antenna. if you have a flat lead 300 ohm antenna, this 'balun' (matching transformer) will work in conjunction with the above adapter,
https://www.amazon.com/outstanding-M.../dp/B07RR1VFM6
Most TV & FM non auto coax (and the 300 ohm balun) are 75 ohm, not 50 ohm. No idea if the impedance mismatch would be a problem...
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
Most TV & FM non auto coax (and the 300 ohm balun) are 75 ohm, not 50 ohm. No idea if the impedance mismatch would be a problem...
oops, I always mix up 50 and 75 ohm. AFAIK, the car motorola stuff is 75 ohm too.

btw, meant to say, one of the best indoor FM antennas is the old fashion 'folded dipole', this is a "T" made of that flat wire, stretch it out horizontally as high as practical and perpendicular to the direction of the station transmitter. eg, if the station is east, then stretch the antenna out north-south. to use these with a car stereo, you would need that balun I linked above, and the motorola-to-F adapter, of course.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lynn Eberhardt View Post
"I have no problem getting WXXI in Oswego, NY (68 miles from Rochester) but that might have something to do with the 54' tower my FM antenna sits on... "

And a straight shot across the lake.
Well, Oswego is east of Rochester, not across the lake, but it is pretty flat between the two cities. I do pick up a couple of Canadian stations across the lake.

Before the switch to digital TV, I was sometimes able to get a decent signal from Buffalo. The tower went up because WCNY (the Syracuse PBS station) was behind a hill and cable had yet to be born.
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:59 PM   #11
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This is one of the best cheap solutions, an indoor twin lead dipole. Sometimes these come with some home type FM radios.

https://www.amazon.com/Fancasee-Indoor-Antenna-Connector-Receiver/dp/B07KS782SY

Or you can easily make one. FM signals are horizontally polarized, so you would attach the dipole horizontally. Since the trailer is fiberglass, it could be put into an overhead storage compartment. Also curved around so it isn't so directional. like this one: https://www.kopn.org/about/antenna/

If the radio doesn't have separate FM & AM inputs, you will need a splitter, then probably a Balun to match the dipole to the 75 ohm input. Most Baluns are a little box with 2 screws for the twin lead and a connector for 75 ohm TV/FM.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Friz View Post
This is one of the best cheap solutions, an indoor twin lead dipole. Sometimes these come with some home type FM radios.

https://www.amazon.com/Fancasee-Indoor-Antenna-Connector-Receiver/dp/B07KS782SY

Or you can easily make one. FM signals are horizontally polarized, so you would attach the dipole horizontally. Since the trailer is fiberglass, it could be put into an overhead storage compartment. Also curved around so it isn't so directional. like this one: https://www.kopn.org/about/antenna/
actually, broadcast FM is generally circularly polarized, so it works with either vertical (car whips, etc) or horizontal antennas (most dipoles). And yeah, the FM frequencies should go right through a Casita/Scamp kinda trailer, however if the trailer has reflectix insulation like a double insulated Escape, the foil layers of that will attenuate the signal a fair bit. you also could put one of these outside, maybe using a support T made of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC pipe, and plug the balun onto the cable connector on your trailer, and run a F type CATV patch cord from the inside cable connection to the F to Motorola radio adapter.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
... the FM frequencies should go right through a Casita/Scamp kinda trailer, however if the trailer has reflectix insulation ... the foil layers of that will attenuate the signal a fair bit. ...
But Scamp DOES have "reflectix insulation" and it DOES block the RF a lot. I have a lot of trouble receiving broadcast FM, VHF WX and most anything including cell signals inside the Scamp.. any external antenna is better.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:22 PM   #14
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My FM antenna for my home Onkyo AV unit is a simple piece of solid wire about four feet long. No plug on it. You just jam one end into a hole in the back of the unit and the rest ends up somewhere behind the entertainment centre.

No Reflectix in my walls though.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:23 PM   #15
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ah, i thought scamps had 'rat fur' glued directly to the FG shell.

does your scamp have a cable TV port ? take one of those flat wire folded dipoles, and some PVC pipe just big enough to fit the flat wire ends inside, a PVC T aand a pair of PVC caps... thread the flat wire through the T, and thread lenghts of the pipe over each horizontal leg, and the vertical feed line. use more PVC pipe as a stand to support this assembly as high as it needs to be, with another T as a joiner and the antenna leads coming out that T... attach the antenna connections to a balun like one of these, and plug it directly into the coax port on the side of the trailer, . don't glue the PVC joints, and you can unplug them and fold it up for travel...

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Old 09-19-2020, 08:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
My FM antenna for my home Onkyo AV unit is a simple piece of solid wire about four feet long. No plug on it. You just jam one end into a hole in the back of the unit and the rest ends up somewhere behind the entertainment centre.

No Reflectix in my walls though.
a simple single short wire antenna like that is effectively 75 ohms, and works OK in a strong signal area, not so great for fringe signals.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
ah, i thought scamps had 'rat fur' glued directly to the FG shell.

does your scamp have a cable TV port ? ...
Scamp is Rat fur on foil on the shell. Basically a faraday cage covered with fabric.

Yes, I have a "cable TV port" but only because I added it myself. I use it with a bow tie TV antenna and that antenna also works OK as a FM broadcast antenna. I also recently added a Larson glass mount 2 meter (ham radio) antenna on the rear window.. that is for 145 MHz. It also works as a FM broadcast reception antenna. Anything outside the foil shell is better than anything inside the bubble.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:18 AM   #18
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NPR stations ?

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Originally Posted by Bill Lindenfelser View Post
Folks,
The 1m-long wire I connected to the antenna jack on the after-market car stereo I installed in the Trillium is pitiful. Though the radio in the Outback picks up all kinds of stations, the Trillium is in its dead zone. Works fine when we are at home, where I can see the broadcast tower on top of Pinnacle Hill, but it's hard to get NPR while out in the boonies, though the Outback does just fine. I think I'm in the market for a reasonable antenna. The whip antennas are unimpressive in other close-by RVs I've sampled. Any suggestions for something better out there?
Thanks,
Bill

)--------------------------(o)-------------------------------------(


Bill, Jon,John and friends, I'm glad you mentioned NPR, so much good listening on NPR. (Support it ! ) A funny story : coming back from Speed Week at Bonneville this year I took Hwy 6, south of Hwy 50, America's "Loneliest Hwy. Few towns, all small, but GOOD radio reception....for NPR only ! At a lonely roadside rest I talked to a very old homeless man pulling his overloaded bike trailer with a bicycle...pushing the bike as it was too heavy to ride. He was living for a while at the tiny rest area, with water, restrooms and shade...and I think travelers and Rv folks offering him food. His prize possession was a tiny Transistor Radio on which he listened to NPR all day, probably with batteries provided by people who stopped there. He said he could get it anywhere as he made his migration N. or S. I had been listening to NPR for miles. . . hundreds of miles across the desert. He said he could get NPR anywhere , Nevada provides lots of towers, as I listened to it for more miles, crossing into Calif south of Mono Lake .I was heading home so I left the 'bike man ' with supplies, as I hope others do too ! Happy Trails ! David in Fresno and Sonora.
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Old Yesterday, 11:18 PM   #19
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Not seeing anything saying if you have tried using a 12v antenna signal booster. They use them in cars all the time to improve the reception. You could wire it into the radio circuit so that it turns off and on with the radio.


That would be your best bet to improve the signal
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