FM 91-5 is a relatively low powered station and reception may be a
challenge... especially if you are located some distance from our transmitter in Newbury, OH. This article describes radio and antenna options you can try that may improve your reception. There are many antenna options ranging from simple indoor setups to sophisticated outdoor antennas that can be of great help. In addition, we have found
some low/medium priced radios that do a commendable job. As a last resort, if you have a computer, don't forget that you can listen to FM 91-5 on-line at WKHR.org.
A key to good reception is a good antenna. Most low priced radios have no "real" antenna (they use the power cord for this purpose) nor do they have provision for connecting one.
This situation is not satisfactory for reception of weak signals.
Some radios come equipped with a "whip" antenna. This represents a step up from the power cord antenna.
Better radios have an antenna connector to which you can attach a T-shaped wire (called a dipole and available at Radio Shack stores), or TV "Rabbit Ears" antenna or outdoor antenna. Thus, when shopping for a radio look for one that has provisions for connection of an external antenna.
Then follow through by connecting the best antenna that your circumstances permit.
Although an indoor antenna, such as a dipole or Rabbit Ears, may suffice, the best antenna is an OUTDOOR, DIRECTIONAL antenna. Put this antenna as high as possible and use the shortest, most direct run of a type of antenna cable that's compatible with your antenna and your radio.
A matching transformer (called a balun) may be required in some cases. The antenna should be aimed toward the FM 91-5 transmitter site in Newbury Township, Geauga County, OH near the intersection of state routes 306 and 87.
There are several manufacturers of good outdoor antennas. A couple that are worth looking at are the Winegard HD6000 and the Winegard HD6055P.
If you're unable to mount your antenna outdoors, you can often achieve good results by mounting it in your attic... assuming that the attic is not covered with aluminum siding.
Here's another option. Some of you may be able to benefit from connecting an unused, outdoor TV antenna to your FM radio. Many homes that have since switched over to cable TV still have an old TV antenna on their roofs. Most of these will work reasonably well as FM antennas.
Of course, you'll have to make sure the antenna is pointed toward the FM 91-5 transmitter site (see above).
If improving your antenna does not give satisfactory results, you may want to upgrade your radio. Aside from having provision for connection of an external antenna, we recommend that any radio you purchase has either a stereo/mono switch (i.e., the ability to switch to mono reception) or is a mono radio. Weak stereo signals are inherently noisy.
Although one of the nice things about FM 91-5 is the stereo presentation, it's better to hear a clean mono signal than a noisy stereo one.
What are some good, basic FM radios? Here are a few recommendations. First, there's the GE Model 72887 Superadio . It's essentially a big, portable, mono radio.
It has an antenna connection on the rear but it also has a built-in whip antenna that does a fairly good job by itself. The price is around $60.00. It's available by searching www.Amazon.com.
A very good, smaller portable radio is the Tecsun PL380 available on eBay for less than $50. The speaker is small and the sound quality is marginal, but acceptable.
If you're looking for something that looks a bit classier then check out the Sangean table-top radio, Model WR-11 available at J&R Music.
An excellent, but more expensive, choice is the Tivoli Model One radio. This is a small mono receiver with excellent tone quality for its size. It comes in an attractive wooden cabinet that's available in several colors.
It's available at Amazon.
The bottom line is this: for the best reception of a weak radio signal you need a radio with good sensitivity and good selectivity coupled to a good, directional, outdoor antenna. But an indoor antenna (e.g. "Rabbit Ears") is worth trying if your signal is useable but marginal.
And, a good mono radio will generally give better results than a stereo radio unless the stereo radio can be switched to mono.
And don't forget, no matter where you live, if you have a computer you can listen to FM 91-5 via our audio stream on the Internet.
We hope that some of this information will be helpful in your efforts to achieve better reception of FM 91-5!
WKHR Engineering Staff