AM Antenna Information

How does an AM Radio receive reception on the AM band? All AM radios require an antenna whether it is internal or external, and in some cases both. Internal AM antennas are located inside most radios and consist of a bar or stick referred to as a ferrite. The ferrite bar  has wire coiled around it on each side to receive Medium and Long wavebands. It is then wired to the inside of your radio for selectivity. The radio waves (if nothing interfering) come in contact to the ferrite antenna. There is more to it then that but you get the basic idea. When you position the radio in different directions you may notice a change in reception. The ferrite antenna is directional for receiving the radio waves coming into it.  

In some cases the position of the radio or the type of building or house you are in may limit the reception. What to do if that is the case? What antenna do you need to improve your reception? Depending on where you live, what building you are in and how far the radio station is, searching for a good AM antenna can be difficult.

Taking the time to try different locations with your radio to find the best location to get the best reception will help. Experimentation is the best way to see how it works for you. Some portable radios have an external antenna terminal for AM. If your reception is better outside, try this quick and easy antenna: Use 50' of insulated wire attached to the AM antenna terminal. (Caution: you may need a ground wire attached to a grounding rod outside, depending on soil conditions, may need metal rod driven into the ground 3 to 8 feet, if you are in areas with lightning). Run the antenna wire inside around a window or along a baseboard, or if possible, the wire should be mounted outside at least three feet away from the face of the building or it may not work. Or try Bob's Cheep AM antenna Bob's Cheep AM Antenna (require Adobe Reader to view).

Is that where you want the radio? If not, then I would recommend the Twin Coil Ferrite Antenna (sold by C. Crane) which is the best AM antenna on the market. This will let you keep your radio next to your bed or in an area that the radio waves can't quite get to. (Review by RadioIntel.com )

If you only need a little boost with reception where your radio is placed, you may want to try the Terk Am Antenna  (sold by C. Crane) or a Select-A-Tenna (sold from various websites).

Did you know?

Daytime reception is limited to about 300 miles maximum on a 50,000 watt station because you can only receive the signal directly from the transmitter site. You may receive AM stations thousands of miles away at dawn, dusk and at night, depending on the time of year and atmospheric conditions. The ionosphere is a layer of ions above the earth. At night the ionosphere slows and thickens into a giant mirror and can reflect radio waves back to the earth, allowing you to receive signals much farther away than during the day.

More knowledge

A Phase Lock Loop (PLL) is a circuit that locks onto the frequency selected and keeps the signal from jumping to other frequencies.