How to Improve Your HD Radio Reception

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HD Radio has revolutionized the look, sound and choices of radio.
HD Radio has revolutionized the look, sound and choices of radio.

HD Radio delivers clearer audio, more programming options, and FM-quality sound for AM stations. The technology allows a single broadcaster to offer multiple formats, such as music and sports, by using up to three channels. HD Radio does not require a monthly subscription. However, as Northwest Public Radio’s website puts it, an HD signal is “either perfect or not there at all.” Poor reception deprives a listener of the blessings of HD radio. Improve HD radio reception by selecting the proper antenna and location for the radio.

Things You'll Need

  • External antenna
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Instructions

    • 1

      Obtain an external antenna. Choose an attic or rooftop antenna. Less elaborate and pricey options include rabbit ears or a "T"-shaped dipole antenna. Some broadcasters, like Wisconsin Public Radio, will send out dipole antennas to listeners. Find an external loop antenna for AM stations.

    • 2

      Connect the antenna to the external antenna input connector on the back of the radio. Attach an “F-connector” if the antenna does not already have one. Mount external outdoor antennas as high as possible. Extend the top wires of a dipole antenna horizontally; extend the wire leading to the radio connection vertically to form a “T” shape. Extend rabbit ears completely.

    • 3
      Steel buildings make digital radio reception very challenging.
      Steel buildings make digital radio reception very challenging.

      Place the radio and antenna as high and as near a window or open space as possible. Reception in wood-frame is better than in metal-frame buildings. Point the radio or antenna in the direction of the station’s transmitter or tower, not its studio or office. Go to the station’s website or call the station to find the location of the transmitter. For AM stations in particular, rotate the radio until you obtain the desired signal.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can still listen to the main channel even if you cannot receive the digital channels, since the primary channel carries an analog channel.

  • HD radio channels display data like the station’s call letters, frequency, and the name of the artist, program and song playing.

  • Visit HD Digital Radio’s website for a list of HD stations in your area.

  • Install proper lightning protection devices for attic, rooftop and other outdoor antennas.

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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit old radio image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com steel and glass image by StephenD from Fotolia.com

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