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naputnam 14th January 2012 05:01 PM

Total ignoramus with one simple question!
Hi everyone! I am brand new to this forum. I know it is intended to be for things like swapping design ideas and getting feedback from fellow experts...I don't know if any of you ever get any clueless people requesting help, but that would be me. I am so sorry to bother you if that is not ok I think I have just one very simple question that I need an answer to!

I have just bought this stereo shelf system:
RCA RS27116I Digital Music Studio with iPod Dock at

I am happy with the sound quality and it plays my CDs beautifully, but it sure makes for a poor FM/AM radio. I got this to replace my old AIWA unit which was hooked up to a TERK Edge antenna (it shorted out in a power surge, unfortunately). The reception is incredibly scratchy, so I am unable to listen to my beloved NPR! (FM 89.1 Gainesville, FL)

This is the only radio station I listen to, but I sure would miss it if I couldn't hear it. I know I can probably hear it through my computer, but I'd rather not...

Here is my question:

How can I improve my FM reception on this unit? It comes with a simple piece of wire, it looks pretty much like the same wire that the speakers use. I have already extended the wire as far as it can go and pointed it north, taping it to the edge of the cabinet. This makes it work somewhat (it won't work well at all coiled up next to the stereo, of course) but it's very scratchy.

What can I attach to it to improve the reception? I am willing to buy anything, I just don't know what it is I would need to get. I have a mad scientist uncle who can probably whip me up something DIY if need be ;)

I honestly don't know anything about this stuff. I don't know how many Ohms it is. On the back of the stereo where the wire sticks out, it says simply "FM/AM ANTENNA" and nothing else. No other info on the instruction manual either. Hopefully it is a common enough setup that most of you on here will know what I am talking about!

Thank you soooo much in advance for your help...I would be ever so grateful if someone here could help me get my NPR back, I miss it terribly!


jan.didden 14th January 2012 05:25 PM


How does the antenna jack on the bacl kook?
Is it one of those cable-like jobs with a circular outside and a connection in the middle, or is it actually two connections disde by side, like with screw fittings?

jan didden

DF96 14th January 2012 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by naputnam
I don't know if any of you ever get any clueless people requesting help

Yes, no problem. That is what we are here for. Clueless people offering help also happens sometimes!

A better antenna will certainly help, but a fairly cheap all-in-one audio unit is unlikely to have a decent FM section. Do you know whether the station you want to listen to uses vertical or horizontal polarisation, or mixed? How high can you put the antenna - generally the higher the better for long distance FM reception.

Mooly 14th January 2012 06:37 PM

You might get much better sound (much less background noise) if there is an option to switch the radio to MONO rather than stereo as that works with far less aerial signal.

Indoor reception of FM is problematic, the answer is always a better aerial higher up if possible.

Does this thing have a socket for an external aerial ?

Wavebourn 14th January 2012 07:19 PM

Frequency of 90 MHz means 300/90 meters wavelength. No pont in a dipole of length more than 1/4 of wavelength.

You better buy another receiver. Search for Degen DE1103, it is like a powerful military grade communications receiver in a civilian case. 10 times cheaper than worth.

DF96 14th January 2012 07:30 PM

Dipole needs to be half wavelength, not quarter.

naputnam 14th January 2012 08:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I've attached a picture of the back of the unit to make it easier. In case you can't read everything, it goes as follows from left to right:

1. Headphone jack
2. Right speaker connection
3. Left speaker connection
4. Power source (connected to AC adapter)
5. AUX IN jack

And then, as you can see, the "FM ANT." is where the wire sticks out, and that's all it is...just a wire, which sticks out about 34 inches when fully straightened.

DF96, I will try to find out the answers to your questions about the station and reply back to this thread. I do not know off hand, unfortunately.

Mooly - there is no MONO option, unfortunately. There was on my old AIWA unit (rest in peace!) but the FM/AM antenna on this is just an afterthought, it looks like. It comes with an iPod dock so they are probably not expecting anyone to listen to the radio on it...that is so 20 years ago, right? ;)

DF96 14th January 2012 09:27 PM

It has no provision for a proper external antenna, but it may be possible to fit a suitable socket. Maybe a job for your uncle? The 34" wire is a quarter-wave monopole, so the antenna conection inside should be lowish impedance and unbalanced - OK for attaching coaxial cable.

Having said that, a decent FM tuner or radio with a proper antenna socket might be better than fiddling around with this item, as it clearly does not take FM seriously.

naputnam 14th January 2012 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by DF96 (
Having said that, a decent FM tuner or radio with a proper antenna socket might be better than fiddling around with this item, as it clearly does not take FM seriously.

Hah, you can say that again!

The price was right on this unit though - $60 with another 10% off with my employee discount. I mainly use it for playing CDs, and that's one thing it does beautifully. It's only one CD at a time, but that suits me fine. It looks great where it is compared to the old AIWA boombox (which I was still very sad to lose, feel bad I did not have it on a surge protector...hindsight's 20/20) so I don't mind too much if it can't work as a radio, too. I realized when I bought it that it was going to be form over function. That being said...

Do you (or does anyone) have any recommendations for a good radio? I would rather keep it under $100, I like the Tivolis an awful lot but they are pretty pricey. The cheaper the better (to a degree) and I don't mind if I need to use a whip antenna either. I would like something besides a weather radio, though, because it would be intended to be stationary on a shelf or table.

Wavebourn 14th January 2012 10:08 PM


Originally Posted by DF96 (
Dipole needs to be half wavelength, not quarter.

Yes, it if is a half wavelength dipole. That means, more than 5 feet length is useless for FM band.

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