Narrowboat and radio reception

popsbear

Standard Member
Have tried to set up a car radio on my narrowboat but fm reception is non existent where I am based, but good elsewhere, medium wave is listenable. The area is in a poor reception area in Wales.

Equipment is a Sony cdx-gt410u car radio with fm/mw/lw, usb and cd, speakers are Sony xs-f1031, and the aerial is a cheap radio aerial about 12 inches long not in contact with the steel body of the boat.

Unlike a car the body of the boat (steel) is not used as the return to the battery as this causes corrosion issues, so everything is wired directly to both terminals of the battery.

Can anyone advise a better solution to my problem please.
 

N.Dean

Active Member
In my experience, Sony radios are not particularly sensitive. Philips radios are usually good at getting weak signals.
For the FM broadcast band, your aerial should be about 75cm long ( quarter wave of 3m ( 100MHz )).
 

popsbear

Standard Member
Thanks for the info on length, does the aerial need to be grounded, boat is probably a good earth but is not used as the return to the battery like a car.
 

pws

Well-known Member
N.dean is right for a car but as you dont use the boat as the earth you'll need to use a di-pole.
Same length of 75cm from the centre of the antenna cable and attach the same thength to the braid. This can be home made or you can buy something commercial for a tenner.

Or...get an amplifoied bee sting antenna and add 75cm of wire to the part that connects to the boat.

The dipole will help a little but if your in a bad location then it will not really improve your reception.

Where are you located?
A beam for about £30 pointed at your transmtter may help.

Loads of stuff on ebay...search for fm antenna.......but your loaction may be so bad thet you may not resolve it sorry.

Cheers

Paul
 

popsbear

Standard Member
Thanks a lot, much sense in what you say, my location is on the Monmouth and Brecon canal NP8 1HS, think there is a hill between the transmitter, Abergavennny I believe, and me. Have heard of a di-pole but cannot find a supplier. Have a vertical aerial mast supporting my satellite dish which sticks up about 4 feet at most above the deck if this could be used as a mount for an aerial, currently the short one I have is on the roof but because of low bridges cannot be too long or not flexible.
 

pws

Well-known Member
just did a postcode check for freeview....they tend to use the same transmitter sites for FM.

The good news is you "should" be able to get freeview so maybe FM is possible too.

You can make a dipole with wire and wood. two 75cm lengths of wire and wood...connect the inner of your cable from the sony to one part of the dipole...put it as high as you can.....make it vertical.....connect the braid of the cable from the sony to the other part and let it hanng....simples :)

Google how to make a dipole...they are all the same apart from the size which is dictated by the frequency you want :)
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
Of course if you get Freeview TV you can get quite a choice of radio stations that way.

The BBC had an FM aerial design - reproduced here BBC FM Radio Aerial project

Alternatively, you could use a standard telescopic car aerial (whatever happened to the long fibreglass whip aerials that cars had in the 60s/70s?), mounted on a 'ground plane' of aluminium or steel sheet a metre by a metre (or thereabouts) but keep that sheet isolated from the boat metalwork via blocks of plastic (or varnished wood)?
 

N.Dean

Active Member
"there is a hill between the transmitter, Abergavennny I believe, and me"

If that is the case, the nearest transmitter might not be the best one to use. Another transmitter, with fewer obstructions between you and it, might be better.
 

popsbear

Standard Member
Have ordered a bi-pole off maplin together with cable etc, will post results in a fortnight as off fishing next week. Thanks again for your advice.
 

popsbear

Standard Member
Bipole aerial installed and working quite well in a vertical config, even better horizontal but installing on a boat horizontal is difficult. The vertical config is easiest to install but needs to be removed to get under bridges, is it possible to change the aluminium elements to something flexible. Any suggestions please.
 

JayNL

Novice Member
Having the same problem right now, I am thinking of a simple wire antenna, how did you fix this problem?
 

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