Can an FM Tuner be "hot-rodded" long distance???

I was advised by a 'GON member that some tuners can be modified to improve long distance performance. I have a Mac 1700 Receiver, and Fanfare SC-1 indoor antenna which has helped, but I can't mount the whip antenna on the roof or a pole on the roof because I am in an apartment complex. The stations I would like to receive are in Los Angelus county which is approx 130 miles away... With my current set-up, I can get one station,but it is weak and noisy. All advice appreciated!!!
Go to the tuner info website( and write a couple of the DX ers there, they will be able to guide from experience. A very good group.
While all circuits can be fine tuned and tweaked for maximum performance, tuners usually excel at one thing or the other. Those two things are sensitivity ( good long distance ears ) or selectivity ( ability to seperate stations interfering stations ). As such, it is easier to add selectivity to a tuner via additional filtering than it is to make the circuit more sensitive. Achieving both great selectivity and great sensitivity in a tuner is a balancing act of great proportion.

I would look for a tuner that has both great sensitivity and a good "blending" circuit. What this does is achieve the quietest signal possible ( which is actually mono ) and keep a good portion of channel separation that we get in stereo. This will give you the most listenable signal possible under your specific conditions. Tuners using a circuit designed by Larry Shotz ( spelling ??? ) come to mind.

As to antennas, my findings are that the Fanfare and Magnum vertical whips are far from optimum performers when mounted inside of a building. I had FAR better luck with a large wire dipole during some testing that i did. Since you are trying to pick up stations from one specific area or direction, you should be able to orient the dipole for best reception and see what you can catch.

My suggestion is to mount it up as high on the wall as possible and keep it away from metal. You will have to anchor one of the legs on the "T" and then move the other end around until the stations start locking in. Once you've found the point of strongest reception, anchor the antenna in that position as best possible.

This might not give you all of the stations that you're looking for, but it may be the best that you can do without spending major money on both a tuner and a very large ( and ugly ) indoor antenna.

One other suggestion is to try hooking up to an outdoor TV antenna that the apartment may already have mounted. Since cable and satellite have become so common-place now, this may not be an option though. Sean
There are a couple of things you can do. Probably the simplest thing you can do is to get an RF amplifier which you can hookup between your antenna and your tuner. These can be had from Radio shack and the like, and may help. Next step would be to add a directional antenna, probably a so called Yagi antenna would help you most.

If the staion is powerful, and there is no stations inbetween you and the transmitter, and no stations near your house on the same or similar frequency, and also if the geography is helping you out a but, you may be able to pull in a radio station from 130 miles away.

Just out of curiosity, which station are you looking for?

FM radio frequencies travel pretty much in a straight line. So, except in extremely unusual weather conditions, the limit for reception is the horizon. This is usually much less than 130 miles unless you have an extremely tall antenna or live on top of a mountain. I believe the usual number given for clear FM reception is about 50 miles but it could be little more or less. I think your ability to recieve these stations will be limited to the internet. It doesn't matter how sensitive you make your receiver if there is nothing to receive.
Herman made a very precise and short explaination. Horizon for FM signal is the bottom line.
Alot of the DXers use Carver tuners, I believe.
I agree with all of the above.

As to Herman's comments, with enough signal boosting ( either through antenna gain, amplifier gain or both ), you might be surprised as to how signals that "aren't there" can be "put there" : ) The use of an amplified pre-selector like the Magnum Dynalabs FM Signal Sleuth might come in handy in a situation like this. Not only does it amplify the signal, which is equivalent to an apparent increase in sensitivity, it can also be tuned to reduce interferring signals, helping out with selectivity.

130 miles IS a looooong way though, especially with an indoor antenna.

As to Ezmerelda's comment about the Carver tuner, it is one of a handful that make use of the Shotz circuitry that i was talking about. A few others that come to mind are a couple of NAD's, a Proton, etc... I'm sure that there are a few more, but they escape me right now.

By the way, the comments "supporting" the NAD's great sensitivity and others regarding the variables with the Citation 23's, Pioneer TX 9500's "transistor sound" and possibly a few others on the geocities / tuner info site that John mentioned are mine.

One tip for some of you in similar situations but with outdoor directional antennas ( log periodics, yagi's, etc... ). If your antenna is mounted lower than the transmitting antenna due to local terrain or them being WAY up high on top of a building, mount your antenna so that it has a SLIGHT tilt upward. This changes the capture angle slightly and will work better for stations out into the distance. The same can be said for those that are up above the transmitting signal i.e. people living at the top of a hill and trying to pull in a station that is down in the valley. Tilting the antenna slightly downward can help sometimes.

Like anything else though, you might have to play with how much of a tilt you are using and actually need. Since this can vary from station to station due to the transmitting antenna location and distance, you may have to concentrate on getting in your favorite station and settling for whatever else you can pull in.

One other comment / suggestion: XM radio was designed with people like you in mind : ) Sean