That T antenna properly oriented isn't all that bad. To improve on it you would need to mount a good omni or a directional antenna on you roof or in you attic. This was just recently discussed at length in this forum and in audio asylum. I suggest you do a search.
Go to CCrane.com. Look at the FM Reflect. It should do what you want.
Two facts. When I worked in retail audio we sold Terk antennas. Because our store offered an unconditional return option, approximately half of the Terks came back.
I also contacted C.Crane but I bought the Fanfare whip antenna and mounted it on the peak of my roof. Reception strength doubled. Try it,
Try www.fmtunerinfo.com the difinitive source for all things radio.
You can get excellent medium range reception from two modestly priced indoor antennas: the Magnum Dynalab ST-2 and the Fanfare FM-2G. They also will provide pretty good TV reception. Not a bad option if, like me, you mainly watch videotapes/DVDs and think cable contracts are ridiculous rip-offs. Both have the same "whip" design and retail for around $95. If you're patient, you'll find one on Audiogon.
I have a Magnum Dynalab MD-100 tuner. The Magnum Dynalab ST-2 and Fanfare FM2G are very similar. I tried the ST-2 indoors and outdoors (but not at a high elevation) and it was surprising ineffective. I stayed with my Magnum Dynalab Silver Ribbon, which is directional and brought in a stronger signal. I was very surprised at this result. I did not try the ST-2 on a high roof mount, where it should be more effective. So, if you are really committed to staying indoors, consider the Silver Ribbon. Its only $30.
Its remarkable how much ridiculous misinformation is out there. The Magnum and Fanfare whip antennas are junk, and cannot have gain over a simple dipole. They're little more than overpriced wire rods. Real antennas take space, and there is no way around it.
Go to RadioShack, and spend $20 on their 6 element outdoor FM antenna, along with $50 for a rotator and accessories and mount it on your roof if you want decent reception, or mount it in your attic pointed in the direction where the majority of the stations are which you want to pick up. As a backup, keep the dipole and use an A/B switchbox if you desire a station where the real antenna doesn't point.
Beyond that, the simple "T" shaped dipole is not going to be improved upon by either of the two garbage antennas that the scam tuner companies are foisting off on unsuspecting consumers. If you don't mind the ugliness, get a really big antenna like the models from APS or alternately the TACO QFM-9 or Winegard HD-6065. The best FM upgrade I ever made was putting a real antenna up.
Ryanmhl is right on the mark. I have found identical results with a whip antenna and with the $15 Radio Shack omnidirectional antenna mounted in an attic - why pay more for a whip. A tuner with dual antenna inputs is the way to go; try using both a directional and nondirectional unit in the attic or on the roof. It may take a weekend of work, but there is no substitute for setting up a real antenna. If you think whip antennas to be useful indoors, try parking you car in the garage and checking the reception.
Please forgive what is surely a naive question: Why can I get decent FM reception with my $30 boombox or with my cheap car stereo, but nothing with a $400 (or more) FM tuner unless I spend even more money on a stinkin' antenna?
Can someone explain this to me? Thanks!
I also have an FM antenna in my attic. All stations are north, so I don't need a rotor.
The answer to your question is that a boombox and car radio both have a "whip" style antenna.
IMO a whip style antenna works very well. Better than a dipole.
Fact is, by replacing my MD Silver Ribbon (indoors) with a Fanfare whip on the peak of my roof (outdoors, I increased the signal strength reading on my Accuphase T-101 tuner from 2 to 5 (pegged the meter).
There is nothing theoretical about this. It really happened.
Now, that said, I must also tell you that I listen exclusively to a 16 watt community radio station whose broadcast antenna is visible from my whip at a distance of about 5 miles.
This is a great little station by the way. You can check it out at www.kafmradio.org on the web. It's wildly eclectic so if it isn't your thing when you tune in, try again later.
I'm in the Mountain time zone in the USA.
Now, thanks to the internet, that 16 watts can be heard around the world. Isn't that incredible?
Actually, that isn't really true. A whip antenna is not better than a dipole in absolute terms. How you use and install the antenna might possibly make it better. I have a few tuner manuals that even do a decent job of illustrating it.
A dipole antenna has a figure 8 pattern in which it will pickup stations. Basically, there are two nulls off the ends of the dipole where it will not receive an FM station. This is actually a good thing, but does mean that you have to pay careful attention to the installation of even a simple dipole. The rejection of unwanted signals to the sides, even if small, could still be very beneficial. I have tried whips and dipoles in the same location, and the dipole will pull in more stations if you rotate it.
A whip antenna is not directional, meaning it will pick up all stations equally well in all directions. This can be good and bad. What is most beneficial is that a whip can be installed fairly unobtrusively in a high up location outside the house, which will, or course, always yield benefits. That is why Macrojack saw a gain increase when he put his antenna outside. I don't know if that antenna is amplified, but that would obviously do something as well. Antenna amplification obviously is not going to give you a cleaner signal, though.
A whip or a dipole or what have you cannot have gain, technically speaking. With my directional antenna I receive stations 50 miles to the south very cleanly. With whips and dipoles, mounted in the same location, I don't.
I'm in the Grand Valley of western Colorado. We have a dozen or so stations in the valley and high mountains preventing reception of anything farther away than 20 miles. Terrain in the valley is very flat. Perhaps my circumstances are too unusual to serve as an example.
Thanks (I think!)!
It won't be long now and someone is going to claim that there is a difference in the sound of different antennas, besides noise, of course.
inp that may be stretching things just a bit, but the quality of your downlead coax cable will in fact influence the Q of your received signal. Quad shielded RG-6 coax (available from Radio Shack) is typically the preferred approach.
Antenna Performance in East Hartford CT has a great FM antenna. I went to Radio Shack first, which was certainly good, and the rotor is a good idea. But you need to go to the attic or outdoor route, roof or tall pole.
I have created an antenna that works rather well. I purchased an inexpensive automotive fm antenna and modified the end by soldering in a R59 cable connector that just screws into my receiver. Works rather well. Better than the "T" wire and much more attractive. I have mine positioned on the side of my TV and it's hardly noticeable.
Give it a try. Materials cost under $10.
Does anyone have any advise on a good FM Antenna for North San Diego County? Specifically Carlsbad. I would like to pick up LA FM stations. Will the Magnum Dynalab ST2 do it? Thanks!
101charley, you might visit www.titantv.com or www.antennaweb.org. Their interactive antenna selection guides let you find a good antenna for any street address in the USA, and even for different mounting locations at that address. Since the entire FM radio band resides between TV channels 5 & 6, any VHF television antenna will perform equally well for FM radio.