FM tuner use in SF Bay area

Hi all,

I was looking for guidance about purchasng a tuner to listen primarily to classical station 102.1 KDFC broadcasting from San Francisco.

Do any Bay Area Audiogon members have opinions or experience with FM tuners in this area? I am especially interested in tuner and antenna recommendations that supply outstanding performance.


I live in Santa Clara and I have my tuner connected to a rooftop antenna and it does not come in clearly. The only time I hear it clearly is in my car.
I'm in Saratoga and can't get that channel at home despite using an outside antenna. In fact, I just barely get KQED. Hopefully you live closer or have fewer hills in the way.
Hi. The Bay area is atypical environment for FM reception. The type of antenna that benefits you is dependent upon the conditions in the immediate area where you live. Due to the hilly terrain, the antenna that works for your cousin in Alameda may be unfit for use in Berkeley.

Per your mention of classical music, you may be interested in listening to 90.9 which is a public radio station broadcasting from Sacramento. Some parts of San Fran, North Bay, and some areas of East Bay can receive this station. Unlike 102.1 there are no commercials, the music played is more diverse and they do not focus on playing snippets of works, the announcers are more professional and listenable, and last but not least, the fidelity surpasses 102.1 by leaps and bounds. Although you may not be an opera fan, they have a fabulous opera show on Friday nights that even non-opera lovers typically enjoy. This is lead by Sean Bianco who is an amazing listen.

Good luck.
I am also a big fan of KDFC 102.1, so big of a fan that I just got an old tuner that I had laying around (Kenwood KT 8300 upgraded by Joseph Chow via Audio Horizon) just to listen to 102.1. The only antenna I use is a cheap Y wired indoor anntena. This antenna does not allow me to pull other stations in clearly but KDFC comes in crystal clear. The Kenwood KT 8300 does need to be mentioned as it is a very signal sensitive unit.

I live in the Richmond district in San Francisco surrounded by overhead power and bus lines. Anyway, KDFC should not be a problem but 91.1 the Jazz station is one that you will need an outdoor antenna.

BTW, hope you are not missing out on "Music around the World" on KDFC this week. They are playing music from a different country every hour.
I live in a very rural area north of LA & have alwsays had problems with FM reception. I purchased a Magnum Dynalab ST-2FM antenna after trying several others & I must say it works awsome. The key was not to just put it on the roof somewhere. I actually got outside on the cell phone with my wife near the tuner on her phone. I moved all around the roof area until she gave me the "best signal" sign. The placement was very critical. Believe it or not, the best spot was on the side of the house & not on the peak. Had I not tested the reception this way I would have had little or no increace in reception. Good luck with yours.
I live in Walnut Creek and also listen to KDFC 102.1. I own the Magnum Dynalab MD-102T FM Tuner and am using the Fanfare FM-G2 inside 54" whip antenna ( My reception is excellent for this station but not all stations are okay. An outside antenna is always the best but sometimes an antenna in your attic will work okay. My space does not allow using my attic or outdside. I suggest you experiement with your tuner to determine how good your reception is.
KDFC 102.1 is an important station in my listening, and where I live in the west slope of Mt. Davidson, my problem is not sensitivity with the tuner but selectivity. Multipath is a big problem and sometimes because of where the surrounding clouds are, there is a lot of multipath distortion. The station signal is strong and you do not need an outdoor antenna. Typically, I use an indoor Radio Shack amplified antenna. An indoor dipole tuned and cut for the correct frequency will also work but it is directional and it will not accommodate you if you switch to DZFM, the 91.1 jazz station. The problem with this station is signal strength and not selectivity in my situation.

I have many installations in my home and tuners known for their sensitivity do not come out as the ideal tuner. These include the Sansui TU-717, the Kyocera T-910, and Carver TX-11. The Magnum Dynalab FT-11 works well inspite of not being that company's best unit. The Tivoli 2 radio works well and seems to handle the multipath in good fashion. The Tivoli Pal also makes a decent tuner. Old tube tuners cannot handle my situation. They sound good when atmospheric conditions are ideal; otherwise, they cannot handle the needs relating to sensitivity as well as multipath.

I think that if you live in a place unhampered by the hills and where you can have a line of site situation relative to the transmission of KDFC, you will not have a problem with most tuners. If, however, you live in a situation like mine, you have to solve the problems on a case to case basis.

Hope I have been of some help, and good luck.
If you have Comcast digital cable, they may have a KDFC feed. It's always been a challenge to get a good, clean signal for this station, though they recently switched over to digital broadcasting, perhaps that will help.

I am surprised at the positive comments about the station. It's a button on my car radio because there really aren't any classical alternatives, and I do like Dianne Nicolini, but I think their programming is lame. Lowest-common-denominator classical music with an occassional interesting departure. (Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit.) Great website, though.
if all fails, KDFC does stream online. quality sucks, but connection is as good as your DSL or Cable can provide.