It may be frustrating if you couldn’t listen to your favorite FM radio program because of poor signals. However, with an FM antenna booster, you can increase the reception power of your antenna.
Amplifying your signal may also be necessary if you wish to listen to FM stations that are far away from you.
Luckily, basic FM antenna boosters are not expensive, but you don’t even need to buy one. You can cut down the cost by doing it yourself.
Homemade FM antenna boosters are as effective as readymade ones. But first, what are antenna boosters, and how do you use them?
What is FM Antenna Booster?
In simple terms, an FM antenna booster is a device used to increase the signal reception of an FM antenna.
With it, your FM radio receiver can successfully utilize weak radio signals as if they are strong. In other words, an FM antenna booster increases the reception power of your FM antenna.
In most cases, the farther away you are from a broadcasting station, the weaker the signal you get.
Therefore, if you are far from the radio station, the signal getting to your antenna may not be strong enough to produce audible sound.
To overcome this, an FM antenna booster will increase the signal so that the antenna can successfully pick it.
Because antenna boosters amplify radio signals, they are also called antenna amplifiers.
Unfortunately, an antenna booster amplifies all signals coming to the antenna, including noises and unwanted signals.
It even amplifies the sound produced by its own mechanism if it is generating sounds.
To reduce unwanted signals, a good FM antenna booster must be designed to eliminate unwanted signals.
The ability to do this successfully, together with the capability to pick up signals from a long distance, are the major features that distinguish a good booster from a not-so-good one.
How Does an FM Antenna Booster Work?
An FM antenna booster allows you to listen clearly to a broadcast from an FM station far away from you. It also helps to improve signal if you live in an area where signal strength is weak.
Generally, each FM station broadcasts on a specific frequency. This generates sound waves that transmit the audio signal of the broadcast.
Your FM antenna picks up the signal and sends it to the speaker to make it audible to you. The tuner increases the signal in the process.
However, if the signals received by the antenna are too weak, it may not be able to produce audible sound.
A weak signal may be due to the distance between you and the broadcasting station.
It may also be due to physical obstruction like mountains between the broadcasting station and your home.
Other factors that can cause weak signals include a problem with your antenna and the presence of another broadcasting station that may be more powerful and interfere with the incoming signals. Here a booster will play its role.
A booster will pick up the signal multiplies it significantly before transmitting it to the antenna.
By the time it gets to the antenna, it would have increased to the extent that it can produce a clear broadcast.
The booster does this in different ways as there are different types of FM antenna boasters using different working principles.
In its simplest form, a booster consists of external wires attached to the wires of the antenna. Hence it increases reception by increasing the length of the antenna.
It can also consist of a special amplifier that amplifies the signal before sending it to the antenna.
How To Build Homemade FM Antenna Booster
Obviously, FM antenna boosters are not highly expensive, but at the same time, they are not difficult to do. You can do it yourself and safe.
You don’t have to be an expert before constructing a homemade FM antenna booster. You also don’t need special tools.
With everyday items and a few electronic components, you can create a homemade FM antenna booster. Below are the few tools you will need.
- Wire stripper
- Measuring tape
- Electrical tape
- Wire cuter
- Utility knife
Step by Step Guide
- Step 1
With a wire cutter, cut a cable of 7.7 feet from a spool of electric wire.
- Step 2
At one end of the cord, remove insulation up to ½ inch length from each of the two wires in the cord.
- Step 3
From the stripped end of the wire, measure 5.1 feet along the length of the cable and wrap the point with electric tape.
- Step 4
From the point you marked with the electric tape, use a utility knife to strip the insulation between the two wires in the cable down to the end of the cable (not the naked end, but the other end). That will be 2.6 feet.
Then pull apart the two wires in the 2.6 feet length such that the entire 7.7 feet form a T shape (2.6 feet bar, and 5.1 feet tall). Note that you don’t need to use a 7.7 inches wire compulsorily.
But whatever length you go for, the ratio of the straight part and the branched part must be 2:1.
- Step 5
With a screwdriver, loosen the two screws that have wires attached to the FM antenna and remove the wires.
- Step 6
Attach one of the naked ends of your cord to the end of one of the two wires around the screws that connect with the FM antenna.
Repeat the same for the second antenna wire and the other naked end of the cord.
- Step 7
Attach each of the set of wires (the original antenna wire and the cord you had joined with it), at the junction you joined them, back to each of the screws, and tighten the screws back.
- Step 8
Finally, tape the two ends of the cable on a wall.
We are done, and you have successfully attached an antenna booster to your FM antenna.
How Much the Reception Improves Using Homemade FM Antenna Booster?
The range of transmission of FM radio signal from the broadcasting station depends on the transmission power.
A very high frequency of transmission can reach up to 40 miles if there is no such obstruction.
However, transmission at a power of 25 Watt might not go beyond 20 miles if the sound is to be clearly heard.
Thankfully, with an antenna booster, you can significantly increase this range. A standard FM antenna booster can increase reception to cover up to a 50-mile radius.
Hence if the station is as far away as 50 miles distance, you can clearly hear its broadcast.
Cost of Market FM Antenna Booster
Like any other electrical device, the cost varies and depends on many factors.
Among the major factors influencing the cost of an FM antenna booster are the quality, the type, the range it can cover, and the brand.
The higher the quality, the higher the cost is expected to be. However, this is not always the case. The type of antenna booster will also determine its price.
The most common types consist majorly of wires that help increase the length of the wiring system of the antenna. This type is not expensive.
On average, a typical FM antenna booster will cost between $15 and $50.
Of course, you can get some for lesser prices, and some go way higher than the stated price range.
Below is a list of some recommended FM antenna booster that you can trust for good performance yet at low prices.
Some FM Antenna Booster Recommendation if You Don’t Like DIY ways
As stated earlier, there are many types of FM antenna boosters in the market today.
If you are not familiar with this device, it might not be easy to make the right choice.
Therefore we have decided to recommend some reliable FM antenna boosters that will not cost you a fortune.
Hence, if you want to buy an FM antenna booster, here are some products that you can consider buying.
Antop High Gain Indoor Radio Antenna Booster
This booster from the Antop Antenna will ensure your antenna picks up a clear signal from stations that are up to 50 miles.
Another advantage is that it can detect both FM and AM signals and increase reception, strength, and clarity.
Also, this antenna booster has a beautiful design that can add more decoration to your home.
So, it doesn’t look like a bunch of wire, but an additional feature in your sitting room.
Drogo Car Antenna Booster
This is a low-cost booster that will increase the FM radio reception in your vehicle significantly.
It is easy to install, works for both AM and FM stations, and suits all kinds of cars. This product has many good reviews on amazon.com.
Car FM Digital Radio Antenna Booster
This is another antenna booster that is worth our recommendation. This antenna booster is designed to boost the reception of a car radio.
It comes at a low price, significantly improves the signal reception of your car radio, and can work perfectly for digital and analog radios.
Keenso Antenna Amplifier and Signal Booster
This antenna booster is designed to improve the signal reception of your vehicle’s FM radio.
It has a filter to filter out the noise and ensure only radio signals are amplified. It is easy to install and allows signals from a long range.
FAQ’s How To Make FM Antenna Booster
Who needs an FM antenna booster?
Anybody who lives in a place where radio signal reception is poor will benefit from an FM antenna booster.
You will also need it if you want to listen to a broadcast from an FM station far from you.
What do I need to make a homemade FM antenna booster?
You can make a simple homemade FM antenna booster with an electric cable and electric tape.
The tools you will need include a screwdriver, a utility knife, a wire cutter, and a wire stripper.
Where can I get the best FM antenna booster?
The best place to get the best FM antenna booster is an online marketplace. There you will have the opportunity to compare different products and prices.
However, you must always buy from a reputable website. Popular websites like Amazon and eBay are reliable for online transactions.
What should I look for in an FM antenna booster?
The basic principle of an FM antenna booster is pretty simple. Hence there is no much to watch out for.
The basic things needed include the reception power of the booster.
Ensure the FM antenna booster you want to buy can receive signals from a long distance. The longer the coverage, the better.
You must also consider the ease of installation, the design as well as the price.
How does an FM antenna booster work?
An FM antenna booster increases the reception power of the FM antenna. They work using different mechanisms, but the basic step is to multiply or amplify the signal from the FM station before sending it to the antenna.
How Much Does an FM antenna booster cost?
The price of an FM antenna booster depends on many factors. Most important are the quality, the type, and the brand.
However, most of the common indoor FM antenna boosters cost between $20 and $50. But there are some that cost less, and some that cost way more.
How far can an FM antenna booster cover?
The coverage of an FM antenna booster depends on the quality and its mechanism.
However, most of the FM antenna booster in the market today will ensure you get a clear signal from a broadcasting station locate d at any distance up to 50 km radius from you.
Fm antenna boosters help increase the reception power of an FM antenna. There are many FM antenna boosters in the market, and they are inexpensive.
You can buy readymade from popular online marketplaces like Amazon. However, you can also do it yourself.
A simple homemade FM antenna booster consists of a T shape wire that is added to the wire connected to the radio’s antenna.
By increasing the length of the wire, the reception power of the antenna will also increase.
- Micropower Broadcasting: A Technical Primer (How to Start a Micro-Radio Station)
- Top 11 Best Marine TV Antenna Reviews in 2023 | Ensures High Performance + Buying Guide
- Top 15 Best Long Range Omnidirectional TV Antenna in 2023 (Reviews & Buying Guide)
- Top 7 Best 160 Meter Antenna 2023 (Reviews & Buying Guide)
- How To Improve FM Signal on Radio with A Single Wire Antenna