Mobilehome as Radio Antenna

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Ken Scharabok, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    My singlewide has a built in radio/cassette with ceiling speakers in two rooms. Antenna is just a 2' length of small diameter coated wire coming out the unit in the wall. I can get better reception by putting the end of the wire near the ceiling. Can I perhaps drill a hole through the wall there, put in a bolt and then ground the antenna to the side of the mobilehome, which is metal?

    Ken Scharabok
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    If the metal skin is aluminum there is a chance of electollisis, static electricity causes corrosion to the aluminum. It would need to be looked at about every 3 months and kept clean, other than that I see nowhere else it would be a problem.

    Of course there may be a problem conserning radio waves and the magnetic fields around the wires ect. Some with more knowledge will be needed to answer that side of the quetion.
     

  3. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    No, never ground a radio antenna.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Then how can I improve reception on this thing?

    Ken Scharabok
     
  5. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Ken, is difficult to say just what would be best as there are so many things uncertain about your installation.

    Connecting the antenna to the metal skin might improve reception, in fact this might make a really good antenna if it was 'tuned', however that is probably outside the scope of what we can do on here.

    My suggestion is to get a few yards of thin, insulated wire from your local electronics or radio parts supplier. The gauge of the wire is not at all important but you do need a few yards of it. Attach one end of this wire to your short antenna then experiment. Maybe drape the wire from one end to the other of the room and pin or tape(ugh!) it to the ceiling. Lead the end out a window and tie to a handy tree, pole or whatever up as high as you can manage. This is a very unscientific way of going about it but without the sort of detailed information and measurements it is the best even an expert (which I am not) could do for you.

    What is best for FM is not the same as would be best for AM which basically only requires a lot (50' - 75') of wire in the air.

    Is it FM or AM you are interested in?
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I am trying to bring in an FM station. I can get good reception in truck on short antenna. Somewhere I have an extra car antenna. I could possibly mount it high on the side of the mobilehome so it was above roof and then bring in wire through side. This crate leaks air so badly now another hole isn't going to make much difference.
     
  7. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Okay Ken
    FM is a different story and there are a whole raft of special antenna types that would work for you and some are quite complex, rather like antenna for VHF TV bands. However there are a few easy types that might work for you.

    Quarter wave whip, this is close to what some cars have. Consisting of a coaxial cable with the braid grounded to the car body and a single whip. For VHF FM broadcast band the whip should be about 28.5" long. So you could get a car aerial and mount it on your mobile home and it might work but be aware that the FM receivers in cars are specially designed for that environment and seem to be quite sensitive compared to 'home' type FM receivers.

    You can make something similar to the quarter wave whip from a length of 'figure eight', 'tru rip' or whatever you call light two core flex as might be on a table lamp. Just take a length of a few yards and separate out 28 or so inches from the end. Cut off one leg. Connect the other end to the radio so that the longest one goes to the antenna connector and the shorter one to the ground of the radio. Hang this up in a clear space preferably outside.

    Another type that is even better than the quarter wave is a half wave dipole and is not much harder to make. Again connect your figure eight to the radio and separate out 28 inches or so from the other end. Spread these two legs apart so that you have a sort of 'T' shape about 56 inches wide. Support this outdoors if possible and clear of metal things. This type is directional and will be most effective if alligned so that the horizontal part of the 'T' is broadside to the direction where to where the signals are coming from, however various things may effect this so experiment a bit with direction. If you get good results with the half wave dipole you may be able to use it indoors by draping inside a window, not there tidy though I must admit. For outdoors you can suspend the dipole between poles, buildings trees etc or you can make a simple wooden 'T' shape to support the antenna.


    I hope this helps you.


    John

    P. S.
    There is more detailed information at
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Thank you. Will give the car antenna a shot. If it doesn't improve reception I'll just look around for an old boom box or something. I normally have the radio on as background noise and it is a bit irrating when it fades in and out.
     
  9. Abe R Crombie

    Abe R Crombie Well-Known Member

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    Ken,I don't know the science behind it but putting an antenna outside your trailer makes a big difference.Mine was with the tv,could only get one local channel,put a makeshift type of pole outside and wired my rabbit ears to it with coax,brought in all three channels I can get here.Don't know if your fm would work the same.Friend told me about using old tire rim on the roof wired to tv,said it worked great,can't say how he wired that?Hope this helps.
     
  10. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I went through the same think for a number of years. I had one good old radio that used to work in my mobile home that the ex wife took out of spite, I'm convinced. Ever since I've tried to find a radio that got clear reception. I've got a pile of them here of different types. Tried all kinds of antennas, including another car antenna, and nearly killed myself stretching a wire between trees. Talked a friend out of an yaggie antenna from the roof of his house and still had bad reception. Every time I wanted to listen to Prairie Home Companion I had to go out and sit in the truck in the driveway.

    I was under the impression I needed a "stronger radio", so I bought a bookshelf system with no better results and I couldn't figure out how to hook the single antennae lead to the two on the yaggie. I bought a used component receiver and while reception was somewhat better, was still unacceptable. I even bought shielded coax with gold connections and hooked it up.

    Completely frustrated, I went into Radio Shack, fully expecting to plop down several hundred dollars if necessary, for some sort of amplified display. There was a picture of the exact yaggie antenna I had and turns out, it covered everything but FM! I left with a 20 dollar FM yaggie and came home to try it out. Now I'm grinnin' ear to ear! Perfect reception and I can listen to Garrison Keillor once again.

    Wuz so pleased, I even bought a surround sound system off e-bay. That was another nightmare of wires.

    ::bare, who earned his technophile education a dollar at a time::
     
  11. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    best place for e antenna is outside, your trailers metal siding is creating a Fardaway cage, and is hard for signals to come in.
     
  12. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    "I left with a 20 dollar FM yaggie and came home to try it out. Now I'm grinnin' ear to ear! Perfect reception."

    More info please. What is a yaggie? Does it go inside or out? What would I look for on eBay for one?

    Ken Scharabok

    ---------------

    Is this the same thing? eBay #5760283040.
     
  13. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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    A yagi antenna looks like a older TV antenna with straight elements at right angles to the boom as opposed to a newer design log-periodic with elements that make a V shape. Its named after its inventors Yagi and Uda, and has been around for a long time. These are large (6' long boom 2' elements) outdoor antennas.

    Ebay listing was for an omni-directional antenna, looks like a turnstyle, and will receive from all directions, yagi needs to be pointed at the station. RS FM yagi is 15-2163. Omni ant doesn't receive as well as a directional one.

    An old tv antenna will work for FM....maybe find one from someone who went satellite.

    I read the description of your radio, does it have screw terminals to connect
    an external antenna or just a hunk of wire sticking out? You will need a way
    to connect the antenna to the radio. (Would be best if there's a F connector
    like on a TV)
     
  14. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    First, pardon my spelling. It's hard enough looking something up on the internet as it is without mis-spelling.

    I tried the old antenna thang, twice and managed to get antenna's that don't cover FM. Their reception range is not listed anywhere on them and the only way I discovered this was a poster at Radio Shack that had photo's of different antenna's. So from my experience, don't even waste your time with old antenna's head to your nearest antenna joint and get one specifically for FM reception. After all it was only 20 bucks and actually, I think it was on sale for 16.
     
  15. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I should have said VHF (ch2-13) TV antennas work for FM...UHFwouldn't work at all, and a specific channel ant wouldn't work too good unless it's a ch 6 ant.

    FM band is just above TV ch6, TV ch 6 sound is at 87.75 Mhz and FM band starts at 88 mhz. If you have an older FM receiver with continuous tuning you can listen to TV ch 6 audio at low end of the dial. Its hard to make an antenna that covers ch 2-6 and doesn't have response in the FM band. I've used TV antennas for FM reception many times.
     
  16. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I stopped by Radio Shack. They had a Yagi FM antenna for $30, without pole or wires. Said it could not be connected to my antenna wire coming out of the until but had to be plugged into the unit directly.

    Both clerks were 'employees'. Neigher seemed to know anything, in particular, about electronics. A customer in the store volunteered I should first try simply running speaker wire above the roof line and connecting the antenna lead out wire to both strands in the speaker wire. Said it might be a $4.00 solution to improve reception enough to be acceptable.

    Bought a 100' spool of speaker wire. Will wait until a bit warmer weather and give it a try.
     
  17. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I thought we tried to work this out before. Do you have just a single wire coming from your radio for an antenna? Or are there two screws or in my case, sorta little push in levers on springs that just trap two bare lead wires?

    Man, you'd think a joint like Radio Shack would have at least one electronics technician on hand to help electronic dunces like us! I kept running in to the same problem here.

    The little bookshelf system I'd purchased from them only had a single wire coming out of a hole in the back of the radio which begs the question, how the heck do you hook a single wire to two leads? I still don't know the answer to that one, so I bought a home theatre reciever off ebay that had the conventional two plugins. Since I'd already bought gold ended coaxial wire, I just striped it down to it's two different components on the radio side and plugged 'em in. The antenna end was pretty easy because I bought a 75 ohm thingamajigger that I screwed onto the coax and it had two leads that wingnutted down to the antenna.

    I feel for you lad, it was a pain in the rear for me, but the results were worth it once I figured it all out.
     
  18. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Come to think of it, if yours is built in, perhaps it's like a conventional car radio that already has coaxial wire coming out of the back of it and with the proper ends just plugs together. If that is the case, you can just cut off the connector and strip back the coax to find a thin copper center, surrounded by the braided ground. Just expose the copper enough to hook it to the antenna wire and twist the braided ground up and hook it to the other antenna wire. If you want to get fancy you can solder the connections and tape them up or just twist 'em and tape 'em up.
     
  19. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    This unit is mounted in a 2" x 4" wall. Likely isn't more than 2" or so deep. When I hooked up the roll of wire to the antenna inside the mobile home my reception increased by at least 1000%. No more heavy static or fade out. And that's with the roll still inside.

    Since mobilehome builders leave no corners uncut I am sure it is a very high quality unit - :).

    I'm now happy with it.

    Thanks for all of the above help.

    Ken Scharabok