The Home Of Good Music – 105.9 SEASIDE-FM is available on Eastlink Digital TV, Channel 952. (HRM only), Bell Fibe TV, throughout Atlantic Canada on Channel 799, the Tune-In App and around the world on seasidefm.com.
Radio Reception Problem
Every radio and TV station has areas of less-than-perfect reception. Most of these areas are not a result of a technical deficiency at the station; rather, local topography, including hills, buildings, trees, etc., is usually the culprit. A special case for listeners to SEASIDE-FM is that we tend to adjust the transmitted audio for a more “natural” sound, as opposed to more “aggressive” rock stations which adjust their sound to be as loud as possible at all times. The natural sound of SEASIDE-FM’s music and community programming tends to reveal every little reception flaw, while the audio of loud stations masks many ills.
SEASIDE-FM operates with a power output of 2,500 watts, as regulated by Industry Canada- Spectrum Management For just on the outside of our broadcast reach, optimizing your reception therefore becomes paramount when listening to our music and programming. These tips are designed to help you identify the cause of reception problems, choose solutions, and, finally, consistently enjoy great Easy Listening Programming!
Another tuning tip which may help you, is to turn off the “AFC” control on your radio (if there is one marked on the front panel) when you initially tune in CFEP-FM. The “AFC” stands for Automatic Frequency Control, and is a feature that causes a radio to “lock onto” a station and hold it on frequency. Sometimes these AFC circuits are tricked by adjacent strong stations, and may not allow you to hear the low power SEASIDE-FM signal. After tuning in, you may then switch the AFC control back on the help your radio to keep SEASIDE-FM tuned in.
Assessing Your Chances of Success
Predicting local FM reception quality is far from an exact science. Before spending money on elaborate equipment and antennas, a certain amount of experimentation would be prudent. It can be particularly disheartening to spend time and money on a fancy new radio, only to find no real improvement.
To help predict your chances of success, try the following: carry a good, trusted portable radio (with its telescoping antenna fully extended) from room to room, listening to SEASIDE-FM. If you can get at least a fuzzy, but listenable signal in any room, chances are good that a rooftop antenna (or even a good indoor antenna) may yield very good results. Or, if you can get the station on your car radio while in the driveway or garage, this is also a good omen.
If, on the other hand, you get nearly no reception at all no matter what you try, proceed with caution; a fancy new antenna may be an expensive, but futile, experiment.
Careful tuning and listening are important in determining the type of reception problem you have.
During certain times of the year, for short periods, there are two types of interference which may cause you trouble in hearing our low-power signal. These are Tropospheric Propagation, and Sporadic E-Layer Propagation. Both of these conditions allow much more powerful stations from long distances to overpower the weak signal of SEASIDE-FM if you live on the edge of our coverage area.
Is an unwanted station (or “pieces” of its program) interfering much of the time? A strong station on a nearby channel may be “splattering” onto the desired station. As above, a directional antenna pointed at the desired station may help. A good-quality receiver may be the answer as well; check out the “narrow band” feature of better receivers described below.
Things To Try
You can often get better results by using an inexpensive outdoor antenna with an inexpensive radio than you can by using a fancy indoor antenna with an expensive radio. A well-installed and well-maintained outdoor directional antenna alone can have a dramatic and unmistakably positive effect on FM reception, even with inexpensive or older receivers.
The following suggestions are in a decreasing order of preference. And, as you might expect, the more involved solutions are generally near the top of the list. An exception is buying a new receiver; in most cases, this expensive option is a last resort.
We encourage you to do some experimentation with a simple piece of wire, or “Rabbit ears” before taking further (and more complicated) steps to enhance your reception.
Just as there are different types of radios, there are also different types of antennas. The whip antenna is a single rod that is permanently attached to your radio. It can be extended or pushed in. Some only extend straight up out of the radio while others can be swiveled around in most directions. This is one of the simplest types of antennas. For best results you must experiment with the length and orientation. Tune your radio to SEASIDE-FM at 105.9 on the FM dial. Start with it at its shortest length and laying down flat against the radio. If your reception problem is due to too much signal then this may help. Change the length and position of the antenna until you get the clearest signal.
The “Rabbit Ears” antenna is really just a variation of the Whip. Its advantage over the Whip is that it allows greater variations in how you position it. Also, it may do a better job of pulling in signals. Rabbit Ear antennas may be permanently attached or they may be a separate unit that sits on top of your radio. You can purchase Rabbit Ears separately and add them to your radio provided you have the proper connection on the back. Adjust Rabbit Ears just like you would a Whip. Start with them short and laying down flat. Tune in to SEASIDE-FM and experiment with length and position to see what works best. Remember, the SEASIDE-FM transmitter antenna is vertical and your receiver antenna will also be vertical for best reception.
Another simple antenna is the “Twin-T” or “Dipole” antenna. It is made out of flat ribbon TV cable commonly known as “Twin lead.” At the bottom, two wires or connector lugs attach to the antenna connector on the back of the radio. You can buy Twin-T’s very inexpensively at any store that sells electronic accessories. Its advantage is that it’s often easy to hide. You still need to experiment with this antenna to see what works best. Tune us in and try different positions. Hang it so the arms of the T are oriented vertically. First, try just letting it fall to the floor behind the radio so it won’t be seen. Also try hooking up only one of the two wires. Again, do what ever works best.
If you use an outdoor antenna to pick up TV channels 2-13 it may also work well for SEASIDE-FM. This type of antenna system can be complicated and expensive, as well as dangerous to install. We don’t recommend that you buy one just for FM reception. If you should decide to put one up, enlist the services of a TV antenna installation professional. If you already have one on your roof or in the attic then you should try using it. You will need to add a signal splitter if you want to hook it to your TV and radio at the same time. Splitters are available at electronic accessory stores for only a few dollars. The advantage of this antenna is that you can aim it at the station of interest. It boosts signals in the direction it’s pointed and reduces those coming from the side and back. This may be helpful in reducing interfering signals.
If you don’t have any of the antennas mentioned above but have an antenna connector on your radio, then just use a piece of wire. The type of wire is not very important as long as you can hook it to the radio. The length to try is about 3 feet. Any kind of an antenna is better than having no antenna at all. Remember to strip the insulation off the wire where it attaches to the radio so that you have a metal to metal contact.
Some types of radios like alarm clocks or some portables may have only an internal antenna. They often don’t provide connectors for hooking up an external antenna. About all you can do to solve a reception problem with these types of radios is to move them to a different location. Sometimes only a few inches will make a big difference.
Signal boosters or “power antennas” are NOT recommended. Radio signals around the metropolitan area are usually strong enough for good performance. Many times poor reception on SEASIDE-FM is a result of other stronger signals on the dial. These signals may overload your highly sensitive receiver causing it to have trouble staying locked on frequency. Using boosters or power antennas will just make matters worse. If you want to try one of these devices, be sure you can return it for a refund if you’re not fully satisfied with the results.
A Better Receiver
Buying a better radio, receiver, or tuner may be the most expensive route to reception nirvana, and should be considered only if your antenna efforts yielded unsatisfactory results. And there’s still no guarantee that a new radio will solve certain reception problems, so be sure to determine your return/refund rights before you purchase. Talk to the equipment salesperson about your reception problem to establish why you’re considering a new receiver.
A current-model receiver may only marginally improve reception, but may have other features, such as station pre-sets and digital tuning, which will aid in finding your favorite stations. Many “reception” problems turn out to be mechanical tuning difficulties with a hard-to-read or poorly calibrated dial, a problem quickly solved by a radio with digital tuning.