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post #1 of 25 Old 09-28-2019, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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FM reception

I have an Onkyo TX-8011 stereo AM/FM receiver and the main problem I have with it is that the FM reception has slowly degraded over several years. I have tried many different antennas in the attic but the one that works best so far is just a 4 foot piece of wire run vertically on the wall behind the receiver and stuck into the F-type connector on the back of the receiver. It barely works. I have the FM stereo/FM automatic switch set to Automatic so it switches to Mono when the signal is weak and the Stereo indicator never comes on on any channel (indicating that all channels are too weak for stereo to work). All stations have static. Many channels have multiple stations talking over each other. I have an outdoor TV antenna and my TV has a signal strength meter which tells me most TV channels are 100% and all are at least 90%. I read that FM signals are within the TV signal frequency range so I tried moving the TV antenna cable from the TV to the receiver and I got nothing. Not even static. I plugged the wire-on-the-wall back in and I got the same static as before. Could the signal from the TV antenna be too powerful and the Onkyo can't process it? Do I need a splitter to strip the FM radio signal off of the TV antenna signal? I am not sure if the problem is some sort of interference or shielding that prevents FM signals from reaching my house (zip code 77092 in Houston), or all of the antennas I have tried are defective, or the receiver is defective. There is a huge oak tree in the yard next door blocking the path between my house and the antenna farm for both my favorite FM station and all of the TV stations. Is there a way to measure the FM signal strength and/or quality at the end of the antenna cable at the receiver? I suppose I could buy a new receiver and, if it doesn't work either, take it back for a refund but I am reluctant to do that. Also, is it important for the receiver to be grounded? The receiver has a 2 wire cord but there is a ground terminal on the back and I ran a wire from it to the equipment ground on an A/C receptacle but it did not help.
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post #2 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 05:14 AM
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The sad fact is that receivers don’t have the quality of tuners that they did back in the day.

I used to live in Houston, so I know that at your location, virtually any antenna should be able to get you decent reception for at least SOME local stations. The fact that you’re getting nothing but mono, noise and stations on top of each other tells me the tuner in your receiver is probably total junk.

First I’d suggest getting a good antenna. IMO most of the stuff they sell these days is questionable. I used to get good reception in Katy with an antenna similar to this:

https://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...ab16adbf41769d

That one is only rated for a 30 mile range, so it might be worthwhile to check this one out:

https://www.amazon.com/MAGNUM-DYNALA.../dp/B003ETW2F0


The first one honestly should work fine, least good enough to get quite a few stations coming in well, if not all of them. If not, a new receiver is in order.

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post #3 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 08:55 AM
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The other piece that goes with this is FM stations aren't as good as they were back in the day, either. The loudness wars took a toll and audio streaming is where everything is heading, it seems.

Meanwhile, trying different antennas may help some. I get TV over the air via antenna and use that same antenna for FM. It works pretty well for my limited needs. If you're interested in those antennas, antennaweb.org has been a useful resource.


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post #4 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 09:19 AM
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Why not listen to them on internet radio?

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post #5 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badfeet View Post
I have an Onkyo TX-8011 stereo AM/FM receiver and the main problem I have with it is that the FM reception has slowly degraded over several years. I have tried many different antennas in the attic but the one that works best so far is just a 4 foot piece of wire run vertically on the wall behind the receiver and stuck into the F-type connector on the back of the receiver. It barely works. I have the FM stereo/FM automatic switch set to Automatic so it switches to Mono when the signal is weak and the Stereo indicator never comes on on any channel (indicating that all channels are too weak for stereo to work). All stations have static. Many channels have multiple stations talking over each other. I have an outdoor TV antenna and my TV has a signal strength meter which tells me most TV channels are 100% and all are at least 90%. I read that FM signals are within the TV signal frequency range so I tried moving the TV antenna cable from the TV to the receiver and I got nothing. Not even static. I plugged the wire-on-the-wall back in and I got the same static as before. Could the signal from the TV antenna be too powerful and the Onkyo can't process it? Do I need a splitter to strip the FM radio signal off of the TV antenna signal? I am not sure if the problem is some sort of interference or shielding that prevents FM signals from reaching my house (zip code 77092 in Houston), or all of the antennas I have tried are defective, or the receiver is defective. There is a huge oak tree in the yard next door blocking the path between my house and the antenna farm for both my favorite FM station and all of the TV stations. Is there a way to measure the FM signal strength and/or quality at the end of the antenna cable at the receiver? I suppose I could buy a new receiver and, if it doesn't work either, take it back for a refund but I am reluctant to do that. Also, is it important for the receiver to be grounded? The receiver has a 2 wire cord but there is a ground terminal on the back and I ran a wire from it to the equipment ground on an A/C receptacle but it did not help.
I also had this issue as well, after lots of trial & error, the problem is the FM antenna socket at the receiver deteriorated (Inside the socket), when the coaxial cable plug-in exactly 90 degree to the socket, the reception was very bad (Not even mono reception). I bent the coaxial cable tip a little bit and it touched the side of the socket, problem solved but stereo reception still got worse over time, I ended up bought a new receiver.
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post #6 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 11:52 AM
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I used a powered antenna, basically a lower grade HDTV antenna, and it helps a bit when the power (to the antenna) is applied, but it can't "suck in" stations that are weak in my downstairs living room. I'm afraid they way the broadcast industry is moving it towards online streaming, in which the quality of the sound is less effected by environmental issues. And I try to give to the non-profit stations that I listen to as support for their needs.

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post #7 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought this antenna recently and mounted it in the attic. It acted like the outdoor TV antenna; no sound at all, at least on my favorite station on the low end of the FM spectrum and weak signals on the high end. I don't suppose it would help to move this antenna to a position on the outdoor antenna mast. I am sure the F-type connector on the receiver is in good condition. The antenna connections on this receiver are mounted on a circuit board that plugs into the main circuit board so it would be easy to replace it but I have not priced one yet. Has anybody ever fixed a receiver by doing that? Can anybody explain why the wire-on-the-wall (first floor) works better than a TV antenna 20 feet off the ground that has strong TV signals?
https://www.amazon.com/Stellar-Labs-...tronics&sr=1-4
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post #8 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badfeet View Post
I bought this antenna recently and mounted it in the attic. It acted like the outdoor TV antenna; no sound at all, at least on my favorite station on the low end of the FM spectrum and weak signals on the high end. I don't suppose it would help to move this antenna to a position on the outdoor antenna mast. I am sure the F-type connector on the receiver is in good condition. The antenna connections on this receiver are mounted on a circuit board that plugs into the main circuit board so it would be easy to replace it but I have not priced one yet. Has anybody ever fixed a receiver by doing that? Can anybody explain why the wire-on-the-wall (first floor) works better than a TV antenna 20 feet off the ground that has strong TV signals?
https://www.amazon.com/Stellar-Labs-...tronics&sr=1-4

I have used that same antenna for my garage setup for two years. It works great. Mind you, mine is outside, about 20 feet up the UHF/VHF antenna tower. I get probably 15-20 stations. If it is possible to mount outside, do it. Then if you still are not receiving anything, it seems like the receiver would be at fault.
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post #9 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 01:28 PM
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Keep on mind...
Previously TV channels (2-13) were below and above the FM band, so an older TV antenna will work fine for FM.
But if the antenna is later version then it is designed for the present TV channels which are much higher in frequency up in the UHF band, so it won't well for FM...

Just my $0.02...
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
Why not listen to them on internet radio?
I thought of suggesting that, but I thought it was a little too much in the "then let them eat cake" line.

I presume that not all AVRs support internet radio.

Because of the poor FM signals in my area, I went to internet radio nearly two years ago. My main worry is that on my Denon AVR, the only option is the TuneIn service. That requires a HEOS account. If either service ever goes away, so does my internet radio.
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post #11 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I thought of suggesting that, but I thought it was a little too much in the "then let them eat cake" line.

I presume that not all AVRs support internet radio.

Because of the poor FM signals in my area, I went to internet radio nearly two years ago. My main worry is that on my Denon AVR, the only option is the TuneIn service. That requires a HEOS account. If either service ever goes away, so does my internet radio.

Why can't you run a laptop/pc to the Denon via HDMI? I use an old Yamaha 5.1( not internet ready) in my home office with a laptop. Works great. I still have a VTuner (pre TuneIn) account from an old 4311CI that "makes" the Yamaha internet ready. My current TuneIn account also works with the Yamaha.
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post #12 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post
Keep on mind...
Previously TV channels (2-13) were below and above the FM band, so an older TV antenna will work fine for FM.
But if the antenna is later version then it is designed for the present TV channels which are much higher in frequency up in the UHF band, so it won't well for FM...

Just my $0.02...
I remember being told in the 1960s when I was a young boy that FM was sandwiched between VHF television channels 6 and 7.

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post #13 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MRAYB View Post
Why can't you run a laptop/pc to the Denon via HDMI? I use an old Yamaha 5.1( not internet ready) in my home office with a laptop. Works great. I still have a VTuner (pre TuneIn) account from an old 4311CI that "makes" the Yamaha internet ready. My current TuneIn account also works with the Yamaha.
I could, but I prefer an appliance-like solution.

I might have to resort to a PC someday. The good thing about that would be the ability to access the streams directly, without any intermediary.
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post #14 of 25 Old 09-29-2019, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
I remember being told in the 1960s when I was a young boy that FM was sandwiched between VHF television channels 6 and 7.
Correct.
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-01-2019, 11:04 AM
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Some TV antennas have an FM rejection filter. Since this problem is relatively new for you, I suspect the receiver and maybe the defective F-connector answer is correct. Not the connector on the wire, but the one inside the receiver.
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-02-2019, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I presume that not all AVRs support internet radio. Because of the poor FM signals in my area, I went to internet radio nearly two years ago. My main worry is that on my Denon AVR, the only option is the TuneIn service. That requires a HEOS account. If either service ever goes away, so does my internet radio.
I just use Iheartradio or Spotify with my old receiver. I plug my phone or tablet into my receiver's RCA inputs. The one end of the cable plugs into my iPhone 6, and the other end has the red and white RCA plugs.
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post #17 of 25 Old 10-07-2019, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne A. Pflughaupt View Post
The sad fact is that receivers don’t have the quality of tuners that they did back in the day.

I used to live in Houston, so I know that at your location, virtually any antenna should be able to get you decent reception for at least SOME local stations. The fact that you’re getting nothing but mono, noise and stations on top of each other tells me the tuner in your receiver is probably total junk.




I don't recall having a tuner slowly degrade over a period of many years before. Is this normal? My Bose table radio has also declined in its ability to pull in FM stations and it is about 34 years old. I tried connecting the outdoor TV antenna directly to the Bose and it didn't help. Shouldn't the TV antenna capture the FM signal, too? Would mounting the FM antenna on the existing TV antenna mast interfere with the TV signal or vice versa? Running the new cable for a FM antenna and giving it lightning protection is a lot of work. Is there a way to combine the signals of the 2 antennas on the mast (using the existing cable) and separate the signals in the house?
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-07-2019, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badfeet View Post
I don't recall having a tuner slowly degrade over a period of many years before. Is this normal? My Bose table radio has also declined in its ability to pull in FM stations and it is about 34 years old. I tried connecting the outdoor TV antenna directly to the Bose and it didn't help. Shouldn't the TV antenna capture the FM signal, too? Would mounting the FM antenna on the existing TV antenna mast interfere with the TV signal or vice versa? Running the new cable for a FM antenna and giving it lightning protection is a lot of work. Is there a way to combine the signals of the 2 antennas on the mast (using the existing cable) and separate the signals in the house?
As mentioned above, the FM radio band lies between VHF channels 6 and 7. A good VHF antenna should be good for FM as well.
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post #19 of 25 Old 10-08-2019, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I am making progress, but I don't have it figured out yet. My cars get good reception at home so I decided to shorten the wire-on-the-wall antenna to the same length as the car antenna. That was worse than the 4 foot version, so I tried a 10 foot wire which ran up the wall then horizontally against the wall. That was terrible, but I tried moving the free end of the wire around the room until I got a good signal on my favorite station in the low end of the FM spectrum. It seems that the receiver wants the antenna to be away from anything. I now get my favorite station in stereo with a slight hiss or clear on mono. I also discovered that the stereo indicator light is very very very dim. The room has to be dark and I have to get my eyeball at the same level and less than 2 feet away to see it. So, I was probably wrong when I said I didn't get stereo on any station. I think the receiver is OK except for that stereo indicator light. I thought that maybe the coax that I used to connect the receiver to antennas in the attic might be bad but I did a continuity test and the inner wire and the shield test OK. Having a piece of wire stretched across the ceiling is not acceptable but I am not sure what to do next.
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post #20 of 25 Old 10-08-2019, 07:28 AM
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The problem with simple dipoles (your wire stretched along the wall) is that they're omnidirectional. They'll pick up multipath, interference from an adjacent-channel station, computer noise, the neighbor's little iPod transmitter.. you name it.

You can run an FMFool.com signal report (your address won't show to anyone but you) and post the link, along with the call letters of the station(s) you're most interested in receiving. From there, we can come up with something.

I still need to read upthread, but if you haven't mentioned the make and model of your attic antenna, that would be helpful.

Yes, if you have a decent VHF antenna in the attic without an FM trap, it should do well in receiving stations, assuming it's pointed in the general direction of the transmitter or the transmitter isn't terribly far away.

It's unlikely your FM tuners have degraded over the years. It's far more likely the world of connected devices and wireless everything has introduced interference that's a bit harder to overcome.

I use a VHF-Hi yagi in the attic, routed through a CM7777 amp with the FM trap off. It feeds every television in the house and a BA HDRadio. It's that HD radio that's jacked into my receiver. This way, I get the digital signal from the station and not the analog. For my situation, the audio quality beats both analog and streaming.

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post #21 of 25 Old 10-08-2019, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
The problem with simple dipoles (your wire stretched along the wall) is that they're omnidirectional. They'll pick up multipath, interference from an adjacent-channel station, computer noise, the neighbor's little iPod transmitter.. you name it.

You can run an FMFool.com signal report (your address won't show to anyone but you) and post the link, along with the call letters of the station(s) you're most interested in receiving. From there, we can come up with something.

I still need to read upthread, but if you haven't mentioned the make and model of your attic antenna, that would be helpful.

Yes, if you have a decent VHF antenna in the attic without an FM trap, it should do well in receiving stations, assuming it's pointed in the general direction of the transmitter or the transmitter isn't terribly far away.

It's unlikely your FM tuners have degraded over the years. It's far more likely the world of connected devices and wireless everything has introduced interference that's a bit harder to overcome.

I use a VHF-Hi yagi in the attic, routed through a CM7777 amp with the FM trap off. It feeds every television in the house and a BA HDRadio. It's that HD radio that's jacked into my receiver. This way, I get the digital signal from the station and not the analog. For my situation, the audio quality beats both analog and streaming.

Doc
I have used a dipole antenna, a Terk indoor FM antenna, a pair of TV rabbit ears, an antenna I made by stripping the sheilding off of the last 4 feet of a piece of coax, and the Stellar Labs antenna I mentioned in post 7. I have tried these indoors and in the attic. I have also tried a 35 year old outdoor TV antenna and, this year, a Channel Master CM-2016 outdoor TV antenna. I have only tried the outdoor antennas outside on a 20 foot mast. Nothing works nearly as well as the 10 foot piece of wire stretched across the ceiling and it's not perfect. This morning I read the Amazon reviews on the Stellar Labs antenna and a reviewer explained how to aim it to get the best signal. I know where the transmitter is for my favorite station so I went into the attic to aim it and I noticed that it was near an aluminum turbine attic vent so I moved it as far away from from any metal as I could and aimed it at the transmitter antenna and it still doesn't work. There is no FM trap on the TV antenna unless it is built in to the antenna.
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post #22 of 25 Old 10-08-2019, 11:21 AM
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Attics are multipath nightmares. Not a good place for an omni such as the one you linked upthread. Roughly where are you and what are the call letters of the station(s)? An FMFool.com link would also be handy.

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post #23 of 25 Old 10-08-2019, 11:39 AM
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Sometimes tuning in a FM station is a challenge...
Whether using a dipole (T-type), single wire or external antenna frequently U have to adjust its location, height or position.
As sometimes a multipath (reflected, similar to a TV ghost) signal is stronger than the main signal, and as previously mentioned the later FM tuner circuits in an AVR is a single IC lacking good sensitivity/quieting found in our older FM tuners..


Just my $0.02...
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post #24 of 25 Old 10-27-2019, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I realized that the big oak tree was between the transmitter and the location of my Stellar Labs antenna in the attic. The weather got cool enough and I found time to work in the attic so I ran a long piece of coax to move the antenna as far away from that tree as possible in the attic. I got static and multiple stations on my favorite station. One of the Amazon reviewers of this antenna said it was not completely omnidirectional and I tried using his advice on aiming it at the transmitter but it did not help. I had the receiver tuned to my favorite station and the volume turned up enough to hear it when I was in the attic. When I disconnected the coax at the antenna, it sounded better. I climbed down and, sure enough, I got a clear signal in stereo on all stations except I completely lost one low-powered station. So now my antenna is a 3/16" long piece of wire sticking out of the F-type connector on the end of a piece of coax dangling from a rafter in my attic. It's a mystery to me. I know weather can affect reception and it's only been a few hours since I had this breakthrough so time will tell if this works long-term.
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post #25 of 25 Old 11-04-2019, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Antennas are weird science

It's been 9 days since I disconnected the antenna and got good reception. The weather has been warm, cold, cloudy, and clear and the reception has not changed. I seldom listened to the low-powered station that I lost, and now that I can't get it, I miss it. Overall, it's good enough because I get a clear signal on my favorite station. If you are reading this because you are having reception problems, try disconnecting the antenna. Keep trying different things until you find something that works.
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