How to Get the Best Radio Reception in Your Truck

We know, Fort Collins, you want the truck windows down and the radio blasting on high, but you also want different stations to choose from. It can be incredibly frustrating when your car just can't find a signal and all you're left with is white noise. A few tweaks to your truck and that will be a problem of the past.

Check Your Antenna Length

The length of antennas for different things, like your car or a walkie-talkie, are very intentional. The radio sends out wavelengths, and antennas are crafted to best pick up these wavelengths from the air and translate them into the sound you hear.

In a nutshell, the longer the antenna the more signals it can catch. So for your truck trying to catch the wavelengths of your radio station, typically what is referred to as a quarter-length antenna is best, so that's about 32 inches long. Too long is better than too short, and anything less than 26 inches is less than ideal for tuning in to your local FM radio stations.

Improve Your Antenna Position

Placement of your antenna matters. The further away from your engine compartment, the better. All the electrical devices buzzing under your hood interfere with the radio wavelengths your antenna is trying to pick up. You may have heard this interference coming over your radio at some point as anything from soft static and hissing to loud buzzes and pops.

You'll notice that many newer car models have the antenna on the fender, right back near the trunk, for this very reason. If yours isn't, it would be worth the effort to change its position to increase the radio reception of your truck.

Once you have moved it, be certain to ground the antenna's wire. This is essential, so make sure you use a thick, quality audio system grounding wire and connect it to the truck's frame, or at least a heavy and unpainted part of the metal chassis.

Give Your Signal a Boost

Besides the antenna itself, there are other tools that can help boost your radio reception. Your easiest and most accessible option would be to invest in a pre-amplifier or signal booster. These boost up a weak signal from your antenna before it gets to your radio, giving your speakers some extra power. They're also simple to install.

Another option is a system called diversity tuning which takes signals from two antennas, one on the front and one on the rear of your vehicle, and rapidly jumps back and forth between them for the best radio signals. Satellite radios work in a similar way, but this way is more prone to interference around large buildings.

Is It Time For an Update?

time for an update
Image via Flickr by [barnimages.com]

Finally, high-quality radio tuners in car head units are far superior when it comes to radio reception. If yours is old or cheap, it might be time for an upgrade.

The crackling and hissing from your speakers will be a thing of the past with just these few simple tweaks to your truck.