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FM Radio Testing x 4


Paul Blundell
 

 

Recently I have been undertaking some testing of four Ultralight radios on the FM broadcast band, this focused on five FM frequencies. Below is a table which shows the results on each frequency for each radio. These were all undertaken with their standard aerials.


The Flea Market FMRAD2 is the radio which I use the least and is my "poorest" radio on the largewave band, here on the FM broadcast band it worked better than I was expecting and surprised me. I am glad I didn't write this radio off totally without testing it on the FM broadcast band.


Both the Teac PR130 and Digitech AR1733 worked as well I expected, neither was a standout in any way but both were around the performance I was expecting.


My new Digitech AR1690 was easily the standout, it preformed well on all frequencies and on all frequencies except one, it pulled in the best signals. The fact this is a FM / DAB+ only radio means it is tuned for these bands and does not have the compromises that also including the largewave band bring.



FREQUENCY - STATION
DIGITECH AR1690
TEAC PR130
FLEA MARKET FMRAD2
DIGITECH AR1733
87.6MHz - TOTE SPORT RADIO
EXCELLENT
POOR
GOOD
GOOD
95.3MHz - TAMAR FM
NILL
NILL
NILL
FAINT
96.9MHz - MEANDER VALLEY FM
FAINT
NILL
NILL
NILL
98.9MHz - 7AD
FAINT
NILL
NILL
NILL
107.7MHz - SEAFM
WEAK
NILL
WEAK
NILL
 

 
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Todd
 

Portable FM radio + inbuilt whip weak signal DX performance is down some 30 to 40 dB relative to a commercially available 8-element rooftop Yagi + sensitive high-end tuner (e.g. Sony XDR tuner). In practice my testing demonstrated that a faint FM signal received on the most sensitive portable radio, translates to a simultaneous noise-free signal on my 8-element rooftop Yagi + XDR-S3HD tuner. This is why I don't use portable radios for FM DXing. However, a portable radio will sometimes produce impressive results in outstanding areas where signal field strengths are massive. But even in these relatively infrequent instances, the portable radio is the weak link in the signal chain. One example is when tropospheric ducting modulates signals to unusually high levels to the extent that New Zealand FM at average 2200 km is received on low gain portable radios.

A portable radio with external antenna input (e.g. PL-390), coupled via coax cable to a collapsible 3-element FM Yagi + portable mast, will produce stronger distant signals.

The medium wave band propagates widely, with some comparisons to the shortwave band. Conversely, the 88-108 MHz FM band is much shorter distance range, and shorter time duration requiring more sophisticated receiving gear. 

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Todd. That is some interesting reading and I will also check out your website more. 


On Sun, 29 Mar 2020, 3:22 p.m. Todd via Groups.Io, <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
Portable FM radio + inbuilt whip weak signal DX performance is down some 30 to 40 dB relative to a commercially available 8-element rooftop Yagi + sensitive high-end tuner (e.g. Sony XDR tuner). In practice my testing demonstrated that a faint FM signal received on the most sensitive portable radio, translates to a simultaneous noise-free signal on my 8-element rooftop Yagi + XDR-S3HD tuner. This is why I don't use portable radios for FM DXing. However, a portable radio will sometimes produce impressive results in outstanding areas where signal field strengths are massive. But even in these relatively infrequent instances, the portable radio is the weak link in the signal chain. One example is when tropospheric ducting modulates signals to unusually high levels to the extent that New Zealand FM at average 2200 km is received on low gain portable radios.

A portable radio with external antenna input (e.g. PL-390), coupled via coax cable to a collapsible 3-element FM Yagi + portable mast, will produce stronger distant signals.

The medium wave band propagates widely, with some comparisons to the shortwave band. Conversely, the 88-108 MHz FM band is much shorter distance range, and shorter time duration requiring more sophisticated receiving gear. 

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX