Tuning in to NPR
April 30, 2009
Summit Public Radio listeners still having trouble getting KUNC on 88.3 FM are not out of luck. In fact, SPR has several options for listeners to boost reception on their radios at home to hear the programming they love.
However, according to SPR’s head of engineering, Gary Peterson, there are some technological restraints to common household radios.
“A boom box setup isn’t optimized for FM reception,” Peterson said.
In order to maximize household radio reception, Peterson said it’s important to either reposition the device or attach an external antenna to it. This may sound like a lot of work for getting a signal, but according to Peterson it can be a quick fix.
The simplest thing listeners can do is install a T-shaped wire antenna called a dipole FM antenna, which is available at electronic stores for around $7. However, if listeners are wary of messing with their radios, Peterson can help.
He’ll even make house calls.
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“I will go out to their house, wherever they are … and analyze available signal in the space where their radio is located and can tell immediately if a simple inside antenna will do anything,” he said.
Though Peterson will come out to listeners’ homes, they don’t have to worry about major renovations just yet.
“It’s a step-by-step process,” said Peterson. “The basic idea is to just get an antenna on that radio.”
If Peterson determines a listener’s radio needs a simple indoor dipole FM antenna, then they’re in luck.
“I will, out of my own pocket, pay for one of those antennas for those who ask for my assistance,” said Peterson.
However, if more than a simple indoor antenna is needed, listeners may need bigger equipment ” an “external directional FM antenna.” Though it’s a mouthful, this external antenna is pretty familiar looking, a lot like older TV antennas. The device must be mounted on the building, usually on the roof, side or even in the attic. A cablevision wire is then run from the antenna to the radio inside the building.
Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but once again, Peterson can help.
“It’s a pain in the neck to put an antenna on the outside of your house,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to make myself available to anyone who asks me for assistance.”
However, once listeners can hear 88.3 FM, they’ll be able to tune in to five radio stations such as KUVO or KBCO. Peterson also noted that by getting their radios to work now, listeners will be able to receive the new HDFM signal coming to Summit County this summer. The new transmitter, built atop Mount Baldy, will broadcast analog and HD frequencies across the county.
Listeners wishing to boost their reception are encouraged to visit SPR’s website at http://www.summitpublicradio.org and click next to the bright yellow icon that says, “Having Trouble Receiving KUNC on 88.3?” Listeners may then view simple tips for their reception as well as e-mail SPR a request for help.
For listeners in their cars, there’s not as much that can be done ” other than keep driving until the signal improves.