Just like TVs, radios can have problems with reception and interference.
For most people, tuning in to Vision is as easy as turning your radio dial. But for some people there’s a bit more to it. If you’re on the outskirts of a transmission area, you may be getting a weaker and less reliable signal. You can also find that tall buildings, trees and the quality of your antenna and cables can affect the signal.
By law, some of Vision‘s transmitters are restricted to ‘low power’ — and that can mean a lot of people are in a fringe area. You would normally expect the signal from one of our low power transmitters to reach around 10km if you’re using a radio with an external antenna — like a car radio. However, if you’re listening indoors, you may find that distance becomes rather less.
Here are a few things you can do to try to improve your reception. Generally, a better quality radio will get you a better result.
- Move the aerial or the radio around inside the house until you get a better signal. If your portable radio has an external antenna, fully extend it.
- Use an outside antenna.
There is a more detailed explanation of what can be done on this information sheet.
Causes of interference are different for AM, FM and digital radios. AM radios are the most likely to have interference, and digital radios the least. Interference can come from domestic appliances like dimmer switches, fluorescent lights or even smoke detectors which operate on mains current rather than batteries.
Most reception difficulties for radios are faults and deficiencies in the radios or receivers themselves. Try testing another radio in its place. If it has the same problem, then it’s genuine interference and you can try these tips.
• Turn off the offending device.
• Try a battery-operated radio to see if the interference is coming in from the AC 240v line or through the air or both.
• Turn off the circuit breakers one at a time to see if the noise stops. If it does, than you know it is something in your house and you’ll know which circuit it is on.
• Use a battery-operated radio as a direction finder. Turn it until the noise is loudest and the front or the back of the radio will be pointing toward the noise origin.
• Carry a radio around the neighbourhood and see if you can find the origin of the noise. Ask your neighbours if they have problems with AM radio noise.
• If a power pole is suspected, call the power company and they will check the area and possibly clean the insulators. Dirty power pole insulators are sometimes a cause of difficult-to-find radio interference.
• If you have a hum in your receiver from AC noise, sometimes grounding can reduce the hum greatly.
Still having trouble? We’ve put together a short guide to getting Vision crystal clear.
Alternatively your local TV antenna installer is a good place to start, or the ACMA website here.