Ask SAIL: Stereo Trouble
J. Bridges of Annapolis, Maryland asks:
I just installed an Aquatic AV AM/FM/MP3 receiver and was careful to keep the stereo speakers from affecting my steering compass. The stereo system works great when we play the FM radio or when the kids play their devices through it, but I can’t pick up my ballgames on the AM radio. I can hear them fine with a portable radio up on deck. Any ideas? I am using my VHF antenna for AM/FM reception.
Gordon West replies:
Get the AM/FM splitter off the line to your marine VHF antenna. Anything between your marine VHF transceiver and a masthead antenna creates a weak link in your radio’s capability.
Many marine VHF antennas are “shunt fed,” which means the center conductor to the braid is intentionally shorted at all frequencies other than marine VHF. Get yourself a simple automotive replacement AM/FM antenna, hide it anywhere you like below deck, and you’ll enjoy greatly improved AM and FM reception. These antennas cost less than $20 at most auto supply stores.