Radio Reception on KLSN 92.9 FM
KLSN in the car.

Radio Reception

Quick Answers

  • Get a good-quality radio with superior receiver circuitry.
  • Switch from stereo to mono.
  • Attach a dipole antenna and place it as high as possible.
  • Check for signal obstructions like hills or tall buildings, or interference from nearby electronics.


Good Radio Reception is a Partnership between the Station and the Listener

Radio broadcasting is a system that combines the performance of both the transmitter on our end, and the receiver on your end. KLSN operates our transmitter at Federal Communications Commission licensed parameters for power, antenna configuration, and modulation. We continue to explore ways to improve signal coverage in Oakley, Antioch, Brentwood and surrounding communities.

Possible Reasons for Poor Reception

Here are some possibilities that may contribute to radio reception difficulties:

  • Transmitter Proximity: The closer you are located to our transmitter (check out this map) the better chance you have of receiving a clear signal.
  • Obstructing Objects: A large object between your house and our transmitter may cause you to receive a poor signal. If your antenna is outside, it will perform better than if it is inside. FM radio waves travel more-or-less in straight lines. They are weakened by objects that get between the transmitter and receiver.
  • Obstructing Terrain: Valleys and hills that can block our signal. If you can determine the location of our tower in relation to your location on a map, you may be able to identify the obstruction.
  • Transmitted Power: KLSN is a low-power 100-watt FM station, which may limit building penetration for some structures.
  • Out of Range: Transmitters for LPFM stations have a broadcast range that averages three to four miles. KLSN generally surpasses that due to the superior location of our tower and favorably local topography. But we do have range limitations! Residents outside of our broadcast area can listen via web streaming when that becomes available (soon, we promise!).
  • Window Tenting: On some car models using the in-glass radio antenna system, the use of a window tenting film with a metallic content can affect radio performance.

Improving Radio Reception

Start with Your Radio Receiver

A good-quality radio is the best place to start, especially when more powerful stations on adjacent frequencies interfere with your reception of KLSN. Some radios noted for excellent sound and fidelity do not always have especially good receiver circuitry.

If your FM receiver has a stereo versus mono switch, switch to mono. KLSN transmits in mono, which has the best reception across the widest geographical area.

Antennas - Higher is Better

Some built-in radio antennas may be inadequate, so adding an external antenna can be a simple way to improve reception. Check to see if your radio has external antenna connections on the back. A simple dipole antenna made of wire and tacked to the wall may be all you need, and is available at ACE Hardware. Even old "rabbit ear" antennas may do the trick. Circular, ash-tray sized and other types of indoor antennas meant for UHF television won't work very well with an FM radio.

More elaborate FM antennas can be placed in the attic, on the roof, or tower mounted. Some pole-mounted TV antennas can often also serve as effective FM antennas. Use a "splitter" to route the signals to the TV and radio. Mount this antenna as high as you can and rotate for best signal.

Multipath Distortion

In fringe area reception, the reflections and bounces of the signal from nearby objects (known as multipath distortion) can be a factor in reception success or failure. An antenna move of just a couple feet can bring the signal in beautifully for one station and be a bad spot for another, thanks to the geometry and the wavelength of the frequencies involved. A signal received direct from the transmitter either adds or cancels with the reflected signals in different places. You may need to experiment with the location and orientation of the antenna.

Multipath is easy to identify when in the car. You might experience alternating good/bad reception as you drive along, or even a rapid flutter of the signal. If you happen to stop a location where the signals are canceling each other and the sound is noisy or garbled, you can usually ease your car forward and the reception will change - a clear indication of multipath interference.

Electrical Noise Interference

Locate the radio and/or its antenna away from likely sources of electrical interference. An incomplete list of examples of well-known sources of interference would include light dimmer switches, fluorescent lighting, computers, microwave ovens, battery chargers, TV's, VCRs, day/night and/or motion-sensing light fixtures, and touch-sensing lamps.

Interference from Other Radio Stations

If your interference seems to be only found "on top of" one radio station, or if you can hear other radio programming, then perhaps the source is another broadcast transmitter or radio device. In cases of interference from a station on the next dial position, a good quality radio with better "selectivity" will be helpful.

Reception Changes Through the Day, or Across the Seasons

Sometimes distant FM stations in other towns cause interference. This is due to signal propagation enhancements caused by atmospheric conditions that cause FM signals to go far beyond their normal ranges. This is a natural phenomenon, which tends to happen more frequently in the summer months. Temperature inversions, can cause such interference from distant stations.