Help with receiving KGNU's FM signal
Our FM signal is produced by a transmit power of about 4 Kilowatts, that is a significant increase over our previous power of 1.3 Kilowatts (1300 wattts), but still low power by commercial FM broadcast standards. Our broadcasts are simultaneously in analog stereo and High Definition digital stereo. But if you live outside our primary coverage area you may have difficulty receiving KGNU FM, so we would like to suggest some options for improving reception at home.
Use a good antenna:
The antenna is a very important element in a home FM radio receiving system. It supplies a strong signal to the FM receiver ensuring clear KGNU reception. A good antenna is particularly important for low noise stereo reception and reliable High Definition digital reception. Here are several suggestions to improve your antenna.
Use an external antenna:
Often an external antenna can provide better reception than the built in antenna supplied with many radios. A simple inexpensive external antenna is the twin lead style folded dipole. This type of antenna can be purchase at Radio Shack for $7. If your receiver has a 75 ohm antenna input you may also need a 300/75 ohm transformer also available at Radio shack. See - http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062691&filterName=Category
Buy a high gain directional FM antenna:
If you are located in a fringe area where our signal is weak a high gain directional FM antenna can greatly improve your reception. There are many suppliers of such antennas and some examples are given here.
Solid Signal offers a 6 element antenna for $27
Winegard offers a 4 element antenna for $41
There are many other options for high gain directional antennas, omni directional antennas, and indoor antennas on the Internet and eBay. It may also be useful to use a preamplifier with a high gain antenna if you are in a particularly bad location for FM radio reception.
Point the antenna at the KGNU transmitter:
If you have a directional antenna be sure to point it at the KGNU FM transmitter site located at the top of Davidson Mesa near Louisville. A rotator may be a useful addition to your outdoor antenna system to make it easier to bring in reception from a variety of FM stations which might be geographically spread around the Denver area. The precise location of the KGNU transmitter is North Latitude: 39 deg 59 min 33 sec. West Longitude: 105 deg 09 min 16 sec. The altitude is 1732 meters ASL. This is the approximate coordinate for the intersection of South Boulder Road and Marshal Road.
Use your TV antenna:
Many TV antennas also cover the FM band. So hook your FM receiver to your TV antenna using a power splitter and see if KGNU reception improves.
Hook your radio to your CATV cable system:
Instead of using your own antenna you might be able to use your cable TV system for reception. If you have cable TV contact your cable company to see if they carry KGNU. If so, ask at what frequency and connect your radio to the TV cable using a splitter. If not, please ask them why not, and also let us know what they tell you. (KGNU does not receive any funding from any cable operators.)
Place the antenna as high as possible:
The signal strength presented to your FM receiver by your antenna will increase the higher the position of your antenna, either indoors or outside. If your antenna is outside your home mount it as high above the ground as possible. Don?t allow the roof or other structures to block the path of the signal from the transmitter to your antenna. If a combination television and FM radio antenna is already installed on your roof, it can be connected to both your TV and FM receiver using a power splitter. WARNING! Roof top antennas of any sort should have lightning protection.
Additional ways to improve KGNU reception:
In addition to using a good antenna here are some other ideas to improve KGNU reception at your location.
Buy a more sensitive receiver:
Not all FM radio receivers are created equal. Some are more sensitive and produce a better listening experience than others. Generally you get what you pay for with the more expensive receivers being better. Clock radios are usually among the poorer FM receivers, partly because their antenna is very small and there is no provision for the connection of an external antenna.
Listen in your car:
Most car radios are better than many radios which are used indoors. Car radios are very sensitive for reception in a mobile environment and in fringe areas. They also have a good antenna mounted on the car body or embedded in window glass. Car radios also get a better signal just by virtue of being outdoors, and are not susceptible to the signal attenuation produced by being inside buildings.
Use a car radio in your home:
Because car radios are very sensitive receivers some listeners have converted them for home use. This approach requires a +12 volt DC power supply, an external set of speakers, and an antenna but can work well in some situations.
Those with basic mechanical and electrical skills should find this type of project easy to accomplish. You are likely to be able to use a car radio indoors if you are able to receive an adequate signal while in your automobile as it's parked near the point of reception. So try listening to KGNU in your car while parked in your driveway, on the street, or in the parking lot adjacent to your dwelling or workplace. Some inexpensive sources of automobile receivers are the typical auto stereo retailers like Car Toys and auto salvage yards. +12 volt power supplies are available from Radio Shack, sparkfun Electronics, DigiKey, or other sources of electronic parts.
Reduce interference from electronic devices:
All radio signals, including KGNU FM, continue to sustain increasing interference from more and more electronic devices in our environment. Interfering background noise, which can degrade FM reception, can be created by such things as nearby computers, monitors, electrical appliances, power lines, and HD television displays. KGNU transmits enough power to overcome most noisy situations in our primary listening area. But if you live at a location where the KGNU signal is weak you may be able to improve your reception by eliminating local noise sources which might interfere with our signal.
Try reducing interference by turning off devices in your home one at a time to see if reception becomes more clear. Also reposition the device and/or its cables to see if reception can be improved. If noise is radiating from cables connected to an interfering electronic device like a computer monitor, you may be able to reduce the problem with clamp-on ferrite filters from Radio Shack. Place them on the cables of the offending device as close to the device as possible and see if reception improves. If the interference comes from your neighbors their equipment may be in violation of FCC rules. Talk to your neighbors first. You may also hear an improvement if you move your FM antenna farther away from the interfering electronic device.
Recognizing interference from other radio stations:
At some locations where our signal is weak you may experience interference from other FM stations which are broadcasting either on our frequency or on adjacent channels. For example there are Colorado front range stations on the channel below us at 88.3 MHZ and above at 88.7 MHZ. If you are closer to those stations than to our transmitter they may interfere with your reception of our signal. There is no recourse in this situation as all FM broadcast stations adhere to the same FCC regulations. Or you may experience interference with an inexpensive radio which is close to a very high power FM transmitter. For example, in central Boulder your radio may be overwhelmed by KRKX (94.7 MHZ) which dumps a whopping 100 KW of Xtian programming concentrated in a very narrow beam from Lee Hill towards Denver.
On occasion, listeners in the mountains have experienced on channel interference by receiving a 88.5 MHZ signal from Dove FM, a Xtian station in Michigan! This unusual interference occurs only infrequently when ionospheric conditions permit long distance radio wave propagation at VHF frequencies. As we reach a sunspot maximum in a few years hence this phenomenon may happen more frequently.
If you experience either on channel or adjacent channel interference please identify the interfering station and let us know. If it's a legal station there's nothing we can do. But if it's an illegal pirate station, which sometimes happens, please let us know as soon as possible so that we may notify the FCC.
Dealing with changes in the signal strength:
We sometimes receive calls from listeners who hear us better on some days than on other days. While the transmitted strength of our signal is kept very constant 24/7 there are other factors which could cause variations in the quality of your reception. For example, changes in the weather can make a difference, especially if there is rain, ice or snow about, or even wet Flatirons or nearby foothills. A reception problem caused by changes in the weather is self-correcting as conditions return to normal. But if the quality of your reception is suddenly reduced and remains poor, it is likely that something changed in your immediate surroundings. A new source of interference may have popped up, or maybe your antenna orientation changed, or the antenna has become broken.
Listen to KGNU AM:
If you are unable to listen to KGNU FM try KGNU AM at 1390 KHz. The quality of the sound on our AM signal is not as good as our FM signal, but in the daytime the AM coverage is greater. The program material is the same.
Listen to KGNU on the Internet:
You can always listen to KGNU on the Internet. We stream normal programming 24/7 to the Worldwide Web. Please check the Listen page on this website for details on how to tune in. The Internet stream provides CD quality audio which is interference free.
We want to meet the needs of all our listeners, over the air or on the web, and involve you in our unique form of independent media and communication. We hope these options provide you with viable solutions if you are presently having reception difficulty. Please call or email us if we can be of further assistance.
Dealing with intereference from our FM signal
KGNU broadcasts legally as authorized by the FCC on both AM (from Englewood) and FM (from Louisville). But occasionally you may experience interference to your equipment, or to your radio reception of other AM or FM stations. The solution to these types of problems is your sole responsibility as KGNU broadcasts in full compliance with FCC regulations. However, as a gesture of good will and if requested, KGNU may provide advice to help you mitigate such problems. Also note that the problem of KGNU interference with the audio of KRMA PBS TV has now been eliminated. With the introduction of HD digital television in the summer of 2009 KRMA now occupies UHF channel 18 and channel 6, just below the FM band, is vacant in the Denver area.