Improve Reception | Blue Ridge Public Radio

Low signal? Here is how to improve your reception of BPR News and WCQS.

Many things can impair your reception especially low signal strength, strong adjacent channel signal, and high levels of electrical noise. As you read the suggestions below, please keep in mind that each location is different. Blue Ridge Public Radio can not guarantee that these suggestions will work for your location; however, in most cases if you can receive the station at all, your reception can be improved.

Low Signal Strength

  • Try to relocate the antenna or radio if the antenna is self-contained. Moving just a few feet can make a difference in many locations. Try both vertical and horizontal orientations.
  • Try a different radio. Radios vary in the amount of signal necessary to pick up stations well (sensitivity) and their ability to select between stations (selectivity).
  • Listen in monaural instead of stereo. Less signal strength is required for good monaural reception than stereo.
  • Install an outdoor antenna. In general, an outdoor antenna will outperform an indoor one. Also, a rule of thumb with antennas is that larger and higher tends to be better. Please remember to observe all manufacturer safety precautions when working on any antenna. Avoid power lines, and make sure your antenna can withstand high winds and ice. Use coaxial cable and a matching transformer for the lead-in wire for reduced noise and better performance. Consider adding a mast mounted antenna preamplifier to make the most of the signal arriving at your location.
  • Consider purchasing a better radio receiver or radio. In general receivers with digital tuning will be better because of tuning accuracy. In small radios, the presence of an AFC circuit is a plus. Watch for excellent ratings in sensitivity and selectivity.

Strong Adjacent Channel Station

Important note: Please realize that the FCC has regulations that pertain to all broadcasters. In almost all circumstances radio stations are operating correctly and according to regulation. Beyond the regular BPR News & WCQS coverage area, the station is not protected from other stations' signals. Adjacent channel interference can even occur within the primary coverage area if you are located near another station's antenna site.

  • Improve your antenna. An outdoor directional antenna can help reduce adjacent channel station signal interference. See Install an Outdoor Antenna above.
  • Consider purchasing a better radio receiver or radio. The selectivity of the receiver is the most important factor in being able to separate stations on the dial. This is particularly true if the offending station has a good deal more signal than the desired station. Get a trial period on any receiver you purchase so that you can confirm it will solve your problem. When looking at performance ratings, pay special attention to selectivity.

Electrical Noise

The world is getting noisier electrically every day. Computer oriented devices and many other high tech items can generate lots of noise.

  • Follow suggestions under Low Signal Strength. Improving the station's signal can help override noise, and relocating the radio or receiver can many times reduce noise.
  • Locate the source of the noise. Check florescent lights, computers, and many other devices that can generate noise and interfere with your reception. You may need to move the antenna away from the noise source or vice versa.

Alternatives

  • Blue Ridge Public Radio offers both BPR News and WCQS via internet stream. Find out more about them at our Online Streams page.
  • Some cable systems offer FM radio on cable. Check to see if they offer BPR News or WCQS in your area.

Other questions?

If you have more questions or need to discuss your reception of BPR News or WCQS more specifically, email us at tech@bpr.org or call the station at 828-210-4800.