Although the number of media resources have exploded in recent years, the old reliable radio has been the most wide-spread device that folks go to in the event of a natural disaster or local emergency. Radios come in all shapes and sizes and are often integrated into multifunction electronics. Their antennas may be internal where they incorporate the power cord or short wire, or, they may be external and telescope out in length. It’s not uncommon for these external antennas to get broken which diminish their effectiveness. This condition often limits reception to local stronger signal stations but you may want to monitor conditions outside of your immediate area.
I have an old radio with a broken antenna that I often use to keep me company while I work. Sometimes the stations that I prefer to listen to broadcast from a distant city and have marginal reception that can wane in and out depending on weather and upper atmospheric conditions. While preparing my work area, I happened to plug an extension cord into the same electrical outlet as the radio and the audio volume came alive. I was very surprised and tested this phenomena by unplugging and replugging the extension cord with remarkable results. Then I moved the extension cord around in various positions to optimize it’s effectiveness.
I’ve seen coat-hangers and tin foil used in the past, but this method had better results for me. Ham Radio Operators are aware of proper antenna lengths needed to receive certain frequencies as well as the harmonics of other compatible lengths. I happened to use a 15ft. extension cord when tuned to mid-range FM frequencies. But in the end you can try different length extension cords and maneuver them in different positions.
So, if you need to boost your antenna, try this method in different combinations for best results.
Neat. I will have to investigate this.
Being a ham radio person, if you talk to a ham they will tell you that “booster’s” can be made in a variety of ways and done completely portable so that you can even toss one in your bugout bag with a radio. I carry a “tuned” longwire with my kit so that I can tune it to just about anything I need and can sweep the vast majority of commercial, business and public service frequencies without a hitch.
Then it helps to retain those “legacy” radios and portables since much of government would like you to recycle them. They will be put back to good use in the event of a civil emergency.