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July 04, 2013

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Drive-In-Freak

It's not just the car radio, but the environment. You're outside instead of in a building, and away from r.f.i. causing devices. Out in the driveway or wherever you're not around that touch lamp, light dimmer, switch-mode power supply, computer, and TV set, nor is the signal having to travel though walls and fit into the structure. Ya ever notice how you get static when under a powerline and how the signal fades when you go under and overpass? Same deal.
Yes, a car radio hooked into an outside antenna can work wonders...even better if you can find one of the old types with a loading ("booster") coil built into the whip...
http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b218/driveinfreak/ant.jpg
Yes, that little coil does make quite a difference on AM.
If you put one on your car you will get more noise from powerlines, and possibly your ignition, but it will also do a better job at pulling signals out of the air. Just make sure you have it fully extended.
Also if it's an older radio you will want to make sure the antenna trim cap is adjusted properly. There should be a hole in the case with "ant trim" marked close to it. Tune into a weak station around 1400 and tune the cap for the loudest signal.

One disadvantage of using a car radio and antenna is that it's non-directional. You won't be able to null anything out as it will receive equally from every direction. Multipath FM can be a bit of a problem too.

Just for the record there where built in antennas before ferrite loopsticks. The ferrite rods didn't really come in until the transistor radio days. Some of the realy early sets used longwires, but it didn't take log for the open air type coil to became common... http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b218/driveinfreak/ant3.jpg
Unfortunately a lot of them were made out of cardboard so they're often missing.

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