Most reception problems on FM radio are caused either by a weak signal or by some kind of interference.
Hissing or fading means the signal reaching your radio is not strong enough.
If there is still no improvement, you may need a separate aerial (as long as your radio has an aerial socket). You could use an indoor aerial, or have an aerial installed on the roof or outside of the house, or in the loft. See Radio aerials for more information.
This is caused by what is known as multipath distortion. It happens because signals from the transmitter travel by more than one path to your radio: one signal is reflected off tall buildings or hills and arrives a moment later than the direct signal, causing interference. Things to try:
These annoying sounds (sometimes called 'birdies') are usually caused by another station transmitting on a frequency very close to the station you are listening to.
Twittering noises can also be caused by high air pressure, which brings fine weather and also allows FM signals to travel further than normal. You may also get interference from strong foreign stations. There is nothing you can do about this - reception will only improve when the weather changes.
If you are very close to a transmitter, noises or distortion may be caused by a very strong signal. Things to try:
Bursts of buzzing or regular clicks are often caused by interference from something powered by electricity, such as a domestic appliance or a faulty fridge or central heating thermostat. If you are not sure what is causing the interference, leave the radio on and try switching off or disconnecting your appliances one at a time to see if there is an improvement. Also check the radio in case it has a loose aerial connection or mains lead.
For general information about pirate radio and to check if you are in the coverage area of the station you are trying to receive: http://ask.ofcom.org.uk/help/radio/pirates
To report a problem with pirate radio interference: https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/pirate-radio-listeners-report
If you listen to FM radio while travelling around the country, you may often need to retune your radio to another frequency for the same station. Many car radios have RDS (Radio Data System), which automatically tunes to the strongest FM signal, so you don't need to retune the radio manually. RDS can also be set to detect BBC local radio travel news.
If you get interference in the form of crackling or whining, it may be caused by the ignition or other electrical systems such as the heater or wipers.
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