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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal iPod
So I don't have the money for a fancy kit to add iPod audio to my car stereo. I bought an iTrip, but living close to a major city (and driving through it often) makes it really difficult to use. You might find a station that is relatively clear, but seconds later, it's bombarded with competing signal.

Solution: Remove your car's antenna. You will now be able to pick any radio station to broadcast the iTrip through, without worry of competing signals. I have driven from Ventura, through Los Angeles, and all the way to San Deigo without having to change the iTrip's station once.

You need to have the iPod relatively close to the stereo for the best sound. This should work with any FM transmitting device.

[robg adds: I wish I would have thought of this prior simple trick prior to my drive home from Macworld Expo a couple years ago -- even driving near/through relatively small cities, my FM transmitter became basically worthless. This is also getting harder to do, as many cars now feature integrated antennas.]
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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal | 18 comments | Create New Account
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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: googoo on Nov 21, '06 07:44:55AM

If you do not want to remove your antenna, you could just unplug it from the back of your stereo. (You have to remove it from the dash to do this.) I am not completely sure you would be able to pick up the transmitter's signal with the antenna plug disconnected, though.

-Mark



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: rspress on Nov 21, '06 09:17:16AM

Being an amateur radio operator I know a liitle about antennas and how to improve reception. There are several ways to increase the range of the iTrip with resorting to removing your cars antenna and missing your favorite morning show. One of the simplest ways is to use an induction antenna. Get some wire and wrap it around the iTrip if it is small enough wire or make a coil of wire and sitting the iPod with the iTrip in the loops. Run the other wire close to the antenna. Even better run it out the window and through the firewall and out the hood and wrap at least 10 wraps around the base of the antenna and tape it up.

If you have a car charger for your iPod use it even if the iPod does not need charging, it will act as an antenna as well. You could also do the loop of wire and connect the wire to any metal surface in the car. This will improve reception as well. These are just a few tricks to use without modifying your car or iTrip.



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Better transmitters for cars
Authored by: bill_mcgonigle on Dec 01, '06 11:49:26AM
There are also transmitters that plug directly into a cigarette lighter outlet and claim to use the car's ground as a groundplane for the transmitter. I have an older version of this and it works much better than the iTrip that's now collecting dust. None of the hard-to-use little bleepy audio clips to configure the iTrip either - just a button.

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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: robleach on Nov 21, '06 11:24:39AM

[rant]
There has got to be some stronger transmitters out there because I like to listen to a local public radio station that broadcasts on 88.7. Granted, the recetion is a little weak, but it's mostly talk shows anyway. Every other day, I either pass someone or someone going by is transmitting on 88.7 (which I think is the default channel for most transmitters). It's extremely annoying. Their signal is strong enough to transmit over 2 lanes of traffic and totally obliterate the signal I'm listening to! I wish those transmitters would find a clear channel for you so I wouldn't have to hear other people's music and interrupt my shows! It's so annoying. So if theirs is transmitting such a strong signal, maybe you just need a better transmitter. They've got to be out there because I hear them all the time.

I listen to my iPod, but I do so through a tape adapter. Quality's not great, but neither is my car stereo, and again, I listen to spoken podcasts, not music (usually). I wish car stereos would come with an audio input jack by default without having to buy a kit.
[/rant]

:)



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: osxpounder on Nov 21, '06 02:12:55PM

I use a tape adapter, and I find the quality excellent. It's the tape adapter that came with my Philips portable CD player about 6-8 years ago. Poor thing hasn't been used in years, but the tape adapter gets used every few days. Love it. I can plug in my iPod, my smaller i-bead, or anything that has a 1/8" stereo out. If I were shopping for a car audio system, I'd get one with a 1/8" stereo input jack on the front, so I could plug directly from pods to dashboard. Maybe next time.

I like to listen to FM stations at the low, left end of the range, too, so I wouldn't even consider a retransmitter.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: DanFrakes on Nov 21, '06 02:46:58PM

Keep in mind that transmitter strength is restricted by FCC regulations; as it is, a number of popular FM transmitters for the iPod are under investigation for putting out signals that are too powerful.

(It's also worth nothing that a cassette adapter will generally offer better sound quality than even the best FM transmitter, so you shouldn't feel back about "settling" for an adapter ;-) )

---
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld / Senior Reviews Editor, Playlist



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: grolaw on Nov 21, '06 04:26:31PM
If you have a GPS with the traffic notification system you will find that there are nice little "T" adaptors for the antenna to feed a signal to your GPS.

Now, the induction antenna idea is an excellent one - but finding a local HAM operator and working out a deal to configure a little piece of co-ax to come from the "T" adaptor and exit in your glove box and then attach to it a small antenna will make the signal come in like gangbusters. (Calculating the antenna is not trivial - see http://www.radioing.com/hamradio/antcalc.html ) However, a simple antenna cut to the frequency you want to transmit on and properly set up with a matching cap & inductor calls for more than a simple cookbook approach. It works very, very well and doesn't bother the GPS/radio reception or pick up interference from cell usage. Seek assistance from a Ham operator or a commercial business-band radio repair shop to create your little antenna tap.

Also, most modern cars come with patch cables for cell phone antennas and many cars have little "ports" in the cabin for the cell antenna cable. My SAAB 900 had a nice little popoff on the passenger side of the instrument cluster. iTrip works like a charm at 87.9. (very, very low on the FM band) Usually only low power Public Service stations e.g. NPR & Religion operate at that frequency and the tuned antenna swamps the front end of your receiver with the iTrip signal blocking out any weak broadcast stations and never exceeding the FCC regs. Proximity is everything!

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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: S Barman on Nov 21, '06 05:18:08PM

I have had few problems with my iTrip when using 87.7 and 87.9 as the frequency. My I35 can tune to those stations and I just use my iTrip LCD to flip back and forth depending on whatever interference is in my area of town. Considering I am in the DC area and have travelled to NY frequently, this seems to work for me.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: dacloutier on Nov 21, '06 07:25:04PM

I'm sure it's not as effective as an induction antenna, but when I'm renting a car I find that just plugging in the iPod's USB cable noticeably increases the iTrip's signal.

In my own car I have a patch cable plugged into the cd changer port on my stereo so I can forget the iTrip altogether.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: edwardd20 on Nov 22, '06 05:38:27AM

It's not documented but you can you can get the iTrip to broadcast on 87.7 and 87.9 both of which are technically below US FM frequencies. With the iPod playing and the iTrip is turned on, press and hold the Select button for about 10 seconds. The display should start flashing US. Scroll up or down to change the display to INTL. Select that mode and you should have access to the new frequencies. It works on the iTrip but not all other Griffin models. No idea why. I also don't know why they don't document this.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: bugmenot on Nov 22, '06 10:01:49AM
I live between NY and Boston and suffered with the iTrip for almost a month. Now I roll right over FM stations using a Transpod.

Pros:
Transpod is a transmitter, secure holder *and* charger. It transmits from the base of the ipod, not from the headphone jack.

Better sound, stronger signal, option to preset 4 stations as well as select stations manually.

Cons:
Minor issue with high notes, not a deal breaker for me.

Preset selection button is on the side of the unit, where you'd hold it while docking the ipod. I sometimes change the station inadvertently while docking.

Check this ipodhacks ref to TransPod:

http://www.ipodhacks.com/article.php?sid=185

Oh, and have a nice day.

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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: JasonLoop on Nov 22, '06 10:10:57AM
Personally I live between two cities and FM will not work, I've tried soooo many adapters and they are all radio quality or much worse, even though the iPod has better than CD quality sound.

I was in my car dealership for some minor warranty issue and the guy there at Acura in the parts department offered me some Neo iPod adapter for $500 and explained it does cd quality sound, with steering wheel controls, and lots more stuff.... but $500???? I said no for sure.

I did however go home and search for direct connect neo adapters and found quite a bit online and ended up ordering one from www.mp3yourcar.comat the advice of Neo Car Audio www.neocaraudio.com Works like a charm! But dont be fooled by the car dealerships $500+ prices
Edited on May 09, '10 06:52:24PM by robg


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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: keathmilligan on Nov 22, '06 07:18:56PM

A direct adapter like the NEO is definitely the way to go since those provide full-quality audio (no conversion to radio signal) and allow you to use your factory radio controls (including the ones on your steering wheel) to control the iPod.

Unfortunately, these don't work on many cars, especially if your car is more than a couple of years old. There is a better alternative than the iTrip-like devices though. Your local stereo shop can install an adapter that provides you with an aux input for your stereo - they work bypassing the antenna with a switch (so you don't have to give up radio). The devices connect directly at the antenna input of your stereo so it doesn't pick up a lot of interference. I have one in my 2004 Xterra and the sound quality is quite good. I think it was about $150 installed.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: phi-nom on Nov 23, '06 08:35:25PM
How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: sinosight on Aug 05, '09 06:21:05PM
Ugh, and this is a completely retarded solution to begin with. FM Transmitters ALL sound like absolute ass. No exceptions, this is just how it is. IF you want to keep the stock stereo, what you should do is get an FM MODULATOR and not an FM Transmitters . The FM Modulator basically is hardwired into your antenna and provides a MUCH clearer signal to your FM stereo. Utlimately these are both pretty mickey-mouse solutions however because ideally you'd want a stereo that integrates w/ the iPod seamlessly like what Alpine offers. Heck I'd even take a simple 1/8" Auxilliary input over any FM transmitter/modulator.

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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: nikebud on May 08, '10 09:29:24PM

>> Ugh, and this is a completely retarded solution to begin with. FM Transmitters ALL sound like absolute ass. No exceptions, this is just how it is. IF you want to keep the stock stereo, what you should do is get an FM MODULATOR and not an FM Transmitters . The FM Modulator basically is hardwired into your antenna and provides a MUCH clearer signal to your FM stereo. Utlimately these are both pretty mickey-mouse solutions however because ideally you'd want a stereo that integrates w/ the iPod seamlessly like what Alpine offers. Heck I'd even take a simple 1/8" Auxilliary input over any FM transmitter/modulator.

An FM modulator is the same thing as an FM transmitter. What they call an "FM Modulator" connects between the head unit's antenna connection and its antenna. Whether or not it is connected directly to the head unit's antenna input is meaningless, since FM waves travel through the air.

>>Heck I'd even take a simple 1/8" Auxilliary input over any FM transmitter/modulator.

Duh, a simple 1/8" aux input directly connects the sound output of any device to your head unit. And gives the exact same output as if the iPod was connected through a dock. If your head unit "integrates w/ the iPod seamlessly" it's still using the direct audio connection that the aux input would be using.



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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: iPodTransmitter on Aug 04, '10 12:12:04PM
If you do decide an iPod FM transmitter is the solution for you, there are good selection (with customer reviews) at www.ipodfmtransmitter.co.uk

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How to receive a clearer iPod FM transmitter signal
Authored by: evancharles on Aug 17, '10 06:05:36AM

I'm experiencing a high frequency hum with my FM transmitter which I believe is produced by my car's battery. It's probably a dirty signal. I jostled the power unit and had a 100% clean signal for a second. It makes me wonder if there is a way to work around the hum.



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