AM/FM antenna in attic to distribute to whole house?

FoxCitiesTV's picture
Green Bay

A little off-topic but I know we have a lot of smart people here so I thought I'd ask...

After spending the time and money to run CAT6 and RG6 coax to six rooms of my house, it got me to thinking. I have two A/V receivers, and a Kenwood radio tuner in the house, and I'd love to put an antenna in the attic that could pick up a good AM/FM radio signal and connect it to all those radio tuners in my house. Since I already have wire runs to the rooms of my house, it wouldn't be all that much more difficult to run another wire to the rooms in the house that have radio tuners, rather than each having their own antennas with different results.

Is this possible, and if so what would I need to do?

Posted October 13, 2009 4:10pm in
Willscary's picture

Sort of. First off, which

Sort of.

First off, which Kenwood tuner??? A classic analog KT-7500 (or better) could be a fantastic tuner with a little TLC! your question. AM does not play well with 75 ohm coax. The loop that came with your receivers will do OK in some cases, but microwave ovens and flourescent lights will really hurt any chance at decent AM reception. If you wish to spend some money, C. Crane sells a Dual ferrite rod powered AM antenna which works VERY well and also cancels most home related interference (noise). You can actually attic mount it (or mount it under your eaves outdoors) and run it to your tuner with very good results. However, most AM tuners are not very good, and will not take full advantage of an antenna like this.

FM...the best FM antennas are said to be directional. A good directional antenna can have as much as 10 dB of forward gain while rejecting signals from the rear, attenuating them by as much as 30 dB. However, these very best hi-gain antennas are VERY large (10 and up to 20' long!) I have used Antennacraft FM6 antennas for many years. I have 2 in my attic and 1 in my garage. They cost about $25 from Marsh Electronics by the airport in Greenville. They have quite good forward gain (5-6 dB and good rear rejection (12-25 dB). Unfortunately, they really only work in one direction unless you install a rotor. I finally gave up on this antenna and installed a Fanfare FM-2G half wave vertical whip antenna. This antenna has 0 db gain in all directions, so it picks up stations equally from everywhere. It has no gain, so it can't pick up Milwaukee from my house like my old FM--13 did (came down in a wind storm nearly 15 years ago), but it is vertical, so it actually picks up less interference than the horizontally oriented yagis do.

The FM-2G is expensive ($100) and is simply a stainless steel whip (like a CB antenna on an automibile) with a loaded base. It weighs about 5 ounces and can be mounted outside on the peak of your house for fantastic reception. You will gain about 3 dB simply by getting outside the roof and will gain another dB or 2 by mounting higher than the attic (the peak).

Here is a great site:

Notice on the bottom antenna height vs gain

The whip is actually so small that it is hard to notice. You would need to ground it if you mount it outside.

I have not yet removed my FM6 antennas from the attic. I may damage them when I do. If I decide I can live without them, you can have one for free. If you attic mount, it will work fine for local stations in one direction. You need to combine it with your TV antennas using a VHF/TV splitter. Then you will need to extract the FM from the coax using another VHF/FM splitter at the receiver. FM plays well with VHF as it is simply VHF audio situated just above channel 6 on the tv dial. I will caution you that 3rd order harmonics from strong FM stations can (not always) interfere with VHF-hi channels (7-13).

Email me with any other questions.


FoxCitiesTV's picture

Thanks for all the info,

Thanks for all the info, Bill. Had a feeling if I threw the question out there, you'd chime in on it. :)

The Kenwood tuner I have is a KT-42B Stereo Synthesized Tuner I picked up at Goodwill for a couple bucks. Currently use it at work with a cheap Terk indoor antenna but I'd love to bring it home and use it there instead.

Willscary's picture

The FM "whole house" antenna

The FM "whole house" antenna you are looking for is easy to accomplish, but remember that by splitting the coax into different rooms, you are splitting the signal also. If you have set up distribution to 4 rooms, each outlet will only get about 20% of the signal (1/4 of the signal minus some splitter loss), so even with a fairly good antenna, you will most likely only receive radio stations cleanly if they are strongly received at the antenna. If you only listen to locals, then this is not a problem.

Because FM tuners are different beasts than TV tuners, I do not reccommend an antenna preamp or a distribution amp. This will simply overload most FM tuners. Again, I am waiting for a new tuner to arrive and I just mast mounted the FM-2G outside. If I am excited by the results I get, I will be removing the attic FM6's. If you want one and I can get them out undamaged, you can have one, Mark. The FM6 is a good directional antenna and is not the monster that most FM antennas are. These have no corrosion because they have always been inside, but they may be a bit bent up from removal (my attic is a crawl space and not easy to maneuver in) and may be a bit dusty.


jjnemoiii's picture
If you want Long Range, without goig outside, the Select-a-Tenna above works great for me. Its no good if you have lots of interference nearby, but otherwise, I made a small antenna with about three feet of phone wire, added this, and get half of the Chicago AM stations clear, as well as some farther away.


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