Bad reception



My Mercury Mystique is a year 2000, bought used without out the original radio. I am guessing the previous owner replaced it, choosing the cheapest brand out there, known as Durabrand. The reception (FM and AM) is either horrible or clear depending on what the radio feels like doing. Mostly horrible though. It has a digital read out for the frequency, but instead of buttons to tune, it has a knob. Occasionally it has a mind of its own and the frequency read out starts scrolling by itself, including FM frequencies that do not exist (like 74.2 or 50.3) the same thing happens when I try to tune it to a certain station, it just takes off. While it is doing this, it sounds like listening to 2 stations at once, or just static.

This car also has an automatic antenna, that is stuck in the up position unless I turn off the car and run and help push it down while the antenna motor is still making noise.

Now that you know the facts, my question is, do I just need a new radio, or just a new antenna or both?


Easiest and probably cheapest solution get a used O.E. one from a salvage yard.


First, make sure the power and ground connections to the radio are solid. Noisy power/ground connections could conceivably cause both the intermittent problems: poor reception and weird tuning. (BTW, to me, tuning w/ a knob is natural. It’s those digital buttons that are strange. :>) )

After that, both problems could be internal to the radio. If I had the radio I’d put it on the bench with a 12V supply and a speaker and antenna, and I’d pound on the radio to see if I could find some intermittent solder connection or a broken trace on a printed wiring board. If you have to pay somebody to do that and then fix it, you’ll probably be happier just to buy a new radio.

But note that the poor reception might be a separate problem, caused by a poor antenna (or ground) connection – at the antenna, at the connector to the radio, or in the cable between them.


Durabrand makes a myriad of electronic devices including CD players, DVD players, TV’s, radios and home theatre systems. The brand is probably made in China and is the cheapest electronic devices ever made. Most of them malfunction right out of the box. Avoid Durabrand at all costs. You are very lucky that your radio works at all. Get rid of it for a quality aftermarket radio or O.E. one out of a salvage yard.