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Car radio reception

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The radio in my 2003 530i BMW gets lousy AM reception. FM is fine. The AM is very weak, won’t pick up any but the strongest of signals and loses those quickly. Any thoughts?

This could be a tough one. Start with checking all the plugs in the antenna circuit.

There are at least two different radio antenna configurations, depending on which package you have (Navigation, remote) but either way, the antenna amplifier is in a rear pillar, so it is not easy to access. Go to RealOEM to see the locations of the parts.

Thanks. I will try to check out the antenna circuits. My car doesn’t have nav or anything else besides the am/fm and the BMW Business CD in dash changer. Does your advice still apply?

There was a time when the amplification chain in a radio receiver could be tuned (aligned) stage by stage to get maximum performance. The tuning coils were adjustable.

With today’s mass-produced electronics, most of the circuitry on a single chip, the case sealed, they work or they don’t. Inexpensive AM receivers depend on the transmitting STATION to have 100,000 watts of radiated power to make up for any shortcomings in the very simple and basic receiver. Your only option is to buy a new quality receiver…

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Most radios nowadays do not have the quality of years past. The AM band is like an afterthought when they build the radio.

I should make a “sticky” CHECK for TSB’s. The first step in 90% of the jobs in a BMW garage is duplicate the condition, followed by checking for TSB’s. These cars has a antenna signal amplifier.

That would be major bucks saved there by intentionaly making a radio with poor AM reception, no downside to that, for sure.