Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  AM Radio Reception Poor

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   AM Radio Reception Poor
Hal Watkins posted 11-16-2007 08:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for Hal Watkins   Send Email to Hal Watkins  
I bought a new 170 Montauk this spring with factory AM/FM/CD setup. FM and CD work well enough but the AM has a pop...pop...pop continuously key off or on with nothing else running. Dealer sez "AM radios are crap anyway". I listen to way too much AM radio but miss it for ballgames and Bob Brinker on the weekends. Any ideas on the pop...pop...pop? Thanx, Hal of Waseca, MN
Bella con23 posted 11-16-2007 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
Whether or not you listen to AM radio is irrelevant. You have a defective part on a new boat covered under warranty. Tell the dealer you want it repaired or replaced. You spent big bucks for a premium product and you expect top notch service. If the dealer kicks, take it up to the next level.

What's next? You don't need a bilge pump because the boat is unsinkable?

Start fooling around trying to repair stuff under warranty, you will quickly void that warranty.

Hope it goes easy for you.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 11-17-2007 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
You paid a lot for the boat and have warranties on the various items. Regardless of whether you even use the radio, it should not be malfunctioning.

I agree with Joe.


JayR posted 11-17-2007 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for JayR  Send Email to JayR     
"Dealer sez "AM radios are crap anyway"."

That's some customer service! If they don't take better care of you than that, I would bring it up with the corporate office.

jimh posted 11-17-2007 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If the AM radio reception is poor even with the engine off, there is a something wrong. AM radio reception is prone to interference. Move the boat to a different location to make sure the "pop-pop-pop" isn't just some local electrical interference. If you get the same results everywhere, the radio is not working properly.

AM radio reception usually needs a good antenna. Did you install a separate antenna for the radio? And one specifically for the AM broadcast band? And one matched properly to the radio? Most AM antennas have to be carefully tuned and matched to the radio; a hunk of wire won't work well for an antenna.

jimh posted 11-17-2007 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Also--make sure the SONAR is not operating. It could easily be interfering, and the nature of the interference you describe sounds like the the pulse repetition rate of a SONAR.
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-17-2007 04:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
My experience is that a hunk of wire will at least sorta work.
You'll get some of the stronger stations. So either there's
no antenna at all, or the radio is busted.

What model radio?


Hal Watkins posted 11-17-2007 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
I appreciate your comments. The radio is a Clarion CMRC1 with the remote control mounted to the right of the throttle/shifter. It is Sirius satelite ready. It makes the pop...pop...pop noise without the sonar even mounted in the boat. It does it in the garage, on the water, everywhere. It does it on strong local stations and all others as well. There is no antenna any of the factory installed AM/FM/CD units have external antenna's?
My dealer is 250 miles away but I wll be there a couple times next summer as he is on the Gull Lake chain in north cenral MN. Thanx, Hal of Waseca, MN
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-17-2007 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The CMRC1 is the remote control.

Looks like the radio will be CMD4, CMD5, or M475. I found
an installation manual for the CMD4 on Clarions website --
it does have an antenna input on the far left as viewed from
the rear.

Is the Pop pop pop on top of the station, or do you not get
the station at all, just pop pop pop.


sitotis posted 11-18-2007 12:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for sitotis  Send Email to sitotis     
It sounds like this is not the case here, but if the popping issue was from the sonar is there a way to correct it (short of turning off the sonar)? Is there a certain way the stereo should be wired to reduce or eliminate it? Is there some kind of line conditioner or capacitor you can install on the power wires going to the stereo/amplifier? I am asking because I had this exact problem on my last boat, and I will be installing a new stereo on my new boat over the winter.
jimh posted 11-18-2007 03:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Based on my experience working for an electronics manufacturer that produced very high resolution ultrasonic test instrumentation that operated at frequencies of 20-MHz or more, the excitation of a piezo-electric transducer is usually done with a DC pulse. A big pulse of DC, maybe 100-volts, would be sent to the transducer, shocking it into vibration at its resonant frequency. If marine SONAR's work this way, and I think they probably do, then the DC pulse is a rather broadband source of noise. It could easily interfere with other sensitive circuits.

The path for the interference can be via a common power line connection or via other paths. A quick way to test for power line crosstalk is to temporarily wire the device being interfered with to a separate battery. Get a second 12-volt battery--just a small one--and wire the audio device to it. If the interference goes away or is reduced in level, then you have demonstrated that some or all of the interference was being brought in via the power lines. If that is the case, to decouple the power lines, try a good power line filter.

Hal Watkins posted 11-18-2007 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
The station can be heard but the pop...pop...pop is on top of the station. It is disappointing that the radio could come from the factory incorrectly wired. I will check the lack of anntena possibility the first time my garage reaches 50 degrees again..snow flurries here today. A week ago we were on the MS River at Redwing, Mn. Thanx, Hal
13sport posted 11-18-2007 11:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    
Get a small handheld transistor radio and tune it to the same station. Have all of the same accessories on as usual. As you move the radio around the boat any static and the pop, pop should get louder as you get closer to what ever is causing the interference. If the handheld radio works fine everywhere then your boat’s AM radio is crap or maybe needs a dedicated antenna.
towboater posted 11-19-2007 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
Hal. Congrats with your purchase.

I agree.
Long live AM Sports and talk! Actually, I prefer AM radio to prime time TV...I hate becoming captive. Savage is so outrageous he is hilarious. What is better than working on your boat or fishin while listening to a ball game on AM radio? Like Blues? Check out R L Burnside "it's bad you know".
SHAME on your Dealer for trying to pass the buck. Here is the method I would use to keel haul that Dude. He will be lucky to die!

"If you own a boat, you have something to do."
Get used to it. mkj

While it could be the noise reducer (or lack of) connected between the hot leg of the buss bar and the radio hot wire, my hunch is the ant is not grounded and creating back feed. The amp inside may be acting kinda like a microphone too close to a speaker or taking a video of yourself in a mirror. It seeks to convert signals, but there is no end within itself. Jim knows the tech side far better than I do. Ive got a little bit of radio electronics background in the Military. (05 Charlie is either a radio team Chief or a Forward Observer who carries the radio to call in air or artillery strikes...this MOS does not have a high mortality rate in warzones.) Anyway...your Dealer is goin down.

Go to Radio Shack and buy a small radio antenna and plain jane noise reducer. Plug the antenna into the radio and test. Still pops? Ground the antenna base to the negative terminal of your battery or ground loop.
(I carry a 4 ft piece of 12 ga wire with small alligator clips on both ends in my tool box for system testing. I call em "mini jumpers". Radio shack has this stuff also.)
Still pops? Install the noise limiter. Still pops?
Unhook the radio ground and run it straight to the battery also.
Still pops? Bad radio.

While going thru all this warrantee problem seems like a pain in the ass, I think it is less trouble than taking your boat to the shop just for radio tech purposes.
Now call your scurvy Dealer, explain everything you have done in DETAIL. Everything. You need to validate that tho this is simple consumer testing, it is time consuming.
While you are explaining what seems to be a boring story, he is calculating $$'s. I expect Capt Bly will quickly realize replacing the radio may cost less than paying his Techs to go thru the same process you have to arrive at the same place.

If he asks you to bring the boat in. Tell them it is winterized in a heated garage and you refuse to do that unless he offers the same heated covered storage. Ask for an rental boat in the meantime. Mention DEMURRAGE issues. Goggle the word if you dont know what it is. There is nothing wrong with your boat that you cant take it for a spin. Now you have him itemizing $$s again. Offer to let OEM AUTHORIZED Service Techs come to your place. This is a bluff...they wont. Play hardball. If the guy is smart, he will SIMPLY order a new radio or give you CREDIT to buy your own. Dont let him try to depreciate your radio. Have the date you first complained READY to toss back at him. Eventually you will know every square inch of the insides of your console, may as well get started now.

Make SURE the new set is Ipod compatible and pay any bal due if it costs a little more. BUY ALPINE. Good luck.


sternorama posted 11-21-2007 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
Great write-up, towboater!
Lil Whaler Lover posted 11-22-2007 07:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lil Whaler Lover  Send Email to Lil Whaler Lover     
Some great ideas here but you all may be missing the most obvious way to figure out what is causing the problem.

Your dealer should have a notebook from Clarion telling him/her what to do. They have a great exchange program while still under warranty. I have used it twice (at work). They were very helpful, cooperative and fast acting. I have the 800 number at work where you can call technical support but it is probably on their web site or in the owners manual. Just do not wait for the spring warm up, do it on the next business day. I have had to do warranty on several brands of radios and Clarion was by far the best to deal with.


PeteB88 posted 11-30-2007 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Towboater - I used to go to sleep listening to KGO SFO when I lived in Portland over Zenith Transoceanic I had next to my bed. Came back to Mich and ruined the radio by leaving it in my basement one summer - humidity.

QUESTION AM Radio listeners: Have any of you been disappointed with CC Radio Sangean re: quality and AM reception? Mine turned into junk (tuner can't be read, pre-set microswitches suck) and AM reception ain't as good as my GE Super or an old Sony clock radio next to the bed.

What are your experiences before I start a new thread? Got it for Weather bands which work fine but can no longer tune it, readout can't be read.


Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.