AM Radio Reception w212 E350 Estate 2011

stevitee

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I have searched at length with out success for an answer to this. If I have missed a post somewhere, I do apologise.

My FM reception, Sat Nav and Phone are all perfect. However, I want to be able to listen to Medium Wave/AM, specifically to 648Khz which is now allocated to Radio Caroline. In my area, car radio reception of 648 is excellent in every other car I have tried it on. But, on mine the reception is awful. Sounds like it is off channel or rather like when, back in the day, somebody snapped off the aerial on the wing of your car (weren't wire coat hangers useful??).

Anyway, I assume the problem is with the aerial and I have seen much reference to antenna amplifiers and the like but usually in the context of FM reception....and as I have said, my FM is spot on.

I asked at my local indie but got a blank look and a comment along the lines of 'does anybody listen to Medium Wave anymore?" and so on.

So, have you had a similar experience as regards AM reception in this model and if so how did you resolve it? Alternatively, could somebody please tell me where the AM antenna is located as if it will mean removing trim and so on, I'd like to know where to start.

Thank you in anticipation.
 

Submariner1

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Trying to find out what was what in my left wheel arch, there was a box with what looked like rf cable in and out.
I assumed it was my ariel amplifier.
No that is in the roof at the rear. looks hideously complex to change.

Discovered its a dual band amplifier?? Could that be FM and MW? If so could that be faulty and would STAR be able to tell.
Thats easy to get to, just remove left rear wing boot liner on mine.

Just a thought as the rest of your radio system works.
 

Headhurts

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I cannot ever remember listening to am band, in fact sitting here typing I’m not sure if my car has it available.

I hope you get it sorted though.

Robin
 

Tashman

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What? I always listen to Capital Gold on 1548 AM
 

John Laidlaw

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As above, i’ve No clue whether I can get AM, I’d guess so but never bothered!
 
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stevitee

stevitee

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Thank you Submariner1 for your reply and apologies for not having replied sooner. I must take a closer look at what lurks behind the side panels in the luggage area. I've taken the inspection panel off the rhs and there is a mass of cables in there but nothing obvious like rf cables. I've also pulled the trim down at the top of the rear hatch and seen a small sliver box that is marked 'FM'. Requests for help from my local indie have lead nowhere. The quest continues.
The other guys' comments about AM are all valid and were it not for the fact that Radio Caroline is now on it, I wouldn't be bothered either. Ofcom allowed us a generous output power so the signal is radiating out all over the place and its a bit irritating that I can't actually listen to us while driving about.
 
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stevitee

stevitee

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By way of an update, albeit several months since I started this thread, I am pleased to advise that I now have AM reception. After scouring the web via forums such as this and other information sites it became apparent that all radio reception in these cars relies upon an aerial amplifier. I found mine (this is a 2011 W212 E350 Estate) under the trim at the top of the tailgate. I noted that it was marked 'FM'. I searched a 'well known auction site' for an aerial amplifier and found several like mine (i.e. marked FM) and one that was marked AM/FM. The part numbers were the same except for two numbers. I assume that when the cars were new, buyers were given the option of having FM only (perfectly acceptable for most people these days) or AM and FM (AM, of course includes Short Wave as well, which these cars have included in the radio, although why anyone would want just one band of Shortwave in the car I do not know)
So I removed my FM amplifier and replaced it with the AM/FM one and.........there was no change i.e. still unable to tune into AM (Medium Wave). I assumed that more wiring was required to link the amplifier to the AM aerial which is embedded in the off-side rear window glass. To investigate this would require removing the roof lining and I decided that was 'bridge too far' and decided to give up the quest for AM. I tried AM several times over the next couple of days but there was nothing
All that was about three weeks ago. Today I switched the radio to MW and hey presto, there was Radio Caroline on 648Khz coming in loud and clear...I also tried the SW band and there were stations coming in on there too. So, additional wiring was not required and I can only assume that the car system/CPU/Brain or whatever needed to learn that the amplifier had been changed.
I am delighted and I hope that this 'revelation' may help anyone with a similar issue.
Thanks
 

Botus

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is it not more likely something was blocking the signal and now it isn't ?

TV transmissions (frequencies come and go, CP was doing stuff at ch55 for 3 month which is the first in 58 years it been above 36) and mobile Ariel masts chop change (3g 4g 5g) altogether it messes everything up

AM signal is so bad you could probably hear things more clearly if you open the window and 150mph and poke you head out
 
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stevitee

stevitee

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Well Botus that's a very dismissive response. Either I didn't write my post very well or you have misunderstood. Before I fitted the amplifier and shortly after I fitted it, I could not receive anything clearly right across the on AM band (see my opening post at the top of this thread where I likened the reception to where one's telescopic aerial had been snapped of the wing of the car). Now I can hear stations across all of the MW and SW bands. ^The fitting of the correct amplifier did the trick.
You say AM is so bad but don't forget that it is not that many years since that was all we had. We also only had poor standard speakers in those days so as well but we didn't know any better. Maybe you don't remember although cars couldn't go 150 mph back then so poking heads out wasn't an option.
 

Botus

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yes I saw your post. The radio didn't work, you replaced the antenna amp and it didn't make any difference... some time later the signal came back.

My post is to suggest other factors might be part of the problem.

the people at the transmitters play with signal type, strength and direction almost hourly. They just chop and change and mess about till it works for most people, then realise they cut off another 10,000 in the other half of town. In between these "experts" getting things 100% right.... 9 different fly by night mobile phone operators send out clueless muppets, who put 4g antenna in this middle of footpaths outside children's schools and your front door.

Those issues, together with some nice people hooking up flats to the street lights to help their pot plants grow tends to put some massive holes and noise into the spectrum you want to use for legitimate purposes

The kill date for all FM radio broadcasts was Feb 2012 (is was postponed to 2015... and is now open ended as DAB is a bit rubbish), with AM being many years older than FM and supposed to die at the same time, it shouldn't be that unexpected that the signal isn't that strong or great quality. FYI DTT Freeview is supposed to be switched off by 2030 !!!
 
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stevitee

stevitee

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Ok, let's try this another way. My son's and my daughter's cars both have radios that can access AM (they can also access FM and DAB). When parked outside my house, with their car radios tuned to 648Khz (for example) they could both receive an acceptable and listenable signal from Radio Caroline (on that frequency). Whereas, at the same time with my car parked next to theirs and my radio, tuned to 648Khz I received virtually nothing i.e as I previously wrote, it sounded like my aerial had been snapped off (as used to happen). This situation continued for nearly 12months, where other cars in this area, where I live could 'get' Caroline and I couldn't...In fact I couldn't 'get' any AM stations at all. In other words there was no AM aerial. Now there is, courtesy of an AM aerial amplifier (that was not previously fitted to the car when new) AND I would suggest that because these cars so run by 'computers', the car's system had to learn that it had a new component (the aerial amplifier) added and then the thing worked (rather like plugging a new usb device into your PC (or Mac....just in case).
The purpose of my putting this update on here was to inform others who may be faced with 'lack of AM' that there may be a solution. Asking a Merc dealer or an indie (I did both) led nowhere as regards help or advice. It was also to seek confirmation perhaps that my theory of the car having to learn about a new component might have been feasible.
Right now I no longer care. I have reception of 648 so I can listen to the radio station that I am part of and trust me our TX engineers do not play with the signal etc etc in the way you suggest. I have no complaint regarding the strength or quality of the signal, our blokes have worked marvels, Ofcom has been generous and Caroline is back on the 'Medium Wave' 24/7 for first time since 1990.
 

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