I have a headphone and a cellphone that has built-in FM radio, and the headphone acts as the radio antenna. but my problem is the radio stations I listen to are very far from my place, good thing there are some position where the sound is very clear.

I have 5 favorite station whom I listen to which are at the same place (that means they're all far from me) and I often switch to each one.

BAD THING is... each station has its OWN position for it to give a clear sound so if I want to switch to another frequency then I need to change the position to another which is very exhausting.

I wanna know if there is still hope to fix this thing.

I listen using the headphone's speaker not in loudspeaker (just saying).


3 Answers 3


Plug in a USB cable, and stretch it out in the opposite direction as the headphones cable.

Or place the phone on a large metal object - a stove, car, sheet of tinfoil - and extend the headphone cord away from that object.

Headphone cords are used as an antenna by separating the wires from the phone body, at radio frequencies, with inductors, or a small cross-over network or diplexer if you like.

Unfortunately although the headphone wires are a good length, very close to a quarter wave in fact, the other half of the antenna is the phone body, which is still quite small. This can be improved a lot with the USB cable, which doesn't need to be plugged into anything else, or by the capacitive coupling to the large metal object.


I don't have one of that style of receiver (headphone cord as antenna) to test with, but here's what comes to mind as easy to do:

  1. Get a headphone splitter / 3.5 mm Y cable.

  2. If you have an extension/patch cable you can plug into the splitter, you can use that; if you have access to parts, get a 3.5 mm plug with no cable, and a length of plain wire, and attach the wire to the ring (ground/outside shell) contact of the plug.

  3. Plug in your headphones and the extra wire into the two jacks of the splitter, and the splitter into the radio.

  4. The extra wire should have some effect on the reception. Rearrange it, hang it up high in the air (vertically), and so on until you get reception you find adequate for all stations. Remember that your body also has an effect, so try to hang it up somehow and step away before evaluating the result. (You can change the effective length of the wire without cutting it by tightly coiling the free end.)

  5. Once you have a result you like, tie down the wire so it'll stay where you put it and you're done.

The positioning of the headphone cord will still have an effect on reception, but hopefully it will be lesser, and may be more like missing just one of the five stations.

What we're doing here is creating a second antenna. By moving it away from your body, it should function better, hopefully picking up all five stations strongly enough for your receiver.

Of course, for the best results we would want a carefully designed antenna, but we'd need to know the characteristics of the receiver input and possibly build a matching network for it, and I figure that's more trouble than you're looking for. After all, the most straightforward way to get better reception is to get a radio with a proper antenna (or antenna jack).

  • $\begingroup$ Leave it to you, @Kevin. That's pretty clever. I only see one pitfall - cellphones have those funky 4-conductor connectors which include a contact for a microphone. So it would take that kind of splitter and extension to work with them. $\endgroup$
    – SDsolar
    Jun 8, 2017 at 2:11

I always try to get a headphone or earbuds that have long cables. The longer the cable, the better the reception. It also helps to stretch the cable as much as you can if the cables are sort of bunched up. Also, for me on my MP3 player, reception is best once the screen turns off.

For the unique areas, there's really not much you can do. I'd try to get to the highest ground possible and test my luck there. Hope this helps!


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