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Radio reception and interference

You may have trouble receiving radio because of faulty radio equipment or interference or poor coverage if you listen to digital radio.

Follow these steps to fix your radio reception.

Do not try to fix your equipment yourself unless you are qualified.

Digital radio reception

Follow these steps to check your digital radio reception.


Check your area

You can check whether your area has or will get digital radio through Commercial Radio Australia.


Check your radio equipment

Tune to FM radio

Digital radio equipment can usually receive FM radio. 

To check your equipment, try tuning to an FM radio station.

If you have FM reception problems, your equipment might be faulty.

Get help from your equipment supplier.

Check your antenna

For small radios that do not have an antenna:

  • make sure the headphones are fully plugged into the headphone socket
  • change the position of the power cable.

Sometimes the power cable and headphone cable can work as an antenna.

If you are using a portable radio:

  • fully extend the antenna
  • try your radio in different places in your home.

It can be difficult to receive radio in rooms with thick walls or that are underground, such as car parks.

You can try using an external antenna with some digital radio equipment. An external antenna can help you receive radio.

Scan or reset

Try scanning for channels or factory resetting your radio equipment.

Check your user manual for instructions.


Check your home

Digital radio is less likely to have interference than AM or FM radio.

However, you can check whether electrical equipment in your home is causing your reception problem.

With your radio on, switch off electrical equipment such as:

  • TVs
  • washing machines
  • LED lights
  • computers
  • mobile telephones.

See whether that changes your reception.

If your equipment is causing your problem, consider:

  • moving the equipment
  • fixing your equipment
  • buying new equipment.

We may investigate equipment to check whether it complies with our rules. If it breaks our rules, we may:

  • investigate the supplier
  • ask you to stop using the equipment.

We do not take your equipment away.


If you cannot fix your digital radio reception

If your area has digital radio and you have reception problems, you might need better coverage.

Contact Commercial Radio Australia with your:

  • street name
  • suburb
  • state
  • postcode.

AM or FM radio reception

Follow these steps to check your AM or FM radio reception.


Check your AM or FM radio station coverage

Check whether you are in the coverage area for a radio station.
Find out by searching using your postcode or location.


Check your radio equipment

Faulty radio equipment might stop you receiving radio.

Some radios bought online or overseas may not be configured for Australia – find out more about devices bought overseas.

Try different equipment in place of yours. If you receive radio using the new equipment, it is likely your other equipment is faulty.


Check your environment

Check your home (for AM radio only)

Electrical devices in your home might cause AM radio reception problems:

Device How to check
Kettles, toasters and refrigerators With your radio on, switch your appliance on and off. If it changes your reception, it could be the device causing the problem.
Products with an electric motor such as power tools, electric shavers and hair dryers With your radio on, use your product. Listen for a whine or buzz from your radio that changes with the speed of the motor.
Products with a thermostat such as hot water systems, refrigerators and spa baths Listen for a regular harsh buzz from your radio.
LED lights With your radio on, switch your lights on and off. See whether that changes your reception.

If the device is causing your problem, try:

  • moving the device
  • fixing or replacing the device.

Check outside your home (AM and FM radio)

Sources outside might cause radio reception problems. 

An outside source usually affects many homes. Ask your neighbours if they have trouble receiving radio too.

First, try to isolate the source by turning off the power to your house. Ask your neighbours to do the same. See if that changes your reception. 

For FM radio:

Source How to check
Large structure such as a mountain, hill, tree or building Listen for a sharp or harsh sound from your radio. Usually the 'stereo light' flashes. This can mean a large structure is reflecting your radio signal.
Nearby transmitters Listen for voices other than those on the radio program you are listening to.

If an outside source is causing your problem, consider using:

  • an external antenna that faces the radio tower
  • an external filter on your radio.

For AM radio:

Electrical source How to check
Power lines Listen for a harsh, rasping buzz from your radio. It is usually during hot, dry and windy weather and in the evenings when dew falls on power lines with dust, salt or pollution damage.
Streetlights See whether the interference happens when streetlights turn on.
Nearby transmitters Listen for voices other than those on the radio program you are listening to.

Contact your electricity provider if power lines or streetlights are causing reception problems.


If you cannot fix your radio reception

We may be able to investigate if your neighbours have similar issues.

Please fill out the radio interference request for investigation form and provide the details of 3 (or more) neighbours so we can contact them about their issues.

Please note that the details will only be used as needed for this investigation. Read the ACMA’s privacy policy.

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