Radio Upgrade Options

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  1. 68 4spd Fury

    68 4spd Fury Well-Known Member

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    Looking for thoughts and/or suggestions. I have a factory AM/FM in my 68 Fury. It works, for the most part, and I've always striven to maintain originality, but once I leave the metro area reception is spotty and fades out. This is most likely because it's a 50 year old radio and/or it just isn't that good with the modern digital signals no matter what. Does anyone make the the two knob radios anymore, (without going the $4-600 resto route)? I have a mount plate, face plate and radio delete plate I could use, I can cut it if I have to, but would rather not, for the newer CD style. Just asking. IMG_1196.JPG IMG_1197.JPG IMG_1198.JPG
     
  2. FURYGT

    FURYGT Senior Member

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    Suggest you just get modern internals installed in the radio with inputs for your phone etc. This way there are no fitment issues.
     
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  3. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    Well, you either spend the noted amount of money (whether repro/Aurora Design/aftermarket) or you seek to make yours work better. It was known, back then, that the optimum length of the antenna for FM reception was 31", which is not nearly the total length it'll extend to.

    You can check the resistance of the coax lead-in cables and make sure the connections are all clean, as is the external antenna sections.

    Now, just for grins, look to see if there is an "RCA" plug "cap" on the backside of your factory AM/FM radio. Should be black, smaller than about a dime, and possibly held in with a small screw/bracket? IF you find one, all you need is a rear fader and "the box" to make it a factory multiplex/stereo unit. Not all had them, but some did. OF at least some GM cars came that way as Delco probably built that unit to Chrysler specs. I have run across some normal-looking Delco radios from that era that had the RCA plug, but otherwise looked like a normal 'upgrade" AM/FM radio. BUT it will take the control box, which has a thick multi-conductor cable that goes to behind the rear seat, where it is mounted, to make it work. The fader is external of the radio, but is configured for the multiplex unit. Of course, then you'll need the speakers for it, too, front and rear.

    It might be possible that the superhetreodyune (or spelled similarly) tuner "plates" could be dirty and just need some spray cleaner to freshen them up? Might also be that the speakers need attention? There's a thread which mentions a vendor for factory speakers in here, somewhere.

    The range on FM will be much shorter than it will be for AM, just the nature of things. FM is "line of sight" and AM can bounce off of atmospheric layers (or something to that affect). We've gotten used to the 100KW FM stations of modern times. Few existed at that power in the later '60s, so they were generally "metro area only" in reception area.

    I'd suggest that you get what you've got cleaned-up and checked (the complete radio and such). Then you'll know if it's as good as you want it to be, to justify further expenditures in that area.

    As mentioned, getting some modern "guts" in your existing radio would be a neat upgrade, but you'll still need the speakers and such.

    Just some thoughts,
    CBODY67
     
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  4. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    1) There is no such thing as a "digital" signal for AM/FM radio. Only the television bands have seen such changes, and that relates to the way signals are processed vs. transmitted. That's why I am still able to watch about 50 channels on the 1977 Zenith set in my bedroom.

    2) With all the opportunities for resistance and corrosion on a 50 y/o car, I would be looking at every ground and connection long before blaming the radio internals.

    3) Since your complaint is signal strength outside the metro area, you would do well to read the FSM which deals with that specific problem.

    4) Most modern receivers are actually very compromised in the tuner section vs. older radios which didn’t give much consideration to weight or the space needs of higher-powered amplifiers. Especially on the AM band... All of my older car radios out-perform the newer ones in terms of sensitivity and noise rejection on AM. On FM, there is a little more drift with older radios, but it's barely perceptable.

    Electronics are a "black art" for most gearheads, so shotgun approaches are common.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  5. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    In this area there is crap for music on AM. And that comes from Windsor, Ca. I can't drive one mile without disruption from power lines. My original AM radio works fine but the speakers are a bit crispy.
    Picked up a clean looking donor radio at Carlisle to have Gary Tayman rework.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  6. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    A lot of the problem may just be that FM radio in Syracuse pretty much sucks and you have an old radio.

    The FM broadcast signals get blocked by the hills depending on where you are driving. When the FM antennas were built years ago, they were kind of "in line of sight" of Syracuse. Some are in Pompey or Baldwinsville for example.

    With the old radio, the tuners aren't the electronic versions we have now and they tend to get dirty and kind of cranky. Capacitors may change value with age etc. They just aren't going to work as well as a new radio or a conversion.

    So... I really like to recommend two things. First is having your radio converted by Gary Tayman. http://garytayman.com/stereo.htm Yea, it's not cheap, but the sound and reception is fantastic and the radio still appears 100% stock. I have done this conversion with two cars and I love it. The second is a satellite radio subscription. I have two XM receivers that I move from car to car to garage. Two subscriptions cover everything. No commercials etc.
     
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  7. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Please tell me the local FM station that's worth a damn. When Bob Seger records a bowl movement, it's on for 94.7 years. If I here "cum on Eileen" once more on 104.3 I'll throw up. That basically leaves top-40 crap, goat-roping music and urban-contempory-garbage.

    AM 580 at least plays some variety, even if it's just Canadian-mandated content (Lots of BTO and 3 dog night) True that it's loaded with interference, but that's the FCC not doing its job (surprise).

    I leave for work as early as 4:45, 760 AM does a nice news block from 5-5:20, then it's just an ass-kissy-cutesy morning show and DTE commericals, so I switch to NPR to keep up on trangendered spotted-owl stories. Thankfully I'm out of the car by 5:35-ish. The ride home is Rush Limbaugh, re-broadcast from 3-5 by AM 660 out of Sandusky, MI which is nowhere near Auburn Hills, so that's how I know the AM band works well on old cars.

    Otherwise it's just podcasts or streaming my 70s Latino R&B station out of Phoenix. Even went to a Hall & Oats concert out there based on a promo I heard on the stream in MI, lol.
     
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  8. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-D5S-6-DeoxIT-Contact-Cleaner/dp/B00006LVEU

    For cleaning tuners. Although unless the car was stored underwater, I've never seen a tuner that bad. Our era of radio uses modern mylar caps, not the old paper and paste stuff from the 50s. Cap problems are very rare unless the car sat unused in the AZ sun for a decade.

    If the OP truly has a reception (antenna) problem, that needs to be addressed first, regardless of future plans. Connecting a modern-whiz-bang Chinese radio to a compromised antenna won't improve anything. It's like connecting a rebuilt engine to a gas tank full of varnish.
     
  9. shooter65

    shooter65 Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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  10. commando1

    commando1 Sergeant at Arms FCBO Gold Member

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    Oh, fer Pete's sakes...

    _9076198.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.jpg
     
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  11. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I had my AM/FM Search Tuners rebuilt to stock specs. With a new 8 ohm correct speaker they sound excellent - not high power modern stereo excellent mind you, but excellent for what they are.

    I also had him install input jacks and a toggle switch and I use my SiriusXM and/or phone as well.

    Best of both worlds so to speak.
     
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  12. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Agree 100%! for me it's Run around Sue that I can live without ever hearing again.
    The rebuilt radio's most important features to me will probably be the usb ports in the back to hook-up my ipod and xm radio adaptor and new speakers.
     
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  13. Carmine

    Carmine Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Now that WOMC has gone to a most-played-out 10 songs of the 80s format, I think you're safe from Runaround Sue. But you could get clipped by an REO Speedwagon which is always just around the corner.

    Actually, let me send out one more bit of praise for our Canadian friends who help fund American enjoyment... Whenever I can remember, I listen to this on 89.9:

    Randy Bachman

    If we have some similar tastes Rapidtrans, you might enjoy it as well. 89.9 has earned a spot on my presets. 1/2 the time it's something weird, that would only get heard on public radio, but sometimes you stumble into something rarely heard and pretty good. Thanks Canadian taxpayers!
     
  14. Wildaugust

    Wildaugust Senior Member

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    I remember replacing the antenna on my truck many years ago. It was just shortly after I bought the truck. I just had the factory AM radio in it. Anyway, there was an antenna with a coil spring at the bottom and because of a stripped screw, the mast would quite often just fall over while I was driving. So, I bought a replacement one piece whip which came with coax. I decided to go "all out" and install an AM/FM Cassette stereo unit at the same time. To my disappointment, I found that I could only receive a small number of stations compared to what I used to get with the old antenna and factory radio. At first I assumed that the AM/FM unit just had a crappy tuner, but then it occurred to me to try something. I had some leftover RG-6U "low loss" coax from a TV antenna installation. I swapped it in place of the coax that came with the new antenna. Man, what a difference! Both the AM and FM bands were covered with stations. I had FM stations coming in in full stereo that I couldn't even receive at all with the cheap coax that came with the antenna. The AM band literally had a station on every frequency at night.
     
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  15. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    The old "super-het" tuner with their intermingling plates could have a little frequency drift over time. Something the newer PhaseLockLoop electronic tuners don't have.

    I was always impressed with the sound quality that the fuselage stereos had, back then. Even with the "mini" amps they had (compared to the newer stuff). Great frequency response, when compared to similar Ford/Philco/Motorola or GM/Delco units of that time.

    There was a more diverse programming mix back then, too. FM was still a luxury item, so its format was more formal, in many ways. Now, with all of the conglomerate "media groups", things are not as good as they used to be.

    There are still some stations that cater to the "60s rock" or "Legends" formats, but they are a dwindling breed. in Dallas, KAAM 770AM was a "legends station", until it went "Christian music about two years ago. I believe their Internet feed is still "legends"? The "oldies rock" format is on many stations, nationally, AM and FM. You can find station lists on their respective websites.

    When I get tired of "traffic and news", which I use at work, then I head to WRR-FM classical or NPR.

    Enjoy!
    CBODY67
     
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  16. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    After reading through the operating manuals of the various conversions mentioned in this thread I plan to go with the RetroSound Redondo radio.
    This radio allows me to manually scroll through am/fm/aux/usb. The others appear to automatically go to aux or usb as soon as device is turned on or plugged in. To get back to am/fm you must turn off the aux/usb devices.
    Meaning I cannot just leave my ipod and xm adaptor plugged in permanently as I do in my d.d.

    Like Carmine my car radio is on am 760 talk radio or i go straight to satellite radio. My iphone and ipad are back-ups as not much classical or christian stuff is available. Most am/fm stations around here, at least those in English, are pretty lame.
     
  17. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    There's two ways of having it set up. One way is exactly as you say, but the standard way they set it up is that you turn the tuner all the way to the left side of the dial and that switches input. Give Gary Tayman a call and he will explain the options.
     
  18. MarPar

    MarPar MeatMan FCBO Gold Member

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    Come on Eileen.jpg

    :rofl::rofl:
     
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  19. 68 4spd Fury

    68 4spd Fury Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the inputs and replies. I have been in touch with Gary Tayman and that is an option, I'd need to upgrade the speakers as well to handle the 45 watts. A little more info, I have a rear speaker with OEM fader and wiring harness, (came with the AM/FM radio when I bought it). The antenna is a OEM looking replacement unit, hopefully a good one, (can't remember where I bought it from).
    IMG_1237.JPG I did though use a 31 inch antenna from a fender I bought for my Dakota, was able to spin a 1/4-20 thread on a shoulder above the metric thread. IMG_1238.JPG IMG_1239.JPG
    This work better than telescoping model that came with antenna. Anyone ever try those hidden antennas or signal boosters I see on Ebay?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  20. tallhair

    tallhair Rufus "Mod Hair" Firefly Staff Member

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    I subscribe and just listen to the podcasts w/o any commercials ... and when and where I want from my cell phone