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Thread: improving Silabs USB Radio reception

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate frugmonkey's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    west yorks england
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    improving Silabs USB Radio reception

    Hi
    Got just about all of my CarPC installed now and all seems to be working pretty smoothly except for the Radio functions, Silabs is unfortunately about my only reasonably priced option available to me in uk, as its difficult to source hd radio units in uk, and seems a little pointless for just fm radio reception.

    i have connected a length of antenna wire onto the board of the silabs where the original antenna wire was soldered on, and grounded the wires shielding to the board, the other end has a standard aerial socket connected, so i could join straight up to the original wiring behind the screen where the head unit used to be........ alas my reception still stinks!

    the car is a vw bora (golf running gear and electrics) i believe it has an amplified antenna, but does the antenna power up when i switch on the ignition? or did the old head unit do it, there did seem to be more wires in the old iso conector than normal, has anyone else had a similar problem? i'm about to go out and see if i can access the aerial with vag-com and find out if its powered up in a min.
    Progress: ~99%
    Fitted, Running.
    boot install to tidy when better weather arrives

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    178
    If you've just removed the OEM HU and gone straight to the Silabs, then the antenna will need an amplifier and supply it with 12v. This is the case when replacing the OEM unit in any VW/SEAT/SKODA afaik and was certainly the case with my Leon.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate frugmonkey's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    west yorks england
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    got an autoleads adapter for it in the end, just connects to a supply that comes on with the ignition and plugs inline with aerial line powers up the antenna amp when the ignition comes on, it must be working as radio reception improved slightly after fitting, but i have to say as a radio solution the silabs really does still suck pretty severely, receptions still pretty poor, and theres a constant really high pitched noise that kind of slightly changes frequency with the sound coming over the radio. I'm not sure quite what it is, but will be perhaps trying using the line outs from it instead in case its something to do with the a-d converter that puts audio down usb.
    failing that i'll have to put my hand in my pocket and get a directed hd unit and waste it by only using it for analogue fm!
    Progress: ~99%
    Fitted, Running.
    boot install to tidy when better weather arrives

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    178
    It could be that you grounded the cable shielding inside the silabs incorrectly, especially if you are getting bad interference. It's not amazing but at at times I get a really good signal and lots of RDS info from the Silabs tuner.

    The DirectedHD should be better but it's a very expensive solution for the UK, especially after paying for the adapter cable and shipping to the UK. The Craig Brass DAB/FM unit and a replacement aerial is a little cheaper and I reckon a better option for the UK, that's if the reports on the reception are to be believed.

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