There was a thread recently on the Audiokarma.org FM Tuner Message Board (which I love) on indoor FM antennas. Normally I stay out of those discussions but will follow them closely but I decided to wade in this one. The post looked like a nice entry for here:
As no one has mentioned one, Radio Shack sold a pair of FM-only rabbit ears considered the best available indoor antenna by many FM enthusiasts that have been around a while. I bought mine about 15 years ago and it is very good; the best I’ve owned and I’ve tried them all through the years as some years I find myself living where I can’t have an outdoor solution. Radio Shack stopped selling it about 5 or 6 years ago.
For transparency, the antenna I’m about to mention is one that I had manufactured based on the RS rabbit ears. I purposely haven’t jumped into the conversation because I have always gone out of my way to not appear as a shill or spammer for my products but two of the products I sell are the best available or equal to the best available. They are the outdoor dipole I sell and the indoor dipole I sell; they are the best omni-directional solution for FM radio available.
The indoor dipole I sell has the same fine tuning knob the Radio Shack rabbit ears has and both are telescopic. I have done a head-to-head test and FM signals are stronger on the new antenna I sell and I suspect it is because I’m using coax with an F connector rather than the 300 ohm flat with spades that the Radio Shack one has.
One other difference between this new one and the original RS set is that I had these built so that it could be mounted completely vertical with both rods on a vertical plane (straight up and down). This makes a HUGE difference in the locations I tried it in. I set the rods to the 1/4 wave length for the goal station and then adjust the knob to best reception and seriously can pull in stations noticably stronger than with the other highly-regarded set. This turned out to be the best orientation in two locations which surprised me because I have always believed the slight directionality of the rabbit ears at 90 degrees was one of the strong advantages; even in that orientation the new set out-performed the RS rabbit ears.
For additional transparency, let me add that any outdoor antenna will work better than the indoor antenna I have (except maybe those crappy MD and Fanfare end-fed half-waves that are actually marine two-way radio antennas as they are the equivalent of having a wet string for an FM aerial) and in addition any directional antenna, even the smallest, will work better (with a rotor) than any omni-directional antenna.
The rods on the antenna I sell are fairly flimsy and break easily so they need to be handled with care. I always mention this because my other antennas are darn near impossible to break, but this one is easy to break and you don’t want to break it because it really is a fantastic performer.
In addition, with indoor FM antennas, all the rules still apply, height is great, no obstructions is even more important so putting the antenna in front of a window to the side of the house where the FM transmitter is located is best. If you live in a metal trailer you probably aren’t going to get good reception indoors from any antenna as there is no way I’m aware to overcome the laws of physics.