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How Far Will My Signal Go?

Date:2019/11/29 16:07:18 Hits:

FM is for all practical reasons line of sight. Your signal should go as far as the horizon (given enough transmitter power to get there). In real terms the background noise and other stations signals will prevent reaching the horizon. Generally if you can see somewhere from your transmitter sight (where the antenna is mounted) you should get there. How strong you are when you get there is down to the transmitter power (assuming you are broadcasting on a clear frequency).

1 watt usually gives a coverage area of a few miles, more if a high mast or mast on a tall building or hill is used

20 watts will give a strong signal for over 5-10 miles when operated in a typical environment, (flat land, 50 foot mast, no hills or built-up buildings).  With a poorly chosen transmitter site (bottom of a hill) you may only get out a few miles. With a 50 foot mast located on a hill overlooking the intended coverage zone, you could expect the signal to be reasonable at distances exceeding 25 miles.
When a stronger signal is required, 100 watts is better than 20 (obviously). The extra power will allow the signal to penetrate more effectively. Once again 100 watts on a 15 foot mast (flat land scenario) may only be effective for 5 miles. Raise that antenna height to150 foot and the coverage could be increased to 50 miles.


The most important thing to how far you can go is how high you can get your transmitters antenna and how high the land you can get the mast on.

Always go for the tallest mast you can.

Always try and get the mast on the tallest building you can.

Always try and use a building on the highest land point you can find.

Use the largest transmitter power that your budget will allow.

Under typical geographical conditions (flat land, 50 foot mast) to cover the following distances the transmitters shown are required.

up to 2 miles-------------1 watt

up to 10 miles----------20 watts

up to 25 miles---------100 watts

more than 25 miles----300 watts

more than 35 miles----500 watts

The above ratings are only for comparison, for example 40 miles can be achieved with a good transmitter site with only 20 watts of power. The mileage shown is for a reasonable signal on a car stereo, if the receiver has a good directional antenna then the transmitter may be heard at a greater distance.

You may also like:

How far will my transmitter go?

How to Bosst Your Indoor TV Antenna Signal

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