FM radio stations picked up in Letterkenny with Tecsun PL-606

While staying over in Letterkenny (The Elms area), I did a scan of the FM band using the Tecsun PL-606 with its antenna extension positioned vertically. This is a high sensitivity DSP FM radio which picks up fringe FM stations normally only picked up by a good car stereo or roof-mounted FM aerial.

The following table has three sets of readings for each station. The first column is from an upstairs window facing North West, the second is another upstairs window facing South East and the third column is with the radio connected to a loft-mounted circular omnidirectional FM antenna.

For reference, the following is what to expect from the readings:

  • NA – Total static to barely understandable speech.
  • 0dB – Noisy static, but speech still understandable.
  • 1dB – Moderate hiss, speech is clearly heard.
  • 2dB – Light hiss, unnoticeable with most music on internal speaker.
  • 3dB – Light hiss during speech/silence only on internal speaker.
  • 6dB – Hiss barely audible on internal speaker during silence.
  • 12dB – Stereo sound with considerable hiss.
  • 15dB – Stereo sound with hiss mainly heard during speech.
  • 20dB – Light hiss in stereo, noticeable during speech/silence.

For a rough comparison to a typical FM radio, this Tecsun radio’s sound quality in stereo is roughly what a typical radio picks up in mono. Most stations with a reading below 10dB either give pure static or obscured by a nearby stronger station when tuned on a typical FM radio positioned in the same spot. For example Q Radio on 101.2MHz comes in perfectly clear on this Tecsun radio, but on another radio I tried in the same spot, the much stronger nearby station Today FM on 101MHz is instead picked up on 101.2MHz.

MHz Station name NE S/N SW S/N Loft S/N
88.2 RTE Radio 11 1dB 20dB 9dB
88.7 BBC Radio 27 28dB 10dB 28dB
89.2 RTE Radio 12 40dB 30dB 39dB
89.4 BBC Radio 28 2dB 20dB 14dB
89.7 RTE Radio 13 1dB 9dB NA
89.8 RTE Radio 14 4dB NA 8dB
90.1 BBC Radio 29 4dB 7dB 11dB
90.4 RTE 2FM1 6dB 21dB 17dB
90.9 BBC Radio 37 29dB 17dB 24dB
91.4 RTE 2FM2 36dB 21dB 35dB
91.6 BBC Radio 38 4dB 20dB 8dB
91.8 RTE 2FM5 NA NA 2dB
92.0 RTE 2FM4 6dB 15dB NA
92.3 BBC Radio 39 12dB 11dB 21dB
92.6 RTE RnaG1 4dB 20dB 21dB
93.1 Radio Ultser7 30dB 20dB 25dB
93.6 RTE RnaG2 44dB 29dB 40dB
93.8 Radio Ulster8 4dB 22dB 5dB
94.1 RTE RnaG3 NA NA 2dB
94.2 RTE RnaG4 12dB 20dB NA
94.5 Radio Ulster9 18dB 5dB 14dB
94.7 Highland11 6dB 10dB NA
94.9 BBC Radio 47 30dB 12dB NA
95.2 RTE Lyric FM6 1dB 6dB 1dB
95.4 Radio Ulster10 3dB NA 3dB
95.6 BBC Radio 48 21dB 28dB 19dB
96.0 BBC Radio 49 20dB 1dB 19dB
96.4 Downtown10 4dB NA NA
96.6 Downtown15 19dB 27dB 19dB
96.9 iRadio NW16 44dB 22dB 23dB
97.4 Cool FM17 1dB NA 0dB
97.8 Lyric FM1 20dB 25dB 18dB
98.3 BBC Radio 17 32dB 16dB 24dB
98.8 Lyric FM2 41dB 27dB 40dB
99.0 BBC Radio 18 7dB 22dB 12dB
99.4 Lyric FM4 8dB 20dB 1dB
99.7 BBC Radio 19 22dB 7dB 20dB
100.0 Today FM1 8dB 30dB 14dB
100.5 Classic FM7 30dB 21dB 30dB
101.0 Today FM2 34dB 24dB 43dB
101.2 Q Radio15 7dB 21dB 7dB
101.6 Today FM13 24dB 16dB 20dB
101.9 Classic FM17 25dB 12dB 24dB
102.1 Highland12 28dB 30dB 25dB
102.4 Downtown7 28dB 16dB 20dB
102.7 Radio RnaG6 3dB 3dB NA
102.9 Q Radio7 23dB 16dB 19dB
103.3 Highland13 41dB 24dB 43dB
104.4 iRadio NW1 0dB 5dB NA
104.5 Highland14 1dB NA NA
104.8 iRadio NE6? NA 1dB NA
105.0 Ocean FM18 3dB 10dB 0dB
105.3 Drive FM7 27dB 6dB 20dB
105.5 Today FM6 4dB 5dB NA
106.3 Fresh FM7 31dB 17dB 27dB
106.9 Newstalk2 53dB 44dB 49dB
107.2 Newstalk6? 7dB 2dB 2dB
107.4 Newstalk1 9dB 34dB 25dB

Transmitter based on tuned frequency (? = Guessed)

  1. Truskmore
  2. Holywell Hill
  3. Ballybofey
  4. Fanad
  5. Aranmore
  6. Clermont
  7. Derry
  8. Brougher Mountain
  9. Divis
  10. Limavady
  11. Finn Valley
  12. Castlefin / Lifford Border
  13. North Donegal
  14. Inishowen
  15. Dungannon/Enniskillen/Omagh
  16. Donegal
  17. Belfast
  18. Barnesmore
  19. Castlebar

The following are additional stations (including Cool FM above) with careful positioning of the radio to achieve the highest reading I could get.  For Cool FM and U105, I positioned the antenna horizontally.

MHz Station name Max S/N Antenna / Window
87.8 RTE Radio 16 0dB Horizontal NE
94.1 RTE RnaG3 9dB Horizontal SW
74.1 Cool FM17 10dB Horizontal SW
99.3 Lyric FM3 13dB Horizontal SW
100.8 Owenea? 0dB Vertical SW
103.7 iRadio NW19 0dB Vertical SW
105.8 U105 Belfast17 8dB Horizontal NE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *