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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my Fiesta 2 weeks now and like everything about it...except...the radio reception is awful. FM is weak at best and AM is nearly nonexistent. I have the "premium" 6 speaker system and it is ok, especially with my iPod. But radio stations that came in perfectly with my Focus are not very good...IF...I can get them at all. An AM sports station I have listened to for years on my way to work has so much static it is un-listenable. I have checked the antenna to make sure it is attached firmly. The stations are not low power and in fact are some of the strongest in the area. Is anyone else having this issue? Is it the head unit?...the antenna?...or just a poor design? Maybe Ford figures no one listens to over-the-air radio anymore and cheaps out the system.

Any suggestions?
 

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I've had my Fiesta 2 weeks now and like everything about it...except...the radio reception is awful. FM is weak at best and AM is nearly nonexistent. I have the "premium" 6 speaker system and it is ok, especially with my iPod. But radio stations that came in perfectly with my Focus are not very good...IF...I can get them at all. An AM sports station I have listened to for years on my way to work has so much static it is un-listenable. I have checked the antenna to make sure it is attached firmly. The stations are not low power and in fact are some of the strongest in the area. Is anyone else having this issue? Is it the head unit?...the antenna?...or just a poor design? Maybe Ford figures no one listens to over-the-air radio anymore and cheaps out the system.

Any suggestions?
My FM is pretty good but AM reception sucks. There must be some way to improve reception.
 

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I've got the 4 speaker system that came with the SE and both FM and AM are exceptionally good.
 

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I've got the 4 speaker system that came with the SE and both FM and AM are exceptionally good.
I have the same system and FM ... even low-wattage college stations ... sound great. I've never tuned it to AM so cannot comment on that.
 

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Same here - rarely use AM but the FM is pretty darn good. Phantom has the standard SE speaker setup, Cherri has the premium setup from Sync.
 

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Sometimes i get some interference but most of the time my stations come in clear.

I do find that sometimes when listening to FM stations (not sure about AM, I never use them) and I have my phone charging with the socket in the center console, that it makes stations really staticy but goes back to normal if i unplug the charger.
 

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The MAIN problem with the Fiesta's dicy radio reception in marginal signal areas is the shorty antenna. I can easily notice the better reception strength in my Ranger (normal antenna) as compared to the Fiesta. I don't know how you'd do it, but if you want better radio reception, then a longer antenna would be a good first step. I can't speak for the quality of the Fiesta's electronics. That would require some expensive test equipment.

The shorty antenna looks cool, but best radio reception requires that the antenna length (practically speaking) be 1/4 wavelength long, which is roughly 30" long for the center of the FM band. For AM, 1/4 wavelength would be something like a thousand feet long which is obviously impractical.
 

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The MAIN problem with the Fiesta's dicy radio reception in marginal signal areas is the shorty antenna. I can easily notice the better reception strength in my Ranger (normal antenna) as compared to the Fiesta. I don't know how you'd do it, but if you want better radio reception, then a longer antenna would be a good first step. I can't speak for the quality of the Fiesta's electronics. That would require some expensive test equipment.

The shorty antenna looks cool, but best radio reception requires that the antenna length (practically speaking) be 1/4 wavelength long, which is roughly 30" long for the center of the FM band. For AM, 1/4 wavelength would be something like a thousand feet long which is obviously impractical.
The only replacement mast I can find is this:

B - Short Stubby Antenna - Color: Black



Color: Black
Type: Pull-out style
Length: 4" to 11"
Reception: 4 out of 5

For $10.00, I'm thinking of trying it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The MAIN problem with the Fiesta's dicy radio reception in marginal signal areas is the shorty antenna. I can easily notice the better reception strength in my Ranger (normal antenna) as compared to the Fiesta. I don't know how you'd do it, but if you want better radio reception, then a longer antenna would be a good first step. I can't speak for the quality of the Fiesta's electronics. That would require some expensive test equipment.

The shorty antenna looks cool, but best radio reception requires that the antenna length (practically speaking) be 1/4 wavelength long, which is roughly 30" long for the center of the FM band. For AM, 1/4 wavelength would be something like a thousand feet long which is obviously impractical.
It probably is an issue with the length of the antenna. As you can see in the following pictures, the antenna on my Focus was at least 24" long (maybe more) vs the Fiesta's 6". All the stations I listen to came in perfectly in my Focus. I guess size really does matter...







 

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The only replacement mast I can find is this:

B - Short Stubby Antenna - Color: Black



Color: Black
Type: Pull-out style
Length: 4" to 11"
Reception: 4 out of 5

For $10.00, I'm thinking of trying it.
I received and installed the above antenna. It is slightly longer than the stock antenna and improves AM/FM reception slightly. If there is another option, I would take it over this antenna.
 

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Awful AM radio reception

I bought my 2011 Ford Fiesta SES Hatchback with the "premium sound system" last July and have experienced horrific AM radio reception on the lower bands of the dial. No other car I've owned - and I've lived here all my life - has had AM radio reception this bad. I've taken the vehicle in to the service department for this problem four times. The first time the service technician said, "there is no problem with the radio." I was even told that there were no problem reports in the Ford data base about poor radio reception, which after reading this web site and a few others seems ludicrous - with this many people experiencing poor reception how could Ford's data-base not have any references to this problem?

AM radio stations on the low end of the dial are often accompanied with a loud high-pitched warble. I commute in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the rare occasions I listen to AM it's usually AM 650, the local sports talk station that also broadcasts the S.F. Giants games. Even when I am in Berkeley, less then 10 miles from the 50,000 watt transmitter for this station the reception is so bad I can't listen. This high-pitched warble goes away when I turn the engine off; it just takes a lot longer to get where I need to go that way.

I just dropped my car off for the FOURTH time at the dealer and got another Fiesta as a loaner... guess what? Yep... the AM radio reception SUCKS!!! it's not quite as bad as my car but obviously this is an ongoing problem. So, I guess Ford doesn't really give a CR%P about this issue or it's customers.

One last thing; the dealer just called and said again, "we can't find a problem with your radio. It doesn't sound any different than other Ford Fiestas we have on our lot." I believe that to be true... but it doesn't mean there isn't a problem, just that the problem is SYSTEM WIDE! Very disappointing, Ford.
 

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I've had my Fiesta 2 weeks now and like everything about it...except...the radio reception is awful. FM is weak at best and AM is nearly nonexistent. I have the "premium" 6 speaker system and it is ok, especially with my iPod. But radio stations that came in perfectly with my Focus are not very good...IF...I can get them at all. An AM sports station I have listened to for years on my way to work has so much static it is un-listenable. I have checked the antenna to make sure it is attached firmly. The stations are not low power and in fact are some of the strongest in the area. Is anyone else having this issue? Is it the head unit?...the antenna?...or just a poor design? Maybe Ford figures no one listens to over-the-air radio anymore and cheaps out the system.

Any suggestions?
I had this same problem for about a month on my 2012 Fiesta. Sometimes the radio would be completely unusable (esp AM) and sometimes it was OK. My Ford Ranger had AMAZING radio reception so I was used to much better, and since most of my radio listening is sports/politics AM radio it was really annoying. I finally noticed that the reception was only crap when I had my phone charger plugged in. Then I also noticed later (to my fascination) that turning on the rear defrost would clear up the reception even when my phone was plugged in.

As an electrical engineer I can tell you that this is simply due to really crappy ground design. Switching mode supply noise is bleeding onto either the antenna or radio ground and turning on the rear defrost either creates a closer ground path for the charger noise or creates a high impedance wall between the charger and the radio. Either way, it is a terrible design and I hope Ford does something about it in future models. It is possible that other sources of noise could also bleed into the system from a bad ground design (for instance, does the radio get noise with a pitch that matches the speed of the motor? That can be caused by crappy grounding or bad filters) so it is possible that some other electronics on the car is the source of your problem.

There is really no way to fix it other than try and change where the radio connects to ground and put it somewhere closer to the battery. Or perhaps replace your radio with a aftermarket system that uses floating grounds (like Bose).
 

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I had this same problem for about a month on my 2012 Fiesta. Sometimes the radio would be completely unusable (esp AM) and sometimes it was OK. My Ford Ranger had AMAZING radio reception so I was used to much better, and since most of my radio listening is sports/politics AM radio it was really annoying. I finally noticed that the reception was only crap when I had my phone charger plugged in. Then I also noticed later (to my fascination) that turning on the rear defrost would clear up the reception even when my phone was plugged in.

As an electrical engineer I can tell you that this is simply due to really crappy ground design. Switching mode supply noise is bleeding onto either the antenna or radio ground and turning on the rear defrost either creates a closer ground path for the charger noise or creates a high impedance wall between the charger and the radio. Either way, it is a terrible design and I hope Ford does something about it in future models. It is possible that other sources of noise could also bleed into the system from a bad ground design (for instance, does the radio get noise with a pitch that matches the speed of the motor? That can be caused by crappy grounding or bad filters) so it is possible that some other electronics on the car is the source of your problem.

There is really no way to fix it other than try and change where the radio connects to ground and put it somewhere closer to the battery. Or perhaps replace your radio with a aftermarket system that uses floating grounds (like Bose).
I do recall reading in another thread some fiestas had ground terminals connected to ground points that were covered with paint. I think it interfered with the transmission (on PSs) because of the poor ground. Might be something to look into.
 

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Well, well sneaky sneaky. :). Warm welcome to the faction kiplarsen and newffowner!!! So gald you decided to join us. Sorry your radios suck, from day one I can't play ANY cd with out it skipping, this is sitting still and the #4 button will only come up when I hit #3. Hope in general you like the CAR as a whole. Would love some pics, liked the peek you gave us. We have a great Ford customer rep here, they have no problem receiving PM's to escalate service to the next level if you feel your dealer isn't up to par with what you consider good service. Look forward to your post, updates and whatever else you've got for us. Anyway, we are glad you are here, welcome :)
 

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LOL Mach 1.
My AM doesnt come in good but FM is fine, wasnt gonna say anything about it, but now I see many are having issues with there radios. In the last few years I know many people having a lot of issues with Grounding, are manufacturers saving weight of wire to add another crash device?
 
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