Tuning Tips

Iron Range Country Radio is a low power AM station broadcasting on 1620 kilohertz (or kilocycles if you're old enough to remember that!) and on Bovey cable Tv channel 2.  Our primary coverage area is the cities of Bovey and Coleraine as well as Taconite. Our signal is at it's best during the day.  At night the sky-wave propogation conditions are so conducive to bouncing radio signals, that enough random interference comes in that our signal is usually covered up by noise and distant high power stations.  However, in town you'll probably receive IRC Radio just fine.

You may have noticed if you're an AM radio fan, that the last 20 years or so have not been kind to AM broadcasting.  Most radios are no longer made for good AM radio reception.  In fact, it's generally "thrown in" just because it's cheap and easy to add AM to an FM radio.  With the onset of satellite radio, the internet, the convenience of mp3 players, etc AM radio has fallen by the wayside somewhat. There's still a lot of good stuff being broadcast, it's just getting harder to hear it!

If you already HAVE an AM radio (and you probably do) it will probably receive us just fine, especially if you're in Bovey or Coleraine, and it's daytime.  The most valuable tips I can give you are:  If reception is poor, rotate your radio as it sits on your table.  Buy their very nature the antennas in AM table radio sets are very directional.  You'd be surprised at how simply turning the radio can greatly increase the signal and reduce static and background noise. You will also notice that AM radio is very sensitive to electrical interference. Being near a computer, refrigerator, fan, air conditioner, etc can really create some wild static and interference sounds so feel free to move the radio to different parts of the room and see what kind of improvement it will make.  These tips, by the way, will also greatly increase your enjoyment or other regular high power broadcasters in the area.

If you are shopping for a GOOD portable and AC powered radio, there is one I can highly recommend.  It's sold under a few different brands but is generally known as the "RCA High-Performance AM/FM Super-Radio".  It is also sold as the "GE Super Radio" and under the Radio Shack "Optimus" brand name, but they all look the same except for the nameplate. It is presently available mail order from the Radio Shack web site (they don't stock them in the stores, unless a store just happens to have one for some fluke reason) and Cole Hardware in Grand Rapids generally carries them as well.  This is an EXCELLENT table size/portable radio and I have a LOT of years of experience to back that up.  This radio works on AC power, and on D batteries. People often shy away from big radios that need "D" size batteries because they're big and heavy and the batteries cost more.  However, for a radio to work well, be sensitive to weak signals, and be able to produce big clear sound it needs CURRENT.  You don't get much current out of small batteries like "AA" size.  You get the same 1.5 volts, but very little current (amps) and you need current to do the work. These radios are AM/FM, have connections for an external antenna (for AM a piece of random length wire works nicely).  It has actual bass and treble controls, a bandwidth selector (can help by removing interfereing adjacent stations by switching from wide to narrow mode) and it's got two speakers, one of which is BIG for GREAT full sound.  Also "D" batteries last much longer than the tiny ones, too.  So, if you're shopping for a radio I can heartily recommend this model.  They're about $70 plus any shipping, tax, etc and you'll need batteries (unless you run it on AC only, and the AC cord is BUILT IN!  There's no seperate wall-wart adapter).  I've included a photo of this radio below.  You can often find them in other discount and department stores and other online retailers. Just be SURE you're getting THIS radio.

Another fun way to get good AM reception is to buy a genuine vintage radio!  You can go crazy and find something fun from the 40's, 50's or 60's.  If it's got tubes in it, you'll probably need some new ones, and probably need some work on the power supply within the radio to get rid of hum.  Or look for one from the 60's or 70's that's solid state, but old enough to have some real receiving power. Look at how great that radio on Gilligans Island pulled in Honolulu!  Feel free to email if you have questions about radios, receiving, or reception problems. I've been in the radio biz for 40 years as broadcaster and engineer and am also a ham radio operator. I can help.