Though we may not pay much attention to what it is, we’ve all listened to AM radio at some point in our lives. Whether it be to catch up on the latest news in our area, listen to music, or listening to an AM talk show, we’ve all heard AM radio without really taking a moment to truly understand what it is, how it works, and everything in between.
What is AM Radio?
AM radio, Amplitude Modulation, is a broadcasting radio signal that transmits information through the form of multiple electromagnetic waves. The carrier frequencies are within a range of frequency that reaches between 535 to 1605 kHz and assigned to a 10 kHz interval. To make it sound easier, this is the another option when you are not listening to an FM.
When compared to FM radio, AM radio has a lesser deal when it comes to overall sound quality, but the transmissions can go a lot further and are a cheaper aspect to radio. The bandwidth is also a lot lower, but this is actually a good thing because more radio stations become available through any range of frequency.
How Does AM Radio Work?
AM radio works through the Heterodyne principle, which is a method that transfers a single broadcast signal from the carrier to a local, fixed intermediate frequency through the receiver. This is done so that the majority of the receiver will not have to come back once the channel is changed.
The interference of two waves produces what is known as a beat frequency for the purpose of tuning the radio in order to apply a force that will further produce a beat frequency, one that is specifically an intermediate frequency, or an IF. Heterodyne principles are used within a receiver for AM radio and play a large part in ensuring it’s practical for a mass communication wave.
An electromagnetic carrier wave carries the signal through frequency modulation or amplitude modulation and transfers the signal itself to the carrier through multiple frequencies as a result from heterodyning. This is accomplished through mixing a sine wave and a modulated carrier. This, in turn, produces a beat frequency that is equal to the frequency’s differences and constitutes an additional carrier for modulating the original signal.
When it comes to radio transmission, this is crucial for the development of the heterodyning schemes, which actually led to the mass communication that was brought on by AM and FM radio. Fixing the beat frequency through the local and incoming carriers to an IF has helped to construct the majority of radio receivers in order to use incoming signals.
Once the input amplifier has been properly tuned for the purpose of a station’s carrier frequency, a local oscillator is in turn tuned as well to produce the proper beat frequency that is equal to an IF.
If the Heterodyne principle did not exist, we would not have as much access as we do through AM radio. Whether you realize it or not, we all take advantage of the fact that one single radio receiver is able to be tuned for the purpose of connecting and broadcasting from a local radio station. Without this principle and concept, we would not have the AM radio that we do today, which can also be said for FM radio as well, but with a slightly different operation process. The more we understand what AM radio is, how it works, and what the advantages are, especially in today’s society where radio is not used as often, the more we can really understand why it’s so important.
The Advantages of Using AM Radio
There are multiple advantages that come with using AM radio when compared to FM, which should be remembered today when we think about why AM is still around when most would argue that it’s not needed anymore.
For one, the coverage on an AM receiver’s area is much wider when compared to FM. This is because the atmospheric propagation can stretch a lot farther and wider than the coverage of an FM station or wave. The propagation of AM is the definite choice for long distance ranges without static or too much interference from various towers that are broadcasting FM or another AM station.
The circuit of AM is less complex and a lot cheaper when compared to FM, which has an unlimited bandwidth, while AM has a more limited bandwidth.
To go further in depth for the biggest advantage of AM radio, the signals are further reflected straight back to the ionosphere layer of the earth, which means that the signals are able to reach thousands of miles from the initial source. Therefore, the coverage of AM compared to FM is drastically better and wider.
Selecting the Best AM Radio
Finding an AM radio that will suit your needs and bring the best quality to the table can be difficult, mostly because they are not mass produced anymore and are typically being phased out by radios that offer FM radio capabilities a lot more, but they are still around!
Any quality radio must have shortwave capabilities that bring both AM and FM stations to light but move toward one that is better known for AM instead of FM. That way you will get more bang for your buck in terms of what you’re looking for. An older radio may have the durability you need, but newer versions ensure that you’ll have more channels, so try not to go for one that is too old or too new.
Antennas are a must for AM radio because they help to clear up interference and bring more stations in, even though it probably already has more than enough. Even if you have a cheap radio that is poor quality, an antenna is a big game changer and will turn it into a better quality machine.
AM Radio is Still Relevant
It’s not just your grandparents and parents listening to AM radio anymore, even though it’s been somewhat phased out by FM. AM is still vastly popular for the many talk shows, local advertisements, and even older, classic music stations that AM radio incorporates.
Top ten Best AM Radios Reviews In 2017
10. iRonsnow IS-088 Weather Radio
Speaking of a good portable Am radio, the one that has multi-functions hence, giving you the chance to listen to any radio channels are what should be included. The iRonsnow IS-088 Dynamo Emergency Solar Hand crank Powered AM/FM/NNOAA Weather Radio has it all.
Not only is this radio equipped with a powerful 3LED flashlight, with a cell phone charger, but it also listening to music or news from radio stations as well as letting you know about the weather since it is designed to be a weather radio as well. This radio is your ultimate emergency expert.
In addition, this radio offers a 1-minute hand-cranking supports over 5 minutes radio play time is more than 30 minutes of continuous torch light as well as, 5 minutes cell phone talk time. This radio is built to be light and compact with a weight of about 0.5 Lbs. hence making it your everyday survival kit since it is very easy to carry it around.
The best part about this AM Radio is that it offers a choice a variety of 3-charge options, there is a solar and external charge power option as well as a self-charge option. This simply means you can DC recharge by connecting the mini USB cable to a computer, expose to sunlight to charge by a solar panel, or hand crank to wind up the internal alternator.
This AM radio is your go to friendly power emergency Radio that you and your family can depend on anytime.
• Powerful 3 LED flashlight
• All weather radio
• Multiple charging options
• Very light and compact
• Professional solar power bank
• A tiny 300mAh 3.6V NiMH internal battery
9. Mfine 938 AM Radio
Do you walk every day and need something to accompany you? The Mfine 938 AM portable radio Player Micro SD/TF Card can be a great buddy.
This is the portable radio from Mfine that is eccentrically designed to easily fit into your jacket or shirt pocket so that you can bring it along with you to any place you like. This radio supports FM/AM radio function since it has the telescoping antenna hence listening to any channel you like is made easier regardless of where you might be. In addition, it has a rechargeable Li-ion battery BL-5C 600MAH and 5C 600MAH.
In terms of functionality, there is not a doubt that this is among the top AM radios for your money since uses a standard 3.5 mm jack hence you can plug in your iPod, laptop tablet, Smartphone, and other MP3 player or any audio source with ease. One of its best features is the Audio output function Fit for MP4, MP3, iPod player, iPhone and other Mobile Phones.
• Rechargeable battery
• Audio output function compatible with MP3, iPod, MP4 and mobile phones
• LED flashlight
• AM/FM function
• Non-detailed instruction manual
8. Sony Shortwave World Band AM Portable Radio
The Sony AM Portable Radio is a compact microprocessor controlled the portable radio with a frequency synthesized general coverage portable radio.
This radio offers direct accessing to tuning channels with an accurate reception of 10 tuning accessed channels. Also, it features a multifunction LCD digital readout that allows unsurpassed convenience and accuracy.
Additionally, this Am radio features a dual standby function that allows you to wake up through a two station alarm setting, it also allows an extremely accurate synthesised PLL tuning, you can save up to 100 stations,it also features a world time clock or dual clock feature hence, you never have to worry about not keeping time.
Additionally, this portable radio provides a professional-type microprocessor-controlled channel tuning function that allows you to scan one channel at a time before settling on the channel you want.
• FM/AM shortwave and longwave
• Four tuning methods: manual, preset, scan and direct
• My “My-memory” tuning function
• Built in timer
• No air band
7. Sint Two 2 Band Transistor Radio
Talking about a portable radio, size matters most. If it is too big and difficult to bring along with, that is not a portable one. The Sony Transistor AM Radio has a convenient strap that makes this small and compact radio portable not to mention, the radio works on batteries. This feature makes it ideal, portable and suitable for usage at home, traveling, the beach, picnics, the park, playrooms and the gym.
This portable AM radio features a big dynamic speaker 3.75′’ clear, high-quality sound as well as, excellent reception. Additionally, this radio comes equipped with standard jack headphones hence; listening to music in peace without causing disturbance to others around you. It has a weight of about 1lb.making it conveniently lightweight and portable.
• Small compact in size
• AM radio
• FM/AM panel display
• Standard jack size headphones
• Big dynamic speakers clear, high-quality sound
• Low volume and poor reception
6. Sngean Dgital Radio
The Sangean Digital Radio is phenomenally designed with special features that provide excellent static and clear free listening for AM/FM reception to all listeners.
This digital radio as its name suggest has a retro modern design as well as modern specification features such as rotary dials that allow you to navigate through the stations and adjust the volume, it has a two-alarm timer, HWS, and buzzer, therefore, you can always count on it to be your wake me up, buddy.
In addition, it features 10 preset ( 5AM and 5FM) stations. Its LED tuning eye will assure you when you achieve the best reception for your selected station. This digital radio has an elegant appearance with a wooden MDF cabinet that delivers acoustic high-quality sound. Plus read with an LCD display with a backlight is made easier.
• 10 preset stations
• Easy to read
• Adjustable sleep timer
• 2 Alarm Timers
No AC adapter included.
5. Panasonic AM (RF-2400)
Panasonic is a popular brand for electronics and this little radio is a good example of the quality and convenience they offer.
This Panasonic Radio is portable that is equipped with a large dial panel that makes listeners tune to their favorite channels with ease.
In addition, this portable radio includes a separate dial scale for FM/AM, 4’’ dynamic speakers that deliver high-quality sound, it has a made easy with the tuning knob, it has both AC/DC operations (110V AC fold down power cord included).
Moreover, this portable AM radio has a sleek elegant design with silver front casing with a metal speaker net and a standard earphone jack port.
This portable radio is ergonomically designed to be the best traveling buddy you ultimately need.
• Cylindrical tuning knob
• Big Radio Dial Panel for Easy Tuning
• Silver in color
• 4`` Dynamic Speaker for excellent sound
• The Knob is quite small
4. Crane CC AM Radio
To those who love to walk or hike, listening to music on their favorite radio channel is the best thing that can keep them company. The Crane CC Am radio Alarm can prove to be a convenient accompaniment.
You can take this AM radio with you anywhere, not only is it lightweight, small and portable, but it is also an Airband and Weatherband FM/AM Alarm radio. In addition, this radio runs on approximation, of sixty to seventy hours. It also features a signal meter that indicates available channels, Auto scanning tuning to make it easy for you to find your ideal channels, a direct entry keypad as well as 400 memory preset channels for your convenience.
Moreover, this AM radio has additional features such as Lighted LCD Display, Stereo headphone, Jack and a Rotary Volume Knob and a sleep timer. Moreover, this radio includes a carry case, a fold out back stands and ear buds as well as a 1-year warranty from Crane.
• Travelling Alarm Radio
• 400 Memory Presets
• Sixty to seventy hours running time
• Autos scan tuning
• 1-year warranty
• Smudged under the LCD glass
3. Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket FM/AM Radio
Even with all of the advent of technology that has come onto the scene today, sometimes what you really require is just a simple AM/FM radio. And what better brand, to get than a great Sony radio. Truth be told, Sony is still scaling the heights as a well-respected and popular brand name in electronics. And the Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM radio just one of its many products that stand unbeaten in upholding this company’s name.
Enough praise, though, lets’s get right into business. The Sony AM radio an incredible portable radio that easily fits in a shirt or a jacket pocket. It supports FM/AM broadcasts and has built in speakers and a mono earphone jack that allows you listening music convenience wherever you go.
Moreover, this radio has a telescoping antennae and an attached strap for convenience. The battery life provides approximately 45 hours of listening time on AM and 40 hours on FM.
• Telescoping antenna
• Built-in speaker and mono earphone jack
• Attached carrying strap for convenience
• Supports AM and FM broadcasts
• Reception may vary in some areas
2. Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Radio
Are you looking for the perfect all time radio that will last you a lifetime? Look no further than the Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Radio, Flashlight, and Smartphone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cable. This is the ultimate best AM radio for emergencies.
This radio is a compact lightweight device that includes a 3-band radio, a mobile charger, a 3 LED flashlight as well as 3 ways to charge. You can either use a solar panel, crank, or plug-in for it to charge.
This Epica radio is fitted with a convenient digital tuner with a simple backlight and digital crystal display that allows you to change the station any time of day or night while you see everything crystal clearly.
This radio is phenomenally designed to be compact and durable to last you a very long time to come not to mention you can power up in any situation, Simply, cranking it up for only a minute nod you have20 full minutes of power. Plus with this radio you get a 100% refund or replacement guarantee from Epica in case you are not happy with the product.
• Compact and durable
• Crystal clear tuning dial
• Emergency AM radio
• 3 ways to charge
• 3 LED flashlights
• Standard AM/FM broadcast stations
• Battery drains itself
1. Mega Bass Stereo Boombox- Sony
How can you call it a radio if it cannot provide you the clear signal and good sound quality for you? The MegaBass Stereo Boombox Sony Sonic CD Head Cleaner is what you can call the best AM radio for you.
Our top pick in this review yet again comes from the popular brand Sony. Not only do Sony make outstanding and phenomenal electronics that stand out from all the other electronics in the market, but it also makes high-quality products that are designed to be durable and offer great service.
To start off, this AM radio is an all in one radio that features DVD/CD recording , Bass reflex speakers, Sleep Timer Audio input jack, Mega Bass-rich quality sound , 30 preset stations, Scan radio, Reflex speakers, FM/AM stereo Tuner , Carry Handle, Buttons , Long Battery Life, USB Input Record and Play LCD Digital Display all in a Modern Sleek Design.
Additionally, it features a stream Bluetooth wireless technology option from any capable devices from 30 feet away giving you the chance pair and plays your music instantly. The sleep timer option allows you to play your favorite soothing music in your sleep not to mention, it has 4 play times 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes.
Other than that, it has a panel audio dual front inputs option that gives you the chance to use with other input devices from iPods, iPhones, or any other music players.it is also fitted with a convenient standard 3,5 jack auxiliary input hence giving the chance to relish your music privately.
Moreover, this AM digital radio has an effective reflective speaker System which produces deeper, richer bass high-quality sound. The another great benefit is the fact that it is portable with a perfect size for traveling.
• Wireless technology
• Multi-functional features
• Front panel inputs
• Reflecting Speakers
• Easy operation and control buttons
• Bluetooth connectivity may have frequent dropouts
The above review lists the top AM/FM radios in the market that excelled in terms of size, battery life, speaker quality, features, ease of use, style, and other categories. You can rest assured that whichever product you pick from the above review would be a perfect AM/FM radio to have.