FM Radio Reception

FM Radio Reception

I've had issues with FM reception in the Bay Area. Particularly NPR. Any ideas?

Kleist | 16. August 2013

Turn off HD

jbunn | 16. August 2013

What, like volume fading in and out, and sort of an echo distortion?

bjm | 16. August 2013

Yes, I have noticed the echo distortion and variable volume just since the most recent software update. Wasn't present before as far as I recall. Any relation?

Kleist | 16. August 2013

Was there before the latest software. I am in the Bay Area and had same problems. Turned HD off 2 month ago and since then it behaves like a normal radio.

nvjx | 16. August 2013

I have tried everything but nothing works. It is the worst FM radio I have had in any car. Period.

murraypetera | 17. August 2013

I love the car but the Worst thing about it is its radio reception. I spent extra for the upgraded sound system in a $70k car and it still stinks. The radio needs a recal.

RZippel | 17. August 2013

Maybe the Antenna isn't grounded right as I read before (connected to painted surface). Might want to check.

lazyav8tr | 17. August 2013

I also find FM reception to be substandard compared to my Leaf on the same route and stations. Internet radio on the same route is better but I still get dropouts.

stevenmaifert | 17. August 2013

Tesla chose form over function when they decided to not use an external antenna. That accounts for most of the crappy reception. As for the echo, it is normal when the radio is switching over from analog to digital HD. For a brief moment, both the analog and digital audio come through, but due to the split second longer it takes to process the digital signal into sound, there is a delay which causes the echo effect. If you're in an area where the HD signal strength is marginal, the radio will switch back and forth and the echo really gets annoying. Best to turn off the HD in those situations.

AlMc | 17. August 2013

On TMC an owner had problems with the FM reception took it to their local SC and they detected that the FM 'booster' antenna needed to be replaced. Just a thought.

The quote:

I took my S60 in for an alignment this week and mentioned that the AM/FM radio reception was quite poor. Although my service advisor warned me that the poor performance was probably "normal", she said she'd have the tech take a look.

It turns out that my "booster antenna" was damaged. They ordered a part from Fremont; it was delivered two days later and installed that day. Got to have some fun with a P85 in the meantime and now my AM/FM radio reception is great. Both the alignment and the antenna fix were covered under warranty

Schlermie | 17. August 2013

I get great radio reception in mine, including NPR (91.7 FM) in the San Jose area. I believe TuneIn has a variety of NPR broadcasts available if you want to listen to those before you get your radio reception fixed.

jbunn | 17. August 2013

I think Steven nailed it.

The digital HD signals are typically -20 db below the FM analog signal. That's 100 times weaker, or 1% of the power. The HD1 channel will always drop back to FM if it loses the digital signal (The other HD channels are not required to simulcast the FM channel as none exists and they do not drop back. Instead of a weird echo, you should just hear digital dropout on HD2 and HD3.)

Here's a bit more detail, as I pretty much only listen to NPR and had issues in Seattle and the Bay. The FCC is allowing broadcasters to move up to 4% of the analog power, or in special circumstances 10%. NPR engineers do not support this, as it bleeds over to adjacent channels and nearby stations. So if I had to guess, I'd say that your local NPR is probably running on the -20 db standard.

Finally, the fallback echo is most noticeable with the spoken word. It's harder to notice with music. So poor FM reception, -20 db, and a talk format and it adds up to a bummer.

My wife reports having a hard time finding KUOW, KPLU, KQED, and KCRW on the TuneIn. Anyone able to find them? (for the non-west coast people these are the biggest NPR stations on the West Coast.)

fritzlan | 17. August 2013

I agree, this is the worst FM radio I have had in memory.

And today I tried to sign up for XM radio and was unable. I called Tesla they checked with somebody who said that my antenna needed to be replaced. They're going to set that up with the service center. I sure hope they get it right because I listen to public radio almost exclusively and have been unable to do this since I bought my car three weeks ago.

And, I love this car. Yesterday I realized that I was having a spiritual experience.

Who would have thunk that?


Bob W | 20. August 2013

According to a exchange I had with an Ownership Experience Advocate and Fremont Service on August 14th, they are now getting engineering involved regarding the radio reception issues, including the report by @jasonvw that his issue was fixed with improved the antenna grounding. I asked Tesla Fremont to do the same last month, but they had no "protocol" for doing that. They didn't do anything other than a "System Reset," which didn't solve the problem.

But now I have a new appointment next month at Fremont and they will try something new I think.

Unfortunately, radio reception in Fremont for most Bay Area stations is quite good compared to South San Jose, so it's hard for them to see anything wrong. It would be helpful if someone could name a radio station they can hear well in Fremont in their "old" car, but not in a Model S at the same location.

ramtaz | 20. August 2013

I have had this issue checked by TESLA service and the FM reception is the same.
FADES in and out and drops the station .
I will have to ask about the "booster antenna"?

Mark2131@CA-US | 20. August 2013

Yes, my FM & AM radio reception sucks. Here's a workaround.

Just about every radio station on the planet now has an internet feed.

Use "Tuned In" from the internet. It pulls stations in loud and clear. No fading. That's how I listen to NPR.

An extra bonus, you can listen to your favorite radio station from Bulgaria if you so desire... or Belize, or even Botswana.

SBerg | 21. Oktober 2013

Where is this infamous FM antennae? I'd like to look at repositioning or checking the ground without having to take my MS I for service.

AmpedRealtor | 21. Oktober 2013

I believe the radio antennas are in one or both side view mirrors. I suspect that positioning of the antenna isn't as much of an issue as shielding the antenna's components from electrical noise interference from the rest of the vehicle.

@ Mark2131, Neither of the stations I listen to regularly here in Phoenix are on TuneIn.