How good are store bought antennas and if they are better than factory issue, wh…

How good are store bought antennas and if they are better than factory issue, which ones are most advantageous?

Ultimately the only things that matter about an antenna are (1) how much charge it moves in response to the correct radio transmission and (2) how little charge it moves in response to the wrong radio transmissions. Most store bought antennas probably just boost the amount of moving charge by attaching an amplifier to an otherwise undistinguished antenna. While that trick will increase the amount of charge moving in response to the correct transmission, it will also increase the amount moving due to undesired transmissions. Almost everything electrical transmits radio waves and these may well interfere with your reception. For example, your neighbor’s lawn mower may send out radio waves and introduce noise into your music. Just amplifying the antenna signal does nothing to eliminate that problem. Your best bet is to find a directional antenna; an antenna that responds most strongly to radio waves coming from a particular direction. TV antennas are typically directional, with many separate antenna elements. Satellite dishes are highly directional.

How is charge distributed to a tank circuit with the “correct” frequency?

How is charge distributed to a tank circuit with the “correct” frequency?

The transmitting station has an electrical oscillator, an electronic system that experiences periodic reversals of current. This oscillator contains a tank circuit or some other clock-like system that acts as a timekeeper. With the help of its timekeeper, the oscillator causes the transmitting station to send current to the main antenna tank circuit at just the right moments to sustain and enhance the sloshing current there. The oscillator and the current sloshing in the tank circuit remain in perfect synchrony with one another. One of the best clock-like systems is a quartz crystal oscillator, like that in a typical wristwatch. In a quartz oscillator, a quartz crystal vibrates like the bar of a xylophone. In a watch, these vibrations are used to control a digital clock system so that it keeps accurate time. In a transmitter, these vibrations are used to control the distribution of current to the tank circuit at the antenna.

How is the charge moving in the waves related to what is actually played on the …

How is the charge moving in the waves related to what is actually played on the radio?

First, there isn’t any charge moving in the waves themselves. The waves contain only electric and magnetic fields. These fields will push on any electric charges or magnetic poles they encounter, but they are not themselves electrically charges or magnetically poled. The amount of fields in a radio used for audio transmission depend on the station’s transmitting power and on the encoding format for the music. In AM (Amplitude Modulation) encoding, the music is encoded as the strength of the radio waves. Each time the radio wave’s strength goes up and down once, the speaker cone in your receiver goes forward and backward once. In FM (Frequency Modulation) encoding, the radio wave’s strength remains steady but its precise frequency changes slightly. Each time the radio wave’s frequency goes up and down once, the speaker cone in your receiver goes forward and backward once.