Why is TV Interfering with Radio Reception

EMI/RFI Line Noise can Degrade Radio Reception

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, my TV is plugged into an electrical receptacle that shares a common wall with a bedroom. When the TV is on, the radio in the bedroom cannot be heard due to static. Do you have any idea what may be causing the static and what I can do to stop or filter out the static?

Answer: More than likely your TV is emitting electromagnetic interference (EMI) or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) over the electrical circuit inside your home’s wiring or over the airwaves.

Though designed not to, TV’s can still sometimes produce these types of line noise or spurious EMI/RFI signals.

For example, if the TV’s power supply is a switching type power supply, it could be producing EMI/RFI signals that are spewing over the power line that feeds your TV and radio, or over the airwaves.

To resolve this problem I would first do a little troubleshooting. First, try plugging in another radio into the same outlet to see if the problem is replicated on a different radio. If it is replicated then the problem is most likely associated with the TV producing unwanted EMI/RFI signals over the electrical wiring or airwaves. If the problem is not replicated, then it may be that a filtering circuit inside your other radio is either non-existent or has become non-working.

To reduce the interference affects on your radio, first try moving your radio further away from the TV so that the EMI/RFI signals emanating from the TV are reduced.

If that does not help, try moving your radio to another outlet that is on another circuit breaker. This should help isolate any noise coming over the wires to your radio.

Also, you can buy an EMI/RFI noise filter that plugs into your outlet that is feeding your radio. You can then plug your radio into the EMI/RFI noise filter. In many cases these types of filters can resolve the problems that you are seeing, as they suppress any EMI/RFI line noise that would otherwise feed into your radio or appliance.

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