Tips for Using an iPod Car Adapter

You have an iPod, you have a car, and you want to use it together. You’ve researched your options and selected a wireless car adapter for your iPod. Using a wireless iPod car adapter is pretty easy. Usually it just turns on your iPod, turns on the adapter and sets your radio to the correct station.

However, if you do, you will probably find the other FM radio signals interfering with your iPod’s music. Here are some tips to reduce interference and get the most out of your iPod car adapter.

Try the high or low end of the menu

To broadcast a clear signal from your iPod to your car stereo, you need to find an unused FM frequency. Check the low end of the switch (say 90.1 and lower) and the high end (107.1 and higher) for unused channels. The rise of public, college and religious radio makes it harder to find blank frequencies, even at the low and high side of the disc, but you still need to be able to find something in many areas.

Search for empty channels

Most iPod FM transmitters allow you to choose which FM channel you want to send the signal from the iPod. You get the best audio quality from your FM adapter, and the least interference from other channels, if you broadcast the iPod signal to an FM channel, without signals on either side of it.

That is, the best channel for you to use will not only have a signal on it, the frequency on either side of it will also have little or no signal.

To do this, find an empty drive you want to use. For the sake of this example, let’s use 89.7. To see if 89.7 will work for you, type 89.5 and 89.9 as well. If there is no signal, or just a weak signal, on any of these frequencies, you should be fine.

Finding a block of three frequencies with no signal becomes more difficult, so if you can not find three perfect heroes, try only for those with the weakest signal interference.

Use a station locator

Some iPod car adapter manufacturers make tools available to help you find the best broadcast channel in your area. Try Belkin’s My Best FM Stations or DLO’s OpenFM tools to get a good blank frequency suggestion.

But ….

As more and more radio stations come online, it’s going to be harder to use an FM transmitter in your car without interfering. People who live in big cities, saturated with radio stations (New York, LA, etc.) already know this. If you live in one of these areas, you are probably better off with a cassette adapter or a built-in jack. If you are not sure if you have enough empty frequencies in your area, check the return policy before you buy it and hang it on your receipt.


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