Radio Free L.A.

I recently acquired a 40GB Creative Nomad MP3 player. I purchased it specifically so that I could listen to it in the car, because I’m sick of the radio and figured it was a more efficient and cost-effective option than getting a CD changer. So I got a Belkin TuneCast II FM transmitter to go with it. Easy, right? Yeah, not so much.

Turns out that the L.A. airwaves are pretty freakin’ crowded. I found it nearly impossible to find a usable frequency, even though the transmitter has a range from 88.1 – 107.9. At home, I can find one or two, but when I’m driving around various parts of the city, I get reception that varies from mediocre to horrendous. So I plan to take it back and exchange it for a cassette adapter.

But before I do, has anyone had any success with one of these FM transmitters in L.A.? Tips? Tricks? Anyone?


12 thoughts on “Radio Free L.A.”

  1. iPod would still require some sort of apparatus to connect it to the vehicle. And while several of my friends like to give me shit for not buying the 40GB iPod instead, I saved $240. So, neener.

    Sean: that’s what I thought.

  2. My friend Alex doesn’t seem to have any problem with his Belkin FM tuner, but maybe he’s cruising a different part of town. Radio in LA is strangely geographic. Personally, I don’t like the FM tuners. Though it’s kind of cool to be able to leave your MP3 player on random and have it as a preset in your radio. Before my iPod died it’s untimely death I was rockin’ the cassette adapter and it ruled.

  3. I have one o’ them Belkin thingies too. Try 104.7 – I have pretty good luck with that frequency. Nothing sounds perfect though. If you have a cassette deck, go with one of those. Or you can get a new car stereo with an aux output in the front panel – they’ve got one on sale for $99 at Best Buy.

  4. I have an iPod and I tried the iTrip. Aside from the lack of available radio band, it just sounds bad… A cassette adapter works much better. The arial on my car is above the rear trunk, so I actually had to hold the iPod in the air for best sound quality.

    Someday all cars will have an iPod slot, but until they do cassette adapters are the solution…


    P.S. All cassette adapters are not the same – get a good one. It matters.

  5. I had the same problem and ended up using a cassette adapter. I found that when I used an FM tuner (iPod with the iTrip), it helped when my devise was plugged into the power source (lighter). The more power to the devise, the stronger the signal, which worked on weaker frequencies. I still had to change the station occasionally though.

  6. We have a creative nomad too, and we started using an FM transmitter (Si-Link) a week ago. Curiously, the reception is great when we travel south, but terrible travelling north on the same route. Unfortunately we don’t have a cassette player in the car (and don’t plan to get one) so not alot we can do…except to keep fiddling with the stations. I can relate to your frustration!

  7. >Or you can get a new car stereo with an aux output in the front panel

    Some car stereos have AUX inputs behind as well. Not a lot, but it’s worth a look.

  8. nope we don’t have an AUX input or output in ours! We’ve checked every inch of the thing. Yes, we’ve also considered getting something installed to enable using the mp3 player… i guess this will depend on cost…

  9. Even the units with MP3 and SAT aux are no good, they require special antenna’s and other …. which runs a fortune. I was quoted almost $600. Good Luck

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