Buzzing / clicking on AM radio

This is normally caused by electrical interference from either a domestic or industrial appliance, often because of a fault. Examples of some possible sources are:

  • Light dimmers
  • Fluorescent lights
  • ‘Low energy' lamps
  • Neon signs
  • Computers
  • Plug-top and other lightweight power supplies
  • Television sets
  • Power supplies for low-voltage halogen spot lamps (often switched-mode types)
  • Thermostats
  • Motors or machinery
  • Street lamps
  • Street level step-down transformers


What to do

  • In your home, turn off anything listed above whilst listening on a battery radio.
  • Try talking to neighbours to see if they have a similar problem
  • Walk around with the radio to see where the interference seems to be stronger as this may guide you towards the source. However, interference from distant sources can be conducted along mains or telephone wiring and radiated from long sections of the cable making it difficult to track down precisely.
  • Note when the interference starts and stops (e.g. only occuring in the day whilst industrial premises  nearby are in use).

If you find what is causing your interference, please contact the installer or manufacturer of the device. Faulty items may need repair or replacement, but in a few cases the problem may be related to the way it works, and will not be curable. Sometimes using a device from a different manufacturer may give fewer problems (low energy bulbs are an example of this).

If the problem can't be overcome, consider using FM, digital radio or the Internet to receive your station if it's available there.

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