Crackling/whining/buzzing/clicks & pops

These audio effects are generally caused by electrical interference. The table below lists common causes of electrical interference problems and suggests how you might decide which one applies to you. It is vital that you take the trouble to try to find out what could be causing the problem, otherwise there may be little chance of finding a cure.

  streetlight    passingtraffic


SourceEffectHow to traceSolution
Thermostat Loud rasping sound. Lasts from a few seconds to a minute at a time with some minutes between bursts Switch off heating systems and see if problem goes away, then starts again after they have been switched back on – if not solved, ask neighbours to do likewise Repair or replace offending thermostat
Light switches Clicks and pops Switch lights on and off one at a time Try to move radio away from switches or mains wiring
Street lamps Buzzing/crackling Note when each lamp comes on and goes off – one lamp will usually be the cause Contact council street lighting
Passing traffic A distinct buzzing 'whine' which varies with engine speed Open a window and listen – motorcycles tend to be worst offenders Try to move radio away from street or use an external aerial
Engine affecting your own car radio A distinct buzzing ‘whine’ which rises and falls with engine speed. Can also cause rough noise which is much worse on AM reception If it only occurs when engine is running, suspect poor earthing or faulty/ corroded HT leads or spark plugs. NB. If you still have the problem with ignition on but engine stopped, it may be associated with engine management system (EMS) Check the radio and aerial have good earth connections, free from corrosion. You may need to change HT leads and/or spark plugs. For EMS problems you should consult your dealer
Electric motor A distinct rough crackly 'whine' Listen – lawnmowers, washing machines, drills and hairdryers can often be heard. Switch off in turn any appliance in your home which uses a motor If recent problem with existing appliance, suppressor may have failed and needs repair. Moving radio may help

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