Jump to content

B.I.C The Beam Box Review-With Klipsch Content!

Recommended Posts

Much of my music listening is FM radio. Here's a list of the stations I most frequently listen to:


1. Non-commercial station, 35 miles away, 10kW at the antenna.


2. Low power FM translator station, 4 miles away, 6W at the antenna.


3. Non-commerical station, 25 miles away, 400W at the antenna.


Typical Connecticut topography. For years I used a typical rabbit ears antenna with an 8-position phasing switch, for listening. It worked as best as could be expected, but it certainly was ugly!


When I was a teenager and early 20-something in the '70's, I had a B.I.C Beam Box but it was the cheapest model (FM-6) with just a 4-position directional switch. Since my receiver at the time only had a center channel tuning indicator, I couldn't tell whether the Beam Box actually improved the signal. At some point decades ago I got rid of it.


Recently I was pondering how to improve signal strength of #1 and 3 above and remembered the Beam Box. I did an eBay search and lo and behold, there were several of the top tier FM-10 model of the long out of production device. I bought one on a whim and was lucky enough that the seller was local so I saved shipping costs. I paid $56 including sales tax. There was also an FM-8 model, which was the same but lacked 75 ohm connections. If you find one you could probably save a few bucks and just use a balun adapter.


As I mentioned above, the FM-10 was their top-of-the-line offering. It has 75 and 300 ohm antenna inputs on the back, and three adjustment knobs on the front. The "main" knob orients the antenna in the direction of your desired station; next is the Wide/Narrow bandwidth knob which could be useful if adjacent frequencies interfere with listening to your station of interest, and lastly a fine tuning knob covering the FM band, 88-108MHz.


You connect it to your tuner and select your station. Set the Wide/Narrow switch to Wide; set the fine tuning knob mid-band, and switch the 4-position switch through each of its positions until you get the highest signal strength on your tuner's signal strength meter. If you don't have one then you tune by ear.


After the 4-position switch finds the strongest signal, switch from Wide to Narrow band, then use the fine tuning knob to produce the strongest signal and you're done. The whole process takes maybe 5-10 seconds. I sometimes go through the sequence a second time.


My tuner's signal strength indicator has only 3 LED's so there isn't much resolution but they do function as something of a bar graph.


Using the Beam Box, I gained maybe 10% in signal strength. It's barely discernible on the signal strength meter, but it's enough of an audible improvement that Station #1 is a bit quieter and both stations 1 and 3 used to cause my tuner's squelch circuit to open and close intermittely; it no longer does that.


The Wide/Narrow bandwidth switch is not useful in my situation; I found I would often get higher signal readings with the switch in the Wide position so mostly I leave it there. The 88-108 Fine Tuning knob position often has no bearing on the frequency I'm listening to. I use it to get the highest signal strength on my meter and ignore the indicator position.


While certainly no substitute for an outside antenna (not an option in my condo) I think it was a worthwhile purchase. It looks much better than rabbit ears or an inside dipole, and it has three knobs; we audiophiles love to fiddle with knobs!


So where's the "Klipsch content"? My Heresy stands guard in the background!





Beam Box - 1.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice post. I thought about getting one of those back in the day, opted for an omnidirectional  outdoor halo mounted in my attic instead. I miss good quality FM broadcasting it's pretty much a thing of the past

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...