Monday, May 16, 2011

A Kitten Ate My Radio

I just got a snazzy new Boston Acoustics clock radio for my bedroom. It has a digital tuner. That will eliminate my biggest gripe with the cheap units I've had in the past: station drift. It is so annoying to tune in a station only to have the signal be lousy with static the next time you turn on the radio.

This unit has an internal AM antenna. It has a connector for an external FM antenna and comes with a basic "dangling wire" type antenna. Some radios embed the FM antenna in the power cord, but this gives me the option of hooking it up to a super-duper antenna should I wish to pull in weak, distant signals.

I knew the moment I saw that wire antenna that I was in for trouble. My previous clock radio, a Sony, had just such an antenna. Gypsy chewed it off as soon as she noticed it.

I tried using the new radio without the antenna attached, but there was no reception at all. I tried pushing the radio against the wall to make the antenna as inconspicuous as possible. That didn't work. When Gypsy saw the new unit, she sniffed at it, then spotted and started fishing for the antenna, which I removed and closed up in a drawer.

The challenge now is to make the antenna cat-proof. My first thought was to encase the antenna in some kind of tubing. When I went grocery shopping at Meier I took a swing through the hardware section looking for some kind of tubing I could re-purpose. Everything I saw that I might be able to use was too expensive. I finally decided to buy a 50-foot length of 3/16-inch nylon rope. My plan is to tape together 3 pieces of rope to enclose and protect the antenna wire. I'll use Scotch tape to keep the ropes in place then wrap the whole thing in duct tape. I'm hoping that, even if Gypsy decides to chew on it, the rope will provide enough padding that she won't be able to bite through the antenna wire.

All this is just further confirmation that a tirelessly destructive kitten can turn the simplest of tasks into a difficult project.

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