Frequency band expanders for reimported RV8s
This note is based on information from Chris Watkins at HS Imports,
Protech, and Roger Aldridge. (Jan 05)
RV8s exported to Japan were fitted with radios produced for the
Japanese market which can only receive 76 to 90 MHz on the FM band.
The UK radio broadcast frequency band is 88 to 108 MHz so there
is only a small portion of overlap on the two bands - 88 to 90 MHz
- which you can see in the chart above. In effect a Japanese market
radio in a reimported RV8 will only receive Radio 2, so if your
listening tastes are a little wider, then you have to consider either
fitting a frequency band expander or replacing the radio with a
UK market unit.
Frequency band extenders allow the signals from UK radio broadcast
stations to be stepped down to the Japanese market waveband. One
firm who supply these expanders, sometimes called converters, is
Protech based at Nailsea near Bristol. They offer two different
converters - first a standard 18 MHz model which allows a
Japanese market radio to receive UK stations broadcasting in the
94 to 108 MHz bandwidth, and second a switchable 12/18 MHz unit
which enables the full UK radio broadcast band to be received. Protech
says "both units are made to our exacting standards and
incorporate signal boosters for the best possible reception. They
are quite simply the best available in the marketplace".
23 Clevedon Road
Avon BS48 1EW
Tel: 01275 859955
Fax: 01235 859944
Standard 18 MHz
model. (Photo: Protech)
MHz model. (Photo: Protech)
For further information,
see the Protech website and in particular the webpage below.
frequency band converters
reserved by the V8 Register of the MG Car Club, PO Box 251,
Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire OX14 1FF
Roger Aldridge has fitted an expander to his reimported RV8
and noted "on RV8s supplied to the Japanese market, the radio
frequency band on FM is narrow and can only pick up UK stations up
to about 90MHz. You can therefore usually get Radio 2 on 89.9MHz or
less but no others. If you fit an expander this means the radio signal
you receive is 18MHz higher than the radio display. Therefore when
the radio shows a display of 80 you will be receiving 98. With an
expander fitted you can receive most of the UK stations, but you may
lose Radio 2 which is the shortest waveband station.
ensure you get a fitting diagram with the expander. It is a
little box that fits where the aerial connects but must be fitted
correctly. Most of the reputable RV8 reimport companies do fit these
for you - HS Imports fit them to all their cars for example. The suppliers
of the expanders are Clive Wheatley (01746 710810), Autocare (01278
789024) or Protech (01275 859955) and costs are around £22.50
inc VAT and post (late 2004 prices). This information also supplied
by Chris Watkins at HS Imports".
from HS Imports
Watkins runs a leading RV8 reimporter and comments "I have
have used Protech's expanders for several years but never the switchable
version. The display on the radio unit will not change so it displays
80 you will actually be receiving 98 - the device quite simply adds
18MHz to the frequency on display. With six presets on the radio this
is not such a great problem". Chris adds reception of Radio
2 is on the edge of the expanded frequencies so it is best to assume
that you will lose Radio 2 reception with the expander fitted although
in some cases it will still come through.
Chris adds that his
advice to customers on the ICE options with a reimported RV8
is along the following lines:
If the RV8 has a CD changer, it is best to keep the original
ICE system intact and then opt for a frequency expander so you can
pick up UK radio broadcasts - with the possible limitation on Radio
2. However the original radio does not have RDS -(RDS
or radio data system), so if you lose the station signal as you are
motoring over hill and dale, it will not automatically retune to the
next suitable frequency for the station. So you will need to retune
If the RV8 does not have a CD changer and the driver likes
music, especially on CDs, then an option is to remove the original
radio head unit and fit instead a good Panasonic, Sony or JVC tuner
with a CD player - just a "CD in the slot" variety. This
has the benefit of having RDS and a moveable face for security too.
Units like this can be bought for around £70 and if customers
chose this option, Chris Watkins says "I do not charge for
fitting because I am saving on the expander". Of course an
entire system, including a CD changer, can be fitted but is a great
deal more expensive.
adds there is another source of converters - Bridgwater
Electronics - who offer three variants:
BC12 which provides a +16MHz shift allowing reception of 88
to 102MHz which may possibly be better for Radio 2 listeners..
BC16 with a +16MHz shift with reception of 88 to 90MHz and
92 to 106MHz.
BC18 with a +18MHz shift with reception of 88 to 90MHz and
94 to 108MHz.
They provide a pocket explantion of radio band expanders on their
useful website by clicking the link to the webpage below.
ICE equipment did RV8s go out with to Japan?
All the RV8s that went out to Japan were fitted with a CD changer
holder (in effect a bracket) in the boot and all the necessary wiring
was there so it was a simple matter to plug in a CD changer unit.
Not all Japan spec RV8s were fitted with the CD changer unit as it
was an optional extra. We have heard that a few of the early cars
sent to Japan had a "Rover" badged CD changer which sat
inside the bracket but supplies of these ran out, and then Panasonic
units were fitted by means of a small extension to the original bracket.
We understand the Panasonic units plug straight in. However new CD
changers available today will not fit the plugs or wiring found on
the RV8, so members seeking a CD changer have to hunt down an old
unit that has been removed by an RV8 specialist or enthusiast who
has opted for a complete change to more modern ICE and CD changer
equipment. So when looking for a reimported RV8, you will need to
check the text of the advert closely to see if an original CD changer
is included in the equipment fitted to the car.