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View Full Version : The Incredible Shrinking Car Antenna


Chuck
01-27-2008, 08:27 AM
No more than half of today's vehicles have the traditional big stick antenna. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22790523/)

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Car_Antenna.jpgAP - Jan. 25, 2008

DETROIT - An automotive appendage that often goes unnoticed — unless it loses a battle with the automatic car wash — is disappearing in the face of changing technology, tastes and economics.

The stalwart stick, pole or fixed-mast antenna, mounted on the body of nearly every vehicle two decades ago, is now on about half of all new models and its ranks are dwindling. When trucks are removed from the equation, it's around 25 percent.

Its vanishing act is notable on many new vehicles, some of which are on display at the North American International Auto Show, open through Sunday. The 2008 Ford Taurus, for example, has a hidden, in-glass antenna and optional small, roof-mounted satellite radio antenna… http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22790523/

laurieaw
01-27-2008, 08:48 AM
i seem to remember my 85 accord having the antenna imbedded in the glass of the windshield. does that sound right?

Chuck
01-27-2008, 08:51 AM
i seem to remember my 85 accord having the antenna imbedded in the glass of the windshield. does that sound right?I thought Accords of that time had a full mast, but parallell to the roof column beside the windshield - not sure.

pumaman
01-27-2008, 09:13 AM
Strangely, the Mazda 6 prior to 06 did not have an outside antenna, but in 06 they put a backward swept short antenna in the middle of the roof near the back.

My wife's 03 Protege 5 has a similar design. Doesn't look bad, but we do remove them before going through the car wash.

worthywads
01-27-2008, 09:47 AM
Mine unscrews and I rarely use the radio so it's off now, but under the seat if I want it.

brick
01-27-2008, 11:29 AM
My 85 Volvo had a retractable full mast. It was kinda cool because there was a little switch on the dash to retract it on demand for the car wash and such. The only problem was that the long plastic "rack" thing was flimsy and wore out every few years.

Now the only antenna I actually use is the little XM patch on the roof.

lightfoot
01-27-2008, 11:39 AM
One of the reasons I bought the Subaru Outback over a VW Jetta Wagon was that the Subaru has an on-glass antenna in the left rear side window. The Jetta has a short whip antenna mounted at the center of the rear of the roof, which gets in the way if you have stuff (boats) on a roof rack. I thought VW, being a sporty company, would have a solution, perhaps relocating the antenna elsewhere? When I asked the salesman he just looked at me like I was from another galaxy (maybe I am, that would explain a lot).

The Subaru antenna gets OK reception and doesn't seem to be too affected by turns.

Seems like satellite radio will eventually take over and will probably make small antennas completely adequate.

xcel
01-27-2008, 01:19 PM
Hi All:

___The Accord has the in-window antennae and it works just as well as any externally mounted unit I have ever heard/used. I do not know why anyone would mount anything external other than maybe a sat receiver for GPS. The Accord includes a small covered module on the rear of the roof for that.

___Good Luck

___Wayne

Lugnuts001
01-27-2008, 02:02 PM
I've ditched the conventional mast antenna and installed those windshield mounted interior antennas available at Pep Boys on a couple of cars. They work well. The thing I don't like about OEM antennas built into the glass is how much it would probably cost to replace the glass. The Pep Boys antenna is only $20.

seftonm
01-27-2008, 02:36 PM
My car has a small whip antenna on the roof.

I don't like retractable antennas. After around 7 years, they seem to get sticky and don't deploy or retract correctly. It could be related to extreme weather here or lots of salt on the roads.

koreberg
01-27-2008, 03:32 PM
I've pushed my antennas on my cars in as far as I could get them to go. Neither one will retract all the way :( I haven't used the stereo in years so I really don't need an antenna.

Elixer
01-27-2008, 07:34 PM
My Toyota Camry has its antenna sticking out from the top front of the front window, facing towards the rear of the car. The cool part is that I can open my window and pull it out or push it back in depending on if I need it. Most of the time it stays in, for that minor decrease in Cd.

dixonge
01-27-2008, 07:44 PM
I've got two antennas. One is traditional, the other is a 1/4 wave 2-meter Ham antenna, right in the middle of the roof. It would probably be nice to replace the traditional mast. What do you guys recommend? And what is this add-on in-the-glass antenna? Does it actually get the same signal as a mast?

pumaman
01-27-2008, 10:01 PM
One of the reasons I bought the Subaru Outback over a VW Jetta Wagon was that the Subaru has an on-glass antenna in the left rear side window. The Jetta has a short whip antenna mounted at the center of the rear of the roof, which gets in the way if you have stuff (boats) on a roof rack....

My 2000 Subaru has a retractible antenna which comes out of the drivers side A pillar. Like someone else mentioned, those you can manually stow/retract from the drivers seat by reaching out the window. I do have to lower it when putting things on the roof, but once they are up there I can put the antenna back up.

Skwyre7
01-28-2008, 07:08 AM
I answered the poll with a sharkfin (Prius). It was losing, so I thought I'd help it out. ;) The 'rolla has a full mast growing out of the A pillar.

PaleMelanesian
01-28-2008, 10:15 AM
Traditional full mast on my civic. At the driver's side, top corner of the windshield/roof/door joint. It's swept back, and can be manually retracted. I did that.

Lugnuts001
01-28-2008, 12:32 PM
dixonge - I did a quick search and this is what the antenna looks like: http://www.julianos.com/in-car_antenna.html. They have it for $40, but you can get it at Pep Boys for $20. IIRC it gets comparable reception to a mast antenna. I remember it working inside a garage with no problem. I put it on the windshield just above the rear view mirror.

Phil

dixonge
01-28-2008, 01:10 PM
dixonge - I did a quick search and this is what the antenna looks like: http://www.julianos.com/in-car_antenna.html. They have it for $40, but you can get it at Pep Boys for $20. IIRC it gets comparable reception to a mast antenna. I remember it working inside a garage with no problem. I put it on the windshield just above the rear view mirror.

Phil

cool - thanks!

friedlbug
01-29-2008, 01:58 PM
Painted-on the glass, like my rear defroster.

Blake
01-29-2008, 08:06 PM
My old STi had the antenna in the windshield. I switched my Insights short mast antenna over to a sharkfin several weeks ago and I love the looks, although the reception is slightly lower.

Chuck
01-30-2008, 11:33 AM
If I ever do Satellite Radio (XM), I'm going to have a problem - magnetic antennas won't work on the aluminum Insight.

nash
01-30-2008, 11:37 AM
I've a 2007 TCH that has the antenna integrated with the rear window. It looks like there is no antenna, but if you look carefully a few of the upper "defroster" strips are really the antenna.

I chose "no antenna" it seemed the closest choice listed.

FYI, the TCH AM and FM sensitivity is among the best I've had in a car radio.

Skwyre7
01-30-2008, 12:18 PM
If I ever do Satellite Radio (XM), I'm going to have a problem - magnetic antennas won't work on the aluminum Insight.

JimboK has his XM antenna inside on the dash and has no reception issues. I'm sure he'd be glad to show you a picture he has somewhere if you're interested.

Lugnuts001
01-30-2008, 03:14 PM
My Jeep has OEM satellite radio, but it's definitely not on the roof (softop). I think it might be in the dash area behind the glove compartment somewhere. So yeah it is possible to have the antenna mounted inside and work fine, even up to OEM spec.

Phil



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