Car antennas

Mario Gonzalez Jr.
Mon May 10 23:08:17 EDT 2010

We just purchased a 2009 Saturn Aura.  The antenna is located on the 
roof.  I'm surprised that even with a small antenna, the reception is 
fine on AM, FM and XM.    The reception seems to be as good as it was on 
our old 2003 Ford Taurus, which had a regular antenna that was located 
in the back of the car.


On 5/10/2010 8:33 AM, Dan.Strassberg wrote:
> There seem to be two styles of the latest roof-mounted antennas. Some
> have a very short--maybe 2"--projection out of a base that might
> measure as much as 2x4x1-in. Others seem to be somewhat longer but
> have a smaller base. The larger-sized base appears to be easily large
> enough to accommodate an amplifier, whereas I imagine that antennas
> that use a smaller base must have their amplifiers elsewhere (trunk?
> between headliner and roof?). I suppose each configuration has its
> advantages and disadvantages, but intuitively, the idea of having the
> amplifier right at the base of the antenna makes more sense to me. I
> do remember hearing, though, that early antennas with the amplifier
> inside the base were prone to failure because the sun shining on the
> black plastic base could produce temperatures inside the little
> enclosure that were so high they caused the ICs inside to fail.
> Once the warranty ended, replacement costs were not trivial--in the
> $300 area, IIRC.
> -----
> Dan Strassberg (
> eFax 1-707-215-6367
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Larry Weil" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 12:42 AM
> Subject: Re: Car antennas
>> At 12:04 AM -0400 5/10/10, A. Joseph Ross wrote:
>>> Having recently been car shopping, I've noticed that radio antennas
>>> have changed again.   My old car had a retractible whip antenna that
>>> went up when the radio was turned on and down when it was turned
>>> off.
>>>  I had to replace that once in the life of the car, and it was
>>> already not going down all the way again.
>>> I notice that a lot of newer cars have a small antenna, about six to
>>> twelve inches, above the rear window.  I wondered whether that would
>>> be sufficient for decent reception of AM and FM stations, but when I
>>> tested this on cars that I test-drove, it seemed to work.  Why is
>>> this antenna adequate?  Will it also work for satellite radio?
>>> Other cars have an antenna embedded in the rear window.  I had a
>>> 1977
>>> Oldsmobile that had the antenna embedded in the front windshield.  I
>>> suppose embedding it in the rear window is about the same thing.
>>> The
>>> antenna looks like a typical FM dipole.  Why does this work for AM
>>> as
>>> well, as it does seem to?
>> The window antennas were notoriously bad, although the later ones
>> were amplified.  Usually the amplifier is under the trim near the
>> rear of the car.  The short ones are also amplified.  Some of them
>> also have a satellite antenna built into the base, though some cars
>> use a totally separate antenna for satellite.
>> -- 
>> Larry Weil
>> Lake Wobegone, NH

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