Improving Car Reception - Antenna Talk - Page 4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 100 Old 04-28-2016, 12:38 PM
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Let's see if I can wake this OLD thread back up?

I have a 2014 Ram 1500 with the built in HD radio. I am outside of Pittsburgh (20-25 miles). My HD works, but it takes a while to lock on then as I drive it will occasionally fade out. Also, my AM reception is HORRIBLE!

My wife bought a 2016 Mazda CX-5 and she too has an HD radio. I drove her car and the HD locks on almost immedoately and never drops out. AND her AM appears to come in much more clear than mine.

So, I am assuming her antenna which other than the satellite one on her roof, must be internal?

I have to old metal antenna on the front passenger side of my truck that sticks up in the air.


Any suggestions for me to improve my HD and AM quality?

Thanks!
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post #92 of 100 Old 05-01-2016, 09:08 PM
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Since we are bringing this thread back up, I'd like to bring up an FM noise problem I have in a '93 Nissan with a '90's or early 00's Kenwood head unit (KDC-S2009).
- The CD works fine with no noise; if I pause it with the key at "accessory" or "on", there is no noise.
- With middle strength to weak FM stations, they come in clearly with the key at "accessory" but when the key is turned to "on", noise drowns out the FM program, even without the engine running. The noise continues with the key in "on" after the fuel pump has shut off and if I disconnect the ignition coil.
I've had this issue ever since I got rid of the stock radio in the late 90's with another Kenwood that had this same issue.

The ground wire is connected to a bracket that holds the airbag computer.
The rear ground port and the mounting bracket are each grounded to separate bolts that hold the shifter assembly to the chassis of the car.
All three locations show good grounds (multi-meter run between the hot lead to the power port and ground shows 12.xx volts).
I recently had the antenna off when I was doing bodywork and made sure the mounting points for it were corrosion free.

So, who has ideas?
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post #93 of 100 Old 05-10-2016, 12:30 PM
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Part of the problem with radio reception these days is the recent emergence of low power translator signals interfering with full power distant stations. Very frustrating and annoying as full power FM signals have always reached beyond the official market boundaries. Many full power stations are no longer protected past 50 or 60 miles, whereas there signal can be clearly received up to 75 or 100 miles.
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post #94 of 100 Old 05-10-2016, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce View Post
So, my car has a pretty lousy antenna. I noticed it when I first got the car, that the reception isn't as good as my old car Old car had a slantyways antenna sticking up on the roof. This car has one of those grid things right on the rear windshield.

Especially now that I've got the HD Radio, poor reception issues can be an annoyance --- if I'm listening to a -2 station, it'll completely drop out.

Does anybody have any suggestions on just general tips and tricks on improving reception in the car? I've seen amps, I'm thinking about trying to rig up another antenna somehow... ideally, whatever I do I'd like to be non-destructive (aka no drilling please!)
What kind of car? If you want the best reception, you'll need to adjust the length, depending on the frequency.

I did car audio for about 20 years and when I had an RX-7, the antenna crapped out, so I put a Harada electric model in, with a momentary toggle switch for setting the height. The car originally had one that went to full height and in Milwaukee, some areas suck for FM, so I hated it. I had already determined that I needed a shorter antler for the stations I like, so it was a no-brainer. Worked like a champ.

If you don't want to drill the hold, take it to a car stereo shop. The best way I found is by using a center punch to dink the spot where I wanted the antenna, then use a 1/8" drill bit as a pilot. From there, I would go to a step drill and increase until I had the right size. It's almost impossible to damage the body this way. I would also use something to seal the bare metal from moisture. Rustoleum, Permatex and others sell something that is used for bare or rusted metal.
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post #95 of 100 Old 05-10-2016, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highfigh View Post
What kind of car? If you want the best reception, you'll need to adjust the length, depending on the frequency.
Gosh this is an old thread. If you read through, you can follow my adventures. I actually found a "FireStik" antenna, and a trunk lip mount, and used that for a while. It worked reallllly well, but was causing a little damage to the rear windshield, so I removed it. It was a 2005 Subaru Legacy. I drive a 2012 Impreza now, and it has a stubby roof antenna. It and the stock radio seem to do fine with HD reception (though the radio's UI could use a lot of improvement...)


TimRogers, your issue issue is caused by noise on the electrical lines and can be solved with a noise filter. I'm not up on what's available or what's good, but you can get one online or at a reputable car radio place. They basically attach in-line on the power wires, between your radio and the electricity coming in, and filter out the noise caused by other stuff in the car.
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post #96 of 100 Old 05-10-2016, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce View Post
Gosh this is an old thread. If you read through, you can follow my adventures. I actually found a "FireStik" antenna, and a trunk lip mount, and used that for a while. It worked reallllly well, but was causing a little damage to the rear windshield, so I removed it. It was a 2005 Subaru Legacy. I drive a 2012 Impreza now, and it has a stubby roof antenna. It and the stock radio seem to do fine with HD reception (though the radio's UI could use a lot of improvement...)


TimRogers, your issue issue is caused by noise on the electrical lines and can be solved with a noise filter. I'm not up on what's available or what's good, but you can get one online or at a reputable car radio place. They basically attach in-line on the power wires, between your radio and the electricity coming in, and filter out the noise caused by other stuff in the car.
I didn't look for the original date, I just saw that the thread showed up in the right side of the page.

However, it's incredibly unlikely that a noise filter will work in-line with the power wires and, having done over 7000 installations, it's far more likely that the car has ground loops, things are radiating EMI and in some cases, RE-radiating EMI. That kind of noise enters cables and the case, not the power wires. I think I had good results with an inline noise filter once in the whole time and I started in '78, when auto electrical systems were much more simple.
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post #97 of 100 Old 05-10-2016, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimRogers View Post
Since we are bringing this thread back up, I'd like to bring up an FM noise problem I have in a '93 Nissan with a '90's or early 00's Kenwood head unit (KDC-S2009).
- The CD works fine with no noise; if I pause it with the key at "accessory" or "on", there is no noise.
- With middle strength to weak FM stations, they come in clearly with the key at "accessory" but when the key is turned to "on", noise drowns out the FM program, even without the engine running. The noise continues with the key in "on" after the fuel pump has shut off and if I disconnect the ignition coil.
I've had this issue ever since I got rid of the stock radio in the late 90's with another Kenwood that had this same issue.

The ground wire is connected to a bracket that holds the airbag computer.
The rear ground port and the mounting bracket are each grounded to separate bolts that hold the shifter assembly to the chassis of the car.
All three locations show good grounds (multi-meter run between the hot lead to the power port and ground shows 12.xx volts).
I recently had the antenna off when I was doing bodywork and made sure the mounting points for it were corrosion free.

So, who has ideas?
You need to ground the antenna to the chassis, not a shared bolt. Also, using DC to measure ground for an RF tuner is pointless. The fact that separate bolts are being used makes a big difference- each has a different path to ground.

One thing I don't seen any mention of is the battery ground- the body is grounded to the battery near the negative post and this is the point where ALL of the electrical circuits connect to the battery. Sure, the engine is grounded through the battery cable but the engine compartment is also bonded to the engine and battery- if the engine has had major work done to it, it's possible that whoever worked on it removed the braided wire from the engine to the firewall. Also, the hood is supposed to be bonded to the firewall- all of this is to prevent RF/EMI from escaping the engine compartment and affecting other cars. If you listen to AM radio and a hot rod passes or pulls up next to you and you suddenly notice a lot of noise in the radio, this is usually because they like to remove those bonding conductors- they don't look pretty, so they need to go.

Speaking of which how is the signal when you listen to AM? If it's non-existent, replace the plug on the antenna cable or replace the antenna- this is the easiest way to find out if you have a bad antenna- AM needs the center conductor more than FM does.
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post #98 of 100 Old 06-04-2016, 03:40 PM
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I had this problem. I tested the source of the noise with a small FM radio and got the same noise issue when I turned the ignition switch from ACC to ON.

I replaced the ignition switch and that cured it! The biggest change I noticed was that with the old ignition switch, the radio would cut off momentarily as I turned from ACC to ON. With the new switch, the radio stays on (and still sounds good.)

BTW, apparently on Nissans, the antenna only grounds through the radio and then the radio grounds to the chassis.
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post #99 of 100 Old 06-07-2016, 10:35 AM
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I like to add to this thread... Perhaps someone should make the first post one of those items, where they show what actually really worked. I was planning on taking the car to a sound-hut spot, and seeing if they could do anything.
I just picked up a Toyota Prius and just became aware of HD-Radio. The radio sounds like junk when the (HD) is not tuned in, that is absolute junk. Compared to my older cars.
But then when the (HD) kicks in--- It's like Day from night... WOW! Bam-What! It sounds better than the bluetooth-audio. (see another thread I've started).

But Since this is the case. Yes the reception is also junk. If you move too much in the city, or even move the car down the street, it seems like the (HD) will drop out often. In my area, I'm getting very few stations that stay stable. It would work better in non-motion concepts (if the antennae was not moving), like in house and or business audio situations rather than in a car.

Last edited by robertkjr3d; 06-07-2016 at 10:39 AM.
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post #100 of 100 Old 06-09-2016, 09:27 AM
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It does sound like antenna issues. Of course, a lot depends on where you are and the station you're listening to. I'm in Detroit and the factory HD Radio on my Silverado stays locked all over town on the stations I generally listen to.

For my previous truck, I used a Visteon HD Jump tuner. It would drop a couple of the lower-powered FMs frequently. I replaced the entire antenna assembly and that helped a great deal, though not nearly to the level I enjoy, now.

So, yeah. If you're tuning a Class C in a metropolitan area and it's breaking up all the time, you might want to monkey with the antenna.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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