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Old 01-05-2007, 10:10 PM   #1
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Default Which Antenna Works Best For Temporary Dash Antenna??

Title says it all pretty much..
I want to grab an extra antenna off Ebay for road trips in my girlfriend's car. I'll just lay it on the dash.. I'm wondering if there's much of a difference between the home antenna and the car antenna in this situation.. I'm assuming the DOT antenna and it's former version work about the same..

Thanks
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Old 01-06-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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I've got the standard dot antenna sitting on the dash of one of my cars. It works great. I have no repeater nearby and always get a full or close to full satellite signal..

However.. Some people just can't get good reception using any sort of antenna on the dash. I don't know why it works for some and not others. One of life's mysteries I guess
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:59 PM   #3
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I used a satellite radio home antenna in a friends car and it worked fine. Give it a try. GOOD LUCK.
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Old 01-06-2007, 09:05 PM   #4
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I use the home one, the hinge helps level it on tilted dashboards. I had an extra because I purchased the gray post mount antenna to put on my Directv dish mount.
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:05 AM   #5
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if its just for occasional use in another car, the best antenna you can get is whichever one you find for the lowest price. they'll all work about the same.
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Old 01-07-2007, 01:19 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. That's kind of what I expected, it doesn't matter too much which one you use, I think the last post says it best.

My girlfriend has a GMC Sierra, which has a pretty vertical windshield. I don't expect great reception, but that's okay. I've got a new generation Firebird with pretty much the most sloped windshield known to man.. I get great reception from the dash..
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:27 PM   #7
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So what about this "myth" that Sirius antenna HAS to be mounted on the metal surface OUTSIDE for a better grounding/reception? Every installation place in my area will ONLY do an external antenna install and will not guarantee reception w/antenna inside of the car. How do you guys explain that?
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Old 01-07-2007, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twister
So what about this "myth" that Sirius antenna HAS to be mounted on the metal surface OUTSIDE for a better grounding/reception? Every installation place in my area will ONLY do an external antenna install and will not guarantee reception w/antenna inside of the car. How do you guys explain that?
it is not a myth, it is the truth. for the best possible reception you need to mount your antenna outside and preferably on a metal surface. this does not mean that you will get no reception if you throw the antenna on the dash or mount it inside your car somewhere. many people report good reception with the antenna on their dash. however, with the antenna mounted inside the car you are FAR more likely to have dropouts as you go under bridges, trees, buldings, or out of range of a terrestrial repeater. for temp installs, throwing the antenna on the dash works well enough but I wouldn't want to have it there all the time. And I would imagine that your local shops don't want to deal with customers complaining about poor reception which is what they would get if they were to install antennas inside cars instead of doing a proper install on the outside.
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:29 PM   #9
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That's what I thought. BUT, how do you explain my "choppy" dropout reception in a car I have right now ('07 Lexus GS350 w/VaisTech integrated SLS kit) with antenna OUTSIDE on a metal surface when I go along the road with lots of trees (winter time, no leafs)?
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twister
That's what I thought. BUT, how do you explain my "choppy" dropout reception in a car I have right now ('07 Lexus GS350 w/VaisTech integrated SLS kit) with antenna OUTSIDE on a metal surface when I go along the road with lots of trees (winter time, no leafs)?
it's an easy explanation. if you are getting dropouts then your antenna does not have great line of sight to the satellite signal. this is going to vary depending on where you are, where the sats are in the sky, and the terrain that surrounds you. just like having the antenna inside doesn't guarantee that you will not have any signal at all, having the antenna outside does not guarantee that you will have 100% uninterrupted signal. but if you get dropouts even with the antenna properly mounted outside the vehicle, then you can guarantee that you'd get MANY more dropouts if you had it mounted inside your car. one of the downsides of sat radio is that you have to learn to deal with dropouts from time to time, but I find that this is a very small drawback compared to how much I enjoy the service.
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:52 PM   #11
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I'd like to be able to understand and explain it, but I can't.

My truck antenna has been on the dash for 3 years with no issues whatsoever. I just threw the antenna on the dash of a little winter beater car that I bought last September and it works perfectly too.

But if you follow this forum, you'll see that some people can't get good reception with their antenna in the middle of the roof even after they've replaced the antenna and receiver to confirm they weren't bad.

I dunno... I guess ya just gotta do what works

Edit.. FWIW, I've driven from the California/Arizona border near Mexico to Minneapolis with a home antenna on the dash of another car I own and got great reception all the way.. One thing I though of after posting is that some windshields can be heated and have a thin metallic layer sandwiched in the glass... These definitely wouldn't work.

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Old 01-07-2007, 03:01 PM   #12
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Its not a small drawback when I'm listening to Howard in the morning and missing all the important bits I will be looking into trying different antenna to see if this will improve my reception. I mentioned in my other post that car I got comes with a pre-installed XM antenna inside of sharkfin on the roof. I will never use XM, so might try to modify connector to fit into Sirius receiver.

I guess my big problem is that I'm down by the shore an hour away from each NYC and Philly, so I can't rely on any terrestrial antennas/repeaters and completely satellite based. So, trees are the biggest obstacle in my case
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twister
Its not a small drawback when I'm listening to Howard in the morning and missing all the important bits I will be looking into trying different antenna to see if this will improve my reception. I mentioned in my other post that car I got comes with a pre-installed XM antenna inside of sharkfin on the roof. I will never use XM, so might try to modify connector to fit into Sirius receiver.

I guess my big problem is that I'm down by the shore an hour away from each NYC and Philly, so I can't rely on any terrestrial antennas/repeaters and completely satellite based. So, trees are the biggest obstacle in my case
you might try searching this forum for info on an adapter to make your XM connector fit a sirius tuner. I don't exactly recall, but I think I remember some posts that mentioned an adapter cable.

Yeah, there are just some locations that are always going to be bad for sat reception if there are no repeaters. The only time I have had real problems has been when driving up in the mountains when surrounded by super high trees and never having a clear view of the sky. Those people are pretty much S.O.L if they ever want to listen to Howard (which is enough of a reason to make me never move to the mountains ) The situation will hopefully improve in late 2008 when they launch their fourth bird into orbit to give more coverage. Hopefully a different antenna will help you out in the mean time.
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Old 01-07-2007, 05:25 PM   #14
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Twister... You may have a flaky antenna. Unfortunately they don't seem to be extremely robust. There is an amplifier (LNA) built into that antenna, and it gets powered by the radio. It's possible that LNA is intermittent, and if it is, you will get signal dropout. Also, have you checked the coax to make sure there is no kinks or damage with that? Do you have another antenna you can try out, even as a temporary measure?

There are many reports of folks at SBS who replaced their antennas and resolved reception issues. If it were me, I'd sure try a different antenna to be sure.

And folks, even new parts, radios, antennas, etc. do come through bad. Or they have what we call infant mortality. Don't let the fact that anything like this being new get in the way of diagnosing the problem. Not saying you're doing that, but it's easy to discount something as not being the problem simply because it's new. I can't tell you how many times I've seen new electronics that are bad out of the box, or fail within days of install, whether consumer or industrial electronics.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:23 PM   #15
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Homie, I will not discount this as a problem. BTW, I'm well aware of new electronics quality. I just had to go through 3 brand new wireless routeres due to defective parts

The "problem" is that I'm not in charge of install since its done by a shop subcontracted by my dealer. I'm glad I found this forum and now armed with enough info to tell THEM what to try next.

Thanks everyone for these suggestions, and I will keep you all updated!
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