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Why Best Car Antenna?

Why Best Car Antenna?

Car aerials come in many shapes and type, www.bestcarantenna have been in the car audio business since 1975 we guarantee to have the right antenna product for you.

It is important to get the very best quality signal to your tuner so paying a little extra for a first class car aerial product from German manufacturer Hirschmann is worth it.

Why does my car need an aerial anyway?

Your home or portable radio will happily play sitting on the kitchen shelf without a long aerial sticking out so why is the car different? Take your portable radio and put it in a big tin box and see what happens, your car screens out the signal so unfortunately you need an aerial however the large metal surfaces of the vehicle make the properly fitted antenna even more efficient since it forms an excellent ground plane.

So as far as receiving radio signals on the move in a vehicle the optimum antenna setup would be a tuned aerial fitted in the centre of the roof (police cars) however for aesthetic reasons most car manufacturers will put the aerial anywhere but the optimum and often stick them in the window glass or under the roof etc. It’s only when the trusty antenna goes wrong that you think about a replacement or if you have fitted some other device like a DAB or TV tuner, so here are some suggestions and facts for your consideration.

If you can, always fit a body mounted aerial (not window or hidden type) the increased performance is worth the little extra work involved. The short rubber coated whip 16V type that fits on the rear roof of the car comes in many forms. Hirschmann make 16V aerials which can do multiple jobs like GPS and DAB or GSM etc, this type of car antenna has one mast with two or even three signal feed coax cables and is a very neat solution saving you from having to fit three aerials and making your car look like a porcupine. These aerials are also pretty carwash proof too.

Motorised retractable mast aerials are being faded out in favour of more discreet types by modern car makers but if you have an old Jaguar, Mercedes or BMW with one of these aerials we can offer replacement masts and purlon (the nylon cord that pushes the mast) parts or complete replacement powered antennas.

If you really don’t want to see an aerial on your car then consider the hidden types but unless to live in a very strong signal aria I would not recommend it.

What makes a quality aerial? Surely you can just use a bent wire coat hanger.

On AM/FM aerials the bit that sticks up in the air can be replaces by any type of conductor and if you experiment by changing the length of you coat hanger aerial you might see improvement as you get to the optimum tuned length but the bit that you don’t see (the coax cable) is where the good aerial manufacturer concentrate, using only the highest quality materials. A coax cable is like a tunnel with close knitted copper wire walls (the screening) and a high quality low loss copper conductor running through taking the signal to the tuner. The gap between the signal conductor and the screened walls is held uniform by an insulating dielectric which on cheaper antennas can break down or become saturated by water ingress.

Both ends of this tunnel need to be perfectly earthed to the body of the car in order to effectively screen the signal. Modern cars generate a lot of spurious RF signals which can be picked up and cause interference if the screening is not properly earthed or if the screening is poor as in a cheap aerial.

Most car antennas are passive but some are active.

A passive aerial simply collects the signal and brings it to the tuner however some cars have systems that require 12 volts to be applied to the antenna before it can operate. These typically have a separate wire to supply the 12V but some manufacturers use a 5volt phantom feed through the coax, especially the VW group on their in glass aerial types. If you are unsure please contact us and we will help.

You will find very specialized antennae in our catalogue; Tetra and satellite aerials are our speciality.

If you have a digital TV or DVB tuner and need the very best signal our 96db gain ANT-536 antenna for car, truck, camper, caravan, boat or anywhere is probably the world’s best and the most popular antenna we sell.

How to change the car antenna

Removing the radio, Remove the radio unit from the dashboard of the car and pull out until the connecting cables can be seen. To remove the radio, examine the panels around it. See if it is possible to simply unscrew the radio from its mount and pull it out. Most radios are surrounded by plastic panelling, so it may be necessary to pry the panels off the dashboard to get at the radio. Removal tools are available here.. It’s best to look up instructions for removing the radio for the specific make and model of vehicle owned.

The actual antenna fixing will vary but no specialist tools should be required although some roof aerials can prove tricky to get to since sometimes the roof lining needs to be dropped in order to access the antenna base.

Does a car aerial need to be earthed?

It is important when fitting a new aerial to ensure the base claw is earthing properly by scraping the paint off the under part of the mounting. Get a good clean metal to metal fixing and use some copper grease to prevent corrosion.

If you would like more technical information about car aerials see this article on Wikipedia.

For over 36 years Ray Smith has been at the forefront of the in-car entertainment electronics industry in Edinburgh. As Specialists we take pride if offering customer service second to none.


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Our Postal address:

CarAudioStuff Ltd

Units 5 - 6 Spott Road Ind Estate, Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland EH42 1RS (contact us)

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