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car antenna reception

Why Do Cars Have Antennas?

Updated On May 5, 2022

Car antennas pick up radio signals in the air and enable us to listen to a selected radio station. The latest car models have antennas that can pick up satellite services and more radio stations. The antennas extend upwards, either from the rear section or just above the windscreen.

Car antennae pick up the magnetic radio waves. Then magnify waves using the radio receiver of the car. This amplification of the radio waves makes it possible for you to listen to a selected radio station. The antennas are specially designed to receive AM and FM transmissions.

The car antennas function under the same principle as those of radios and TVs at home. If you are far away from the broadcast station, you are likely to experience static. However, modern cars with antennas are capable of picking up satellite radio waves, so you might not experience static.

Types of Antennas in Cars

There are different types of antennas. All are primarily designed to tap AM and FM transmissions.

Terrestrial Radio Antennas – They can either be a monopole or a whip antenna. These whip antennas are common. These antennas come factory installed. Whip antennas can be rigid and stationary. They may extend automatically on turning the radio on or off. (1)

Satellite Antennas – These types of antennas are small and non-directional. They are small in size and are broadcasted from geosynchronous and geostationary satellites. (2)

TV (Television) Antenna – Few cars have this type of antenna, and the common application is the UHF spectrum. These antennas are very popular in buses, vans, and RVs.

The GPS Navigation Antennae – An external antenna is usually added to this type of antenna to avoid losing the satellite lock. GPS antennas are unique.

How to Fix a Broken Car Antenna

Your radio is likely to fail if the antenna gets damaged. To fix your antenna, follow this simple procedure:

Tools to fix a broken antenna:

  • Safety glasses to prevent metal shavings from entering the eyes
  • Bolts
  • Nuts
  • Pliers
  • Vice
  • Spanner socket
  • Butane lighters

Procedure to Follow in Fixing Broken Antennas

  1. Get ready for your antenna base. Drill a hole first.
  2. Prepare the bolt to be used. Insert 2 nuts into a long bolt. Thread the bolt in the hole prepared. Hand-tight the first nut against the antenna base, and then tighten the second nut against the first.
  3. Take out the bolt from the base and then put 2 more nuts in and repeat the tightening process. After securing the second set of nuts, take out the first set.
  4. Now get the length of the bolt socket. Proceed to mark the first bolt and do not forget to add the depth of the socket. Mark it with two nuts. Then cut it.
  5. Now soldier the bolt into the antenna. Level the antenna by placing it in a vice upside down. Cast enough solder around the bolt, and set it at the end of the antenna. Melt the solder by heating the bottom of the antenna. The solder will melt into the socket hence filling it to the top. Now apply more heat and then push the bolt into the antenna. Leave it to cool down for a while and remove the nuts from the base.
  6. Mount your antenna. Mount the antenna, and you are good to go!

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References
(1) factory – https://www.britannica.com/topic/factory-system
(2) satellites – https://science.howstuffworks.com/satellite7.htm

Video References

Car Tips & Tricks

Michael Callos

Fix Car Yourself

About the author 

John Temple