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Old 02-26-2007, 07:53 PM   #1
qoncept
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Default Fix your tinted 04+ radio reception!

I got tint a couple months after getting my car and never made the connection that it was the cause of my radio getting absolutely no reception. When I figured it out, I decided to just deal with it. Now, after three years without radio, I finally decided to play around and fix it.

As you know, the 04+ WRX's have an antenna in the rear window. The metallic content of the tint interferes with the reception to varying degrees (in my case, no radio, period). So I tore off the C pillar interior panels to get access to the antenna hookup. See below.



Simple enough. I unplugged it, turned on the radio and suddenly I at least got a little reception.

It's dark so I'm done for tonight, but tomorrow I plan on running 18 gauge wire through my wing and making it my new antenna. But I was wondering -- will it be alright to run unshielded wire from there (the C pillar), along the trunk lid (which is, of course, steel) and then to the wing, or should I get some shielded wire to run up to the wing, and unshielded through the wing?
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:17 PM   #2
Daishi00
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Let us know if it works. The fact that you found an increase in reception by disconnecting pretty much answers a question some of us have been having...is it because the tint acts as a huge faraday cage, or whether the tint was shorting the antenna? Sounds like it's the latter.
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:58 AM   #3
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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I would like to know, looking at your pic, where the black wire comming out of that box goes and what it does? And what about the lower connection in the pic? And the red wire... I'm sure some working installers can answer that, right?
That box, i wonder if it "tunes" the defroster grid, Anttenas are tuned, at least decent ones are...

I know my moms forester has the ant. as part of the rear side window...

There is no telling if un-shielded wire will work, most ant. wire is shielded to the connections...

Maybe wad some tin foil up in the pillar.... har har... but seriously, try some stuff and let us know what you find..
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:02 AM   #4
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I'm fairly certain that box is the antenna amplifier. The red hot line would be power and the black the coaxial antenna lead from the head unit itself.
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:07 AM   #5
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Ahh ok,

So if it is an "amp" i wonder if it carries a "matching network" for the ant. also...??

I'm wondering if you DON'T use shielded wire to run out to your wing, wether or not you'll pick up hella amounts of noise... ?
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:27 AM   #6
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Yeah.. We'll see. The first test, actually, was sticking an extension cord in (it's the same width as a spade connector at least.. :-D) and it seemed to work pretty decent no matter where I moved it. Maybe I should do my reception tests outside of town.
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:47 AM   #7
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You got reception after disconnecting the cable because there was now an open wire to the radio, away from the shielding created by the tint.
Your plan may work to provide some usable reception, but a random length of unshielded wire is not a very good antenna. The dimensions of the in-glass antenna are calibrated to work properly at the specific frequencies of the AM and FM bands and with the antenna amplifier.
At the very least you should run coax cable from your external wire antenna to the amplifier inside the car. The coax should be rated for RF use (i.e. don't use audio cable), something like RG-174 would work.
There could also be some reduction of signal with the wire inside the wing due to the metallic content of the paint.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:01 AM   #8
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What about hooking up some kind of "internal antenna?" Moving the connection from the window, to something like an antenna but running it under the headliner trim?
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:12 AM   #9
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Does anybody know where the amplifier is in the wagon?? Same location?? Is that the LEFT side C pillar in the picture above. I have been thinking about doing something for my reception and I don't even have tint (YES, my amp is powered from the head unit, but it's still pretty crappy in metro Detroit).
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:19 AM   #10
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That's the driver's side C pillar. If you take a good look at the antenna in the window you can tell which side it connects on. I'd imagine it would be in the same place on a wagon.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:00 AM   #11
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There are a bunch of FM Antenna DIY's on floating around. It should be easy enough to find one that works in the space provided in the wing, but actually putting it there may be the difficult part.
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:00 PM   #12
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http://www.audiooutfitter.com/store/69850/44ua200.html
problem solved. I've used them on tinted windows and they still work great.
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:46 PM   #13
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You say that thing works great. I hope so, because it will look like a$$ on your window if that's where you stick it. Thanks for the info. Don't know if I want to go that far for radio reception.

It would be so nice if there was an old fashioned external rod antenna or one of those little fuba antennas like on the v-dubs. Those are much better for reception than in-glass antennas. The other problem is that the on-glass antenna is tuned for the stock head unit. When you replace the stock head unit, reception goes down hill even with amplifier wired properly.
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Old 02-27-2007, 06:54 PM   #14
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The EASY solution to all of this is simply go with a ceramic based tint

Not cheap though around $500 a tint job.
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daishi00 View Post
The EASY solution to all of this is simply go with a ceramic based tint

Not cheap though around $500 a tint job.
A shop will do it for 400-450 formula one ceramic tint.

You can always go dyed tint which is 200ish all around.
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:41 PM   #16
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Huper Optik is what I'm getting...about $500 installed, so yeah it's expensive no matter where.

I still don't believe those guys who say the dyed tint doesn't fade over time...just call me skeptical.
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Old 02-28-2007, 02:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedaddyb View Post
http://www.audiooutfitter.com/store/69850/44ua200.html
problem solved. I've used them on tinted windows and they still work great.
---------------
I've been using this same or similar antenna and no problems. Got mine at Pep-Boys and hooked up to the rear section described earlier and basically just tucked it in between the window glass and the roof liner/rug-material. You can't even tell that it's there...as a matter of fact, I forget sometimes where I hid it! The antenna just plugs right in and you're set. And!...I actually get a better reception from this antenna, both FM and AM (even better on the AM) than the stock set-up!
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Old 02-28-2007, 04:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daishi00 View Post
The EASY solution to all of this is simply go with a ceramic based tint

Not cheap though around $500 a tint job.
i had ceramic done on my wagon, all side and rear window for $135... johnson films brand.
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qoncept View Post
I'm fairly certain that box is the antenna amplifier. The red hot line would be power and the black the coaxial antenna lead from the head unit itself.
Anyone know how they are connected inside the amplifier? This would help a lot seeing I got the amplifier but no leads coming from the unit.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:20 PM   #20
Heider
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so that's why my radio reception sucks!
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:59 AM   #21
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The FM signal isn't completely blocked by the tint... but it's either getting shorted to ground or the elements are being shorted together by your mangy tint. If all RF signals were completely blocked by tint then your cell wouldn't work. Your check for this? Take a simple FM walkman into the car... betcha you'll still get some FM signal. 3M makes a nice ceramic based tint that won't cause issues... but i doubt you wanna change tint to get this working. I can't see that site since it shows under construction but here's two alternatives that should work fine for under $30.....

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_12044UA...&tp=3449&avf=N

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_12044UA...&tp=3449&avf=N

Stringing a wire is fine if you have the time to play with the length... normal antennas are usually in the 25-30" length since that corresponds to the quarter wavelength of your average FM wave.... so there is some science and tuning that goes with the length of the wire. I have no idea what the ideal wire length is for an amplified antenna... unless you're an electrical engineer or have access to one, you're gonna have to guess and check. Any ol' wire might work, but it's not going to be optimal.

Main reason a stock radio works well for a stock antenna is the mfgr can tune the antenna for the radio... where as aftermarket tuners are generically tuned... I seem to remember some old radios (sony?) having adjustments available to dial em in.... no one ever did though. I THINK (as in I'm guessing) the main reason masted antennas work better than glass ones is orientation.

Last edited by couchflambeau; 06-02-2009 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chanders View Post
Anyone know how they are connected inside the amplifier? This would help a lot seeing I got the amplifier but no leads coming from the unit.
My guess is soldered to the pc board...
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:16 AM   #23
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by couchflambeau View Post
My guess is soldered to the pc board...
Nice kill, that last reply was from 07' mang...
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:54 PM   #24
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FTW... !!
sometimes i hate this forum lol...
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #25
tittykaka7
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So this thread is old .. but I'm trying to fix the reception on my '04 wrx. The pic showing where he disconnected it doesn't seem to be working. Does anyone have another pic showing where to dig into this thing? Are there any new solutions to update this thread with? Lets start with the cheapest first
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