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My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: November 20, 2021 01:43PM
My Volt has horrible over the air (AM/FM) reception. Anyone else hate shark fin antennas?
Let me back track. We has the car for a 4 day test drive over a holiday weekend. We really put it through it's paces, adding about 375 miles on the odometer. The radio reception seemed fine, at least good enough so that I did not complain. I bought the car, then after about 3 weeks, reception suddenly was all static-y not good to listen to. Thought something was interfering, so I suffered for a day or two then went to the dealer to see it there were any tricks or settings I messed up. I was playing with all settings and exploring anything I could. Talked to my salesman on a Saturday, and he agreed something seemed wrong, but had no solution, just said to call service on Monday as they aren't there on weekends.
First diagnosis was the cable running between the radio and the antenna, they ordered a new one. This did not help much if any. Then they ordered and replaced the shark fin. That did not help either. Sales department called somebody higher up the food chain at Chevy, told them the only thing they could think of was to replace the radio. Chevy said, "Then do it."
Radio arrived in just a few days, which surprised me. Took longer to set up the appointment tent.
Well, reception still is very poor.
Any ideas?
The FM radio station I enjoy and have listened to since being a teenager just fades in and out, very frustrating. In fact I noticed the strong in town station will start to fade if we get 20-25 miles out of town.
This is the most technologically advanced (2018 Chevy Volt) I have ever owned, yet has the worst radio I have ever had. Doing the seek and scan function with pick up the 3 in town stations, nothing else. Any other car we have ever owned could get dozens of stations from where I live.
It seems shark fins may not be as effective, although they look nice, but like I said every other car had superior reception, and I was pleased enough with the test drive and the first 3 or so weeks of ownership, listening to my favorite station.

oIf the radio was that bad from the get-go, I would have said, 'hey love the car, the radio sucks, what else you got?'

Dave



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 20, 2021 01:55PM
We're gonna need a bigger shark.



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: btfc
Date: November 20, 2021 02:05PM
I’m guessing that it has more to do with the fm sensitivity of the radio than the antenna.

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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 20, 2021 02:06PM
No, it should not be that bad. I usually use the Sirius XM but I can test the FM in my 2014 volt. I’ll post back once I do the test.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: November 20, 2021 02:42PM
Go back to that same section of road and try the radio. Verify reception under similar weather conditions. Lots of clouds can hurt.

Is it worse than other stations? Look up the transmitter power and compare to a few other stations. It may just not be as strong and the radio not as good.

The best car antennas remain the mast style of about a meter in length. The ones embedded in windshields are also good but I don’t know if anyone uses those anymore because money.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: November 20, 2021 03:54PM
Every car I've owned has been zero trouble picking up my favorite station, over the decades I've had aluminum mast, windshield embedded, and the car I replaced along with my wife's Crosstrek both have the black foot long+- stick on the roof. All picked up my station in question clearly, which is located 40 miles south of me, and was listenable for another 20 miles farther away. After having the car for a couple weeks, that's when the issue started, and just about everything was replaced. That's my confusion.

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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 20, 2021 04:11PM
A FM antenna should be about 31" for a quarter wave antenna. A pair of conductors from an ethernet cable can work surprisingly well as a dipole for a traditional receiver.

Car radios usually use some sort of COAX end fed antenna, with the antenna being the center conductor and the shield being ground, but it can change. One impediment can be that some car manufacturers use metallic window coatings to reduce UV fading of the interior and this will have the tendency to shield FM frequencies.

A pic of back of the radio showing how the antenna connects could help a little.



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 20, 2021 04:12PM
We has the car for a 4 day test drive over a holiday weekend

That is nice, I never heard of a dealer with such a good test drive program

First diagnosis was the cable running between the radio and the antenna, they ordered a new one.

Then they ordered and replaced the shark fin.

told them the only thing they could think of was to replace the radio. Chevy said, "Then do it."
So they replace pretty much everything. What lese could be? I can't imagine that speakers could cause this issue. Did you try to play music from a USB or Phone/Bluetooth?

I forgot to try FM on the way home, and I am too lazy to go out now.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: November 20, 2021 07:33PM
Quote
space-time
We has the car for a 4 day test drive over a holiday weekend

That is nice, I never heard of a dealer with such a good test drive program

First diagnosis was the cable running between the radio and the antenna, they ordered a new one.

Then they ordered and replaced the shark fin.

told them the only thing they could think of was to replace the radio. Chevy said, "Then do it."
So they replace pretty much everything. What lese could be? I can't imagine that speakers could cause this issue. Did you try to play music from a USB or Phone/Bluetooth?

I forgot to try FM on the way home, and I am too lazy to go out now.

Not yet, however XM radio comes in fine, along with any FM station that's within 20 miles of the car.
As car as the 4 day test drive, guess it helps to have gone to school with the salesman since 1st grade, and knowing the dealership owner for 40+ years too.

Dave



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: p8712
Date: November 20, 2021 08:52PM
Every car I’ve seen converted to a shark fin has had crappy reception afterwards. It’s there to look cool, not actually work well.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: November 20, 2021 09:11PM
My Mazda has a 6” antenna on the roof. Reception is fine.



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: November 20, 2021 09:45PM
Quote
p8712
Every car I’ve seen converted to a shark fin has had crappy reception afterwards. It’s there to look cool, not actually work well.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that.

Dave



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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: Cary
Date: November 21, 2021 09:15AM
Haven't had a problem with shark fin antennas.

Could be the antenna, the radio itself, the cable, or, if equipped, the antenna amp.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2021 11:07AM by Cary.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 21, 2021 09:55AM
Son has a Chevy with a shark fin antenna, no problems getting the Springfield or local area stations here in Greenfield. Only problem area is near where you work, but that hollow has always been bad for reception outside the local stations.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 21, 2021 04:54PM
Every car I’ve seen converted to a shark fin has had crappy reception afterwards. It’s there to look cool, not actually work well.


Shark fin antennas are zero gain antennas, and have very little surface area to catch a signal.

Why they work well when they do is a matter of good sensitivity of a tuner section designed to work with a fin.

Strong station signal strength is also a big help.

So replacing a traditional factory mast/whip with a fin antenna handicaps a radio not designed for it.

That may not be an issue for XM radio, at least most of the time, but AM/FM reception could easily suffer.

And as I mentioned earlier, I don't like the looks at all.

The only thing worse that a fin antenna is those stupid short flexible rubber ducky stubs that people install and put a bend at the top for some odd reason.

Those 'stubs' are either affixed to broken antennas they're too cheap or too lazy to replace, or actually replacing a functional factory antenna to look 'cool'.




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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: November 21, 2021 09:26PM
Quote
JoeH
Son has a Chevy with a shark fin antenna, no problems getting the Springfield or local area stations here in Greenfield. Only problem area is near where you work, but that hollow has always been bad for reception outside the local stations.

Yes, same with cell phones in that black hole of town. This radio is much worse than any I've had before, and as I said, was acceptable for the first 3 weeks or so, then static amped up. Drove down 91 to the Pike, 102.1 was still static-y even in that area.

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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: btfc
Date: November 21, 2021 09:41PM
FM sensitivity Is an afterthought on some car stereos nowadays since so many source their audio from other places.

Get a model # and check out its specs.
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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 21, 2021 10:52PM
Quote
RAMd®d
The only thing worse that a fin antenna is those stupid short flexible rubber ducky stubs that people install and put a bend at the top for some odd reason.

Those 'stubs' are either affixed to broken antennas they're too cheap or too lazy to replace, or actually replacing a functional factory antenna to look 'cool'.

LOL, my old G37 had a shark fin antenna and the factory antenna on my QX70 is similar to the rubber ducky type you mention. Of the two vehicles, I had far fewer reception problems with the G37.





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Re: My car has very poor radio reception, do shark fin antennas suck?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 22, 2021 06:38AM
I just tested my 2014 Volt.

I am in central NJ. Listening to a station from Philadelphia (37 miles straight) no issue

A station from queens (52 miles straight) didn't work
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