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 Post subject: Better Antenna on Rav4 -Connector advice needed
PostPosted: Sep Sat 23, 2017 3:23 am 
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We regularly make a trip where after about an hour, our NPR stations fade out for 20 minutes, then we hear it again for 15 minutes. By then we can pick up the NPR station in the next city.

I've been thinking about how for those trips I might mount an FM dipole on the roof. My question is what kind of connector would screw into where the short mast does now? Is it Toyota proprietary or is there a standard coax connector that would work? If so, what should I be looking for?

Here's the what the current antenna looks like:

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 Post subject: Re: Better Antenna on Rav4 -Connector advice needed
PostPosted: Sep Mon 25, 2017 7:13 pm 
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Location: Gretna, Nebraska
We have a RAV4, and the FM performance is generally pretty decent, although I think a lot of NPR stations are low power and don't have the coverage of some commercial stations. I've never had the antenna apart, but I am guessing it is coil loaded, either in the base or the mast.
Thinking of a dipole, I think one challenge would be creating something the size of a 1/2 wave dipole that would have minimal wind resistance yet ride high enough above the roof so as not to be detuned by the sheet metal.

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 Post subject: Re: Better Antenna on Rav4 -Connector advice needed
PostPosted: Sep Mon 25, 2017 8:00 pm 
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If you unscrew the antenna, you will most likely find that it has a simple metric bolt at the end; there is no special connector. I would take the antenna to a local hardware store to find out the dimensions of the bolt and then look online for replacement antenna whips that use the same thread. Some antenna whips may perform better than others.

There are a few things to consider here:

1) There is a 99.9 percent chance that your antenna is a monopole, using the car's body as the groundplane. As such, you will not have an RF ground available (as in a connector), which you would need to implement a dipole.

2) You probably don't want a dipole anyway in this application because it is directional.

3) The low noise amplifiers used in these antenna setups usually perform pretty well. There might be something wrong with your amplifier. (The amplifiers and AM/FM diplexer are located in the housing at the base of the antenna.)

4) Replacing the whip with a longer one will improve performance, but the improvement will be mainly on AM, not FM.

The above are from my experiences with a 2010 Honda Fit, which had a very similar antenna design.


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 Post subject: Re: Better Antenna on Rav4 -Connector advice needed
PostPosted: Sep Mon 25, 2017 11:14 pm 
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I got a sort of "universal replacement" antenna at an auto store that fit my Ford. The Ford has a small whip like that, swept backwards. I have found that a longer antenna does improve reception. Even maybe only 3X the length of the original. But does not equal the full length whip antenna on my old car. It was a power antenna, but extended fairly long. Radio reception was very good. This dinky Ford antenna is surely designed for urban markets or something. The issue that you will find on FM is that the backwards tilt will make the antenna directional regardless of length. I can sometimes go around a corner and practically lose an FM station till I go back around a corner again. But the car had the option of XM and I am sure that AM and FM are for backwards uncool primitive drivers only. I own this car, I had even considered putting in a full size antenna on the rear fender to get back some decent reception, to hell with resale, it is getting old.

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