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My new to me 2004 Forester has one of those awful antenna's in the rear side window, what do you guys suggest using and where do you locate a real antenna?

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Original unit.  CD player doesn't work ... yet.  How do you get to the back of it/pull the whole unit?  I saw posts and I'd like to check to make sure that power wire is on for the ant. amp.

As far as sound goes, it's the antenna or related, stronger stations come in OK.

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never done it but, someone here probably has, or check youtube?

 

crutchfield.com is a good place to shop, they also may have install instructions.

 

or, post WTB in the classifieds here or check ebay for an original HU if that's what you want.

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Were those 6 CD units problems from new or do they normally last long?  I can get by without CD's, just would like to make it all work.  My favorite radio station is pretty far away but it comes in clear in my other vehicles.  With the Subaru it's touch and go.

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If it's like the one in my 06 WRX, mine's still rocking like new.  Pulls-in a college station on the other side of the city on most days even though I think they have a 40W light bulb for an antenna!

 

I may have pass side speaker getting scratchy....

 

 

is your antenna in a side window ?

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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If this were an 04 outback this is how you would access the radio.  Forester shouldn't be that different.  If you want to remove the radio, start by popping the trim off around the shifter . You will see 2 screws , remove them , this allows the lower tray to come out.  Then you use a stubby screwdriver to remove 2 screws holding the ash tray ,these screws are pointed up.  After that carefully pop off the rest of the face plate and then you will see the screws holding in the radio. As with any 14 year old plastic "POP" carefully!

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If this were an 04 outback this is how you would access the radio.  Forester shouldn't be that different.  If you want to remove the radio, start by popping the trim off around the shifter . You will see 2 screws , remove them , this allows the lower tray to come out.  Then you use a stubby screwdriver to remove 2 screws holding the ash tray ,these screws are pointed up.  After that carefully pop off the rest of the face plate and then you will see the screws holding in the radio. As with any 14 year old plastic "POP" carefully!

 

Thanks Tom!  Mine looks the same, just haven't had the time to get to it fully but the shifter trim pops off and reveals screws.

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Is your issue with AM or FM stations or both?  Those window antenna's aren't really designed for AM.

It's FM, but it is a radio station that I'm on the fringe of the broadcast area.  My other vehicles with "real" antenna's do work a lot better for that station.  It's *my* station, NPR, WNCW.  The window antenna's are often directional so if you drive in a circle you may find a spot that works better, but that's hard to do on the interstate.

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Luckily I have not had an issue with my OE window antenna or it's amplifier, so I can't offer much on the diagnostic or repair of yours....

 

But, I have this universal amplified window-mount antenna in my Toyota Celica: https://www.amazon.com/Metra-44-UA200-Universal-Amplified-Antenna/dp/B0007WRQ8K/

My Celica came with a factory power antenna, which broke at some point and a previous owner put a janky universal one in it's place. I patched the hole and painted over it, and mounted that in the top of the windshield and it works great.

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It's FM, but it is a radio station that I'm on the fringe of the broadcast area.  My other vehicles with "real" antenna's do work a lot better for that station.  It's *my* station, NPR, WNCW.  The window antenna's are often directional so if you drive in a circle you may find a spot that works better, but that's hard to do on the interstate.

Early window antenna's were bi-directional and very poor for AM.  They worked for FM most of the time.  Newer in window antenna's are using fractal designs which have a lot more bandwidth and efficiency and are almost omni-directional.

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The antenna is in a side window?  I have not seen this, usually it is in the rear window.  Can you see the path of the wires in the window?  If so is there a pair of wires going up the center and then turning 90 degrees in opposite directions to form a T shape or are there several rows with bends in different places?  The former would be a dipole, the latter would be a fractile antenna.  A fractile should work good.  If it doesn't, then I'd trace the wires to the edge of the glass.  You may have to remove some trim.  The check the connections.  They could have become corroded or just lost contact.  Carefully removing them and reinserting the connections, or just wiggling them could improve your reception.

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On my 03 Forester the antenna is in the left rear window.  After my son installed his new HU radio reception sucked.  Googled and found out the the blue Power Antenna wire needed to be connected to power the booster.  Connected the wire and works much better

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my 2002 Foz also has the left rear window antenna. no major issues here with an aftermarket head unit.

 

I changed mine out for one that has bluetooth for hands free phone use, also has a USB port.. a bit more "modern" than the stock unit, lol

 

you can see the antenna traces pretty will in this pic...

 

post-80-0-06479000-1519535376_thumb.jpg

Edited by heartless

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What?  Did you install that antenna?  Definitely wider traces and different pattern than mine.

 

If I was able to go back and change the name of this thread it would be: "Window antenna not as good as an old fashioned one"  It's not awful ... on stronger stations, just on my favorite station.  Maybe I'll buy a steel rod one and hook it up to the amp and see what happens?

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If you have a pattern anything like the one in the picture, then it is a fractile design and I can guarantee it is superior to any "steel rod" antenna.  Fractile antenna designs are what has made the high bandwidth 3G and 4G smart phones work like they do, the old rod antennas could not handle these tasks.  If yours isn't working, then there is a problem somewhere with a connection.  It isn't the antenna's fault.

 

It is possible that there might be a break in one of the traces in the window that would disrupt reception, you would have to examine every trace very carefully but it's far more likely that there is corrosion in one of your connections or the shield in the coax is broken or kinked.  If ants get into your car, they love the dielectric in the coax and will eat right through the shield to get at it.

Edited by keith3267

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Here are pictures of fractal antennas.  To be a fractal they must have repeating patterns in different sizes, in antenna normally geometric shapes.  Like these:https://www.google.com/search?q=images+of+fractal+antenna&client=firefox-b-1-ab&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=x1N3U4lVqI-Q2M%253A%252C4QvV4zP0TC9KMM%252C_&usg=__sj2m8ZCHSBk0x6OQFKQCJG4tdQE%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiD-ZaMusLZAhUB2IMKHfi7B1UQ9QEIKzAA#imgrc=x1N3U4lVqI-Q2M:

 

That's a far cry from what is on my window.  Besides, fractal antenna are indeed good for higher frequencies like cell phones, not nearly as good for low frequencies as used for FM radio, more like just passable for those who like to jump on the "look no antenna" bandwagon.  Those little shark fin type antenna are probably fractal inside, great for high frequencies like XM satellite radio and GPS signals.

 

Not to mention that if these window ones worked so great for FM, why do they need an amplifier?  The old steel rod doesn't need one.

 

There is nothing wrong with my stupid window antenna, it simply does not work as well as the good ole steel rod type.

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What?  Did you install that antenna?  Definitely wider traces and different pattern than mine.

 

nope, i did not... that is what was on the car when I got it.

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"Not to mention that if these window ones worked so great for FM, why do
they need an amplifier?  The old steel rod doesn't need one."

 

Actually they did and still do.  Car radios have always had a pre-amp in them.  Fractal antenna's are a lot more complex than just repeating patterns, I have built some for TV's.  The ones I built for TV reception did not pick up LVHF but that was only because they weren't designed for that.  LVHF requires larger elements than the ones I made, but for HVHF and UHF, they were fantastic and did not require a preamp as my more conventional antenna's had.

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I was going out of town today to where I knew I'd loose my favorite station.  When it got fairly bad I stopped and checked the connectors which are OK.  Then I clipped a ~ 18" aligigator test lead on the antenna at the plug and moved it around.  I left it clipped on going almost straight forward and that station came in for another ~ 10 miles till I got to the point where any of my vehicles would loose that station.  I'll have to see how it does around town where I'm closer to station but it fades out.

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