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Discussion Starter #1
Cellular Antenna recommendations?

I have a 2002 Passat GLS and was reading through the manuals when I noticed that it said:
"Mobile telephones or CB radios should not be used in the vehicle unless a separate outside antenna is installed. If you use a mobile telephone or CB radio inside the vehicle without an outside antenna, the high frequency energy (resonance effect) emitted inside the vehicle can cause malfunctions in the vehicle's electronic system." ("Tips and Advice" manual 3.2, page 75)

I don't have a CB but do have a cell phone, so I thought I would check here to see what external cellular antenna others might be using and how they liked them. The antenna would preferably be small and not detract from the appearance of the car. Are there any cool looking ones that also function well? Some pics would be great. The CFR-904 or CFR-905 at http://www.terk.com look like possibilities. If you mounted it yourself, how about some info on the cable routing used and any other useful tips, as well as info on where you got it. If you happen to have a cool hands-free setup, info and pics of that would be appreciated as well.

Thanks,
Russell


<![CDATA[I have a 2002 Passat GLS and was reading through the manuals when I noticed that it said:
"Mobile telephones or CB radios should not be used in the vehicle unless a separate outside antenna is installed. If you use a mobile telephone or CB radio inside the vehicle without an outside antenna, the high frequency energy (resonance effect) emitted inside the vehicle can cause malfunctions in the vehicle's electronic system." ("Tips and Advice" manual 3.2, page 75)

I don't have a CB but do have a cell phone, so I thought I would check here to see what external cellular antenna others might be using and how they liked them. The antenna would preferably be small and not detract from the appearance of the car. Are there any cool looking ones that also function well? Some pics would be great. The CFR-904 or CFR-905 at http://www.terk.com look like possibilities. If you mounted it yourself, how about some info on the cable routing used and any other useful tips, as well as info on where you got it. If you happen to have a cool hands-free setup, info and pics of that would be appreciated as well.

Thanks,
Russell


[Modified by rsage, 4:55 AM 7/7/2002]
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (rsage)

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone complain about issues with cell phones in their vehicles. As with any transmission device, it'll mess with your radio should you bring it close enough to the head unit - however, it shouldn't cause any damage. You should be fine just using the phone as is unless you really want to install an external antenna for your phone.

Lorenzo
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (rsage)

There is this monster (13 page) thread at Vortex in the Golf/Jetta IV section about rigging an OEM Navi system. One of the system requirements is this antenna.



Evidently there are two types. One is a two-way antenna for radio and GPS. The other is a three-way for radio, GPS and cell phone. Somewhere burried in the 13 pages the guy says it works fine with his phone. Sorry, I don't recall seeing any part numbers. You might want to look in at http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=258281 to see if the part numbers are mentioned.

I wonder if the GPS antenna (i.e. a satelite antenna) would work with XM Radio?

TGH
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (rsage)

The easy fix is not to use your celphone in the car.

If you're going to go to lengths to improve the performance of the phone, go the extra mile and invest in a quality hands-free kit such as the factory option for Nokia brand handsets. They'll mute the radio and autoanswer without the need to remove your hands from the wheel or gear selector. In many states, it's illegal to hold the handset while driving, whether talking or not; it must be securely fastened and not used unless with a handsfree device.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (ThosHrubecky)

I've been following that thread, the antenna can be purchased off of ebay for about $80. You'll have to do an advanced search on ebay for "vw navi" in titles and descriptions for listings in any country. There's usually 3-4 of them listed.

And, <u>NO, the GPS receiver will not work with XM</u>. They are two completely different technologies, with different signals and satellite locations.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (Scotaku)

In the recent DriverGear catalog (Vol. 3 / No. 1 / 2002) I saw both a Personal Electronics Console for PDAs and a Hands-Free Cell Phone Install Kit. The PEC for the Passat ($107.35) came in the three interior colors but it only listed part numbers for MY01.5+. The Hands-Free set-up (three pieces totaling $357.55 shown in black on a New Beetle) didn't state any color choices but said it "... may be used in conjunction with the Personal Electronics Console." So it looks like B5.0s are out of luck on the PEC but might be OK with the Hands-Free. Out of curiosity, does anybody know how the Hands-Free works with the PEC?

Shame about the XM thing. It would have had a real nice OEM look about it. That said, given the major surgery going on with the Navi system, it wouldn't suprise me if some clever handyman found a way to replace the GSP antenna with the XM antenna guts. That would be a really useful mod!

TGH
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (ThosHrubecky)

Thanks for the info guys. That antenna would be great - it would eliminate the need for two antennas on the car. However, I assume it would mean getting under the headliner to mount (since it doesn't appear that it would screw on the original base) and also to run a new cable for the cellphone lead. I'm not afraid to do a little tinkering, but messing with the headliner sounds a little scary - I'd hate to end up with a sagging or noisy headliner which I've read can be a problem in Passats {can't recall if I was reading that here or over in VWVortex}. Have any of you ever run cables/wires through the headliner - is it less difficult and problem prone than it sounds, or is there another route that you'd suggest for this.

Also, at the moment, the only ones of this particular antenna that I can find on EBay are in Germany with comments that they only ship to Germany or Europe, and I'd be hesitant to deal with the language barrier and funds transfer difficulties. {jwil - Thanks for the info on how to perform that international search though - I didn't even know that was possible}.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations?

Why get an external antenna when you can get an internal one?

I have a Cell Port 3000 installed in my car with a Hirschman antenna that is mounted on my dash. I can take a pic of it tomorrow for you if you want. Thought I had a pic but I don't. It is a small approx 1inch in diameter circle that can be placed anywhere. It's real nice and it doesn't stick out on the roof or side window.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (rsage)

Try this Terk CFR-903 internal Glass mount antenna:



Or this Terk CFR-904 through the glass mounted antenna:




As far as the PEC and the VW handsfree kit are concerned, I think the PEC should work with all models '98+ since it just mounts to the side of the dash, but I may be wrong. The HF kit definitely works with the PEC though, I saw a picture of it either in the last catalog or on the website. (stupid short term memory
)

The HF kit is <u>way</u> too overpriced though. It's basically the same as a Nokia CARK-91, although the cradle is a little nicer on the VW model. The Nokia CARK-91 sells for about $125 new, or about $90 on ebay, NIB.

<![CDATA[Try this Terk CFR-903 internal Glass mount antenna:



Or this Terk CFR-904 through the glass mounted antenna:




As far as the PEC and the VW handsfree kit are concerned, I think the PEC should work with all models '98+ since it just mounts to the side of the dash, but I may be wrong. The HF kit definitely works with the PEC though, I saw a picture of it either in the last catalog or on the website. (stupid short term memory
)

The HF kit is <u>way</u> too overpriced though. It's basically the same as a Nokia CARK-91, although the cradle is a little nicer on the VW model. The Nokia CARK-91 sells for about $125 new, or about $90 on ebay, NIB.

[Modified by jwil, 10:35 PM 7/8/2002]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (vw18t)

Sure - a pic would be appreciated.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations?

Here are pics of my Hirschman antenna. It's located on the dash in the passenger corner.

External view:



Internal view:

 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (vw18t)

Looks slick and would certainly be easier to mount than some other options. Do you happen to recall where you purchased it?
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations?

I purchased mine though a local audio shop, Rich's CarTunes, tel: 866-CAR-TUNES. Price is approx $50. You can mount this antenna where you want for the most part. When you call, tell them that Ron Lee with the red Passat sent you over. They'll remember me and the system they just put in my car.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (vw18t)

my question, not to be an ass or anything, but do these things even boost your reception? a friend who worked at a radio shack said they didn't do squat, those were the older ones though. If it did boost the signal, i.e. relay the signal better, then I would be interested.

Brian
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations?

It has helped me a lot with reception. I drive a lot in the city and highway and my signal has been stabilized for me. Basically I would get a lot of dropped calls in the city and highway without my kit installed. Now it doesn't drop as often, yes it will still drop from time to time and my signal strength is increased.
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (rsage)

As an Engineer formerly in the Cellular Biz, here are some sites below for antennas. The general rules are:

1. Any external antenna [that gets the Cell signal out of the metal can known as a car] will perform better than just using the built-in phone antenna.

To the best of my knowledge, the VW Op Manual warning is boilerplate and not based on any incident or Physics knowledge. Car Manufacturers are paranoid about ANY signal getting on the CAN bus and mucking up the behavior of increasingly-electronic vehicle systems [like airbags blowing at Autobahn speeds, etc.]. The fact is, you get far more signal penetrating the car when driving by a commercial 100,000 Watt radio station than you do from the 0.6 Watts maximum that radiates from a U.S. Cell phone. European phones output up to 2.0 Watts.

High end European cars all offer integrated hands-free phone kits [hidden mic pickup; playback through the radio speakers] and mind-boggling Navigation kits. The small square just left of the top right console map light in a Passat is expressly for hiding a cell phone mic [typically made by AKG].

Given this phone integration acceptance and the higher output of European phones, it's clearly a legal stance on the part of VW and others that causes them to include boilerplate statements regarding cell phone signals.

2. The through-glass and "patch" antennas, shown above, work well and are very popular. If placed on the front windshield, they transmit better to the front of the car, obviously, so you can drop a cell site that is behind you as you travel.

The ultimate antenna is a hard-wired [not through glass] antenna, like the multi-function AM/FM/Cell/GPS antenna shown above. This gets the signal above the ground plane of the car [car body/roof], resulting in the strongest signal and least dropped calls.

3. Antennas have to work at the frequency right for the local Cell Carrier. So, while the stubbies look nice, but they're tuned for only ~1850 mHz [high band, a.k.a. PCS]. If your local Carrier is still using mostly ~850 mHz sites, the stubbies generally won't cut it. High band cell site equipment is generally deployed in urban areas, so ~3" long stubbies work well there. This is why you see them as factory installs on an increasing number of vehicles.

Circular or rectangular "patch" antennas pictured above are also made for ~850 mHz. Lots of antennas of all varieties are tuned to cover both bands. It's only in the short stubbies that you encounter antennas tuned for only the high band. However, if a car [like a new Passat] has metallized windows [to lower the incoming heat solar load], then any through-glass antenna will not perform as well. Keep any through-glass antenna away from in-glass radio or defrosting wires, and an inch away from the car body [ideally]. Through glass and patch antennas are popular due to ease-of-installation; not great performance.

BTW, PCS is a Sprint Marketing term for the standard high band of ~1850 mHz, which lots of Carriers use. That is also the [only] general frequency used throughout Europe. However, European antennas will actually be tuned to about a ~100 mHz different frequency, so order only a European antenna made specifically for the U.S. Market.

The headliner removal can be a hassle, but it's worth it if you're serious about in-car performance of the Cell phone and/or GPS Nav system. The antenna shown above "adds" the circular disc at the base to house a GPS antenna. They work very well; there are 3 leads for the separate signals, or several leads plus a splitter box [depending on the Manufacturer] Don't cut any antenna cable; it's a certain length on purpose. Signal may/will degrade.

http://www.antennaworld.com

http://www.hirschmann.de/index2e.html

http://www.autoleads.co.uk

I agree that car kits, as from Nokia or Motorola, are the only way to go. Plus, you can have the car kit mute your radio HU [VW 2002 year] automatically.

Good Luck, whichever way you go...
 

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Re: Cellular Antenna recommendations? (Engineer Guy)



I have this one installed in my car -slightly different position though. But works perfectly fine, just the same. It was actually included in a hands-free kit IIRC (think its from cingular )
 
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