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Car antennas - Old and New


TH4RO
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Remember the good ole days of knowing when a person had a car phone based off of the antenna stuck to the window?  Seems like just yesterday everyone had one.  Later they progressed to into the fins on the roof if you bought the manufacturers branded/built in phone.

 

The questions:  Did those exterior antennas really provide better reception?  Did these car manufacturers branded phones that were detachable really make use of the shark fin antenna or just the one on the phone?  Is it even possible for modern phones to make use of an exterior antenna on a vehicle since they have so many?  If they do provide better reception should car manufacturers find a way to connect to the phone and build in all the antennas into the vehicle?  Is a modern connected car antenna more powerful than a phones?

 

I realize the connected car exists now (Audi A8 to name one).  A dedicated phone charging port that connects to the cars more powerful antennas would be handy.

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Back in 1991 I ordered a brand new Oldsmobile Trofeo.  It had a Sony Trinitron CRT touchscreen in the dash.  Back then, when you hit the navigation button, a compus came up on the screen. 

 

This system had a factory built in Motorola wired cell phone with an antenna installed on the back window glass.  The system could be used either with the on-screen controls or by picking up the handset which folded out of the center console storage compartment. 

 

When the phone rang, the volume on the stereo would lower, so you could take the "hands free" call. 

 

The transceiver for the phone was mounted under the rear parcel shelf in the trunk of the Trofeo. 

 

To answer your question about reception:  YES, The reception was much better than today's handheld cell phones.  The output power was 3 watts as compared to today's 0.6 watts on the handheld units. 

 

The Oldsmobile Trofeo was light years ahead of its time.  Using the CRT, you could arm the theft-deterrent system.  When the car was started, the CRT would ask for a security code.  If the code was not entered, the Motorola phone would dial a preselected number and report a theft in progress. 

 

Man, I miss that car!

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Remember the good ole days of knowing when a person had a car phone based off of the antenna stuck to the window?  Seems like just yesterday everyone had one.  Later they progressed to into the fins on the roof if you bought the manufacturers branded/built in phone.

 

The questions:  Did those exterior antennas really provide better reception?  Did these car manufacturers branded phones that were detachable really make use of the shark fin antenna or just the one on the phone?  Is it even possible for modern phones to make use of an exterior antenna on a vehicle since they have so many?  If they do provide better reception should car manufacturers find a way to connect to the phone and build in all the antennas into the vehicle?  Is a modern connected car antenna more powerful than a phones?

 

I realize the connected car exists now (Audi A8 to name one).  Would a dedicated phone charging port that connects to the cars more powerful antennas would be handy.

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I can only imagine any aerial antenna is better than the built in one. back in 1999-2003 I installed a ton of car phones and car kits. Always used glass mounts and patch antennas and saw a couple bar difference. Now if I put in a 3 watt booster then it was money.

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Great now I have that song in my head all day. 

Even worse, I remember when that commercial originally aired!  They also had a commercial that showed the Trofeo phone calling the owner during an attempted theft. 

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To answer your question about reception:  YES, The reception was much better than today's handheld cell phones.  The output power was 3 watts as compared to today's 0.6 watts on the handheld units.

 

Those RF output figures are somewhat misleading.  Neither is/was a regulatory limitation.  Cellular 850 MHz mobile ERP, for example, is capped at 7 W (38 dBm).  But 3 W (34 dBm) seems to have been a common figure -- or commonly cited figure -- for car phones and bag phones.

 

Additionally, you will not find many smartphones that put out 0.6 W (600 mW) (27 dBm).  The typical target max conducted power figure is 0.2 W (200 mW) (23 dBm).  Increases or reductions from that figure are largely due to antenna gain.  And the majority of smartphones have negative antenna gain for some or all bands, thereby reducing smartphone average max ERP/EIRP to the 0.1 W (100 mW) (20 dBm) range.

 

AJ

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