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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There has been a lot of discussion on the quality of the windshield radio antenna on our SSR's. Here is a little more information and a potential solution.

First, the problem.

Check the first picture. This shows the antenna at the top of the windshield and how it is routed from the connection to the side of the windshield. Notice the bumps from the black sun screen on the windshield and how the antenna winds over and through the bumps. In the semiconductor industry we refer to this as step coverage when a thin film connector crosses topography on the substrate. The pictures of the SSR antenna look just like the classic issues we have on silicon wafers. The problem is twofold. First, the applied film is thinner on the top and slope of the barrier and second, the CTE(coeficient of thermal expansion) is mismatched between copper and glass. This causes a constant mechanical stress as the glass cycles from cold to hot over time, like bending a coat hanger many times until it breaks.

If you look closely at the first picture, you can see the effect of time on the continuity of the antenna. The second picture shows a straight segment of the antenna on the side of the windshield. You can see two different problems. First a circular feature on the line where no copper is present. This is generally a bubble in the film. On wafers, this is called a "mouse bite". Don't ask why, I don't know. Also in the picture, you can see a fracture in the line. This looks like another CTE phenomenon and over time I would expect that crack to widen until continuity is lost.

The third picture shows an area where the copper film has peeled from the attaching compound. In previous posts we have speculated that the peeling copper is due to the window sticker being placed over the antenna and the copper removed when the sticker was scraped off. That doesn't look like the case on mine. The peeling is clean and extends up beyond the normal position of a window sticker to the curve in the antenna. I think it's just poor adhesion and any wiping action would dislodge the copper. Any mechanical stress or CTE mismatch could have caused the peeling, but regardless, the adhesion should be good enough to prevent the type of damage I am seeing on my antenna.

Second, what I've tried to fix the problem.

I bought the Perma-tex defroster repair kit and looked at what it would take to effect a repair. First, the resistance of the line changes on the path and is not an ideal repair. Second, there is no reason to think that the repair will be permanent since the same peeling that caused the problem in the first place will probably re-occur. Also, I couldn't figure a good way to patch the curved section or step coverage issues at the top without making a big mess of my windshield. I looked into having the windshield replaced, but I don't like the idea of breaking the factory install and I don't have any reason to think that I wouldn't have to replace the windshield every year based on the design flaws in the antenna. In short, I gave up.

Third, The Solution.

When you take the headliner off, you discover that the windshield antenna is connected with a snap connector. You can just unsnap the antenna and replace it with a wire antenna with a similar male snap connector on the end. The question is what kind of wire and how long. I spent time reseaching different antenna web sites for information(If we are fanatics, these guys are off the scale.) Net is that antenna design is a very obscure combination of Black Magic and impossibly complex computer simulations. I fell back to an empirical method with multiple candidates and the following results:


Antenna Number of stations found with Seek

No antenna 10
My existing antenna 13
Antenna A 18
Antenna B 18
Antenna C 18
Antenna D 19
Antenna E 17
Antenna F 20
Antenna G 19
Antenna H 16


The experimental antennas included different wire lengths, different wire gauges, and solid vs braided wire. The first conclusion is that almost anything is better than the stock antenna in the condition that mine is in.

I installed Antenna F in my car and have used it for the past couple of weeks. First, I get more stations, but also better reception on the stations I listen to. I also noticed that I don't lose reception quality every time I go under an over pass and I am not constantly reminded of the high power lines in the area when driving. In short, a great improvement over what I had.

So....based on this work, I have placed SSR antennas for sale on ebay. It is called the AntennaSSR(pronounced Antenna-Saur). The price is very low and my son is looking at this as a summer job if there are any orders. The antenna is completely hidden in the side of the window frame and the antenna kit includes inserts to hold the antenna in place along the window frame. If for any reason, you want to go back to the stock antenna or get a new windshield, the replacement antenna is easily removed and just snap the connector back to the windshield instead of the wire. From my time on this web site, I know some SSR owners can be a little exacting in their expectations for SSR products. I believe this will be an improvement to the SSR, but am selling the antennas on a buyer beware basis. If you are willing to gamble $12.50 on a solution and can afford to lose the money if you are not satisfied, this is for you. I think it will work well, but I don't want to compromise my reputation on the board by providing a solution that is not acceptable to all.


Postscript:

The last picture shows the partial removal of the warning sticker from my visor. Jim G. gave a great explanation of how to do it. I have one suggested improvement. I am not patient enough to pick at the sticker with my fingernail until it is all removed. I used one of the plastic spreaders that you can get in the Bondo section of an auto parts store. The spreader is used to smooth out a Bondo repair, but it works well for taking off a sticker. The advantage is that you can take the sticker off in a line all at once. This avoids the stretching and dimples in the vinyl that you get with your finger. Mine came off clean and flat with no need to use a hair dryer to smooth the surface. I also used industrial strength denatured alchohol from the hardware store.

So here's a great weekend project.....Order an antenna(search ebay for antennaSSR), get a spreader and denatured alcohol. You have to remove the visor to install the antenna, so it's a perfect opportunity to remove the stickers at the same time. In one two hour session, you can fix your radio and clean up the looks of the car by removing the stickers.

Texster68
 

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new antenna

I'll Try One How Do I Go About Paying You And Does It Also Include Installation Instructions. I Know They Will Probably Be Very Simple But Anytime I Can Get Help And Not Cause A Problem It Is Well Worth It.pm Me Or Just Answer On The Thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
JACKWALDROP said:
I'll Try One How Do I Go About Paying You And Does It Also Include Installation Instructions. I Know They Will Probably Be Very Simple But Anytime I Can Get Help And Not Cause A Problem It Is Well Worth It.pm Me Or Just Answer On The Thread.

I would prefer to just sell them on Ebay to avoid the hassle of keeping track of the mail or going to the bank to cash checks. Yes the instructions are included and are written on a simplistic level that will insult half the users and be welcomed by the other half. There's really not much to it. It isn't rocket science, just a snap connector soldered to a wire with some shrink wrap and inserts to hold the antenna wire in place between the glass and the window frame. It made my radio reception acceptable, I think it will do the same for yours.
 

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texster68 said:
. If you are willing to gamble $12.50 on a solution and can afford to lose the money if you are not satisfied, this is for you. PLUS
removal of the warning sticker from my visor. I used one of the plastic spreaders
Great detailed write-up. Now if you throw in a spreader with the antenna that should make sales go thru the roof :lol

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The AntennaSSR's have been out for a few weeks. Has anyone installed and seen any results? I'm curious to see if it worked as well for you as it did for me.

Texster68
 

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I bought one, didn't like it.
It seem to pick up the stations in the lower numbers, the ones I
want is mid to higher numbers.
Also it runs down the windsheld post, that blocks the signal from that side of the wire.
I guess if I started cutting the wire, it could help, but I just hooked
the old one back up.
If I get more time I may go back and play with it some.
 

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Again
This is a old thread, and they may be something new out there, but back when
I got mine 08-05, it was not any good.
I got it from Tex68, it was a good try, just wasn't happy with it.
The door post will block the signal.
Just hooked mine back to the factory wire.
By the way, my wire was not broke or cut, it just don't pick up real good!
I have learn to live with it.
 

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this thread appears to be very old and dead but I wonder if anyone has found an antenna that works or if 'F' antenna worked for most people.

I am able to receive exactly ZERO FM signal unless I am almost to town and my AM reception is poor also but I know that is due to my remote location so I think just about anything would be an improvement

I suppose I could just string out an new 'F' antenna under the dash mat cover if I knew where to get it

whats the latest on all this
 

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2 antenna fix alternatives? Feedback please...

this thread appears to be very old and dead but I wonder if anyone has found an antenna that works or if 'F' antenna worked for most people.

I am able to receive exactly ZERO FM signal unless I am almost to town and my AM reception is poor also but I know that is due to my remote location so I think just about anything would be an improvement

I suppose I could just string out an new 'F' antenna under the dash mat cover if I knew where to get it

whats the latest on all this
I am just as frustrated with the next guy about this antenna problem. I don't see a reliable fix for it in the forum at this time considering:
- We are way out of warranty period so unable to replace windshield (GM's solution), at least on their dime
- Permatex solution doesn't work reliably (per this post)
- The solution posed in this thread from 2005 isn't reliable and is no longer available

I still haven't given up hope on a simple, inexpensive solution, so 2 alternatives I've discovered are:
1) CircuitWriter Conductive Ink pen - says it can be used to repair heater traces (
for around $22)
2) 1/4" Copper Foil tape (also
for under $18)

I believe my antenna has several hairline cracks, probably from expansion/contraction over time, so one thought is to reconnect those breaks using either the CircuitWriter pen (similar to the permatex repair by filling the cracks with conductive material) . My trepidation here is that I am not sure if this is compatible with the metal in existing antenna "wire" glued to the windshield (same problem as permatex solution). I am not electrically inclined and would like someone with more knowledge to review and comment on this alternative.

Another thought is to effectively replace the antenna glued to the windshield with the copper tape (it's called a conductive adhesive). A huge assumption here is that it will conduct well as an antenna and I can integrate it into the existing antenna wire or the place where the antenna wire starts at the top of the windshield. Heck, I might be able to adhere it right on top of the existing one, as long as I have copper-to-copper contact. Aesthetics are also a concern here, since this 1/4" wide which is more easily noticed. Perhaps with some searching I can find a thinner copper tape. Another thing I don't understand here... the description says "Used for RFI/EMI (electromagnetic interference/radio-frequency interference) shielding applications in the electrical/electronics industry (used to shield integrated circuit chips, cables and motors)." Again, I'm not an electronics genius, but the words "shield" and "radio-frequency interference" sounds like the opposite of what I'm trying to do here. Does it mean that it will conduct over the copper very well, while shielding out any interference from outside sources? If that is true, then it would probably make a very poor antenna.

I'm looking for direction from those who know (way) more than me. Please comment if you think either of these alternatives are viable for SSR antenna repair.

Thanks
Rob
 

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Short answer is both of the above might fix your issue. The conductive pen should be able to fix a few breaks just fine since it conducts well. Conduction is key in shielding as well so it's all good. The metal roll would work too, but you would have to attach it to the window and then solder it to the connector somehow.

Might have better luck with this. It is common to repair the windshield antennas with the same repair kit that is used to repair the rear window defrosters. Here is a Permatex solution you could probably find at your local automotive store:
http://www.amazon.com/Permatex-15067-Window-Defogger-Repair/dp/B000HBI9YQ
 
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