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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With time being so limited lately, I was lucky to find an hour on Saturday for what should have been a rewarding project.

A few years back, this Fuba antenna was acquired for another vehicle project that was interrupted, so its been sitting in the box of tricks waiting.

Ant1.jpg

See the stud extending from the antenna base? And the corresponding cup/cable assembly? That stud is the first step in the mechanical interface between air and radio receiver - passed to the Motorola T/R connector thru RG59 cable. This antenna was still in its original packaging so I can only assume the obvious lack of a mechanism to isolate signal from ground was either a design oversight - or this particular example was mis-packaged. Luckily, I'm a fan of shopping at Earl's Industrial Liquidators and other places that specialize in odd ball items. So I dug around and found a 1/4" snap grommet perfect for the task. I took it a step farther and added both an O-Ring and CCF gaskets to improve water resistance.

Ant2.jpg Ant3.jpg

Dropped the interior light/sunglass overhead thing and found an easily accessible area to drill.

Ant4.jpg

Beveled the top of the hole to ease insertion of the isolating grommet and give the O-Ring a seat. Then added the first CCF gasket.

Ant5.jpg Ant6.jpg

Dropped the passenger side sun shade hardware, pulled the chicken bar and A pillar cover for the RG-59 cable run down to the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Cinched the cable down enough to insure the ground teeth bit into roof metal.

20150509_120222.jpg

Easy cable run...

20150509_122417.jpg

Looks OK I guess but I sure do prefer the bare roof look.

20150509_161658.jpg

But my biggest gripe is radio performance now is worse than the crappy horizontal factory antenna.

My driveway sits at 1197 feet above sea level in north central San Diego county. Frequency and amplitude modulated radio has no problem propagating or being captured here. Even a frigging coat hanger will grab dozens of signals up here. Frustrated with lousy reception, I broke out the Fluke and measured resistance between the connecting cup under the antenna base and the Motorola tip/ring termination at the dash. Virtually no resistance there and certainly not an open or shorted circuit.

Both AM and FM sensitivity have been greatly reduced, and since the circuit is good between roof and dash, the only thing left is the antenna mast itself. CRAP.

This thing is headed to the trash bin as soon as I find a suitable replacement.
 

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Humm.. Did you check for an antenna booster?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I seen success with that antenna before, I wonder what your issue was?
Have you considered using the OEM wires going to the horizontal antenna under the third brake light, to power your antenna?
I often wondered if that would work.

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35370
Thanks for the link Mr. Copter. Hadn't seen that one before. Nah, hadn't thought of using the factory cabling or trying the amp - mostly because the amp likely has circuitry to manipulate polarization (just guessing).

The issue with this passive version of Fuba is mystifying. The two things stumping me are clean continuity between antenna base and the Motorola termination - coupled with AM being present. Those two attributes are proof the system is electrically functional. AM is hyper sensitive to continuity - if there were a problem in wiring, AM wouldn't be demodulated by the radio - there would be nothing but noise. AM is there but sensitivity is in the tank. On the FM side, sensitivity is ridiculously low. Geographic areas where FM was less than stellar w/the factory antenna are now completely dead, which is the opposite of typical antenna system issues. Effing weird.

The Fuba is common across tons of factory systems. I've swapped the mast out with a couple of known good from friends vehicles with no good results. This afternoon, while sitting in an underground parking lot, the radio was tuned to a local FM station that used to receive decently in the same spot, audio went from pure static to partially intelligible voice to intermittent static/voice/static/voice. Al while stationary. Effing weird.

Other than the simple connection between the stud conducting signal captured from the air and the cup inside the vehicle, there is simply no other single point of failure. Even though there is no oxidation, I've got various CAIG chemicals for treating electrical contacts. Gonna break those out in last ditch effort. After that, I'll likely go with an amplified version of the effing Fuba.
 

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So I'm toying with trying to put a Fuba type antenna on the roof forward of the third brake light, and using the wires from the stock horizontal antenna. I'm looking for suggestions on how to accomplish my goal of improved radio reception with the stock HU. Seems like all the required parts are already installed at the factory, but we know reception is bad because of a horizontal antenna coupled with a metal roof. So if one was to just cut the stock antenna off and replace it with a vertical antenna, reception should be improved right?
When I drive to work in our '08 Lexus RX350 and a '99 Ford Taurus I get to ride in, there is improved reception over the same route.
If there is some reason why this just won't work go easy please, I'm not fluent in 'electrical speak' :)

The antenna on the RX350 is neat in that it is foldable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Mr. Copter, the short answer is YES, a vertical antenna outside the vehicle body will be an improvement over the horizontal factory antenna. But, as with most things, there are caveats.

*IF* your idea is to use factory cabling to complete the signal run between an aftermarket antenna and dash, there are a few potential issues.

Word of caution, these words are coming from ignorance of the factory antenna system as a whole, so grain of salt.... "standard" signal conductors used in AM/FM antennas are terminated with the type of connector we have all seen since the 1940's (AKA: Motorola connector). This includes the plug on the radio & extension cables in between antennas and radios. *IF* the RL factory antenna utilizes a Motorola terminated extension cable between the antenna system back by the sail panel and the dash, an aftermarket antenna will plug directly in. But I'm guessing Honda used some sort of hybrid interconnect - similar to what they did at the dash where an adapter is used to convert factory cable to the Motorola standard. HOWEVER - *IF* they did use Motorola connectors, you'll still end up with X # of feet of unused/unneeded RG59 wire that came with the new antenna and the factory cable run to the radio. Using my antenna as an example:

Antenna.jpg

*IF* the factory RG-59 cable does accommodate an aftermarket antenna Motorola connector, I'd still recommend against it, primary because coiled up-low level-solid conductor coaxial wire (which is what RG59 - or antenna cable is) introduces loss and reduces signal strength with every inch of run and every connection.

Again, coming from ignorance, there is the potential issue of where the factory antenna amplifier is in the signal path. Chances are it's part of the antenna assembly itself, but if it is a discrete component outside the antenna assembly, it would need to be by-passed completely. Chances are, the antenna amp is more than just a signal booster, it may include phase and/or polarization modifications designed to alter the horizontal antenna capture characteristics - which is just an electronic method used to "improve" the characteristics of a horizontal mast orientation. It would be unusual for it to be that type of design, mainly because it isn't cheap to do - at least not in an optimal fashion but that may be reality.

After all that, my strong recommendation is to install any after market antenna as it is designed. Eliminating the variables associated factory cabling is a good thing. You'll maximize signal conduction and the overall design of whatever antenna you choose.

Best of luck!
 

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Personally, I'd hook it up and try it prior to popping holes in my roof. Just my opinion
 

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My only experience with having success with increasing radio reception in the past is to use a clothes hanger to extend the antenna :)
I wish to use that premise here, by extending the current system. It sounds like I need an un-amplified antenna with wires that would hook up to that in the pic below. Maybe an external antenna from a different Honda model, or shorten the R59 cable for one with the Motorola connection so there is not much slack if that type could be used.

RL Antenna.jpg

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=266146&postcount=4
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My only experience with having success with increasing radio reception in the past is to use a clothes hanger to extend the antenna :)
I wish to use that premise here, by extending the current system. It sounds like I need an un-amplified antenna with wires that would hook up to that in the pic below. Maybe an external antenna from a different Honda model, or shorten the R59 cable for one with the Motorola connection so there is not much slack if that type could be used.

View attachment 191250

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=266146&postcount=4
AH, it appears the antenna cable is terminated with a molex style deal-y-o specific to Honda. It also appears the amplifier is a discrete part located somewhere downstream of the sail panel cover. If you did go with a passive roof mount, it might be a worthwhile experiment to leave the amp in place for a drive test.

If you've never worked with standard RG59 cable, it can be a real b!tch when attempting to solder in-line male/female Motorola terminations. Both the shield and hair width center conductor are challenging, especially when working in the vehicle vs. on a bench. Since using the factory cable is a goal, you might consider using a more user friendly male-female inline connector like a BNC. Since those are used to pass RF all the way from UHF to PCS cellular, I'm thinking they would be frequency agnostic and trouble free for AM/FM.
 

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I thought the Fuba had a built-in amplifier, that was powered by a voltage applied across the coax?

Or is that just VWs?

Chip H.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #13
No open circuit. No dead short. Good ground. No measureable resistance between the antenna base and the radio. No improvement after swapping the mast with two known good 11 & 16" versions.

Uncle.

Maybe some disembodied Barbie heads will help?

Creepy-car-antenna.jpg

Maybe a multiple element, high capture ratio phased array will do the trick?

Antenna.jpg

How about a mobile antenna farm. HAHAHA...

Antenna1.jpg
 

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So I'm determined to improve radio reception in my 2014 SE while keeping the stock Head Unit. I would like to unplug the horizontal antenna under the third brake light on the rear of the roof and connect an external antenna for which I will drill a hole.

Looking at the parts diagram it is just wiring harnesses that go from the head unit to the antenna, with an antenna module #6 in between. I'm wondering what this antenna module does? Is it an signal amp or is that housed in the HU? If I find a suitable antenna I'm not sure if I should try and tie it in before the module or after?

I don't understand the electronics involved ie - resistance, amplitude modulation etc; and am looking for plug and play where possible. I was thinking of trying a Acura or Honda external antenna from a different model hoping the connectors may be similar.

If its not possible to use the stock wiring to connect an external antenna, I do have an amplified VW FUBA antenna in the box which I may use with its own cable. In case I go that route I need to know where the amp is for the stock antenna.

Suggestions welcome.....

Ridgeline Antenna Detail.jpg

Illust No. Reqd.Qty. Description
001-- 001-- BAND, WIRE HARNESS OFFSET (20)(122.5MM)
002-- 002-- SPEAKER ASSY., TWEETER (PREMIUM) (PIONEER)
003-- 001-- ENCLOSURE ASSY., SUBWOOFER (PIONEER)
004-- 004-- SPEAKER ASSY. (17CM) (SINGLE) (PIONEER)
005-- 001-- ANTENNA ASSY., XM *NH578*
006-- 001-- MODULE UNIT, ANTENNA
007-- 001-- SUB-FEEDER ASSY., ANTENNA
008-- 001-- FEEDER ASSY., ANTENNA
009-- 001-- FEEDER ASSY., XM
010-- 001-- NUT ASSY.
011-- 001-- XM UNIT
012-- 001-- LID ASSY., R. SPEAKER *NH607L*(STD)
013-- 001-- LID ASSY., L. SPEAKER *NH607L*(STD)
014-- 004-- CLIP, SNAP FITTING
015-- 001-- BOLT, GROUND (6X16) (WASHER 12.5MM) (ZN)
016-- 004-- BOLT-WASHER (6X20)
017-- 001-- CLIP, WIRE HARNESS (50MM) (BLACK)(HARNESS TAPING)
018-- 002-- CLIP, WIRE HARNESS (44MM) (NATURAL)
019-- 016-- CLIP, HARNESS BAND (96.9MM) (NATURAL)
020-- 001-- CLIP, WIRE HARNESS (110MM) (NATURAL)
021-- 001-- CLIP, CONNECTOR (RED)
022-- 002-- CLIP, WIRE HARNESS (130MM) (NATURAL)
023-- 003-- BOLT-WASHER (6X16)

http://www.hondapartsnow.com/genuine/honda~antenna~assy~39150-SJC-A11ZE.html
 

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so is that your issue? (he asks out of ignorance)

The Ridgeline has an amplified antenna and you're replacing it with a non amplified version

The antenna amplifier is part 6 in the parts diagram above (the "Module unit") and is located under the headliner in the rear....Heli it's right near the area where the antenna cable enters the vehicle near the third taillight
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So I'm determined to improve radio reception in my 2014 SE while keeping the stock Head Unit. I would like to unplug the horizontal antenna under the third brake light on the rear of the roof and connect an external antenna for which I will drill a hole.

Looking at the parts diagram it is just wiring harnesses that go from the head unit to the antenna, with an antenna module in between. I'm wondering what this antenna module does? Is it an signal amp or is that housed in the HU? If I find a suitable antenna I'm not sure if I should try and tie it in before the module or after?

I don't understand the electronics involved ie - resistance, amplitude modulation etc; and am looking for plug and play where possible. I was thinking of trying a Acura or Honda external antenna from a different model hoping the connectors may be similar.

If its not possible to use the stock wiring to connect an external antenna, I do have an amplified VW FUBA antenna in the box which I may use with its own cable.

Suggestions welcome.....

View attachment 191642
 

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(OhSix read the post right above your previous one)
 

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so is that your issue? (he asks out of ignorance)

The Ridgeline has an amplified antenna and you're replacing it with a non amplified version

The antenna amplifier is part 6 in the parts diagram above (the "Module unit") and is located under the headliner in the rear....Heli it's right near the area where the antenna cable enters the vehicle near the third taillight
Thanks ELK for clarifying. So if #6 in the diagram in my previous post is the radio antenna amp, OhSix was trying to add an antenna without an antenna amplifier?

OH SIX, Thanks for all the advice (and education) , I will probably run the new wire after all.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
(OhSix read the post right above your previous one)
Elk: thanks for clarifying the factory illustration. I get the layout now.

Heli: yes. This Fuba is it's own system, independent of factory cabling and components.

The issue I'm having is this: after installing the new antenna system, AM/FM reception degraded significantly. In effort to diagnose why, a meter is used to measure continuity and electrical resistance between the antenna base where the cable terminates at the dash.

IF there were a problem in the cable, base or connections - continuity (which is nothing more than verifying a complete circuit/connection between point A & point B) would measure "open" and/or high resistance could be measured between those points - which isn't the case here. This means the antenna system is mechanically complete and *should be* operating as designed. The only antenna component that can't be electrically tested with common shop tools is the mast itself. So to verify if the mast is good/bad, it has been replaced with masts from known good donor vehicles.

The end result is: there is no identifiable manufacturing or assembly defect. A known good mast makes no difference. So there is no reason the antenna shouldn't be operating WAY batter than it is.

Here's a wrinkle: yesterday the 06 went in for timing belt/tensioner/water pump/accessory belt/ETC. The shop has a deal with a neighbor Enterprise rent-a-car so I picked up a goofy little Kia Rio for the day. During the obligatory walk around, I noted the vehicle had no antenna mast. But during the normal drive to the office, reception was far better than the new Fuba on the RL. Now the Rio uses an amplifier in the antenna base but even with no mast, it was capturing AM.

Soooo... This Fuba will be replaced with a short-masted amplified design.
 

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