The majority of the time that most people are listening to their satellite radio is inside their car. But what gets you the best signal? Antenna placement and location on the car is key but is there an antenna that will get you better reception? Are there pros and cons of using one antenna over another? In this posting I will review each car antenna here at TSS Radio as well as include the truck antennas.
The Sirius Mobile Antenna Dot Micro is the standard car antenna that comes with all new plug and play radios. It is the replacement antenna Sirius now uses over the older square car antenna. The mobile antenna dot micro is a round magnetic antenna with a 21 ft cable that has a higher gain than previous models. Basically, that means it can get a better reception. Upon testing I found this to be very true. The dot micro works incredibly well even with poor weather conditions or a bit of cover over it (ie: trees, overhang, etc). The only disadvantage to this antenna is that it’s wire is a fragile and not really equipped for strong weather.
The Tram Square Car Antenna for Sirius is a square magnetic antenna that is fairly new to us here at TSS Radio. At first glance this radio appears to be the same as the old Sirius square car antenna, but it isn’t. This antenna is designed with a thicker cable sheathing that, in theory, will improve the longevity of the antenna. The additional use of an adhesive pad that the antenna can sit on instead of using its magnetic feature is also included with this antenna. Upon testing I noticed this antenna gets just as good of a signal quality as the Mobile Antenna Dot Micro, if not better. I experienced almost no signal strength loss in poor weather conditions or even under heavy foliage. I would recommend this antenna to anyone! The only disadvantage I could see with this is hiding the wire in a vehicles weather stripping. It is so thick that it may not fit properly.
The Terk SIR-Mini Antenna is a magnetic antenna that can be used for older receivers. It comes with a 21 ft cable that has a FAKRA style connector that can be found on older receivers, however the FAKRA connector can be removed so that it can be used with newer receivers. Upon testing with this antenna I noticed it still gets a good quality signal, but isn’t as strong as the higher gain antennas. I would still recommend this antenna for everyday use as it will still get a good signal. As for a disadvantage., this antenna also has a very thin wire and is a bit fragile.
The Adhesive Car Antenna is an oval shaped antenna that has an adhesive base and rubber cable cover. It has a 21 ft cable and also comes with a FAKRA connector for use with older receivers but can be removed and used with newer receivers. During use, I noticed it works relatively the same as the Terk SIR-Mini antenna. It received a good signal but does not work as well as the higher gain antennas. This antenna is still good for normal use but also comes with a fragile thin wire that may not stand up to the elements.
The TERK SIR4 and XM4 universal truck antennas are great for all weather use on trucks and RV’s. These antennas are a mushroom style antenna that can be mirror mounted or flat surface mounted. The cable that comes with the unit is 21 ft in length and is replaceable. When I used this antenna I noticed an outstanding signal quality. I would recommend this antenna for any long hauler or RV user that can’t live without their satellite radio. I would recommend using zip ties or electrical tape to tie down the cable while it is exposed to the elements, so it does not hang loosely in the wind during travel.
The Interoperable Satellite Radio Truck Antenna is a universal antenna that can be used with either Sirius or XM. It is a stick style antenna that can be either mirror mounted or flat face mounted and also comes with a 21 ft replaceable antenna cable. This antenna did not work as well for me as the Terk truck antennas. The Interoperable antenna still gets a good signal but did not provide the same signal strength as the other ones. It is still a good and sturdy all weather antenna and can be used for a truck or RV that is making several long trips. And, much like the Terk antennas, I would suggest using zip ties or electrical tape to secure the wire.
The TRAM Mirror Mount Truck Antenna and TRAM Interoperable Mirror Mount Truck Antenna are designed for use on trucks and RV’s. These antennas are cylindrical in shape and smaller than other truck and RV antennas. The disadvantage to these antennas is that the 17 ft cable built into the unit cannot be replaced. Upon use of the unit I noticed that this is a very high gain antenna and performed as well as the Terk truck antennas. I would recommend this antenna to anyone and especially recommend using zip ties or electrical tape to hold down any exposed wire.
Choosing the antenna that is right for you is key. Function, durablility, and signal strength are all very important. Hopefully this outline has helped in understanding what the differences are between certain antennas and how well they will perform for you.