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Discussion Starter #1
Morning all,

Bit of a strange one this... my facelift 156 has always had the classic poor radio reception. So I have just replaced my standard 'silver' radio with a new sony head unit. The radio signal has improved but not to a quailty to match other cars. MW is miles better but FM is still a bit dodgy. Being a facelift I have a small 3 inch aerial on the roof and it has the standard signal booster in the C pillar. I should not have the aerial in the rear screen (although if i use the rear demister it does boost the signal on MW strangely).
To try and sort this out I replaced the 3 inch aerial with the new style mast from the 147 or late 156 thats about 12 inches long. To my supprise it made no difference. I then removed the aerial mast conpletely and the signal remained the same but still not great.
So it appears the mast is doing nothing at all!!
Does anyone have an idea why this might be? I am wondering if the booster isn't getting power from the new radio, but then surely it wouldnt work at all?

Bit of weird one all round!
 

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The roof arial is not used for the radio - it is used for the sat nav system, the radio arial is built into the rear windscreen.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The roof arial is not used for the radio - it is used for the sat nav system, the radio arial is built into the rear windscreen.
Thanks for the reply. Well I have heard that and from reading in to the other posts on here that is right. However the UK facelift models had an exturnal aerial and no rear screen one, Alfa confirmed this for me. But.... knowing Alfa as my facelift is one of the first ones... does mine have both a roof and a rear screen... would explain why the aerial made no difference and why using the rear window demister adjusts the signal a bit.

I think I'll have to take the C pilar out and have a look at the wiring!

Thanks,
Peter
 

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Thanks for the reply. Well I have heard that and from reading in to the other posts on here that is right. However the UK facelift models had an exturnal aerial and no rear screen one, Alfa confirmed this for me. But.... knowing Alfa as my facelift is one of the first ones... does mine have both a roof and a rear screen... would explain why the aerial made no difference and why using the rear window demister adjusts the signal a bit.

I think I'll have to take the C pilar out and have a look at the wiring!

Thanks,
Peter
When you changed the head unit did you notice TWO aerial leads in the aperature? I have the short roof mounted aerial and a separate connector behind the head unit for phone/satnav etc connection. I believe if you look closely at the "elements" in the rear screen you should be able to see that the top (I think - too dark to see on mine now) two are electrically separate and are the pitiful aerial.
 

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Thanks for the reply. Well I have heard that and from reading in to the other posts on here that is right. However the UK facelift models had an exturnal aerial and no rear screen one, Alfa confirmed this for me. But.... knowing Alfa as my facelift is one of the first ones... does mine have both a roof and a rear screen... would explain why the aerial made no difference and why using the rear window demister adjusts the signal a bit.
Until October 2004 the roof antenna was a pre-fit for a phone & satnav, the radio antenna remained in the rear window.
After October 2004 when they changed to a longer roof antenna it was also for the radio.

(as in my reply on the other forum yesterday!)
 

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Until October 2004 the roof antenna was a pre-fit for a phone & satnav, the radio antenna remained in the rear window.
After October 2004 when they changed to a longer roof antenna it was also for the radio.

(as in my reply on the other forum yesterday!)
Thanks David. So I just missed the new aerial arrangement, mine being built in September 2004! Pity that, as the reception particularly for LW and Test Match Special is abosolutely useless!Apologies for any spelling errors or incoherence but just returned from pre Christmas drinks. Hic!
 

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Until October 2004 the roof antenna was a pre-fit for a phone & satnav, the radio antenna remained in the rear window.
After October 2004 when they changed to a longer roof antenna it was also for the radio.

(as in my reply on the other forum yesterday!)

Brilliant, that's just filled a knowledge gap for me :thumbs:

Someone had suggested I could use an adapter with the 2nd lead from the roof aerial as a DAB aerial for a stereo I was thinking of getting, I was quite confused when I couldn't find the 2nd lead :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Again thanks for that David, as I said on the other forum I thought you would be right and Alfa Romeo wrong! They said to me that my car did not have a rear screen aerial but everything point to it being there. I'll have a word with Alfa to see if you can use the satnav aerial for the radio if I swap the connections.
 

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Right well just spoken to Alfa again and they have confirmed that any facelift from 2003 to October 2004 had a rear screen aerial and a satnav aerial on the roof as David said. I also asked about using the satnav one as a 'normal' aerial, they had no idea if that was possible. So as I would for my old 1982 GTV6, I'll cut and splice the wires over christmas to see if the rear screen amp/aerial works on the roof aerial. Otherwise the new october 2004 onwards amp and aerial is £120 odd pounds and alot off hassle with roof lining.

Otherwise maybe a normal Halfords one???

I'll keep everyone informed
Peter
 

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The phone antenna may not be ideal for the radio, but it may still be better than the rear window effort!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The phone antenna may not be ideal for the radio, but it may still be better than the rear window effort!
Well thats what I am trying to work out now if it will work to a decent level. I can't pull the GSM aerial cable at the mo, its jammed in the dashboard! Anyway I am looking at ignoring the booster for the rear screen as thats FAR to complicated to fiddle with and just put a DIN radio connector on the GSM aerial cable. I could then add an aftermarket boaster if I wished. Problem is will the GSM aerial with its new longer mast get the right frequencies.... well I'll have to see.

Some people have tried it but haven't said what results they got. I will..... and worst case is if its crap I'll go back to the rear screen!
 

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When I tested between the GSM aerial and the GSM connection behind the head unit there was no continuity. I was advised that if the car wasn't speced for a telephone connection or sat nav then the connection was not made at the aerial end.Seems pretty daft. As you say Peter there would be a lot of hassle with the headlining to get to the aerial connection.I hope your solution works and wait to hear from you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Right..... I have been now been informed by 3 different sources that using the GSM aerial connector on FM/MW/AM will not work. Personally I think it will but just not very well as David C pretty much said.
Alfa Romeo suggested removing the GSM mast and replacing it with a post October 2004 Aerial base, mast (which I have now anyway), and booster.
Seems a good but complicated and expensive idea. The airbags in the pillars and dropping of the headlining seem a worry to me!
What I think I'll do is try the GSM aerial with a £2.50 connector, then if as I have been told its poor I'll see if i can get some second hand parts from a breakers and make something up.

I'll keep everyone informed.
Peter
 

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Right..... I have been now been informed by 3 different sources that using the GSM aerial connector on FM/MW/AM will not work. Personally I think it will but just not very well as David C pretty much said.
Alfa Romeo suggested removing the GSM mast and replacing it with a post October 2004 Aerial base, mast (which I have now anyway), and booster.
Seems a good but complicated and expensive idea. The airbags in the pillars and dropping of the headlining seem a worry to me!
What I think I'll do is try the GSM aerial with a £2.50 connector, then if as I have been told its poor I'll see if i can get some second hand parts from a breakers and make something up.

I'll keep everyone informed.
Peter
Hi Peter
Do you have a source for the £2.50 GSM(SMA) to ISO (?) connector please. I've searched and searched with no result.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Peter
Do you have a source for the £2.50 GSM(SMA) to ISO (?) connector please. I've searched and searched with no result.
Hi mate, I don't think there is one, mainly as the technologies are different. I will though try cutting the SMA connector off and then manually adding an ISO (£2.50 from maplin on to bare coaxal) )or soldering one on to see what happens. I am going to a breakers yard tomorrow or saturday morning to have a poke about... I'll tell u what happens.
 

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Hi Peter
Have you seen this which is on the thread "DAB on the move"?
"There is no DC connection between the GSM centre connection and the stubby, so buzzing it with a DVM shows an open circuit. This confused me initially. But it does connect (in my case anyway) at the radio frequencies used by DAB (around 220MHz). You can do a quick and dirty test on the FM band by changing the stubby for a normal mast, and connecting the inner connection of the GSM cable to the centre connection of the radio's aerial connector with a short piece of wire - if you get reasonable FM reception then you will almost certainly be OK for DAB."
I'm not after DAB just a decent signal for LW to listen to Test Matcch Special and hope to try this experiment after Christmas, unless of course you come up with something else after your trials.
Colin
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi Peter
Have you seen this which is on the thread "DAB on the move"?
"There is no DC connection between the GSM centre connection and the stubby, so buzzing it with a DVM shows an open circuit. This confused me initially. But it does connect (in my case anyway) at the radio frequencies used by DAB (around 220MHz). You can do a quick and dirty test on the FM band by changing the stubby for a normal mast, and connecting the inner connection of the GSM cable to the centre connection of the radio's aerial connector with a short piece of wire - if you get reasonable FM reception then you will almost certainly be OK for DAB."
I'm not after DAB just a decent signal for LW to listen to Test Matcch Special and hope to try this experiment after Christmas, unless of course you come up with something else after your trials.
Colin
Well I have sort of seen that post looking for previous problems/solutions for the FM radio reception. I have only just read your post but I have had an experiment this morning....
I think based on previous reports the GSM aerial will work for DAB. I do infact have a DAB aerial on my front screen at the mo, but as I am looking at adding a new roof aerial I am not worried about swapping it at the mo (unless I give up as its to hard work!).

This morning I cut the SMA connector off the car and wired on an ISO connector from a Mark 1 156.... Now the moment of truth....
I am going to use a scale:
The control being a Honda Civic with a very good signal on KISS 100 FM in Gravesend.
(These are an estimate btw)
Honda Civic 90% signal
My facelift 156 with rear screen aerial 50% signal (has the original Alfa signal booster)
My facelift 156 using GSM aerial with no booster 10-20% signal.
My facelift with the aerial disconnected 0% signal

So it shows the GSM aerial does something, but it isn't as good as the rear screen with booster. How much could the GSM aerial be boosted with a inline signal booster? Who knows, but I am not sure that would work on a GSM aerial anyway.

I am now thinking of getting a later aerial/amp from a 156/GT or from a 147 to test that next.

Merry Christmas all,
Peter
 
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