Video: How to install a satellite radio or GPS antenna


Robert Ferency-Viars

Robert Ferency-Viars is the managing editor for the Crutchfield car A/V learning content, and has been with the company since 1999. A Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he loves spending time with his wonderful wife and sons, listening to music, writing, and playing games with friends. Robert's love for car audio began at 16 when he installed his first car stereo.

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This video shows you how to install an antenna for a satellite radio or GPS navigation system. The task isn't usually that difficult, but it can take a a little time to route the antenna cable.

Video Transcript

Satellite radio and navigation systems in your car have one thing in common. They both need a special antenna to receive signals from their satellites. First generation antennas were pretty big and bulky, but newer antennas are much smaller and easier to install. In this video we'll give you some tips on how to install the antenna, whether you have a car, truck, or a hatchback.

In most cases you'll be able to do the job with simple tools like a screwdriver, a socket set, a panel tool, and maybe a file. The first rule of antenna performance is to mount it high and clear. The roof of the vehicle is ideal but mounting it on a trunk lid will work pretty well too.

With most sedans it makes sense to mount the antenna on the roof in front of the rear window. Stick the antenna a few inches in front of the rear window. The magnetic base will hold it firmly in place. Then run the cable along the outside edge of the window seal and bring it to the trunk. Once there, locate a spot to run the wire into the trunk under the seal. If necessary, use a round file to notch the trunk's edge. Wrap the wire with some tape to protect it then replace the seal.

If you have a pickup truck there are some other options available to you. The brake light mounted above the cabs' rear window provides an excellent point of entry for the antenna's cable. From there you can drop the antenna cable behind the cab panels and down to the floor. Once you've reached the floor route the cable under the carpet to the front of the cab and up to the dashboard.

With a hatchback or SUV, installation is a little simpler. The back portion of the roof is an ideal mounting location for the antenna. Feed the cable through the hatch and then underneath the hatch's rubber weather seal. From there you can slip the cable underneath the carpet of the interior and route it toward the front of the car.

So you see, though you may have to spend some time routing the antenna cable, there's no real trick to installing it. Just plan ahead and take your time. Don't forget — all the gear you buy from Crutchfield comes with our free tech support so if you have any questions about the installation we're here to help. And for help choosing the right gear contact us online via chat or email or just give us a call.

  • kelly neverett from chazy

    Posted on 8/3/2015 9:41:21 PM

    Will a ony x plus work in a 2002 Acura dmx

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/4/2015 11:59:30 AM

    Kelly, the Onyx Plus gives you two ways to hook it up to hear audio in your car -- via an AUX input or tuning through an FM signal. As long as your FM tuner is working or you have an AUX input, it should work in your Acura. Be sure to order the vehicle kit though, and not the home kit.

  • Robert Mohns from Haverhill

    Posted on 8/23/2015 11:50:52 AM

    File the trunk down!? Bad idea unless you are prepared to paint the raw metal this will expose. If you don't, you've just created a great rust point that will spread underneath the paint.

  • Jack from Bull Shoals, AR

    Posted on 10/2/2015 4:24:15 PM

    I want to install my Sirius radio in a 2000 model Dodge 1500 van. My problem/question is how do I connect the radio so I get programming from my Sirius radio? I have used this radio in other (newer) vehicles that have am, fm, MP3 AND auxiliary channels. Since the van has only am, fm and cassette options I don't know how to connect the Sirius so it will function. Help and thanks.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/2/2015 4:57:33 PM

    Jack, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Jim from Sahuarita

    Posted on 10/3/2015 8:05:24 PM

    I want to replace a factory unit that has XM built-in (aux-in is busted, and I want more features than it has). I realize I need to buy an XM tuner to work with the head unit I want to install (why don't they just build it in to the head unit?), but is it possible to simply hook into the XM antenna that's already in the car (2011 GMC Acadia), or do I have to use the antenna that comes with the tuner?

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