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Thread: Using Radio Antenna for GPS

  1. #1
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    Using Radio Antenna for GPS

    I have a BMW that has the radio antenna printed onto the rear windshield. A cable connects this antenna to the back of the head unit.

    Can I use this antenna to pick up GPS signals and relay them to my USB GPS receiver.

    Can I just tap the antenna wire and connect it to the antenna of the GPS receiver?

    If not, what can I do?

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate KyleYankan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phita23
    I have a BMW that has the radio antenna printed onto the rear windshield. A cable connects this antenna to the back of the head unit.

    Can I use this antenna to pick up GPS signals and relay them to my USB GPS receiver.

    Can I just tap the antenna wire and connect it to the antenna of the GPS receiver?

    If not, what can I do?
    I wouldn't recomend this. A tuned antenna, such as the one in your GPS can pick up the signal much better, and clearer than a random-length antenna.

    If your GPs supports it, look for an external GPS antenna. Otherwise, find a good mounting place for your GPS.

  3. #3
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    I got a cheapo ebay GPS receiver for $60 or so. You still suggest I leave it alone?

  4. #4
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    Yes. Unless you'd like to have a nice non-working GPS antenna. GPS signals are very different from FM radio signals and your radio antenna will not work as a satellite antenna.

    BMW makes GPS antennas that may fit your requirements and look OEM.
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    Variable Bitrate Saab9-5's Avatar
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    Bugbyte''s right. Every wireless device uses an antenna tuned to a specific frequency range. FM radio is 88 - 108MHz while GPS is 1.5GHz. The two aren't even close. You can review this thread (Rear window defroster as antenna?) which goes into a lot more details. Even though the guy wanted to use his rear window antenna for wireless Internet and not GPS, the principles given are the same.

    BMW has a small GPS antenna that sits underneath the rear parcel shelf so that its hidden from view. You can ask your local BMW dealership about it for the part number and price or look at this site: http://www.openbmw.org/nav/sys/.

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