When I plug my phone into my 2018 OB, does it use the car's antenna? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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When I plug my phone into my 2018 OB, does it use the car's antenna?

I'm wondering if I can expect any better phone reception when it's plugged into the car.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 09:37 PM
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No.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Lugsoul View Post
I'm wondering if I can expect any better phone reception when it's plugged into the car.
Don’t expect that: I’d be surprised if any phone used a power cable/USB cable as an antenna on purpose, and USB was never meant for that.

In fact, a USB cable working as an antenna is counterproductive for use as a data transmission cable.

If you somehow get better reception on your phone while it’s in the car, the only reasonable reason is you got lucky with the car around it acting to some degree as a waveguide, but I’ve not seen that happen with iPhones, and doubt it’d happen with any phone.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 09:53 PM
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Donít expect that: Iíd be surprised if any phone used a power cable/USB cable as an antenna on purpose, and USB was never meant for that.

In fact, a USB cable working as an antenna is counterproductive for use as a data transmission cable.

If you somehow get better reception on your phone while itís in the car, the only reasonable reason is you got lucky with the car around it acting to some degree as a waveguide, but Iíve not seen that happen with iPhones, and doubt itíd happen with any phone.
On the first gen iPhone a lot of people claimed they had better signal if they plugged in their power cord, it never worked for me . . .

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 09:59 PM
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Some older cars, mostly German I believe but could be mistaken, had a cell phone built into the car. When the phone was connected the phone's SIM card was electronically transferred to the car's phone, which did use an external mounted antenna. But that was years ago, and required a special connection between the phone and car. This was before Bluetooth and USB ports in cars. And of course, not all types of cell phones use SIM cards. GSM phones do, but there are many phones that don't.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 11:22 PM
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The antenna on the top of the car helps boost the signal out of the interior of your car to the outside. On newer vehicles it looks like a shark fin.

Connecting your phone to power only provides more power to the phone. Now if your phone reacts to the extra power by boosting the transmit power, I donít know.

But my understanding is that all the phones inside the car would benefit a little from the extra antenna you see on top of the car.

Iím searching for definitive info on how it works... but basically, there is an antenna in the car that helps get signals in and out of the car via the one you see on top of the car.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 12:53 AM
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If you need better cell reception, look into a phone amplifier. https://www.weboost.com/

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 06:53 AM
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The antenna on the top of the car helps boost the signal out of the interior of your car to the outside. On newer vehicles it looks like a shark fin...
I've never heard such a claim. Do you have a reference?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 09:37 AM
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There is zero connection with any antenna on a car and cell phone reception. This isn't the old days of bag phones and such where you got a certain wattage on the phone itself and a wattage boost when the phone was plugged in. There were phones that had a physical antenna connector that could be attached to an external car antenna, but those days are long gone. Any modern claims of any sort of boost are anecdotal.

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