15 outback, how do I test antenna? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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15 outback, how do I test antenna?

I bought a used 15 outback a year ago and the Am never worked, the FM only when near a signal and the sattelite says there is no connection to an antenna. (It connects to my phone through blue tooth fine and I am able to stream music and use starlink and Aha through the connection to my phone.) I opened back and looked under the boots and no broken wires. I removed trim and looked at amplifier and connections and they all look brand spankin' new. I want to know how to test the amplifier and also how to test the integrated printed window antenna. I don't see any visible damage to either one. Also if it is the antenna, what is needed to fix the problem, most efficiently in cost and user skill, as this is not under any warrantee whatsoever as a former lease return car.
and just so you know I have a little electrical tester that is the one with two wires and a bulb, but my friend has a voltage meter that I can borrow if needed.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 12:33 PM
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Generally, with those symptoms, I would think one of the first things would to check that the antenna connections to the radio itself are in place? If any work had been done in the dashboard area, it's possible an antenna connection cables wasn't put back. The cables carry both the radio signals and power for the amplifier in the rear hatch.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 03:35 PM
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Do you have a base model, Premium, or Limited? Nav or no nav? HK (premium) audio or regular? I'm guessing you do not have nav, since if my hunch is right, it would not work either, and you make no comment about it working or not working.

Based on your symptoms, neither satellite or AM/FM antennas working, the first thing I would suspect is a problem at a point that both of these systems share in common.

The satellite and AM/FM antennas have separate connectors right next to each other at the back of the radio, but their cables are bundled together in segments joined by connectors, from behind the dashboard to the rear of the cabin. At the rear, near the satellite antenna on the roof, the satellite and terrestrial (AM/FM) antenna cables separate again.

Since neither work, that suggests, in order from most likely to highly unlikely:

1) a disconnected connector shared by both antenna cables
2) two disconnected antenna connectors at the back of the radio
3) a problem inside the radio
4) both independent antenna systems, or their amplifiers, failed
5) a severed cable bundle.

Connectors AN1 and AN2 plug the two antennas into the satellite and AM/FM receivers; AN3/AN4 are buried behind the dashboard near the center, AN5/AN6 join near the bottom of the driver's-side A pillar (next to windshield), the long cable segment between AN6 and AN7 runs up the A pillar, above the headliner, and starts down the D pillar. AN7/AN9 join in the driver's side D pillar (back of the car between rearmost side window and the liftgate (AN8 does not exist in the Outback). Between AN9 and AN12, the antenna cables split from each other above the above the rear ceiling trim panel.

I highly recommend that you buy a 3-day subscription to STIS for $35 and download the FSM (Factory Service Manual) [and everything else you can, especially all the TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins)]. If you don't know how to do that, there are threads about it, and it's much easier than it used to be.

I'd wager that the problem is at or forward of connector AN9, the last of the connectors common to both satellite and terrestrial radios. If any work was done on the radio or behind the dash, connectors AN1 and AN2, may both be disconnected, or AN3 may have become disconnected from AN4 behind the dash or center console.

If it were me, I'd look at the which is easier to remove - the A pillar or D pillar trim and inspect the connections there (Murphy's Law practically guarantees that you will start with the wrong one). If the antenna cord connectors are not obviously disconnected, maybe take the connector apart and reconnect them to be sure. If that doesn't fix the problem, take them apart and, with the radio turned on, investigate whether there is DC voltage present (for the amp) using a voltmeter, but be very careful not to short any connectors to each other or to ground because that might damage the radio. If there is voltage, the problem is probably to the rear; if there is none, the problem is probably toward the radio.

If you don't want to tackle this yourself, your most practical bet may be a shop that installs car audio systems or a good body shop; you might ask if having the FSM would help. A dealer's service department should also be able to find the problem, but will likely cost substantially more.

Good luck! Please let us know what you find out, and feel free to ask for further advice or information!
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