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The little ball on the tip of your car antenna Login/Join 
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quote:
My truck antenna hits the garage door when backing in.


Pull in forwards.
 
Posts: 4038 | Location: SWFL | Registered: October 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The explanations given are interesting but all wrong. The ball is there so when a couple 10 year olds break off car antennas and use them in a play sword/fencing fight, nobody gets skewered. (If you wondered why so many cars have broken antennas, now you know.)

The knob also plays an important role in keeping the knot that holds the squirrel tail on your antenna from slipping off the end and therefore losing your squirrel tail.

Sometimes the best answers are just obvious.


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Posts: 2334 | Location: Florida Panhandle | Registered: September 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It does reduce static build up at the end of the antenna.

After I got out of electronics school at community college one of my first jobs was in a shop that did business radio service. My boss and I were atop one of the higher buildings in town doing yearly maintenance on an antenna for their business band radios. We were up on ladders cleaning and tightening connections on the antenna mast and there were some clouds coming in for a summer storm. I started hearing a buzzing/sizzling sound and mentioned it to the boss. He said it's time to get down from the ladders, Right Now! As the sky darkened we could see balls of luminescence at the tips of the antenna elements. My first experience with Saint Elmo's Fire. Don't know if would actually hurt you but a good indication that things could get dicey in a hurry.


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Posts: 2167 | Location: See der Rabbits, Iowa | Registered: June 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ensigmatic:
quote:
Originally posted by maladat:
quote:
Originally posted by gpbst3:
Others say its there to release static build up caused air resistance on the antenna when the vehicle is moving.

That sounds like grade-A pseudoscientific bullshit to me.

It would--to somebody who doesn't understand how this stuff works Wink

See Controlling Static

Btw, OP: If you shorten the antenna your radio might not work as well. Then again it might make no difference at all. This is apart from the corona ball's function.


The link you posted is mostly talking about static noise from other sources in the environment.

It attributes static buildup on vehicles and vehicle antennas to the buildup of charged dust particles.

It talks about putting balls on the ends of antennas primarily to reduce corona discharge resulting from static buildup due to high power transmission.

It does mention the balls helping with a certain type of static buildup on receive, but in another article, the source of your link, K0BG, says they don't really do anything on receive:

https://www.eham.net/articles/4623

Finally, the corona balls (much larger than the little button on the tip of a car antenna) are stated as being effective in transmission antennas by making the antenna tip WORSE at emitting static, not better (the opposite of what is said in the original post.

In summary, a somewhat similar-looking (but much larger) device on an antenna used for a different purpose helps with a different type of static problem for the opposite of the stated reason.
 
Posts: 4330 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ChuckFinley:
It's to keep the blinker fluid from spouting out the top of the antenna if you over fill it through the kaneuter valve.


If you install a turbo encabulator, it solves this problem, among others.




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Posts: 46216 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Little known fact- the original name for the corona ball was balloon ball.
 
Posts: 84295 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Sgt Neutron:
Cut it, then replace the ball with this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-O...OUNTED-/261288478476

First thing I thought of. Haven't seen one of them in a looooong time.


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Posts: 14997 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Back in the day, a bent coat hanger worked just fine. A wire hanger, not these sorry plastic things they have now. Big Grin



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Posts: 840 | Location: Fayette County, GA | Registered: April 14, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mmm... you know your antenna is a certain length for a reason right?


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Posts: 16034 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is what it did on my '55 Chevy when I was in High School:

1. It kept the small sections from going further down into the larger sections when you pushed it closed (down to the base). If you had a sectioned antenna, you pushed it all the way down, every time and anywhere you left your car, to keep passing students from slapping at it or some asshole from intentionally breaking it.

2. You gripped the ball to pull the antenna up when you returned to you car. If the ball was lost, you kept a pair of pliers in your car and made sure you did not push it too far down. Smile

As far as the little ball helping the radio - damn, it was a friggen straight AM only radio - a straightened coat hanger worked if a top section was broken off. In fact I have used that technique on my SW, FM/FM radio for the past four years. Cool
.


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Posts: 1849 | Location: Louisiana - north of N.O. | Registered: January 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use mine as a vertical curb feeler. If it hits something when pulling into a parking garage, I probably shouldn't keep going forward.
 
Posts: 4038 | Location: SWFL | Registered: October 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Gustofer:
quote:
Originally posted by Sgt Neutron:
Cut it, then replace the ball with this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-O...OUNTED-/261288478476

First thing I thought of. Haven't seen one of them in a looooong time.


It was always a hard decision for my mom (with my input) between the Union 76 antenna balls, Gulf orange plastic magnetic horseshoes and the tiger tail for your gas tank filler Razz...I always begged for the tiger tail...



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Posts: 8629 | Location: Southeast Tennessee...not far above my homestate Georgia | Registered: March 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by P250UA5:
Lots of guys on the F150 forum cut down the OE antenna, remove the ball & reattach it to the cut down portion.
I went with a cravenspeed stubby & living in Houston, have very little FM signal degradation.


I did this to my F150. Trimmed off about an inch. Doesn't hit the door anymore, and I can't tell any difference the reception.

The little aftermarket shorties did not work.


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Posts: 2542 | Location: NE Kansas | Registered: February 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your standing wave ratio will change on when you shorten your antenna. What? You don't have the all-in-one AM/FM/CB option? How do you get bear reports?


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Posts: 2894 | Location: Commonwealth of Virginia | Registered: January 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 4MUL8R:
How do you get bear reports?
Boo-boo's been know to drop a dime.
 
Posts: 84295 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 899 | Location: Lake County Montana - bear country | Registered: March 20, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Get you a new ball


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Posts: 12133 | Location: Pride, Louisiana | Registered: August 14, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Muddflap:

I did this to my F150. Trimmed off about an inch. Doesn't hit the door anymore, and I can't tell any difference the reception.

The little aftermarket shorties did not work.


Did you put the ball back on
? Did your radio explode?


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Posts: 3833 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA | Registered: February 27, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by charlie12:
Get you a new ball


Congrats on your 12,000th post




 
Posts: 23093 | Location: Young American Teen Club | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is why I joined SF. For the depth of knowledge on most any topic.
Corona Balls.
Now, if someone should ask me about the little ball on a car antenna, I can answer with confidence.


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Posts: 7029 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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