How does a car antenna work?

Why do cars have antennas? How do they work? I realize this is a niche question, but no one's ever explained it to me and I've always wondered.

“That’s a great question, and not niche at all, since all cars do have them! The purpose of car antennas is to pick up radio signals, allowing you to listen to the radio. In newer vehicles, they can also pick up satellite radio stations or services, like Sirius XM.
Car antennas work by picking up magnetic radio waves. When your antenna picks up the radio waves, your car’s radio receiver then amplifies them to allow you to listen to the station you’d like.
Like a regular radio or tv antenna, if you get too far away from the radio waves or broadcast, you will hear static.
If you have an antenna that can pick up satellite radio, you won’t hear static as it uses digital frequency. Additionally, you can listen to a variety of channels that typically aren’t available with traditional radio waves.”
Emily Maracle
Answered on Sep 10, 2021
Emily Maracle is a car insurance specialist living in New York. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has a degree in English Literature and a background in customer service. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and living sustainably. In the future, she can't wait to upgrade to a hybrid or electric car.

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