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Troubleshooting Volkswagen-VW Radio Problems

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A shark antenna on a Jetta

A shark antenna on a Jetta

Schematic for 2006 Jetta with satellite radio

Schematic for 2006 Jetta with satellite radio

Code clarification

Code clarification

I almost wasted $350 for a new VW Shark FIn radio antenna for my 2006 Jetta. You see, my Jetta has satellite radio capability, though I do not subscribe. So, naturally, when my radio played FM stations fine but AM stations were all just static, and because by shark fin antenna was partially cracked, I thought THAT was the reason. Totally logical. The thing that did not make sense was why was FM fine? If the antenna was bad, it would all be static.

The answer is on many VW models that are satellite capable and their radios have a SAT button, the shark fin antenna on top is for satellite reception only. It does not receive AM\FM. On these models equipped with them, the AM and FM antenna's are embedded in the the rear glass window. Each has a separate amplifier. The satellite received in attached in the rear trunk area. If you do not have this capability, your car will not have a shark fin antenna, but a whip type.

Some owners have this same problem and claim it is because of the tint on the window blocking the signal, which makes sense, since the AM antenna is there. In my case, there is no tint, thus, the static only all AM stations is something else, perhaps a faulty amp?

Stay tuned, the problem still exists, but at least you now know it has nothing to do with the shark fin antenna. BTW, even though the base is cracked, the reception is fine. If you had this same issue and have a fix, let us know!


perrya (author) on March 30, 2014:

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I don't know, but, I do know that in my case, the issue is the amp device that boosts the signal from the antenna. If VW fixed it, it would be around $200 or so. Accessing it is the hardest part because the part is in the roof pillar near the rear seat. As to sound quality, in my car, using FM, the music and bass booms that vibrates depending on the song. It is an excellent stereo. When listening to the same song in a Japanese car, one hears the difference in a MAJOR way.

Paul D. on March 30, 2014:

Hello, I found your article very interesting. I have a 2011 Jetta with the Nav, and satellite radio system; RNS 315. Not being happy with the sound quality of the system, I'm planning on installing a Kenwood system with Nav so I have antenna concerns as well. I found an adapter to connect the Kenwood GPS antenna port to the blue Fakra connector on the Jetta. From what I've been able to read on the internet, the Kenwood GPS antenna is powered using 3 to 5 volts by the HU. I'm hoping that the Sharkfin antenna on my Jetta will work using the 3 to 5 volts supplied by the Kenwood HU. Do you know if this is a good assumption?

Thanks, Paul

Mac on August 23, 2013:

I have the opposite problem, I have signal from the satelite only problem is the radio doesn't sync to the satelite programming.

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