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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry y'all, I've searched the forum and found a number of threads regarding the radio reception, or lack of, but I think I need a better picture painted to understand the issue.

I'm sitting here shaking my head in disbelief that I'm asking a question about radio reception, given I'm an audio engineer and I can't figure out how to get better radio on my bike, LOL. Guess some things just aren't the same...

Anyway, I've seen others complain of poor or non-existent radio reception on their Vaquero's and it's related to the antenna mounting. I think I read somewhere that there's two studs for the antenna cable to mount to and if it's reversed the reception is poor, maybe not, can't recall at the moment.

I also remember reading that something was not right with the antenna mounting its self but again, I need more details.

I'm a visual person so if anyone has pics of where they fixed their poor radio reception and how, that'd be great. Otherwise, can someone talk to me like I'm 4 years old and help me "see" how to get better reception? I had it in to the dealer to fix it and they said the radio antenna and radio are hooked up correctly however, I'm getting spotty reception at best. Shoot even in town our local radio station gets fuzzy when I'm on the Vaquero but not in my other vehicles. We don't have any hi-rise buildings to trap me from the signal so it must be a raception/radio issue, I'd believe.

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks y'all.
 

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my vaquero gets little or no reception..maybe a booster might help ..been looking into it myself.
 

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This is from the Tech page on a Voyager Forum, but, it may apply to the Vaq's as well . . . about halfway down there is a visual on the antenna issues witht he Voyagers . . .

http://www.amervoyassoc.org/techtips1700.php
 

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My reception on the radio on my 2011 Vaquero works fine if I am within about 40 miles of the station, so I added an inline antenna booster to the antenna cable inside the fairing. Now,I can pull more distance stations in or better reception with closer ones.

:D
 

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I disconnected both antenna wires from the antenna and my reception didn't change at all (still crappy) which leads me to believe I'm only getting what the antenna cable picks up, there seems to be no connection from the antenna itself.

I've got a Sandisk Sansa mp3 player with a built in FM receiver and it gets way better reception than the voyager's radio. Go figure.
 

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I disconnected both antenna wires from the antenna and my reception didn't change at all (still crappy) which leads me to believe I'm only getting what the antenna cable picks up, there seems to be no connection from the antenna itself.

I've got a Sandisk Sansa mp3 player with a built in FM receiver and it gets way better reception than the voyager's radio. Go figure.
I have not had this trouble on a bike but have seen it in cars and trucks. If you remove or disconnect the antenna and reception does not change the problem is either the antenna cable itself or in the jack on the radio.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have not had this trouble on a bike but have seen it in cars and trucks. If you remove or disconnect the antenna and reception does not change the problem is either the antenna cable itself or in the jack on the radio.
I agree it's one of the two. I just removed my saddlebag and disconnected the antenna cable from the antenna and there was no change in reception. With that being said, the antenna cable within itself acts as a antenna so that wasn't the most scientific of tests.

I need to get to the back of the stereo to see if it is making a good connection there.

Anybody know the easiest way to get to the back of the radio hopefully without removing the fairing outer shell?
 

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I agree it's one of the two. I just removed my saddlebag and disconnected the antenna cable from the antenna and there was no change in reception. With that being said, the antenna cable within itself acts as a antenna so that wasn't the most scientific of tests.

I need to get to the back of the stereo to see if it is making a good connection there.

Anybody know the easiest way to get to the back of the radio hopefully without removing the fairing outer shell?

I'll be watching for the answer to this also. Maybe it's as easy as removing a speaker and reaching it through there.
 

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In the shop manual it looks like the antenna is hardwired into the radio with a 6 " pigtail dead center of the back of the radio. If you can get to that and plug another antenna into it the answer your looking for will reveal itself.
 

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In the shop manual it looks like the antenna is hardwired into the radio with a 6 " pigtail dead center of the back of the radio. If you can get to that and plug another antenna into it the answer your looking for will reveal itself.

This is where I plugged in the powered inline antenna booster, the antenna cable plugs into the booster and then the booster plugs into the radio,the power wire wire into a hot wire, but I pulled the outer shell of the fairing off to do all of this. I now get great reception.

:D
 

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The radio reception on my 2010 Voyager has always sucked. I complained to the dealer several times and they claimed it was always fine when they checked it. I kept complaining so the dealer had some big wig from Kawasaki call me to listen to my complaints. This guy claimed to have a voyager and said his radio reception was the same and I quote, "That's just the way it is."

This is my first and last Kawasaki. Either the antenna base is junk or the radio is. Either way I now use my Ipod for music, no radio. I tried a straight antenna and the only way the reception improved was when the antenna was rotated to a horizontal position. Vertical=shit reception.

Good luck finding a solution to this problem, Kawasaki isn't worried about it.
 

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All these posts got my curiosity up. I don't recall any issues with radio reception last fall when I purchased the Vaquero. I uncovered it today and fired up the radio in the garage. Then I tuned a station that wasn't coming in clearly. I had the antenna removed. When I brought the antennae closer and re-installed it, the reception improved dramatically. Sitting in the garage I seemed to be able to tune all the stations I would get in the car.
I use the iPod most of the time while riding, but will have to make a point of trying the radio more often this year.
 

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Allen D your best bet may be roadie's solution. The short antennas on these bikes isn't going to get great reception without a boost any way.
 

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My antenna was installed incorrectly like a lot have been. After I corrected the problem I have no radio reception issues at all. I listen to a Dallas station that is 50 miles away to start with up to almost 150 miles south of it.

Works great.
 

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My 2012 VV had this problem and fix was at the antenna end there was a wire running from the antenna to a ground within the trunk, Remove the wire and radio reception is a whole lot better. That wire was grounding the center conductor of the antenna cable, so the shield and antenna where both connected to ground
 

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Exactly what hillhouse said.... After I took the shorting wires apart and put the antenna center wire back on the center nut, I ran a frame ground wire from under the seat, through the trunk and out to the frame of the antenna mount and shield connection..

Most of the antennas were shorted out on dealer assembly. They are not assembled from the factory on the Voyager. Mostly because the assembly manual was confusing about it.

I lived in Nevada when I bought the Voyager. I would lose my reception while I could still see the radio tower on top of a 14,000 foot mountain. After I fixed it the only time I lose a station is when I finally get out farther than it broadcasts... Thats was one of those things I did the first couple days I had it. I knew what the problem was from my Air Force days. Didn't know about any forums then.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks y'all for the input. It seems we're a split camp, some think they have great reception and some thing they have horrible reception.

Something is obviously going on as it makes zero difference if I have the antenna OR the antenna cable connected. With my truch sitting right next to the bike, I can dial in so many more stations than on the bike, regardless of the antenna.

I have been thinking about an inline booster but was hopeful to resolve the issue without adding another thing but that may not be the case. My dealer did the same thing saying they called kawasaki and they claimed it's just the way it is....

I get it that the short antennas aren't going to get stellar reception BUT, I do believe they'll do better than what I'm getting.

I took my left bag off and looked at the antenna cable and it seems to be oriented the correct way, with the "washer" with the ground shield facing up. I didn't see any other ground wire anywhere, I need to look again.

Thanks, I'll keep digging into the bike and see what I find.
 

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Thanks y'all for the input. It seems we're a split camp, some think they have great reception and some thing they have horrible reception.

Something is obviously going on as it makes zero difference if I have the antenna OR the antenna cable connected. With my truch sitting right next to the bike, I can dial in so many more stations than on the bike, regardless of the antenna.

I have been thinking about an inline booster but was hopeful to resolve the issue without adding another thing but that may not be the case. My dealer did the same thing saying they called kawasaki and they claimed it's just the way it is....

I get it that the short antennas aren't going to get stellar reception BUT, I do believe they'll do better than what I'm getting.

I took my left bag off and looked at the antenna cable and it seems to be oriented the correct way, with the "washer" with the ground shield facing up. I didn't see any other ground wire anywhere, I need to look again.

Thanks, I'll keep digging into the bike and see what I find.
It sure sounds like you have a connection or a ground problem. I had okay reception in my garage with no antenna, but as soon as I brought the antenna anywhere near the mounting point, the reception picked up dramatically.
As soon as we finally get riding around here again, I'll put it to the test. I know the points where I lose reception for some local stations in the car, so will see if the bike is similar.
 

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Validate your antenna is installed correctly. Only the shield on the cable should be grounded and it SHOULD be grounded to prevent RF interference. The center wire should have continuity and to the radio and not grounded. Check both wires with an ohm meter. You can get access to the radio by removing the headlight bezel. There's a lot of claims the antenna being installed wrong and I take that with a grain of salt... no criticizing intended.

I had the same problem as you with poor reception. It's common on these radios... they have a very poor front ends. I replaced the rubber ducky mast with an auto 30" replacement mast... made some improvement. You can get them in auto parts store... you may need some re-threading the adapters to fit the bike.

I installed an inline amp and it made a much better improvement but... after about a year the front end of the radio went south and I was lucky I was still under warranty, Kawasaki replaced the radio under warranty. Keep that in mind in installing an amp... the radios are around $1500.

At the end of the day replacing the mast and an inline amp are just about your options. Replacing the mast is a safe improvement, an inline amp can be iffy, they have 12Volts running to them, which can fry the front end of the radio if something goes bad. I did not reinstall the inline amp back after the radio was replaced.
 
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