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Chevy brings in ham radio expert to engineer hidden antenna

Chevrolet commissioned a hidden AM/FM antenna for the 2011 Camaro Convertible, after fans saw leaked photos and complained.

The 21st century rebirth of the Chevrolet Camaro opens a new chapter with the launch of the 2011 Camaro Convertible. (11/16/2010) (United States)
A shark fin antenna on the 2011 Camaro Convertible's deck lid transmits XM Satellite Radio, OnStar and cellular signals, but the AM/FM antenna is hidden inside the spoiler. GM

The 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible boasts new AM/FM antenna technology, thanks to its fans and one ham radio operator.

Fans spoke out after leaked photos of the new Camaro revealed an AM/FM whip antenna on the rear deck lid.

Chevy turned to ham radio operator and antenna expert Don Hibbard to help redesign the car's antenna. Hibbard and colleague Gregg Kittinger were challenged to conceal the AM/FM antenna without sacrificing radio reception.

"We weren't sure that it would be possible," said Kittinger. "Typically antennas are hidden in a vehicle's rear window, but with a retractable soft-top roof, that's not an option."

The result was an innovative way to build put the antenna inside the rear spoiler.

"Where other automakers have tried and failed, Chevy succeeded," said Hibbard. "We hope to take what we've learned with the Camaro Convertible, build on it and apply it to future vehicles."

Hibbard talks about the unorthodox placement of the antenna and the number of technical challenges it presented in the video below.