Bluetooth roof mounting GPS antenna question
Hi, I'm using a mouse type GPS receiver/antenna with Microsoft Streets and Trips I need a Bluetooth GPS receiver/antenna that has a magnetic base that I can put on the roof of my car. Thanks
Marvin Hlavac
That seems to be just a link to some directory of websites, and I don't see the answer there.

You may find some useful results by searching this site for terms like: bluetooth gps magnetmount

Hmm, I'm not sure if there is a Bluetooth GPS receiver with a magnetic base, designed to be placed on a roof of a vehicle. The unit would need to be weatherproof, too, and the internal battery strong enough to keep to unit running for the whole trip. Or you would need to run a cable from a charger to the unit, in which case you would likely be better off just with a plain inexpensive USB BU-353.

...and welcome to Laptop GPS World, Jeff!
The Garmin GPS10 (not GPS10x) is a waterproof magnetic mount Bluetooth receiver. However, I would not recommend it as it uses older GPS technology. That was why in needed to be mounted outside. Any of the more recent Sirfstar III or especially MTK based Bluetooth GPS units can do a better job on the dash as it could do on the hood.

If you are concerned about a coated windshield blocking GPS signals, there are good USB based GPS receivers that have a magnetic mount. I think the BU-353 Marvin mentioned is one of those.

The increase in performance between dash and exterior mounted antenna/receivers has to be seen to be believed.

We have a hard wired connection, blue tooth has always seemed silly to me mostly due to rf exposure. Is the exposure harmful, who knows; but any logically thinking person has to reach the conclusion that it cannot be good for you.

Our dash antenna/receiver worked well, but on a regular basis (in city environments and under dense tree canopy the signal would be lost, with the roof mounted MR350 we have yet -to notice- a signal interruption. The side by side comparisons between dash and roof top consistently yields a minimum two satellite increase with the rooftop.

Remember, we are receiving a signal of about 20-50 watts, (depending on whose info you read) from low earth satellites AND the power output probably is undergoing constant decay. Please keep this in mind next time you contemplate venturing into the wilderness without a compass and maps. I was stupid once in very upstate Maine and it will never happen again-thought for sure we were done for.

Disclaimer, the above observations are based on usage primarily in the northeast USA with infrequent trips to the southeast USA roughtly in a block which extends barely west of PA down through TN.
Marvin Hlavac
Originally Posted by kft

...The increase in performance between dash and exterior mounted antenna/receivers has to be seen to be believed...

...The side by side comparisons between dash and roof top consistently yields a minimum two satellite increase with the rooftop...

kft, yes, usually about 2 satellite connections improvement in my experience, too. It may not seem like a lot under most conditions, but once you venture to a big city downtown, you will definitely notice the improvement in reception among the tall buildings. In some very difficult environments a roof mounted GPS antenna/receiver may mean that you may still be able to navigate, as opposed to perhaps not being able to use navigation at all.
External receivers, especially roof mount, would be better. However, unless you intend to permanently mount the device, they are not practical. With the vast improvement in GPS receiver sensitivity, Bluetooth GPS makers see this and cut costs by making non-waterproof devices.

The advantage of Bluetooth is not requiring a wire AND portability. That is, you can have more than one vehicle and easily move the receiver. You could even use it in a rental. Of course, a USB device could be used this way but Bluetooth is more flexible in its mounting locations and distance from the laptop.

As far as rf radiation is concerned, the ambient rf signals in the wild would easily be more than the power of these transmitters unless you swallowed it.

Terry, as Marvin states, an outside antenna/receiver will make the difference between being able to navigate and not being able to navigate in certain conditions and locations. Yes, the interruption in reception is temporary-and from experience this loss of signal lasts exactly long enough to make the wrong decision and one will always reacquire the signal in time to realize that you turned the wrong way. Oddly enough in our travels, the road ALWAYS turned into dirt just as communication with the system was re established. Not much of an issue with auto travel-but it will add a new level of adventure when driving an rv and pulling a trailer.

Is a Bluetooth system more portable, not really-neater? absolutely. If someone is concerned about attaching the antenna/receiver module to the vehicle you have the options of magnetic mounting or velcro. We have had the module velcro'd to the topcase on our motorcycle for approx 7 years with no issues at all, and the bike sees extensive off highway use.

It comes down to this, if you want a more reliable system you have to have an external antenna/receiver.

As to rf radiation, yes it is everywhere, but again, it is NOT good for you. And, with the earbud or with handheld phone use; you become part of the antenna system.

Having raised the issue I will say that, I did survive many years of using high powered portable radios, uhf vhf, 5+ watt power range AND more than a few minutes standing in close proximity to external vehicle antennas with relatively very high power radio's
(relatively speaking) with no known damage: but again-it ain't good for you.
Marvin Hlavac

This seems like a solution for the question raised in the first post: "...I need a Bluetooth GPS receiver/antenna that has a magnetic base that I can put on the roof of my car...".

Simply buy a Bluetooth GPS receiver you want, and then place it into this "Otter Box"

Don't forget to tell us how you like it, if you try it.
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