Should Ford Trucks Keep The Monopole Antenna?

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The modern Ford trucks lineup is cutting edge in a variety of ways, with one glaring exception: the exterior antenna design. Despite a plethora of modern features, lightweight materials, and efficient engines, the Ford F-150 and Ford Super Duty both offer monopole antennas, which has us asking – should Ford trucks keep the monopole antenna design going forward?

For those who may be drawing a blank on this, monopole antennas are those long metal rods sticking out of the front fenders on various Ford trucks. It’s a design that’s been in use for decades, and the Blue Oval brand hasn’t budged on it.

The new Ford Ranger gets a roof-mounted antenna

For the most part, anyway. While the long monopole design is still use with the F-150 and Super Duty, it’s gone with the latest Ford Ranger model. That said, the Ranger does keep a stubby antenna on the roof.

2020 Ford Super Duty with monopole antenna on the fender

But we’re more concerned with the long metal monopole antennas seen on the front fenders of Ford trucks. We think the design looks terribly dated, and to make matters worse, the antennas have been known to get broken and bent following just a little abuse (such as a run through an automatic car wash).

We’re not alone on this – in fact, the aftermarket has supplied a variety of stubbier antenna replacements for years now.

What’s more, several Ford trucks also come with a secondary fin antenna on the roof, which offers a more aerodynamic design and cleaner look overall.

So what’s up with the monopole?

2021 Ford F-150 prototype, once again with the monopole antenna design

Well, it’s only there to catch FM and AM radio signals, but as we’ve seen elsewhere in the industry, the same thing can be accomplished with an antenna wire integrated with the front or rear glass.

So why keep it around?

For starters, changing anything on a model as high-volume as the Ford F-Series requires an enormous effort, so it’s likely a cost-saving measure. What’s more, rivals like the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado have kept the same design as well, so there really isn’t too much pressure to change it.

But what do you think, dear reader? Should the monopole antenna on Ford trucks get the boot? Let us know by voting in the poll, and don’t forget to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford F-150 news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

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Written by Jonathan Lopez

Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

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9 Comments

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  1. “it’s only there to catch FM and AM radio signals” Wrong.

    The unseen/unknown purpose is to signal the driver of a potentially low roof or low clearance situation (the antenna will contact the low clearance before the truck’s roof). I can think of at least three times that this feature has come in handy.

  2. Everyone who spends hours every winter scraping ice from windshields will tell you that mast antenna is a damn poor design that auto companies just don’t care to improve. Especially on taller trucks, it is perfectly located to make a miserable task worse. It’s there only because it allows the cheapest possible antenna assembly, because the cable to the radio is the shortest possible. Japanese minitrucks in the 70’s had an excellent design, the mast was mounted to the A pillar, accessible, but out of the way. Why the hell are these relics still around when diversity antennas make them obsolete?

    • That “A” pillar antenna can get stuck or bent since it was so thin and allowed road grime to enter it. My best antenna was the electric rear mounted unit on my 1995 Buick Regal. After 21 years, it never failed, and it stowed itself after the car was powered off, protecting itself. Just a few drops of silicon lubricant once a year was all it needed.

      But modern stubby roof antennas are much better. My two present vehicles have it. They can be removed if necessary, but not even a car wash will harm them,.

      • … guessing your Regal had fringe and hydraulics too? I’ve seen a TON of power antennas get ripped out and bent in a carwash. (note: your vehicle is usually running as you go thru the wash, thus, the antenna is in it’s upright position) You’re not quite as brilliant as you think you are.

  3. That monopole antenna should be eliminated. Very few modern drivers actually listen to AM radio, which needs a longer antenna length due to the lower AM frequencies. Modern drivers listen to FM or XM radio, or just MP3 encoded music files (even CDs and cassettes are gone), so the last purpose of the antenna is for satellite or cellular services for emergency situations. That smaller antenna can be mounted on the roof. Any truck driver that doesn’t know the minimum clearance height of his/her truck should be run over by their own vehicle!

    • many of us modern, free-thinking Americans do listen to AM radio quite often. AND, CD’s are gone? Are you still living in Juarez, or what? My 2018 Fx4 has a CD player. You need to get out more, Chica

  4. Full-Size AM/FM antennas work better, FACT! I am also a HAM Radio operator, and in most cases, a bigger antenna with more gain USUALLY works better. Chassis Grounding, and the ‘ground plane’ of a vehicle have a lot to do with it too, that’s why on most Police, and Special Service Spec vehicles have additional grounding, (and by additional, I mean A LOT). I have a ‘peasant model’ 2014 F150 STX Reg Cab, Short Bed, 4×4, with the 5.0. I have a vehicle specific mount from NCG (AKA: Comet Antennas), which bolts into an OEM hole on the driver’s side front fender between the hood, and the fender (at is almost parallel with the AM/FM Stereo Antenna). I have added additional grounding wires to that mount. I would drill a hole in my roof for it, but, my antenna is a high gain dual band antenna, and is about 5 foot tall, so a roof mount is not an option.
    Bottom line, leave my monopole antenna alone, it’s a truck, not a Mustang, when you live out in the sticks, the more gain you have, the better.

    • Westly said:
      “Bottom line, leave my monopole antenna alone, it’s a truck, not a Mustang, when you live out in the sticks, the more gain you have, the better.”

      I agree, let the Prius drivers pay to stream Spotify. My truck is hardworking, dirt road driving, cross-country cruising, work machine. I want the largest antenna necessary to pick up AM and FM in the middle of nowhere. I don’t care what the antenna looks like if it works.

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