California's C3 Corvette Car Club

Installing Metra's European Style Fully Automatic AM/FM Antenna 44-PW530
in a 1980 Corvette

By Tony Griffitts

After this 1980 Corvette has gone through three factory reproduction power antenna's in the last 3 years I decided it was time to give the Metra European Style Fully Automatic AM/FM Antenna, part number 44-PW530 a try.

Two power antennas ago, a business that specializes in car audio did the install and said the old Kenwood radio that was installed in 1988 did not have a power antenna lead. They ended up connecting the switched power antenna wire to a wire that goes to the window defog switch. It looks like the last factory reproduction power antenna that was less than a year old may have fried when the defog switch was turned on. The antenna was stuck about six inches up. I removed and opened up the antenna case. The inside smelled fried. When I did the radio upgrade to the Kenwood KIV-BT900 Digital Media Receiver I noticed that the old radio that was removed did have a blue power antenna lead wire that was not connected. This is a prime example why you should try and do as much work on your own vette as possible, you will know the job will be done right.

Metra European Style Fully Automatic AM/FM Antenna, part number 44-PW530

Metra European Style Fully Automatic AM/FM Antenna, part number 44-PW530 box.

I used Metra's web site to find out which power antenna they recommended for a 1980 Corvette. I bought my Metra 44-PW530 power antenna at my local AutoZone.

One good thing about using the Metra power antenna is that you can eliminate the power antenna relay in the circuit there by removing a possible point of failure.

The power antenna has three wires, red (power on constant), blue (switched power), and black (ground). The wiring harness that comes from the radio has three wires also, yellow (switched power from radio), orange (power on constant), and black (ground). I soldered the power antenna wiring harness to the radio wiring harness and shrunk heat shrink tubing over the connections for a moisture tight seal. Yellow wire from the radio wiring harness was connected to green, orange was connected to white, and black was connected to gray.

I used the 3° angle base that comes with the mounting kit to install the antenna at the proper angle.

The wiring harness under the fender was connected in this order; white to antenna red, green to antenna blue, and black was connected to a stock mounting bracket to make the ground connection. The antenna was connected to the cable that came with the antenna and I shrunk heat shrink tubing around the connection to keep moisture out. The mounting bracket was bent down about a ½ inch from where it connects to the antenna, then twisted 90°, and then bolted to the stock mounting bracket. Cable ties were used to tie up excess cable under the fender.

Relay

Wiring harnesses plugged in to the power antenna relay used with factory reproduction power antennas. With the Metra power antenna the relay is bypassed and the wiring harnesses are soldered together.

Connected Wires

Green is connected to yellow (radio switched), white is connected to orange (power on constant, and gray is connected to black (ground)

Wiring Harness

The wiring harness under the fender was connected in this order, white to antenna red, green to antenna blue, and black was bolted to a stock mounting bracket to make the ground connection. The antenna was connected to the cable that came with the antenna and I shrunk heat shrink tubing around the connection to keep moisture out.

Extended Metra 44-PW530 Power Antenna

Metra 44-PW530 power antenna extended.

The Metra 44-PW530 power antenna provides excellent reception. Installation was easy, with the only time consuming part being the soldering.