4. Mister Gasket

by H. W. Moss

My antenna wouldn’t stay up. As a result, I could not receive the two broadcast radio stations I like.

I turned the ignition, the silver stalk telescoped upward as the radio came on, then it fell.

In other words, there was power, the motor worked, the mast simply refused to stay up. I removed it. Turned out the plastic gears were stripped. No, I don’t know why.

At the auto parts store I explained I have a retractable antenna that is only a couple years old, but the mast won’t stay up. I want to replace the mast, not the entire system. The sales person showed me a similar model to what I have which would mean replacing the entire system. Then he held up two actual replacement masts. They were not retractable nor would they fit my existing antenna. One was stiff and thin, one black and limp, both of which cost a fraction of the whole new motorized device.

He explained their simple installation.

I said, “But if these screw on to the top, don’t people steal them?”

“Good point,” he said, “which is why the one you have retracts totally. But,” he held up the black bendable model and said, “crack heads don’t like this version because they can’t clean their pipes with it.”

I was astounded and told him, “It never occurred to me someone would steal a radio antenna for reasons other than listening to the radio.”

I had done my homework. I knew what I wanted which was to replace an existing piece, not the whole device. I knew its name and model number and found a similar mast for sale on Amazon which said it would come from a company that had it in stock. Great. I called the 800 number for the company and they could not find it in stock.

I connected to the chat room provided by this auto parts store that was probably on the other side of the Rockies. The call was accepted by operator Tasha. Currently in room: Harry, Tasha.

Tasha: Thank you for visiting AutoPartsWAY. My name is Tasha and I am here to assist you. How may I help you today?

Harry: I need a car radio replacement antenna made by Hirschmann called the 2040 which Amazon says you have in stock.

T: Please provide us with the detail of your vehicle, Make/Year/Model of your vehicle and the part number, so we can further assist you.

H: This is NOT an original manufacturer part. This is an aftermarket part.

T: Still I would like to know the part number, so I can better assist you.

H: That is precisely the problem. I have a part number which Amazon recognizes. That is NOT your part number. When I ask if the part is even available from you, your people cannot find it. Thus, we are going around in circles. Here is what I want to buy: a replacement antenna for a Hirschmann 2040.

T: Can you please describe the part that you are looking for?

H: Hirschmann HIT AUTA 2040 replacement mast black.

T: I get the manufacturer, but I do not get the description of the part.

H: By that you mean you cannot find the part. Right?

T: I can find the part if you would help me understand what part you are looking for. Please provide the details of your vehicle and we can move forward from that.

H: Sure. I’ll give you the details of my vehicle. It will be a useless exercise since, as I have said, this is an aftermarket radio antenna. Thus, the vehicle has nothing to do with what I’m trying to buy. What I want is a replacement mast. That’s what the antenna is called. And it is a Hirschmann model 2040 replacement mast that goes inside an existing motor. As for my vehicle, it is a 1984 Peugeot 505.

T: Where are you located?

H: San Francisco, CA

T: Please wait one moment while I look this up for you. (Pause) What is the sub model of your vehicle?

H: That question makes no sense to me. It is what it is: a 1984 Peugeot 505. There is no other description for it unless, maybe, four door passenger vehicle.

T: There are three sub models to your vehicle. Namely: GL, S and STI

H: Ok. You are correct. That is the case. I apologize. Mine is an STI. Still, this has no bearing on the fact I purchased the Hirschmann automatic antenna and installed it myself.

T: Is this the part that you are looking for?


H: I will attempt to copy the link (your system doesn’t allow the usual copy function) and open a new tab and see if that is what I am looking for. Please stand by.

T: Sure.

H: Nope. Not at all. What I am looking for is an aftermarket product made by Hirschmann. Whatever that is you showed me is called a “gasket” antenna. Not at all what I described. Why don’t you go here (attempted to copy link to the product on Amazon) Well that didn’t work! Not only can I not copy using your interface here, I cannot paste.

T: That is the only Antenna we have in stock that matches your vehicle.

H: Again, it is NOT my vehicle you should be matching. You should be matching the part to the manufacturer. Here’s what I did: I searched Hirschmann+replacement mast+2040 and got Amazon saying you have it in stock. Why don’t you do that? What I don’t want is to order it through them only to find out it’s not the correct part, which explains why I’m here now trying to get the part number you use.

H: You still there?

T: Please wait one moment while I consult this with a warehouse specialist. (Pause) Can you please provide the part number from the Amazon?

H: No part number is available other than the part number I gave you. Why don’t you search using the parameters I just gave you? Or else tell me how to paste the address here as you did above for the gasket antenna. I could copy what you sent me as a link because I used control C. I cannot, however, seem to paste using your chat room interface. It would be most helpful if you told me how to copy and paste within this interface.

T: Please wait one moment while I give this information to the warehouse specialist. (Pause) I have just been updated by the warehouse that this part will not fit your vehicle. We have already sent a request to Amazon to update their listing as well. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. (Pause) Is there anything else I can help you with today?

H: Translate what you just said for me. Or allow me to paraphrase: You believe the replacement mast I described will not fit the antenna I installed in my car.

T: The part that I gave you will not fit your vehicle either. And to explain we are having some issues with the listings with Amazon right now. But they will be updated soon.

H: You need to explain the Hirschmann part of this discussion for me, not some other part you found. I am only interested in the Hirschmann 2040, not any other. To be more precise in my question: do you have a Hirachmann 2040 replacement mast for sale? If you do not, please tell me so I can look elsewhere.

H: Knock, knock, knock. You still there?

T: Please wait one moment.

T: We do not have that part listed on our web site.

H: You could have told me that in the beginning.

T: I do apologize for making this long. Really wanted to help you out.

H: Well, I suppose it’s not your fault.

Tasha: Is there anything else I can help you with today?

1984 Peugeot 505 STI

1984 Peugeot 505 STI