Short car antenna: How is the reception?

I noticed more and more new cars with small antennas mounted on the roof (BMW, Civics, Toyota Matrix, PontiacVibes, etc..). They are perhaps like 20 inches long or even smaller (some seem as
little as perhaps 7 or 10 inches long). I was under the impression that car antennas needed to be like 30 inches or more. Do short antennas work well? Are these for show only? Is there another antenna hidden somewhere else?
I am thinking replacing my current (in-glass) antenna with one of these (the Civic SI ones are really nice and are perhaps 7 inches long). Do you think it is a simple as installing any other aftermarket antennas (drill hole, install antenna and connect lead)?
TIA
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Most of those short antennas are amplified. Just about any external antenna is better than in in glass antenna

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Frank wrote:

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Frank,
Without knowing what car, or the year, it's hard to guess whether yours (is it even a Honda?) has the output for the powered antenna amplifier on the stereo. You'd also have to get the (+power) wire to wherever you decide to install the antenna. My (unamplified) CR-v antenna extends to about 2.5 feet, but under 10" is sufficient unless I'm trying to pull in something on another continent :-)
'Curly'
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