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Radio antennas

Is the height of an antenna the difference or is there a big difference in quality?

Quality, some antennas are in the glass and they are fine so I say its quality

Pretty much any kind of antenna will aid reception, but there are some ideals. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the ideal antenna for FM reception would be a steel mast 31" in length, which seems on par with what many cars utilize. If someone is more knowledgeable on this, please correct me as I am going off a distant and somewhat fuzzy memory.

It’s an incomplete question so impossible to answer. However there are two primary characteristics in antenna design; wavelength and impedance.

Ideally, the antenna will be a length = a multiple of the full wavelength of the signal. That makes for a very long antenna at FM wavelengths so they choose a fractional length as a compromise (e.g. 1/4 wavelength of the longest wave of interest).

Second is matching impedance of antenna to input stage of radio. Max power transfer when impedance matched.

Typically it doesn’t matter if it’s twin lead or coaxial design for auto reception as long as they design the front end to match. Most radios today have such high input gain and selectivity that almost anything will work.

Lots more to consider but not worth typing on this little phone…

Yes, a tuned antenna 100’ off the ground would work MUCH better, but given the limitations of a motor vehicle, whatever the factory installs is “good enough”…Radio stations overcome the limitations of crappy consumer radios by using 100,000 watt to 500,000 watt transmitters…