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XM Radio - Newbie questions about signal strength

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Greg O' Connel, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Greg O' Connel

    Greg O' Connel Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning on subscribing to XM and buying a SkyFi2 tomorrow, and I have a few questions about getting a signal where I live. I'm in a rural area, so there's no repeaters around. Will I have any problems getting a signal? I know it depends on many variables, but I was hoping someone would have experience with XM in a rural area.

    Also, I plan on buying a SkyFi boombox for home use. With some talking about getting a poor signal inside a car if the antenna is installed inside on the windshield or getting the signal blocked by trees, how strong is it going to be inside a house? Are there any third party home antennas designed to be installed outside?
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    From experience, you'll get stronger signal with
    XM over Sirius.

    I don't think XM relies on repeaters as much as
    Sirius does. The XM satellites are lower in the
    sky than Sirius' and that means it can get under
    rooftops and overhangs much easier.

    I have problems with Sirius in my car because the
    company still has not installed repeaters here, despite
    the fact that this area is only 50 miles outside
    of New York City. Never had problems with XM
    reception in my car.

    For best XM reception just put your antenna on
    your inside window ledge facing south west.
     
  3. LewB

    LewB Well-Known Member

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    Whether you live in a rural area or city, I think the same principal applies, you need a direct view of the satellite (same for satellite TV for that matter).
    I have the XM roady 2 unit with the antenna on the outside of the car. Signal dropouts occur when the view of the satellite is blocked for about 3 seconds (I think that's the buffer). For me that means any obstacle that blocks the southwestern view. Could be leafy trees, hills, pretty much anything. Just an occupational hazard you need to get used to with satellite radio.
    I have the home kit also and get '3 bars' of signal (max) with the antenna in the middle of my living room about 10 feet away from the closest window.
     
  4. Greg O' Connel

    Greg O' Connel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I just had it installed today, and I'm pretty impressed with the signal strength. At home, I have my XM boombox in a room with no windows on the north side of my house. Three bars of signal, no dropouts. Before I had the Skyfi2 properly installed in my car, I was driving for 30 miles with the antenna sitting in my passenger side seat. I had several dropouts, but the signal was still pretty good given the circumstances. Maybe I just live in an XM "sweet spot". *knock on wood*

    XM is is awesome, by the way. Like I even needed to mention that. [​IMG]
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

    Michael St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    The two XM satellites are at a lower angle and are over the equator in a geosynchronous orbit.

    The Sirius satellites are at a higher angle (putting them overhead instead of to the south) and there are three of them instead of two. They move in a figure eight pattern with the three satellites spread out in the pattern.

    The XM satellites are more easily obstructed by tree rows and tall buildings due to the lower angle. As a result, they have a TON of repeaters, way more than Sirius.
     
  6. Bill-DC

    Bill-DC Member

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    New Sky Fi 2 user here--I've got my antenna inside my car for now (near the third brake light) and I get an occasional three to five second drop out from Sterling VA to Bethesda MD. Nothing too inconvenient for me considering I am no longer flipping back and forth the FM dial trying to avoid commercials during drive time [​IMG]

    Since I've had XM, it's a consistent 3 bar ride to and from work and even to and from Virginia Beach in inclement weather. I may stick the antenna outside at some point. When I got my XM, we had morons cutting outside Christmas tree lights in our neighborhood with wire snippers and I didn't want someone getting at my antenna.

    I love the service and can say enough positive things about it. I cannot wait until Major League Baseball starts up.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Bill,

    I am so elated to hear that you
    are happy with your XM radio.
     
  8. Bill-DC

    Bill-DC Member

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    Ron,

    I kept reading this forum for a long time and it's been very helpful. I got XM as a birthday/Christmas gift. I knew what I wanted as a result of the members here and the reviews I read about XM.

    Next up is a new theater system for our basement rec. room. Thanks for this site, it's very informative.
     
  9. Doug Miller

    Doug Miller Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be fun if someone with more time than me (ha-ha) made a map for XM with state by state coverage. How cool of an ad would it be if they had a signal map ala the wireless networks that shows everything covered but tiny specs here and there.

    Here in Washington, for example, I only have a few dropouts from Olympia to Aberdeen, have only 1 dropout from Olympia to Seattle. Is it wrong to hate trees now that I have XM? [​IMG] In the Evergreen state you'd think it would be a bigger problem, but really, I have very few dropouts.

    Doug
     
  10. shaneOneill

    shaneOneill Member

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    That's ho ho horrible. People.
     

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