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  1. #1

    Default Sirius Satelite Radio

    I had Sirius in one of the rental cars I had a few months ago. It was absolutely fantastic and I've seen it in the shops in subsequent trips. How does it work? Is it something that needs hard wiring into the car? Or is there an option for me to buy a kit and plug it in the cigar lighter of a rental?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default XM Here

    I haven't dealt much with Sirius, but I've got an XM that I've had for a couple of years now.

    I've got a portable unit that plugs into the lighter. It has its own FM transmitter to hear it over the radio. In my main car, I've run the antenna behind the dash and out onto the roof of the car, but I also have a spare antenna that I just run out through a door when I want to take it to another car.

  3. #3

    Default Oooh

    Thanks, Michael, that is very interesting!

    I'll definately need to look into that when I'm next in the country. It needs to be Sirius though as I want Nascar radio. Has anyone had similar experience with Sirius?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default I said no to Sirius

    And the reason why I said no is because, at the time, you had to have it hard-wired into your car. There was no portable option. And the units themselves were bulkier and required to be sat into a cradle that had to be hard-wired into the car. I have a small car and there wasn't even any good location to put the control unit itself. Very bulky and in the way and just wouldn't work for me. Their units were also far more expensive. At the time, it would have cost me about $400 for the cheapest Sirius unit that would fit in my car reasonably well and the installation. From the Sirius website, it looks like they still require installation but I didn't spend much time scoping it out. Maybe they have some other options now?

    I bought a portable XM unit for about $30, spent about 30 seconds plugging it in and I was good to go.

    XM seems to have just about every sport except much for car racing. They do have an IndyCar channel but I suppose it's not NACAR?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Pretty sure

    I'm quite sure that Sirius now has plug and play units that you could use too. I know a few people who have sirius with this sort of set up, I'm just not as familiar with their exact product offerings.

    With MLB on XM, Sirius has never really been in my picture. Of course, if the companies get their way, they'll all be one big monopolistic company soon enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Mlb?

    Gosh, we really would travel well together, Michael. Camping, cooking at the campsite, and listening to MLB along the way. Good times! :)

    I sure didn't see any portable units that work in your car at the Sirius website. All the portable units that I saw require headphones to listen to and are portable for things like outdoor activities. From what I saw, it looked to me like you needed to buy a car installation kit that you must be hard-wired into the car. Then you can use the portable units like you would an MP3 player/personal radio with earphones and then plug the portable unit into the hard-wired unit for the car to listen to it via your car speakers. Here's more info on that.

    I could be missing something.

    I thought they had stopped the monopoly attempt? Haven't been paying much attention to that though.

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Old School

    I guess I'm old school... I still like FM.

  8. Default There are a couple of options for car-based Sirius

    The Sirius Stiletto, for example, can be used in cars. (There's a description of one here.. ), from one of the many sites that sell it.

    What it has is a small FM transmitter that relays the signal into FM, that you can pick up on your car radio, or a home stereo. Since it also has a headphone output, you can plug that in if you have an input jack on your car or home stereo.

    The problem, as with any other portable satellite radio is you need to either have tne receiver looking at the sky, or some type of portable antenna in the car. (The satellite radio comes down in something nearer to microwave frequencies, so it doesn't penetrate metal or buildings very well). If you can put the receiver on the dash, it may see enough of the sky to see the broadcasting satellite -- but if you're heading north (for example) it may not. If you put the receiver down in the console between the seats, it probably wont (unless you have that extra antenna set up).

    There are a couple of other variations of this around, that I've seen as well. Some that use a cassette tape-type adaptor to go into the car stereo, some that have a small receiving unit that goes between base plates in the car or home, and the like. Both XM and Sirius have similar offerings.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default OK, now I'm singing Billy Joel's Stilleto in my brain....

    The Stilleto requires the car kit (see about half-way down the page) and the car kit must be hard-wired.

    I put the antennae on my dash and this work fine 90% of the time. If I have any problems with reception, I'll roll down the window and put the magnetized antennae on the roof and then roll my window back up except for just a crack so I don't break the antannae wire.

    I think all XM radios now come with built-in FM modulator so no need to plug in. I know mine did and I got it for only about $30-35 bucks about 3-4 years ago. No need to plug anything in.

    To be honest, while I also prefer MLB so I appreciate XM for that, I wish that Sirius wasn't such a hassle to deal with. I know folks who have both and, out here where I live, reception can often be compromised due to tree cover and hills. They tell me Sirius actually has far less problems with this. So, in that sense, I would prefer Sirius. (There's nothing worse than having Johnny Dollar about read to solve the case and lose your reception for a minute or two and never knowing whodunnit.) But I just don't want to deal with the hard-wiring because of the lack of ability to move easily from car-to-car.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default "Hard Wire"

    My XM model is supposedly truely portable with a built in antenna, but its really worthless for any practical application. It does need a wired antenna for it to really work, and that's what I mount on the roof, out the car door. While it might not be the best thing for a wire, the rubber gaskets around all your doors will keep the wire from being damaged in a practical application.

    Putting the antenna on a dash is also an option, but you're going to have a lot more signal problems that way, since you are limiting your antenna to seeing about 50 percent of the sky. Since both Sirius and XM have at least 2 Satellites, most of the time that 50% will still be enough to get a good reception to at least one of the "birds," but that means you are also a lot more likely to have your signal blocked by hills or trees since you are only getting the signal for one source instead of two.

    With an antenna on the roof I almost never have a signal problem, unless I'm in an urban area or a very wooded and/or hilly area. However, one day XM lost one of its birds and I noticed a dramatic loss in signal strength, with significant dropouts along the way.

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