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Author Topic: XM Radio Woes  (Read 17402 times)
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« on: 03/22/04 03:35 PM »

I was an early adopter to XM Radio - getting my system in October of 2002 and I love it.  HOWEVER hand in hand with the rollout of the new traffic/weather channels (that is not on in my area - yet) I have come across a troubling problem.

On I-5 southbound from downtown Seattle almost to Tacoma I have a ton of "no signal" driving.  This stretch of road does go by the port of Seattle, Boeing Field, the Boeng assembly plant in Kent and Sea-Tac International Airport.  This has not been the case in the past.  Also have this problem now in downtown Edmonds, an area infamous for lousy reception of all kind.

I know XM uses terrestrial repeaters and I"ve always thought that being on the fringe of North American coverage from space is going to cause issues...

Has XM Radio turned off any terrestrial repeaters or are they engaged in any tower disputes?

I want my XM Radio!   wail wail wail wail wail
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« Reply #1 on: 03/22/04 05:09 PM »

I notice here in CT I'm getting a lot more losses where I have not gotten them before... a lot of underpasses.... I now loose the signal for a few seconds. Before about a week or two... I had no problem..I wouldn't loose anything...
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« Reply #2 on: 03/22/04 05:12 PM »

Same here  veryangry

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« Reply #3 on: 03/22/04 06:46 PM »

My reception is fine......
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« Reply #4 on: 03/22/04 08:50 PM »

 My home XM SkyFi has it's antenna inside. As a result, the signal is "just strong enough" to reliably operate. It's steady enough and rarely cuts out. I hadn't noticed a change in operation or average signal strength indication lately (it has an indicator), from the stationary unit.

Now, grabbing at straws...
 
  XM's sat operator can shift antenna pattern, within some limits, with either "Rock" or "Roll", just to cover somewhere else a little better. That ability may or may not be integrated within these particular models but it is common to geo-stationary broadcast sat's. Maybe they are doing that for pending Canadian coverage.

 -OR-.

  Faced with more rapidly decaying solar panels than planned, they may not be obtaining the battery charge they want, while the sat is exposed to sunlight. At that point, they have to reduce the power! Reducing transponder power from 220 watts to 210 may not be noticable but in fringe-area digital, more dead spots could result.

If your coverage had changed considerably, as well as other's in your area, I would contact them!

If it seems to be just your's, well you know what to do...

My 2
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« Reply #5 on: 03/22/04 09:28 PM »

XM Reception is fine.  I'm aware of two places that the reception goes out but it's only for a couple of seconds so it's no big deal.  I hope you resolve your problem with XM.
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« Reply #6 on: 03/22/04 09:40 PM »

Haven't noticed any problems in Colorado.  I am hopeing they add Denver to their traffic channels.
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« Reply #7 on: 03/22/04 09:56 PM »

Ask here: XMFan.com - Forum
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« Reply #8 on: 03/22/04 10:07 PM »

My reception is fine, But I have the real no commercial service Sirius.
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« Reply #9 on: 03/22/04 10:45 PM »

I lost signal in breif spurts while traveling on the coast this weekend.

Overall... It is a wonderful listening experience!
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« Reply #10 on: 03/22/04 10:52 PM »

My home XM SkyFi has it's antenna inside. As a result, the signal is "just strong enough" to reliably operate. It's steady enough and rarely cuts out. I hadn't noticed a change in operation or average signal strength indication lately (it has an indicator), from the stationary unit.

Now, grabbing at straws...
 
  XM's sat operator can shift antenna pattern, within some limits, with either "Rock" or "Roll", just to cover somewhere else a little better. That ability may or may not be integrated within these particular models but it is common to geo-stationary broadcast sat's. Maybe they are doing that for pending Canadian coverage.

 -OR-.

  Faced with more rapidly decaying solar panels than planned, they may not be obtaining the battery charge they want, while the sat is exposed to sunlight. At that point, they have to reduce the power! Reducing transponder power from 220 watts to 210 may not be noticable but in fringe-area digital, more dead spots could result.

If your coverage had changed considerably, as well as other's in your area, I would contact them!

If it seems to be just your's, well you know what to do...

My 2


Gosh, I really didn't want to quote all that but;

What about transponder band width considering all the new channels and additional specific traffic/weather coverage?

We've seen this over the years with DirecTV/Dish channel rollouts!

Just another 2.
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« Reply #11 on: 03/22/04 11:10 PM »

W.C. As far as for digital broadcasts, the bandwidth consideration isn't nearly an overhead concern as it is in music. Voice communication takes very little in respect to it.

 In video, it's detail and motion. A racing event where a camera pans the cars, sweeps past the spectator stands; that's a bandwidth nightmare. Watching Martha Stewart may have a lot of redundancy (or investment forethought ) and can be compressed much more. (Or depressed  Roll Eyes )

 The algorithms dynamically adjust between all on an upstream to a transponder, if one needs little and the other needs more. (Just like jpeg image sizes, but this is streaming.)
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« Reply #12 on: 03/24/04 08:15 AM »

W.C. As far as for digital broadcasts, the bandwidth consideration isn't nearly an overhead concern as it is in music. Voice communication takes very little in respect to it.

 In video, it's detail and motion. A racing event where a camera pans the cars, sweeps past the spectator stands; that's a bandwidth nightmare. Watching Martha Stewart may have a lot of redundancy (or investment forethought ) and can be compressed much more. (Or depressed  Roll Eyes )

 The algorithms dynamically adjust between all on an upstream to a transponder, if one needs little and the other needs more. (Just like jpeg image sizes, but this is streaming.)



Hey Sperry,

I saw your explanation last night just before lights out.

I'm very familiar with the differences you mentioned above.

What I'm wondering is just how little space XM or Sirius really have to begin with as far as transponders on the Sat's they use.

I'm thinking they've run into the Direct/Dish problem of having too little space to accommodate all or some of the expansion plans they may have. Couple this with Satellite degradation and they are/could be losing capacity.

Add this to the terrestrial repeaters and they could be having issues with the minimal compression they require to expand.

How long has XM been out now, 4 years? They probably didn't build out at 100% and now that they are starting to expand service, they could be caught a little short.

I don't have either system but have casually followed the developing technology. Didn't I hear that one of them is planning to begin offering some form of video? I could have been hallucinating on that but I seem to recall this option being discussed in the near future. If so, they could already be testing and using other precious transponder allocations at the expense of more compression.

This is just my idle mind tossing the concepts around.

Heck, it's probably just a matter of remapping the new service roll outs and getting all the repeaters correctly lined up. And then, there is probably the 'software update' to show the new channels.

I don' know, just mindless speculation on my part.

WC
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« Reply #13 on: 03/24/04 08:24 AM »

my xm in my avalanches work great ! just the now and then bridge loss. my at home xm works fine to.
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« Reply #14 on: 03/24/04 08:38 AM »

I don't have either system but have casually followed the developing technology. Didn't I hear that one of them is planning to begin offering some form of video? I could have been hallucinating on that but I seem to recall this option being discussed in the near future. If so, they could already be testing and using other precious transponder allocations at the expense of more compression.

Sirius has announced it will roll out some limited video via the existing antennas customers currently have.  I talked to a rep last month, and they said official roll out will not be until like late '06 to early '07.  I think that was one of the big reasons they (Sirius) partnered with Dish Network last month to mooch some video tech and license power from them.  I believe they have talked about three stations - a CNN feed, a Nick feed and a Disney feed, but with the Comcast/Disney stuff, I would not really hold my breath on the last one, things could shake up in the next few years.
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« Reply #15 on: 03/24/04 08:50 AM »

Sorry to hear about some of the problems you all are having. I have XM in my Truck and also subscribe to Sirius for my Entertainment center/Boombox and love them both.

No glitches down here in Texas from what I have noticed. XM does cut out for a quick second when I pull into my garage but it comes back on pretty quickly. I too hope they start covering my area in the traffic updates.

SB
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« Reply #16 on: 03/24/04 10:38 AM »

Speculating again...
  Expanding ventures may not mean that it's restricted to the hardware and spectrum "slice" they have at present. The Sirius proposal would require video-capable hardware or line-out's anyway. Might be that they would have a seperate method and/or receiver augmenting the current hardware and maybe on another nearby band.

  If they instead, include it within the current system & bandwidth after all, it may be in the form & function like shockwave-flash / presentation graphics, text overlays or  some form that doesn't take much bandwidth as full motion video would... maybe similar to XM's severe weather video overlay system.

 OR, you're fears are true! Maybe they will compress everything else more to make it all fit! barf

         If I hear how, I'll post it..! (Or reply if someone already did....) dissappointed
« Last Edit: 03/24/04 10:39 AM by sperry » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: 03/25/04 08:19 AM »

This may help those who are getting bad reception:



hehehehehe.....I like ithe sticker....... hehehehehe
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« Reply #18 on: 03/25/04 08:30 AM »

My reception has actually IMPROVED over the last 6 months.  Hmmmm.  There is one spot that used to always lose the signal, but now, it only happens 1 out of 10 times there.  Weird.

Try talking to XM and see what they say.  I have found them to be very pleasant to deal with.  Good luck!
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« Reply #19 on: 03/25/04 08:41 AM »

 If the signal cutout plagues you, and you have an older antenna, try the newer type found on the '04's: P/N 15205583. It's supposedly improved, but to what extent, I don't yet know. Maybe just "Bigger - Better - Faster - Stronger"... ?

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« Reply #20 on: 03/26/04 12:17 PM »

Thanks - some good ideas - where I live in Seattle I consider myself in a "fringe" area - I mean if the coverage is US in the lower 48, I live just about as far into the northwest corner of the lower 48 as you can get.

I'll give them a call...thanks for the info!
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« Reply #21 on: 03/26/04 12:33 PM »

Thanks - some good ideas - where I live in Seattle I consider myself in a "fringe" area - I mean if the coverage is US in the lower 48, I live just about as far into the northwest corner of the lower 48 as you can get.
Seattle is a "fringe" area for more reasons than just the XM Radio coverage!

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« Reply #22 on: 03/26/04 04:21 PM »


Seattle is a "fringe" area for more reasons than just the XM Radio coverage!

 Grin

yeah.. and PDX is right there with it  Roll Eyes


ON XM... the more I listen... the more I'M HOOKED!!   The clarity is awesome! Does the trial period include all channels?
« Last Edit: 03/26/04 04:28 PM by danlwil2500 » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: 03/26/04 07:15 PM »

It sure looks like the coverage varies. I travel all over Colorado and get great XM reception in my AV most everywhere except tunnels (of course), narrow canyons, & the CAR WASH Grin.
Last July we took a road trip to Canada in my wife's 03 LT Tahoe (prior to the AV).
We got great reception from home all across Wyoming, Montana, & Alberta. We were able to recieve the signal all the way north of Banf National Park. We were pleasantly  Grin Shocked surprised at not loosing the signal north of the border. Our dealer told us it was only good  Huh in the lower 48.

I wish they would add Denver traffic!!!

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« Reply #24 on: 03/26/04 07:37 PM »

This is the best "footprint" I could find so far...

...At least it's more accurate than Chief's footprint (avatar).  

Edit: Link disappeared; went local for the image!
« Last Edit: 04/12/04 09:53 PM by sperry » Logged

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