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Author Topic: XM Radio Woes  (Read 17469 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
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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?
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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!
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« Reply #25 on: 03/26/04 10:42 PM »

Just to add my 2 cents I haven't had any problems in GA.

The big test will be the 1200 mile trek back to the hinterlands
of NH! Then I will see just how great XM is...

Aetatis.
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« Reply #26 on: 03/27/04 07:49 AM »


aetatis

When will you be in NH?  We are having a mini GTG on April 17th in southern NH
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« Reply #27 on: 04/12/04 02:50 PM »

I'm 99.9% sure I have fixed my problem, and with the most unlikely of solutions.

Gave my Avalanche the big bath the weekend before Easter.  Generally I don't climb up on the cargo panels to wipe them down along with the roof, but the pollen is flying (I awoke to a blue with lime green fleck Avy this morning) and it had dried on the back panels.

While up there I gave the roof a good wipe down, something it hadn't had all winter.  This included getting the XM Radio antenna.  Well surprise, surprise, surprise.  Although there wasn't visible crud on the antenna it seems as though wiping everything down up there did the trick.  100% coverage as good as day one.  Drove to Federal Way and back yesterday no issues - no issues in the Edmonds bowl.

I can only figure there was some sort of particle pollution on the roof that was blocking the signal OR there was a local area issue.  There just isn't any other logical explanation for the sudden healing of the system.
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« Reply #28 on: 05/08/04 08:44 PM »

Quote
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"... ?

Per GM Tech LinK:


New Antenna Technology
Beginning with the 2004 model year, a new XM antenna is being installed on some vehicles (fig. 7). The list includes Avalanche, Denali, Denali XL, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Sierra, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL. The DeVille, Seville, Bonneville, and LeSabre will switch to this new antenna mid-year. And also mid-year, the 2004 Envoy, Envoy XL, Envoy XUV, Rainier, TrailBlazer, and TrailBlazer EXT will switch to a different new antenna (fig. Cool.

The XM antenna used in the 2002-03 model years included two different elements, one to receive signals from the satellites, and a second one to receive signals from the ground repeaters. Two coax cables were required. The new antennas use one element to receive both sets of signals, and only one coax cable is required.

TIP: The two types of antenna cannot be interchanged in service.
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« Reply #29 on: 05/09/04 09:16 AM »

 I missed that "tip" part goofy  .`Good thing you didn't!

I wonder if it's the hole pattern or the `04 module has the two antenna inputs internally.

When you split, there's losses. In order to minimize this, they no doubt they did this because it was the easiest, most practical approach.

So, the later antenna may not really work with the earlier XM modules...
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« Reply #30 on: 05/09/04 11:31 AM »


Sperry:

That's what I am thinking, not sure it can work with earlier version. Someone on the site has a factory XM w/Bose system on auction at eBay.  What would we need to see to determine if the inputs are the same?

The CAFCNA member has all his parts pulled out.  Maybe we can ask him for a photo of the input jack on the XM RX?  Thoughts?

edit:  I just found two CAFCNA members with their systems removed, what should we ask them?  ( I know nothing about electronics)

http://www.chevyavalanchefanclub.com/cafcna/index.php?board=33;action=display;threadid=25354;start=msg394920#msg394920

http://www.chevyavalanchefanclub.com/cafcna/index.php?board=33;action=display;threadid=26640;start=msg416837#msg416837
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« Reply #31 on: 05/09/04 12:13 PM »

No problems here, sometimes if I go under some thick oak trees I'll loose the signal for a second, but other than that it's cool!  chevy
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« Reply #32 on: 05/09/04 02:46 PM »


I live in New Hampshire and my XM cuts out during the summer (leaves on) all the time, in the winter just a few places here and there.  I was surprised that trees would cause cut out.  My FM/AM RX don't have this problem.
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« Reply #33 on: 05/09/04 09:03 PM »

Thanx Spotty...
 I followed up on the pm - somewhat.

I noticed the guy selling that HU on E-bay saying it doesn't have to be unlocked... Hmmmm, well ok then.
 I wonder when the buyer will pop up here with the HU & XM unlock questions..?

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« Reply #34 on: 06/21/04 09:58 PM »


Sperry:

An observation I made:  I have an '03 w/ XM.  Cuts outs often in the same areas on my daily commute.  Today I drove an '04 Avalanche same route and no XM cut out.  So, in my limited testing, the '04 XM antenna receives better than the '03 antenna.  What do you think about swapping an 03 antenna w/ an '04 antenna?



Edit: typo
« Last Edit: 06/22/04 05:08 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: 06/21/04 11:00 PM »

I looked at the prints of the `03 & `04 XM module connections (Av.). Although they have different document numbers, the antenna connections are the same on each print!
I looked at an `04 car (Grand Prix) XM print and it had a dual cable antenna... Figure that! Huh
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« Reply #36 on: 06/21/04 11:23 PM »

This is the Grand Prix's print:

« Last Edit: 05/30/05 04:03 PM by sperry » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: 06/21/04 11:28 PM »

This is the `04 Av's XM receiver print:

« Last Edit: 05/30/05 04:03 PM by sperry » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: 06/21/04 11:40 PM »

This is the `03 Av XM print...

For those of you who don't know yet, you click on the image's link to make them mo' bigerer....!

« Last Edit: 05/30/05 04:03 PM by sperry » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: 06/22/04 08:49 AM »

Sperry:

Here is an under headliner pic of an '04 XM Antenna Mount.  Note, just one brown wire coming from antenna.  Any idea if an '04 antenna will fit an "03?  I don't have pics of an '03 mount.
« Last Edit: 06/22/04 08:50 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: 06/22/04 08:53 AM »

Here is where the wire of the 2004 model enters the XM Box behind the glove box.
« Last Edit: 06/22/04 09:07 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: 06/22/04 08:54 AM »

Here is the end of the plug.
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« Reply #42 on: 06/22/04 08:58 AM »


The XM Box (Delphi) on this '04 is Part No:15125061 (I think, I was reading via a mirror). goofy

The Number on a UPC type sticker on the brown antenna wire had:  151224307.

Here is a shot of an '04 Avalanche antenna from the outside.


« Last Edit: 06/23/04 06:30 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: 06/22/04 09:03 AM »


The '03 may have one or two wires, the '04 has one wire coming from the antenna.  I believe the single '04 antenna/wire provides better reception (based on my one day test).

Need to know if '04 antenna will mount to roof of '03?

Need to know if '04 antenna cord will plug into '03 XM Box.

And is that all there is to it?

Here is the '03 from a GM Teck Link Photo.




« Last Edit: 06/23/04 06:32 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: 06/22/04 08:10 PM »

Hmmmm, anyone want to pull their `03  headliner down?
that `04 peek is certainly a single coax.

I can see by the fact that an `03 to `04 comparison had a difference, that it's enough to look into this further.

Well, judging by the prints, they're the same type of connection. It's the cars that changed.
However, I would have to contact a tech at my dealer and see if he remembers. I want to run an OnStar question past him anyway, so I'll lump this in..

I presume you have both part numbers; at least the `04 P/N? (I'd like to compare notes if you retrieved it elsewhere.)

Lots of conflicting info now..   Undecided

BTW do you know the build date of that `04?
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« Reply #45 on: 06/22/04 08:16 PM »

That's looks exactly like an SMB connector, embedded into a GM connector shell.

The antenna is different than the ones I've seen on `04's (Av's) too.. Now, since there is a pigtailed wire that only shows on the car schematic, are we sure this isn't that car one? (The techlink one.)
« Last Edit: 06/22/04 08:20 PM by sperry » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: 06/23/04 06:19 AM »


I presume you have both part numbers; at least the `04 P/N? (I'd like to compare notes if you retrieved it elsewhere.)

Lots of conflicting info now..   Undecided

BTW do you know the build date of that `04?


Sperry:

The limited part numbers I have are from reading the parts on this '04 Avalanche.  As I said I could be off on the numbers of the '04 XM Box as it was installed and was reading upside down with a mirror!  But, I belive I have it correct goofy

The build date -  Don't have, except to say the cargo covers had a February 2004 manufacture sticker on them, the truck was delivered in March 2004.  That's as close as I can get to a build date.  I no longer have access to the truck.
« Last Edit: 06/23/04 06:36 AM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: 06/23/04 06:23 AM »


That's looks exactly like an SMB connector, embedded into a GM connector shell.

Sperry:

Don't know what an SMB connector is, can you help me out?


The antenna is different than the ones I've seen on `04's (Av's) too.. Now, since there is a pigtailed wire that only shows on the car schematic, are we sure this isn't that car one? (The techlink one.)


 Sperry:

The Techlink one, I cannot be sure what model/version/vehicle that is for.

The outside cover of the antenna on the techkink photo looks like my '03 antenna.  The '04s have a more box shape,  see the pic I posted above.  The '03s have the fin in the middle.


To all:

Can anyone out there confirm if an '03 XM antenna has one or two leads coming from the antenna? Someone must have pulled their headliner.
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« Reply #48 on: 06/23/04 07:36 AM »

The `04's Ive seen was a sharkfin like the `03's but had a higher base section like in the photo, all moulded together.

The observation of the connector type was just the center metallic part, not the green plastic retainer. That connector appears as if it's an SMB connector.

A PDF of some SMB connectors

SMB's are one of several types of snap-on RF small cable connectors, commonly used in lower power microwave/UHF devices.

Good to use if one must adjust cable length or occasionally disconnect device parts. Another "similar use" connector (SMA) is an incompatable thread-on type for more secure connections.
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« Reply #49 on: 06/23/04 06:19 PM »


The `04's Ive seen was a sharkfin like the `03's but had a higher base section like in the photo, all moulded together.

I have only seen the '04s like the pic I posted above on the silver Avalanche.


The observation of the connector type was just the center metallic part, not the green plastic retainer. That connector appears as if it's an SMB connector.  


I think the one in my photo from the '04 is Yellow.


As usual, thanks Sperry for the info, and link to a SMB.  Learn more everyday.

I would love to figure this one out so I, and others, can improve their reception of their XM receivers.  Living in New Hampshire (fringe area/few repeaters/poor satellite angle) makes for frequent cutouts.
« Last Edit: 06/23/04 06:21 PM by SpottyJ » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: 06/28/04 07:41 PM »


Hey Sperry:

Just found this on the XM website:

American International XM-1DAS Splitter  
 
Allows a single output antenna, such as the XMicro, to connect to a dual input XM receiver.

Also allows the antenna output from a single-output XM antenna to be split to TWO single-input XM receivers.  


I wonder if an '03 uses a two wire antenna, and an '04 uses a one wire antenna, could you use an '04 antenna on an '03 XM RX using this splitter.  And then, is there any reception benefit?
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« Reply #51 on: 07/12/04 07:50 PM »

Good find spotty!

Actually, I'm starting to put a few pieces together.

In theory only, here's some of my (scattered) thoughts...

There's a 3+ dB (usually 3.5) loss from splitting a signal from an antenna.
Vehicular "SDARS" antennas have a 90 Phase combiner inside them.
 If two cables are run from a "dual" antenna instead, the splitter loss is no longer a factor. But they still have to combine them somewhere...or do they?

When signals are marginal, the first way to improve it is to seek a "best way practical" work-around of the losses. At least in an economical a way as possible (in this case). The new antennas and configuration, likely cuts splitter losses in some manner that I hadn't yet looked at closely.
A phase combiner may just be a form of diversity reception like the two antennas you find on some wireless mic receivers. In this case, antenna pattern is involved.

Whew!

I found this link again... Really good reading about DARS Antenna engineering!

DARS Antennas (PDF) See page 4...

And...

More on DARS Antennas (PDF)

Lots of other tech articles here in The 2002 Delphi Engineering notes root directory..

And the 2003 root directory!..

Folks interested in automotive electronic innovation could get lost in here!
They have other years on the left menu...

They do seem commited! This is from one of those PDF's...


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« Reply #52 on: 07/15/04 05:37 AM »

FYI - The 2005 Hummer H2 has a combination Onstar / XM Radio antenna.

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« Reply #53 on: 07/18/04 01:03 AM »

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 work for the FAA and around the airport we have all sorts of RF transmission equipment transmitting on all sorts of frequencies.  I'm not sure what frequency XM uses, but there is a chance some of our stuff may be interfering with XM around the airport.  I work at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport and don't have a problem there, but each airport is different.  As you say you are in a satellite fringe area and as such your signal will be weaker and thus more succeptable to interference. chevy
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« Reply #54 on: 07/18/04 08:00 AM »

You may have a good point,

  The DARS services are allocated in the spectrum at 2320-2345. Each service has 12.5 MHz each. Terrestrial repeaters are "located" at the center of each issued spectrum.
  If I recall DME, ILS, transponders, etc are just above the 1GHz, however should have good harmonic filtering.

  Is there any equipment at 1160 to 1172.5 MHz that you are aware of?
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« Reply #55 on: 07/18/04 04:51 PM »

You may have a good point,

  The DARS services are allocated in the spectrum at 2320-2345. Each service has 12.5 MHz each. Terrestrial repeaters are "located" at the center of each issued spectrum.
  If I recall DME, ILS, transponders, etc are just above the 1GHz, however should have good harmonic filtering.

  Is there any equipment at 1160 to 1172.5 MHz that you are aware of?


Transponders/Ground equipment work at 1030 and 1090 Mhz.  The ground equipment that communicates with the transponder transmits an omnidirectional signal at 1090 at around 500 watts.  The signal is pulsed.  The Omnidirectional signal transmits two .8 microsec pulses, then waits before it transmits again.  The wait time determines the modulation frequency.  Pulsed signals create horrendous harmonics.  Basically what happens is you get harmonics starting the center frequency (1090 Mhz) + and - the modulation frequency and repeats at each increment of the modulation frequency.  The modulation frequency will be around 3000 hz (each radar is different).   However, by the time you got to 2000 Mhz the signal would be zip.  I'm not sure about the ILS/DME stuff because I never worked on those but I think they are in the 900-1200 mhz range.  I'll find out next time I go to work.  The airport radar operates in the 1900-2100 Mhz range, but only comes around every 4 secs or so with a highly directional signal.  Even at that it only transmitts pulse signals with about a 1/1000 duty cycle.  I suppose that it's possible that the tremendous power of the radar (1 megawatt) could be saturating the XM receiver, but you'd probably notice it trying to recover every 4 secs or so.  The ILS stuff might be suspect because it transmits CW, however I don't think you're going to get much in the way of harmonics from the system.  The slightest variation will cause the ILS to shut down for obvious reasons.  Some of our microwave links operate in the 2000 Mhz range, but their signals are weak (1 watt or less) and highly directional.

I can do some research when I get to work and see what equipment Sea/Tac has.
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« Reply #56 on: 07/18/04 05:13 PM »

Maybe so; tune up a spectrum analyzer in the 2300 2350 area and see what energy is present. I know that isn't easy to see pulsed energy there but if the sweep rate is slow enough it may catch it.
 I'd feel certain that they've (DARS Engineers)  checked all this but who knows!

The sideband energy shouldn't be but just in the general spectral area of the transmitter anyway. It's the 2nd harmonic that DARS would be concerned with IF it's a 1160 to 1172.5 MHz system. Spurious/Splatter from other things too.

Maybe that's why the XM drops out near the Orange County Airport on I-405!?  And I thought it was the overpasses and the terrestrial repeater switching or something?
Hmmmm.
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« Reply #57 on: 07/18/04 05:33 PM »

Maybe so; tune up a spectrum analyzer in the 2300 2350 area and see what energy is present. I know that isn't easy to see pulsed energy there but if the sweep rate is slow enough it may catch it.
 I'd feel certain that they've (DARS Engineers)  checked all this but who knows!

The sideband energy shouldn't be but just in the general spectral area of the transmitter anyway. It's the 2nd harmonic that DARS would be concerned with IF it's a 1160 to 1172.5 MHz system. Spurious/Splatter from other things too.

Maybe that's why the XM drops out near the Orange County Airport on I-405!?  And I thought it was the overpasses and the terrestrial repeater switching or something?
Hmmmm.

It could be a lot of things.  It might be a Ham repeater.  We have a lot of problems with those getting into our stuff.  I believe they operate in the VHF/UHF range, but sometimes those guys really let their stuff go and you wouldn't believe the splatter they generate.  The 2 Ghz range would be a stretch for a Ham, but stranger things have happened.  One thing you might try is parking in the area you are having problems and try shielding the antenna with a small piece of sheet metal in the direction you think the interference is coming from.  You might be able to at least find out the direction.  You might also contact the XM people and let them know about it.  They might do their own investigation.  You could also tell the FCC, but it's doubtful they would investigate anytime this decade.  When we work with the FCC, we have to pinpoint the problem ourselves and then bring in the FCC if any enforcement action is required (the FAA can't enforce FCC laws and regs).
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« Reply #58 on: 07/18/04 05:39 PM »

Maybe so; tune up a spectrum analyzer in the 2300 2350 area and see what energy is present. I know that isn't easy to see pulsed energy there but if the sweep rate is slow enough it may catch it.
 I'd feel certain that they've (DARS Engineers)  checked all this but who knows!

I wouldn't count on their Engineers to know where all the holes are.  The FAA /Military rely on pilot reports to identify GPS anomolies/holes.
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« Reply #59 on: 07/18/04 08:42 PM »

As of March, XM started selling Rock and Roll-delivered weather services, including high-res NEXRAD weather maps, to the aviation marketplace.  Granted, an STC'd aviation receiver is probably much better designed to cope with extraneous signals than the Delphi automotive receivers we have in our AVs, but there can't be any inherent conflict between aviation-related signals and the XM receiver or else they wouldn't be able to get the two to coexist in an aircraft.  So, if we (collectively) are having problems with our XM receivers around airports, it's probably because of cost/benefit trade-offs in the design of our automotive electronics.  Personally, I've not seen any airport-related reception problems in my AV, but I'm not around anything as big as the ones you guys are talking about.
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« Reply #60 on: 07/18/04 09:44 PM »

Actually, my reception problems tend to be predictable in the common underpass/tunnel areas. The OC Airport is near an interchange that's common to the fault, so it's difficult to determine which is the cause.

  Hams usually sort out their repeater installation issues since most good high coverage sites are a commercial based operation. Some that have a fault are contacted quickly and respond.

  I've been there-done that and those that don't bother cleaning things up get booted out when proven at fault. There are some exceptions of course.

  Some Ham mobile and portable radios just are not clean at all; they aren't required to be type accepted and can be considerably messy.

  Hams are more diligent with "policing" themselves than the older 2-way industry was. I found more crap from commercial repeaters than I had from permitted Ham installations. Then, there's the crap from cable companies before the fiber installations. Leakage all over...

  Any harmonic type interference from Hams radiating out in the 2330 area isn't so likely as they're up a ways in multiples (146 *16) or (52*45) come the closest, and most transmitters have an adequate harmonic filter to supress it long before it multiplies that far. However external devices, structures and material can bring back the evil spirits and wreak havoc with the peaceful world!

  As far as the Ham's 2300 frequencies (2300-2310 MHz and 2390-2450 MHz) there's little use. However a powerful local beacon or similar transmitter (like Amateur TV) on 2309 could cause a problem with a nearby sat radio receiver.

  With some of the crap (in my opinion) the Hams buy, just for the bells & whistles, I wouldn't be surprised of avionics interference. I prefer using commercial equipment instead. although there's been some junk produced there too (as the repearers I mentioned earlier). At least they are type accepted!

  Still, that's not all Hams, most by far run a clean, tidy operation and just get the initial blame. They don't want to be interfered with either and most always cooperate as soon as they're aware of a problem they are advised of, if they hadn't noticed anything themselves. Keep in mind that a large percentage of them are professionals, and most of those in radio related careers!

As far as XM reception goes, I know some areas that surprise me as working, and some that match the "warned of" condition. Hopefully that will be addressed with terrestrial repeaters as the system(s) mature(s).  Cool
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« Reply #61 on: 07/18/04 10:38 PM »

Switch to Sirius radio. Thats how you eliminate those dreaded XM dropouts. Not to metion if you get Sirius, you'll get all NFL, NHL, NBA games played during the season and during the playoffs.

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« Reply #62 on: 07/19/04 07:34 AM »

I don't dislike Sirius, but....
Switching to Sirius won't cure that! The dead zones just move around with the satellite position. Something doing figure 8's over one's head just makes that change to "in & out" over a few hours when in a fixed, marginal area like a deep canyon.

The dead areas I do get with XM are very rare and understood if so, except for the unknown reason around one airport (Sirius is just as vulnerable!), and I'm just talking about them, not really a problem as XM works great in all respects that have my interest.

I personally have no interest in those services you mentioned. But certainly do understand it for others who do.  Cool

Isn't Sirius a Ford & Daimler-Chrysler supported venture too?

 love GM!
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« Reply #63 on: 05/30/05 03:38 PM »

Sirius is launching another satellite to augment their figure-8 polar orbit. This one will be geo-stationary like XM's.

Link
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« Reply #64 on: 07/12/07 06:49 PM »

Sperry:

I finally got an 04' XM antenna, and I bought the splitter we discussed from Reply #50 (see pic below).  I had to trim a nub off the pink part of the male end of the splitter to receive the yellow plug from the XM antenna.

I have not installed yet, so I cannot determine if any improvement in reception, will keep you posted.  (This has been a many year quest to try to reduce XM cut outs on my 2003).  My theory is to change my two lead/wire 2003 XM antenna to the "improved" single lead 2004 XM antenna.  (I know I may lose some signal from the split, but I believe I have a bum antenna anyway, so I am hoping the redesigned antenna may help!)





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« Reply #65 on: 07/16/07 06:28 PM »

So I did an unscientific test, need input as to whether I should proceed further (see my post above for background):

I connected the 2004 XM antenna to my XM RX using the splitter and had my wife hold the antenna in the same general area as the factory antenna.  We then test drove the vehicle and it cut out at exactly the same locations (wooded areas, especially white pines on the south side of vehicle, small bridges, etc) as my stock 2003 antenna.

Question:

The test 2004 antenna was not "mounted" to the vehicle.  As it was not mounted, would it lose reception capability from lack of grounding like an FM antenna?

I ask as I don't want to go through the trouble of actually replacing my 2003 antenna unless I think I am going to get improved reception with the 2004.  And the unmounted 2004 performed the same as my mounted 2003 antenna.  ("Mounting" the antenna would requiring pulling a portion of the headliner, A-Pillar, etc, and I am trying to avoid that at this stage as I have seen identical results.)

Lastly, depending on replies regarding grounding helping or not; I may have to rethink my theory of a poor 2003 antenna, and chalk it up to living in a northern latitude and having to deal with frequent XM cut-outs/drops (to my knowledge, I'm not near any repeaters). 

This all started (reception concerns) when I drove a 2004 Avalanche and it did not have nearly the same drops-out on the same route as I drive my 2003 daily.




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« Reply #66 on: 10/02/09 04:44 PM »

Here is where the wire of the 2004 model enters the XM Box behind the glove box.

Any pointers on how to get that darn plug out of the XM box?
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« Reply #67 on: 10/02/09 06:03 PM »

Any pointers on how to get that darn plug out of the XM box?

Been so long I can't recall.  Sorry!

I know once it was out it was obvious!  There was some type of type to depress or pull up on to remove.
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« Reply #68 on: 03/07/10 04:07 PM »

Any pointers on how to get that darn plug out of the XM box?

Yes, pull up on blue tab, which then allows a small black tab to depress in and allows release of plug.  Hard to see as the small black tab faces toward front and not visible while XM box installed. 

Blue tab pulls up like a quarter inch unlocking a small black squeeze tab.

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« Reply #69 on: 03/07/10 05:12 PM »

Boy... That's dedication... may have taken 5 months, but at least you got him the answer... Thumbs up!

Hate those hidden tab thingys
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« Reply #70 on: 03/07/10 07:21 PM »

Boy... That's dedication... may have taken 5 months, but at least you got him the answer... Thumbs up!

Hate those hidden tab thingys

Yes, I just unplugged my XM unit yesterday, so I had firsthand knowledge!
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