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Author Topic: XM Radio Woes  (Read 16638 times)
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SpottyJ
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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?
« Last Edit: 06/28/04 07:43 PM by SpottyJ » Logged

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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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