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Wireless FM in car not strong enough signal

Discussion in 'Sirius XM General Discussion' started by hjsiemer, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. hjsiemer

    hjsiemer Mentor

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    Sep 28, 2006
    I recently got the sportster replay and installed it in my car on the driver's side. The AM/FM radio antenna is on the passenger side of the car. No matter what "dead" frequency I use, I still get a lot of static and a poor signal.

    I contacted Sirius Tech Support and they stated that because of new FCC regulations, they had to cut the FM transmitter power down to about 25% of what is was in the older Sirius models.

    Their only suggestion was to wire the Sportster directly into the car radio via a FM Modulator kit that they sell.

    There has to be another way of solving this problem. Any suggestions??

    thanks
     
  2. dpd146

    dpd146 Godfather

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Put it near the antenna temporarily and see if it's better. You could have a bad unit.

    Make sure the external antenna is plugged in all the way.
     
  3. deraz

    deraz Daydreamer DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Sep 25, 2004
    Also make sure that you have the volume on the Sportster all the way up.
     
  4. Steve Mehs

    Steve Mehs Hall Of Fame

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    Wireless FM is the worst way to listen to satellite radio. I would recommend spending the money and getting a PIE or auxiliary input adaptor, if your vehicles head unit can support it. Last weekend I went to Circuit City and purchased a 2 input adaptor for $70. It gets plugged in where my 6 disc CD changer goes, and connects to an adaptor that has 2 sets of RCA inputs. Sure I lose the functionality of the CD changer, but I never used it since I got satellite radio. The difference in sound quality between wireless FM modulation and a direct hard wired connection is night and day on my Starmate Replay.
     
  5. dda0002

    dda0002 Mentor

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    Sep 30, 2006
    Yea, I got something similar that connects to the stock Chrysler head unit in my PT with a CD change input. It is about an inch thick and about 2x3 and sits behind the head unit. I ran the cable to conect it to my sirius unit under the dash and have it come in by the a pillar.

    Had that about 2 months and its working pretty well.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2006 #6 of 48
    Mavrick

    Mavrick Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 1, 2006
    I have the same problem my almost 1 year old sportster replay works fine with the fm modulator and it is very strong but the sportster replay that I just purchased and is not even 1 week old hardly works via the fm modulator and Sirius Tech told me the same thing that they had to change the power output of the modulator to 25 percent of what it was on the original release of the sportster replays.

    The decrease of 75 percent in power of the fm modulator on the sportster replay has basicaly made the FM modulator in the Sportster replays useless.
     
  7. Oct 4, 2006 #7 of 48
    hjsiemer

    hjsiemer Mentor

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    Sep 28, 2006
    I again spoke with Technical Support at Sirius and they state that all NEW receiver models now have the 75% reduction in output per FCC requirements and will not transmit below 88.1 mhz - this means that depending on where you are driving, you have to change to different "dead" frequencies.
    I did put the receiver on the other side of the dashboard nearest to the AM/FM antenna and it worked fine - but it is less than 3 feet from the antenna, and I would still have the problem of changing the FM transmitter to different "dead" frequencies, depending on my location at the time.
    I tried putting the unit in the middle of the dash, it DID NOT have enough power to power the FM radio.
    I finally ended up using a cassette input available at Radio Shack for $10.00 to the FM/Cassette player originally installed in the 1994 vehicle and it works fine, with no noticeable degradation in sound quality from the digital to analog transition.
     
  8. Oct 4, 2006 #8 of 48
    Mavrick

    Mavrick Hall Of Fame

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    You know this is really sad that we have to go to all this trouble to get something to work now because the FCC made them reduce the power of the modulator. :(

    I guess I will have to continue to use my 1 year old Sportster R in between 2 cars and relegate my 1 week old Sportster R to be hardwired to my home stereo. :(
     
  9. Oct 5, 2006 #9 of 48
    Wolfmarsh

    Wolfmarsh New Member

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    Oct 5, 2006
    I just got a new Sportster Replay, and put my old starmate in my wifes car. This new FM transmitter sucks!

    Im going to have to purchase one of the hardwiring cables just to be able to listen, bah!
     
  10. hjsiemer

    hjsiemer Mentor

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    Sep 28, 2006
    I was emailed the below info from Sirius Tech Support:

    There are 3 primary ways to connect your SIRIUS satellite radio in your vehicle.

    The following procedures will help you obtain the best performance.

    Wireless Connection

    GOOD
    Your SIRIUS radio contains an FM transmitter. The FM transmitter sends the audio from your SIRIUS radio to your car radio. To tune your transmitter:
    1. Turn off your SIRIUS radio and tune through the FM channels on your car radio to locate an FM channel that is not broadcasting in your area. (Tip: If you use an FM channel that is being used by a local broadcaster, it will interfere with the performance of your SIRIUS radio.) Once you have located an FM channel that is not broadcasting in your area, save it as a preset on your car radio. This will become your SIRIUS preset.
    2. Turn on your SIRIUS radio. In the SETTINGS or MENU on your SIRIUS radio locate the “FM Frequency” adjustments. Set the channel number on your SIRIUS radio to match the SIRIUS preset on your car radio. Refer to your user guide for detailed instructions on how to do this.
    Note: The FM transmitter in your SIRIUS radio is automatically set to FM channel 88.1. This may not be the best channel in your area.

    Tip: If you regularly travel between cities with different active FM channels, you may need to find channels that are not broadcasting in each city. Several SIRIUS radio models can store multiple FM transmit channels, so you can easily switch to the best FM channel for each city. Refer to your user guide for details on this feature. You will also want to set the FM channels that are not broadcasting in each city as presets on your car radio.


    Direct Connections

    BETTER
    Direct connection provides better audio performance than a wireless connection and removes the possibility of interference from local FM broadcasters.
    Cassette Adapter
    If your car has a cassette player:
    1. Purchase a Cassette Adapter at your local electronics retailer.
    2. Plug the adapter into the “AUDIO OUT” or “LINE OUT” jack on your SIRIUS radio and insert the adapter into the car radio’s cassette slot.
    NOTE: Refer to the adapter manufacturer’s guidelines for correct use.

    SIRIUS FM Direct Adapter
    If your car radio does not have an “AUX IN” or “LINE IN” jack, the SIRIUS FM Direct Adapter provides a wired connection between your SIRIUS radio and your car radio. You will listen to your Sirius radio through the FM tuner of your car radio, but the FM Direct Adapter eliminates the outside static and interference you sometimes experience when using a wireless FM connection.
    Note: Professional installation may be required. See your local SIRIUS retailer.
    Note: The SIRIUS FM Direct Adapter is available at your local SIRIUS retailer.

    BEST
    Direct Wired Audio Connection

    If your car radio offers an “AUX IN” or “LINE IN” it is the best audio connection available. If the “AUX IN” or “LINE IN” jack is located on the front of your car radio, this is also the easiest connection.
    1. Purchase an audio cable that matches the connection type of your car radio and your SIRIUS radio at your local electronics retailer. Your SIRIUS radio requires a 1/8” stereo male connector. Your local electronics retailer can help you determine the proper connection for your car radio.
    2. Plug one end of the cable into the “AUDIO OUT” or “LINE OUT” jack on your SIRIUS radio. Plug the other end into your “AUX IN” or “LINE IN” jack on your car radio.
    NOTE: Refer to your car radio manufacturer’s guidelines for correct installation.
    NOTE: If the “AUX IN” or “LINE IN” connection is on the back of your car radio, you may want to consider professional installation.
     
  11. Zeos

    Zeos AllStar

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    Aug 20, 2006
    Yup, I'm missing my "old" Sportster too ....the only clear stations I could here here were the 87.*'s ......The combination of this and the reduced output on the "new" starmate are quite a headache. Unfortunatly I did too good of a job integrating the old radio into the vehicle I sold, so the sportster went with the jeep :(

    I wish I would have known about this change before I bought the starmate....Heck, I could have picked up a decent "sirius ready" HU for the cost of the starmate and the connector/rf filter I'm going to have to end up buying to integrate it into my stock honda radio :(
     
  12. Steve Mehs

    Steve Mehs Hall Of Fame

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    Did you try connecting the FM antenna wire thing to the FM Out on the Starmate? I purchased my Sportster Replay in February and by Starmate Replay in June before this FCC BS started so I have the 'good receivers' but that little wire makes a hell of a difference. My Starmate Replay could perfectly over power radio stations when I was right by their studios. I still say screw the FM modulation and get a PIE adaptor if you don’t have an Aux input.
     
  13. Zeos

    Zeos AllStar

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    Aug 20, 2006

    I had one with my sportster, but the starmate I got didn't come with that antenna, I tried making one myself (parts from radio shack) with little to no luck :(

    I loved the old setup as I could park my car at the office when I work weekends and tune the radio in my office and get the football game(s). With this new starmate, I can't pick up the signal from 10' from the truck....
     
  14. sNEIRBO

    sNEIRBO Icon

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    Jul 23, 2006
    I used to have a Sportster in my last car. I live about 30 miles away from my Office. I had great sound off of one frequency at home, would have to switch to a second frequency about half to the Office, and finally a third frequency close to the Office. I got so sick of trying to tune the Sportster I finally bought one of those cassette adapters. Hard wiring is the only way to go in some cities.
     
  15. akron05

    akron05 Legend

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    Dec 14, 2005
    What is this, and can it go on a Mitsubishi Infinity factory radio on a 2004 Galant?
     
  16. Steve Mehs

    Steve Mehs Hall Of Fame

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    This is what I have
    [​IMG]

    Not sure if they have a similar model for Mits or not. Got mine at Circuit City. Also checkout pie.net.
     
  17. skidog

    skidog Godfather

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    Dec 2, 2004
    I tried the cassette thing for my PNP 2, the thing sounded like **** so I went back to the FM modulator, which also pisses me off.
     
  18. Steve Mehs

    Steve Mehs Hall Of Fame

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    Cassette adaptors make things sound fake to me and the noise from the heads turning drives me nuts.
     
  19. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

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    Mar 25, 2002
    The cassette adaptor is the only way that mine will work. The antenna is in the back window of the car so there is no way that FM will work. I have tried (I think I mentioned this a few times :) ) building a line in adaptor since I couldn't find one and failed. So, cassette it is. I get no head noise and I think it actually works quite well (probably because I haven't experienced a hard wired aux in unit).
     
  20. hjsiemer

    hjsiemer Mentor

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    Sep 28, 2006
    I tried a few cassette adapters and the one that seems to work with the best sound quality and least amount of tape turning noise is the one sold by Radio Shack for about $20 versus $10 in Walmart. No cassette adaptor is going to give the digital quality than a direct connect to the AM/FM radio because the cassette adaptor converts the digital signal from the sirius receiver to an analog signal, but seems to be the best substitute especially in a car environment, where you dont expect the sound to be that optimal anyway because of road noise, etc. Radio Shack was kind enough to let me try their adaptor before I bought it to see how it sounded. Radio Shack also gives a money back guarantee if returned in 30 days with the receipt - and NO I do not work for Radio Shack...

    hjsiemer@yahoo.com
     

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