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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 03-21-2008
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XM Radio

I would like to add XM radio to my boat. I've been thinking of buying a portable XM radio, either the Inno or SkiFi3 that connect via FM broadcast. A question would be wether their little antennae would wokr on aboat.

Does anyone have experience with this?
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Old 03-21-2008
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I have XM radio on my boat. We have a marine Sony head unit, and an external head unit that it plugs into. It has the regular little 6" antenna. I LOVE IT! We've always had clear reception, even going under a bridge, and there is always something to listen to (our local radio stations play the same songs over and over, and the boat CDs playing the songs over and over led us to purchase one.) I did insist the hubby purchase the cockpit remote, as I can turn down the radio and hear him when we are anchoring (I was fearful the handheld remote might end up in the drink...)

I don't have a portable, but I do not see why you'd have a problem with reception. Kind of like a hand-held GPS can usually see 4 or more satellites. I say go for it!
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Old 03-21-2008
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Should work on the boat. A boat has better sight lines to the satellites than a car does. No skyscrapers on the water. Geographic range covers the USA and most of the Caribbean IIRC. Check the XM website to see current coverage.
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Old 03-21-2008
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One caveat: might give it a couple more months to ensure this moronic XM/Sirius merger/hostile takeover bid doesn't weasel its way thru. Hate to spend a couple hundred on hardware, then have the service shut down. You'd feel like the the owner of an HD-DVD player.
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Old 03-21-2008
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A buddy of mine has Sirius. One thing that is weird is that they do not have a way to get the signal through glass, in other words he needs to put the antenna out the window when he drives. That has led to breaking the wire for the antenna. He went to get another one and it wordked out to be cheaper to buy a whole separate radio and just use the antenna that came with that one.

The radio does not work for me since there are so many trees and mountains, but I think it would work great in a boat as long as it was in an area that is in their coverage area

Of the few folks I know who have Sirius or XM apparently the folks I know all think Sirius is better.

Good luck
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Some windows in cars have a metallized coating to help reduce infrared light transmission to try and keep the interiors from heating and degrading as quickly. The film can wreak havoc with cell phones and satellite signals.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 03-21-2008
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I have an "ancient" XM Roady that I first used with the little magnetic ant. used for cars, it was necessary for the ant. to be placed on the cabintop to receive a good signal. Have since installed a Terk marine XM ant. on the stern which has much better reception.
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Old 03-21-2008
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I have a SkyFi2 that works on the boat via the FM connection (the cassette player is busted, so I have no choice) - with the FM antenna on the masthead. Have a Terk XM antenna on the stern rail that I connect to the car cradle that I just move onto the boat from the car - I use the same radio at home plugged into the home cradle. This doesn't make for a permanent installation on the boat, but it works just fine. Boat is in Racine, WI.

Also, the XM antenna's don't seem to work through glass. Helped a buddy install his home unit - he hung his antenna on the inside of a window - didn't work. We moved it 3 inches - outside the glass onto the window ledge, worked just fine.

I also notice that most of the "satellite ready" radios seem to be for Sirius - and not XM. So while I'd like a permanent radio on the boat, I don't want to invest in both, so I'm sitting tight until this supposed merger gets sorted out.
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Old 03-22-2008
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I would look at Sirius rather than XM especially if your travels take you outside the USA. They use different satellite patterns and Sirius tends to work much further south in the Caribbean. Personally I also like the programing on Sirius a little better. We have been cruising with Sirius for about 3 years or so and is some of the best money I have spent.
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