Jun 26, 2012, 11:08 PM
Post #1 of 1
someone on another forum asked about XM radio and wanted to know how well it worked. I posted an article I wrote for the Guadalajara Reporter 20 months ago. Remember most readers are from the State of Jalisco, and what I wrote, may not apply in South Mexico
Tech Talk by Pete Johanson Satellite Radio in Mexico
"Beyond AM, beyond FM, up to 100 digital channels delivered coast-to-coast direct to your car or home," read the advertisement. It continued, "XM satellite radio will transform an industry that has seen little technological change since FM, almost 40 years ago. XM will create and package up to 100 channels of digital-quality sound and provide coast-to-coast coverage of music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children's programming." That ad was written eight years ago. Today XM Radio and its former competitor Sirius Radio have joined forces and the number of available radio stations has more than doubled.
Check with a Sirius or XM radio salesman, and heís likely going to tell you that these systems only work in the US and Canada. Not true. I have an XM Radio unit here in Jalisco and it works fine. Friends who have Sirius radio also get great reception. On XM radio, I get about 90 music channels, approximately 70 sports stations some of which only are on the air during a game and about 50 news, special interest, comedy, and old time radio stations. And I could subscribe to more. For a detailed listing of the programming available and cost of equipment, go to either www.xmradio.com or www.sirius.com .
Guess where the transmitting antennas are? Outer space. XM, for example, placed two satellites in geo-synchronous orbit above the equator, one at 85 degrees west latitude which is to the SE, and the other at 115 degrees which is basically south. Whereís that you ask, well up there next to the satellites your DISH Network, Shaw Direct and SKY antennas are pointing at.
Although the satellite designers attempted to focus the footprint of XM and Sirius Radio toward the United States and Canada, the signal strength here in Mexico, although somewhat weaker, comes in quite well, especially if you use the larger 2 Ĺ by 3 inch home antenna rather than the much smaller vehicle antenna. Whether you are driving around town, sitting on the beach or listening at home, you should get a good signal with the larger antenna (many, but not all, have reported a good signal with the small antenna as well). All you need is, to have your antenna line of site with one of the two satellites. What happens when youíre driving and either a building or a tree gets between you and both of the satellites? Thatís right, you can temporarily loose the signal, which can be kind of irritating if driving down a tree lined road. Although I have no firsthand experience with Sirius Radio I understand from satisfied friends that it also works well in most if not all of Mexico.
According to the above referenced web-pages, equipment prices start at less than $80 dollars for a small unit you can attach to your car radio or in-home stereo and reach much more for high end units. I just picked up a replacement in house stereo player and all the car mounting equipment along with the small radio unit that will either fit in the car or in the in-house unit for less than $200 US at Best Buy in Seattle last month. Monthly listening fees start $12.95 dollars for both services. One can pay more for additional programming and both services have highly discounted rates for customers paying a year or more in advance.
Another great satellite source of radio stations is from Canada. Itís the TV program provider, Shaw Direct (Star Choice) which also provides up to 77 radio stations to its subscribers; 70 are from cities throughout Canada. The remaining 7 all come from Spokane WA. Why Spokane? Because itís just south and over the border from one of Shaw Directsí uplink sites. If you still need more options, check out the radio stations available over the internet.
(This post was edited by johanson on Jun 26, 2012, 11:10 PM)