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Old 04-07-2004, 08:02 PM   #1
Inundated
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Default The Indoor Antenna Aiming Thread

Manco asked me to move this over here...but I can't move all the recent replies. So, I'll post my last message, then in a message I'll post immediately afterwards, I'll update and try to reply to all the folks who replied to me in the other thread. (This kind of work, I feel like I'm aiming the antenna again! )

This message is from last night...update in the message to follow.

--------------
I'm still having trouble with the whole Sirius antenna aiming thing.

Last night's experience - I moved the PNP2 in its Home Unit into the bedroom, and attached a couple of speakers. It took me about 5 minutes to find a place with good signal...and the window (facing south) was not it! Before I went to bed, I ended up placing the antenna on my cable box near the west wall of the room, but not pointing AT that wall...for some reason, that yielded the best signal, even though it was pointing at an inside wall! (Well, some of it was aiming up at the ceiling, but not directly...aiming directly at that ceiling wasn't strong enough.)

Fast forward to this morning, and that very same antenna placement gave a marginal signal.

I guess at some point, I'll come up with a good location for both places inside. This afternoon, the antenna in the loft is pointed about where the XM antenna is, out the middle loft window pointing roughly west-southwest, a location that wasn't working well yesterday.

This whole moving satellite thing is for the birds! I feel like I'm spending more time moving the antenna than listening.

The truth seems to be this: Sirius is not designed for indoor antenna placement, period. If you get it, you're either lucky or in an area with a wide clearing. XM's antenna is not nearly this picky - once you find the spot, it never moves. I've got my XM antenna in the loft pointing roughly in the same direction as the Sirius antenna is now (west/southwest), and it has been there since day one. My XM antenna in the bedroom is pointing directly south, and has worked fine since day one. It appears XM only needs a fairly decent clearing in the sky, and Sirius needs a contortionist to place the antenna!

I know, I know, put it outside. That's not an option here, unless I get an extension cable for the antenna and put it out on my deck. But even then, I'm not confident I'll get a "set it and forget it" placement, due to the moving Sirius birds.

I plan on taking the unit in the car today, and will compare it to XM in terms of mobile reception. I'll also attach it to the boombox in the living room, and put the antenna out on the deck, and see if that works.

I'm sorry if I sound frustrated, but you should have seen me trying to aim that antenna last night. The "best" spot I could find was in the middle of the room, about 5 feet off the floor, where I have nothing to place the antenna on! I wasn't about to stand there all night holding it.
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Old 04-07-2004, 08:16 PM   #2
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Update: Today, I took Sirius on the road. I had no problems whatsoever with reception anywhere in town, while driving. And when the car's outside my house, it gets a full 10 bar satellite signal. I can't figure out why I can't get that good of a signal just behind one window a few feet away (and one very, very high window, with no metal or anything blocking it... maybe the glass is too thick?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manco
Sorry you are having trouble but I'm sure you will eventually get it, worst case by installing an external antenna. Your mobile reception should be excellent and your outside antenna placement should also be excellent. Just make sure that the house isn't blocking the sky within 45-90 degrees.

Remember the Main Satellite is in the North most of the time, not the south so forget everything you have learned from XM aiming.
Maybe this is part of it. I don't have squat for north facing No windows, no nothing. Everything in this condo faces either west or south (I can get east out the back deck).

I put the antenna out on the deck, oddly enough, facing west, and a stable, full, 10-bar SAT signal (and little or no TER signal). This would be my solution, if my listening location wasn't so far away from the deck. Even if it weren't, I don't relish trying to hide a long antenna extension wire. Again, the loft windows are sealed, so that's not an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icing
I haven't followed your posts in every detail, but I saw that you mentioned that you could get a 7-bar terrestrial repeater signal. Since the repeater doesn't move, that should stay stable once you find a good place. Then you can forget about the satellites, and just run off the repeater signal. I do this; my home kit antenna has never seen a satellite signal (although I am admittedly lucky that I get a 10-bar terr. signal and can put the antenna pretty much anywhere in the house). If you can get a stable terrestrial signal at 7 bars, you should be able to forego the satellite signal altogether, I would think. Can anyone else confirm this?

Is your terrestrial signal stable?
No, it's not, and this might be the problem. I've seen 7 bar TER signals on and off in some places here, but not nearly often enough to depend on.

I think I figured this out, in my driving.

It appears there's a terrestrial repeater on that tower I thought there'd be one on...the old unfinished concrete tower once owned by a local TV evangelist. That's the good news. The bad news? The antenna is apparently directional, and I'm on the wrong side of it! Driving around, I was getting a full 10 bar TER signal all over this local suburb. But just two blocks north of that tower on the same road, and the TER signal went away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadRunner
One other idea to consider, Inundated. Like you I was looking for an easier solution that getting the antenna outside, and had a fair repeater signal (3-7 boxes in the aiming menu). I moved my antenna through a wall into my garage (using the same spot my cable TV enters the house), and that improved my terrestrial signal enough that I almost always get at least 7 bars. I think because there is less material to work through in the garage, there is less interference with that signal.
(snip)
On a related topic, can anyone explain why the terrestrial signal should change much, once the antenna is put in a static position?
The garage isn't an option...it's not attached to this building and it's a bit far for an antenna run But I'll try to keep the cable TV thing in mind.

And my answer to your second question - in my case, I'm on the backside of the repeater antenna, which is apparently aimed directional into Akron. If I were on the other side, I could probably get a repeater signal in my teeth.

So, here's where we are tonight. The Sirius antenna is in the same place it was last night before bed...in the middle loft window, at about a 75 degree angle, aiming roughly west/almost southwest. Antenna Aiming shows a pretty consistent 7 bar SAT signal and 3 bar TER signal, and I haven't had any dropouts that I can remember hearing. If it STAYS this way, I'll be fine...but if it deteriorates with the moving satellites, I won't...

If I have problems with the antenna in the bedroom tonight, I might try fishing it out the window...
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Old 04-07-2004, 09:29 PM   #3
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Update...after the last positioning started losing signal (about 4 hours after I put it up), I moved the antenna around again. (Repeat after me: Sirius is not meant for indoor antenna use. Sirius is not meant for indoor antenna use.)

The good news? Putting the antenna at a direct 90 degree angle, and pushing it directly AGAINST the glass in the second loft window, I'm getting a solid, non-changing-so-far, 7 bar TER signal. I guess I'm squeezing enough out of that antenna on Rex's old tower! We'll see if this lasts. I'm getting sick of moving the antenna every 5 hours or so...
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:17 PM   #4
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Glad to hear you have found a way to get solid repeater signal. Assuming that holds, you won't have to move the antenna again. There really isn't any reason for it to change since the repeater isn't moving

Keep us posted! It sounds like you will be a good candidate for the wireless repeater when it comes available.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:31 PM   #5
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It hasn't moved from 7 bars TER signal, full, since I did this. I know the ground repeaters don't move ( ), but I'm wondering if weather and other atmospheric conditions would affect this. I don't know...I'd tend to think not, as a rule.

I must be picking up the back feed off of Rex's tower. I'm (again) in the opposite direction, but maybe I'm close enough to it. It's roughly just under a 2 minute drive or a 10 minute walk from where I sit...it's THAT close.

Now, this won't be an option in the bedroom. I'll have to see if I can somehow get it working in there on a permanent basis... the window doesn't face the same direction as the loft. Maybe I'll put it in the closet like I did with my XM SkyFi antenna at my old apartment!
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:35 PM   #6
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You could buy an FM transmitter and transmit the signal to any FM Radio
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manco
You could buy an FM transmitter and transmit the signal to any FM Radio
Oddly enough, I have one of these, made by the folks at C. Crane. It's excellent, though it's on the fritz right now (C. Crane is looking at mine even as we speak to repair it). THIS may end up being a solution... setting it up (PNP2) down in the lower half of the building, shooting the remote signal down from the loft and listening on an FM frequency!

By the way, the FM modulator in the car kit is pretty strong...I'm surprised. It obliterates a weak signal 88.5 FM from a distance away from here.

Bad news about the antenna placement - after all this time, it's dropped to 3 bars or less on both sides. I moved it around, got 7 bars against the window again (TER), but am now losing it. Arrgh!!!

UPDATE: Moved it again to the right loft window, it's now pointing roughly southwest, away from the window, but picking up a mostly 7 bar TER signal. I wonder if I'm getting it bouncing off of something...
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:08 PM   #8
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Try holding it against the wall instead of the window to see if it works better. That is what I do at work and the signal penetrates the wall better than the window.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:10 PM   #9
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I will, but I'm afraid to move it! LOL

I can't remember if I've tried directly against the wall, but I've tried pretty much everything but hanging it upside down from the ceiling (a tall order here, since the ceiling is very high).
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:12 PM   #10
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Don't be afraid! Experimentation is the key to gaining understanding

Actually I don't press it against the wall, but it rests about 1 foot from the wall on top of a metal bookshelf. I think the metal shelf may help with terrestrial reception. I have the home antenna at a 90 degree angle.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Don't be afraid! Experimentation is the key to gaining understanding
Oh, I'm not "afraid" per se, but I've got a usable signal now and I want to keep it! Oddly enough, it's showing 7 bar SAT and bouncing 3-7 bar TER.

It's always 3 and 7. Why?

Is there any internal "deeper" display that shows actual numbers, like there is on the SkyFi?

Quote:
Actually I don't press it against the wall, but it rests about 1 foot from the wall on top of a metal bookshelf. I think the metal shelf may help with terrestrial reception. I have the home antenna at a 90 degree angle.
I'll keep that in mind on the wall over there. Part of the problem I have here...this place was constructed too darn well. The windows are probably thick, double-pane windows, and the walls are not paper thin. The price I pay for living in a well-constructed building

Is that antenna extension cable (50 ft.) on the Sirius site what I need, if I want to extend it outside? I'm still not looking forward to doing that, considering the wiring being visible from the loft down to the deck, but it's the only way I can guarantee a 10 bar SAT signal...and the only way I can get outside. I'm still reticent about putting the antenna outside...it's all weather, but I don't have anywhere I can "place" it on that side of the deck without falling over in a stiff wind. Duct tape, here I come...
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:21 PM   #12
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Default positioning changes through year?

Curious. Right now I am getting a poor signal with sirius. I haven't had a problem to this point, so I am wondering if the satellites follow the identical orbit 365 days a year--or are there changes throughout the year that require constant antenna adjustment?

This just sucks. As others have already mentioned--in the auto no problems--ever. Indoor mounting sucks, blows, bites, stinks, and whatever other bodily function you can mention...

Signed,
Frustrated Michigander (are those two words synonyms?)
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:22 PM   #13
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Did your problems move by exactly an hour? Cause we just moved our clocks by that much!
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:25 PM   #14
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Through the year? Heck, try every 5 hours or so! That's been my experience over the past few days. Get the antenna outside, bing, 10 bar SAT signal. Near a window in the same general area... maybe my windows are too thick!

Sirius is DEFINITELY more sensitive to indoor antenna installs than XM. The two XM indoor antennas I have...they haven't moved since the first day I brought them home.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's an alternative antenna for me. I looked at the Terk site, and it appears there's only an alternative car antenna, a marine antenna (!) and an OUTDOOR mount home antenna for Sirius.

My next try is opening the window in my bedroom, and seeing if I can get a good aim...then I'll just string the cable behind the furniture and through my bedroom closet space.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:30 PM   #15
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Default antenna is outside facing north...

antenna has always been outside... for the past 45 min. I have been getting the infamous "acquiring signal" or it sounds as though I am listening to a transmission from Mars....

Sour grapes and all, but it shouldn't have to be this hard... Should be idiot proof (yeah, I'm the idiot) Sirius/XM is a great idea that is just a bit too far ahead of the technology I'm afraid
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