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Old 08-07-2005, 08:02 PM   #1
NicoleC
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Default Strange dropouts (not under bridges, etc.)

Lately my car system has been briefly dropping out in places it shouldn't. Eyeball inspection looks good, all cables snugly seated and nothing happens when I wiggle the wires. No kinks, etc. in the cables either.

The system is a 3+ year old Kenwood dash receiver + tuner -- the antenna is a little over one year old (since an idiot installer guy cut my old antenna cable) and therefore uses an adapter.

Could I have a component going bad? If so, which one is the likely culprit?
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:43 PM   #2
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When you say that the antenna is not too old and then say that the cable was cut and you now use an adapter - that leads me to believe you're talking about the car's FM antenna and not the satellite radio's antenna which (the satellite antenna) could be the problem but I doubt it since the problem is intermittent. It definately wouldn't be the FM antenna since that doesn't play any part on your Sirius tuner's signal. Your Sirius tuner might be going bad. How often do you experience this problem? Is it a daily thing? Keep in mind if it's just every once in a while that the signal can drop for a second or so when two of the satellites switch on and off when they're at the equator. I've notice this happen but rarely. I'd try another satellite antenna (since they're relatively cheap and good to have an extra around), see if it continues, if it does then it might be your tuner.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:04 AM   #3
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Ah, sorry for the incomplete explanation and thanks for the input.

When I got a new car, the dealership offered to take the system out for me and the guy chopped my satellite antenna (Terk) cable. SO... I bought a new antenna (Terk), but the connections had changed so I forked over for the adapter (also Terk) to plug the new single-input antenna into the old dual-input tuner.

FM antenna... what's that?

I've had Sirius almost 4 years now, so I know this is not normal drop-outs. Also, my portable unit is not getting these at all. Some days it's 20-30 times in a single commute home; other days *like today, since I posted here) it doesn't happen at all. No "Aquiring Signal" prompts.

I'd rather not start buying equipment to see if "that's it," because that could get stupidly expensive in a hurry. A new antenna and adapter will cost more than a new portable unit. Unfortunately, the car antenna I don't use for my StarMate isn't compatible -- and vice versa, or I could use it to test with.

Of course, I could just install the car kit for my portable, but I LIKE having an in-dash unit.
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:53 AM   #4
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Okay, here's where I'm going with this... Usually if an antenna goes bad, it just goes. It doesn't go and then come back. Especially if you've checked the wire and connections (which I know you did). The tuner does send out a voltage to power the antenna through the wire and I could imagine the tuner droping the voltage on and off, this would cause the symptom you describe. Like I said before though, my guess is that the tuner is going bad. There's really no way of telling for sure unless you have someone look at it that knows what he's doing. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Hope that it works out for you. Keep us posted.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:11 PM   #5
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My system started doing that this past Friday too. I'd go under the smallest underpasses and the signal will cut off for a second, come on, then cut off for another second and then it was fine.

I also have the old Kenwood 901 with the original Terk antenna (some old school SBSer's call it the "turd" lol). Guess it's time for a tuner/antenna and possibly HU change, though I'm trying to hold out for a few more months before making that purchase.
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Old 08-09-2005, 01:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil_Ernie
Guess it's time for a tuner/antenna and possibly HU change, though I'm trying to hold out for a few more months before making that purchase.
I'd be glad to make a recommendation for you young-un
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Old 08-09-2005, 06:49 PM   #7
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I know I know!

Yes the JVC AR960 has crossed my mind a few times, but we're getting somewhat closer to CES and some new audio goodies, so unless my total setup dies on me without warning *knocks on wood that it doesn't*, I should be good for a while longer.
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:47 PM   #8
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I had XM and switched to Sirius and have had all sorts of trouble, Sirius stinks!

XM I had for 3+ years and only had trouble at the Windsor/Detroit Tunnel! Through 40,000 miles

Now, I lose signal under every tree and overpass in St. Louis. I also lose signal just out in the open.

The guys at circuit city just tell me the signal is weaker than xm! obviously
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:08 PM   #9
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Strangest place where I lose Xm & Sirius reception regularly...

Between exit 15E and 16E on the NJ Turnpike... There is NOTHING blocking reception, but for a good 1/2 mile i get no reception from either XM or Sirius in my car... The only thing it could be is newark airport is right there and the planes are always flying above...
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help. I suspect the tuner as well. However, I checked and my sub on that unit is up this week -- is that a sign, or what? Anyway, I called Sirius and cancelled the sub on the unit, and I'll be installing the portable in the car. The car kit is somewhere in my garage.

Anyone in the LA area is welcome to the tuner and antenna, gratis. I don't know how well either works for sure, so I won't sell it, but maybe someone wants spare parts?

budicejoe, the signal is not weaker, it's just a different satellite pattern. In some places/situations XM gets better reception and in some Sirius does. Local ground repeater coverage makes a difference, too. By all means go with the service that works best for you, but please don't spread misinformation but it reflects badly on both satellite services. Since when do the sales clerks at Circuit City know squat anyway?

Jim, I've noticed the signal goes out near heavy power lines. The only reason I ever noticed for sure this was because when I lived in Sacramento the coverage was *excellent* -- and the ONLY spot I ever lost signal was when driving underneath the lines coming out of a big power plant. Ever since then, I've noticed coverage can be spotty if you are under or near lots of power lines.
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoleC
budicejoe, the signal is not weaker, it's just a different satellite pattern. In some places/situations XM gets better reception and in some Sirius does. Local ground repeater coverage makes a difference, too. By all means go with the service that works best for you, but please don't spread misinformation but it reflects badly on both satellite services. Since when do the sales clerks at Circuit City know squat anyway?
Thanks Nicole! I contacted Sirius by US Mail hoping someone would help me and explain more in detail. They have not responded (3 months later). I am stuck with Sirius because I am on the road and want the NHL Center Ice Package. I so wish XM would get that. I must say though... the Sirius DJ's are not as ignorant as XM's!

Rock on
-joe
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:04 PM   #12
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Yeah, i guess there are lots of power lines on that strip of road... Now I know why the deer on the road over there glow in the dark
Thanx for the explanation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoleC
Jim, I've noticed the signal goes out near heavy power lines. The only reason I ever noticed for sure this was because when I lived in Sacramento the coverage was *excellent* -- and the ONLY spot I ever lost signal was when driving underneath the lines coming out of a big power plant. Ever since then, I've noticed coverage can be spotty if you are under or near lots of power lines.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:38 AM   #13
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Arrrggghhhh!

Okay, I LOVE Sirius the Service (overall, I have my complaints). I HATE Sirius the Accounting Department. Every 3 months I go through some sort of billing or accounting rigimarole with them, usually them erroneously turning off my service, sending out invoices 3 months late if at all, or debiting my card for ficticious charges. When I call, the reps are clueless.

After an hour and 3 reps who could tell me what the charge was, or told me information that didn't add up to the actual fee charges, I finally got a supervisor to explain the $84.18 charge on my card that hit this morning. It seems that they can't decide exactly when my renewal date is (they came up with 4 different dates including the rep last night) and but want to charge me a daily rate dating back almost a month, plus a cancellation fee for a subscription that is WELL beyond it's initial period. They're supposed to be crediting back the $75, but somehow I doubt I'm done with the issue.

I can't take it anymore and I'm tired of fighting with their reps over this stuff. If this were the 1st time or even the 4th, I wouldn't be this pissed. I left instructions (which they will no doubt NOT follow) that when my last unit's sub is up, just to turn the thing off.

Maybe I'm just venting, maybe I'll change my mind by next April. I seem to recall saying I wouldn't renew my sub before.

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