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Old 01-02-2007, 01:56 PM   #1
ElCanon
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Post SIR-ALP1 Alpine "Acquiring Signal" frustration!!!

Hi folks,
I'm pretty new to this community, here goes. I've had Sirius for exactly a year now. Last year I had the Starmate Replay and while that worked well for me, I wanted an integrated system for security reasons (I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler and more than once, people have tried to #)$( with gadgets in there including the Starmate.)

I bought the Alpine CDA-9856 headunit so that I could integrate both my ipod and sirius and hide everything away in my glove box. The tuner, CD, ipod functions of the head unit all work great.

The problems I'm having are with the Sirius tuner. I can live with the less intelligent display, but the major issue I'm having is with frequent and long signal dropouts, in the same areas where my Starmate never skipped a beat. The display reads "ACQUIRING SIGNAL" constantly and the audio will be either choppy or nonexistent.

Here's why I've already tried to troubleshoot:
1. I've reset the head unit and power cycled the SIR-ALP1 a number of times; I've also re-sent the activation signal to reprogram the SIR-ALP1.
2. I've tried three different antennas - the known-good antenna that I used for a year with the Starmate, a brand-new microdot antenna, and the antenna that is included with the SIR-ALP1 (identical to the one that came with the Starmate.)
3. I've experienced the same problems regardless of whether or not the car is cold or warm (I used to have an issue with the Starmate where it would take a few minutes for "Acquiring Signal" to go away due to the unit being very cold and the antenna plug thermally expanding.)
4. I've tried two different SIR-ALP1 units, a pre-owned SIR-ALP1 from a private seller on ebay - because they were backordered everywhere I looked - and I've tried a brand new (12/30/06) unit bought from Tweeter. Both exhibit the same problems.
5. I've driven around the same route in greater Boston (from downtown to Burlington via Routes 3 and 16) with both my Starmate and SIR-ALP1 connected to separate antennas. The SIR-ALP1 will drop out even where the signal meter on the Starmate shows strong (6/10) signal on either SAT or TER. The Starmate does not drop out along the same routes during the same times of day. (my commute)
6. My antenna positioning on the Jeep hasn't changed. I place the antennas on the metal rollbar above my head, zipped underneath the fabric rollbar padding. The padding or canvas top do not interfere with the signal whatsoever - at least they didn't with the Starmate

More info/questions:

I installed the wiring harness, using good wire to tap into the yellow and black leads of the head unit's wiring harness. In other words, the SIR-ALP1 and the wiring harness are sharing the same ground to the chassis of the car. The yellow wire was spliced right into the wiring harness so the SIR-ALP1 is getting its power from the same + lead as the head unit itself. Is this problematic? Does dirty power cause signal dropouts?

Is the problem definitely with the tuner or its antenna, or could this problem be caused by a faulty Alpine head unit?


Can anyone help me? Are the SIR-ALP1 units known for having worse signal than the plug-and-play radios? It's very frustrating. I'd love to just be able to listen to Howard without constant dropouts and get the service we all pay for. If anyone has advice I would greatly appreciate. Happy new year!
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:20 PM   #2
gnet158
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Default It doesn’t sound like you’re missing a thing

I have the same setup except on an older Alpine. Question, when you activated your tuner did your display read “updating”? When I called in to active mine I remember speaking to the C/S rep and it was only after I mentioned that my unit was a tuner did the “updating” screen appear. Hope this helps.

And no I don't have any issues with mine.
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H/U = Alpine 9830
Alp-Sir1 Sirius tuner = Sirius Sat Radio
Front Door Speakers = Alpine SPS-170A '6 1/2
Rear Door Speakers = Pioneer TG-1040R '3
Sub = Infinity Reference '10 1030
Amp = Profile CA400M

Sound =
Thump =
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Old 01-02-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
ElCanon
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Default

Thanks man. I'll see if having CS reactivate it will help. It's good to hear that others have this setup working okay. One question though: does yours work well even when it's switching from SAT to TER, ie in an urban environment... this is something that happens all the time where I live. I realize it's hard to tell because the SIR-ALP1 does not have a signal meter.
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
gnet158
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Post

I don’t even know how to check. If you can tell me how to I’ll check it out for you. I live in OC (CA) and since I’ve had my tuner installed I have driven to LA, San Gabriel, and Pasadena with very few drops and I’ve never gotten the “acquiring signal” message, only “no signal” once or twice. Let me know.
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Here's how I roll

H/U = Alpine 9830
Alp-Sir1 Sirius tuner = Sirius Sat Radio
Front Door Speakers = Alpine SPS-170A '6 1/2
Rear Door Speakers = Pioneer TG-1040R '3
Sub = Infinity Reference '10 1030
Amp = Profile CA400M

Sound =
Thump =
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:03 PM   #5
HomieG
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCanon
...My antenna positioning on the Jeep hasn't changed. I place the antennas on the metal rollbar above my head, zipped underneath the fabric rollbar padding. The padding or canvas top do not interfere with the signal whatsoever - at least they didn't with the Starmate...
They are two different receivers. It's entirely possible that the Starmate's receiver front-end was more sensitive and selective on the sat signal, whereas the Alpine is not. This is a good example of the marginality of an in-car antenna, versus having one outside the car with a proper ground plane. Based on the rest of your posting, the first thing I'd try is getting that antenna outside the Jeep and try that with your Alpine.
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Originally Posted by atlwxman: "I love Sirius...but in my car, not in my portfolio."

Originally Posted by Andrew-NYC: "...Just make a radio that gets both services, and there will be no need for the merger!"


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