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Old 03-16-2005, 05:05 PM   #1
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Default Sirius Newbie first day, first impressions

Howdy Howdy Howdy.
Sirius Newbie here, and I just wanted to report first impressions. I welcome other newbies to post their impressions too.

I bought the Audiovox PNP3 which took less time and was easier to install in my beater '01 Hyundai Accent than I expected. My install's pretty clean, too, I'm proud to point out. One of the reasons I chose the PNP3 was the wide range of frequencies available on the FM modulator.

Getting activated, however, was a little trickier. I activated online and, after running back and forth between my car and my office, was getting the text feeds but no audio. It took me a while to find an unused FM frequency, but had finally settled on 90.7. Nothing but static.

A call to customer service yielded the following critical info: the CSR told me, "You need to be in the 88 range." I told him my PNP3 could select from 88 up to 94-something, and he matter-of-factly stated, "It needs to be in the 88 range. We require that."

Well, in my area I simply couldn't find a frequency in the 88 range that was unoccupied. I found one that was kind of weak, and tried that. I was hearing Sirius and could change channels, but it was pretty dodgy, in-and-out, and very staticy. I was hugely disappointed. I felt like returning the damn thing. NOTE TO SIRIUS: You may want to make it clearer to potential subscribers, up front, that the FM mod needs to be in the 88 range. Had I known that, I may have done things differently, or chosen a different tuner.

So back to circuit city I went and bought a Maxell cassette adapter. This would surely be the answer. I hooked it up and eagerly shoved it into the cassette slot, only to have the deck spit it back out. Apparently it didn't like the taste of the adapter. Several more tries and pushing down on the cassette adapter got it to work, but I couldn't get it to consistently stay in there. I loved the improved sound quality, but was aggravated that I couldn't get the damned cassette adapter to stay in there without leaning on it with my fingers.

So, obsessing as I am wont to do, I went back out to best buy and spent another 20-spot on a Sony cassette adapter, not feeling particularly optimistic. Well, it worked, although it makes some groans and grinds before it seats properly in the deck - but it works consistently and doesn't ever get spit back out, so I'm happy. I returned the Maxell adapter to Circuit City (I was secretly happy to do so, because I HATE CC). I could go on and on about CC, but for now suffice it to say that I knew more about Sirius receivers than the dude who tried to help me, and the same dude didn't even know that cassette adapters existed. He had to ask someone else who was able to point me in the right direction and the first dude just kind of shrugged and said "I guess I'll have to LEARN about this stuff." and I said, "Yeah, COME ON, MAN! THIS IS YOUR JOB!"

Anyways, back to Sirius. Now that I'm wired, I am absolutely head-over-heels in love. This scratches me right where I itch. With the cassette adapter, the sound is perfect, the selection of stations is awesome, I love my PNP3 unit, all is well. I'm a fan of electronica, so Area63 is a current fave, and being a 37-year old alt rock fan, Im hopelessly addicted to FirstWave(22). I look forward to checking out all the rest that Sirius has to offer.

I am happy to wave "bye-bye" to terrestrial FM radio. Probably the only time I will listen to FM radio now is to tune in to Stern for my morning commute, but only for the rest of 2005.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:14 PM   #2
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That 88 range stuff is not accurate. As long as your radio is tuned to a clear station and it matches what the receiver is tuned to, you should not have a problem.
I have the audiovox pnp3 in an '05 caravan. It is tuned to 90.7. My orbiter is in a different car and has limited choices but it works well anyway.

My pnp3 has no problems in frequencies above 88. Sometimes customer service needs more training. One rep told me my antenna on my boombox had to be outside even though I was getting a full terr signal and the preview channel was coming through clearly. Luckily, I ignored her and had no problems setting up.

As it happens, CC installed my pnp3 and it works perfectly through fm mod.

So, to sum it up, what they said is completely inaccurate. Not sure why you had so many problems but at least you found a solution. If they weren't meant to go above 88, then the tuners would not go above 88 either.

Note, when I activated, i did it over the phone and sat in my car. easier than running back and forth since the receiver has to be on.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:40 PM   #3
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Yeah, I thought that was weird - if the tuner is capable of transmitting above 88, what would it matter in terms of the stream? The FM mod has nothing to do with the stream - they're two completely different things, as I understand it. Maybe I'll play around some more and see if I can find a different empty frequency above 88. Maybe my problem with 90.7 was that there is something transmitting at that frequency, but it's transmitting dead air (?) or some competition from the strong signal at nearby 90.9... or maybe it's not even worth messing with, since I have the cassette adapter working. (Although it does bug me that I went to all the trouble to do this nice, clean install and now I got a wire hanging out of my cassette deck).

Thanks for the input. Anything I can learn is appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:09 PM   #4
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Lesson 1: Don't believe everything Sirius CS tells you, this will come in handy.
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:56 PM   #5
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I am wondering if something is wrong with the fm modulator in your pnp3?

sounds like it is really weak. Can you test it by powering it up and seeing if the mod works on a portable radio or walkman or something that you have nearby? Keep the car radio off but the tuner on and tune a different radio to the station?

Just curious...
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Old 03-16-2005, 09:33 PM   #6
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If you like the cassette adapter sound quality, you'll absolutely love how hardwiring it will sound.
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Old 03-16-2005, 10:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandlapper
If you like the cassette adapter sound quality, you'll absolutely love how hardwiring it will sound.

I first got the HS promo, got a free Audiovox PNP2 w/ car adapted. With the limited FM selections on the PNP2 the ones I did get I would receive static. After two weeks I had my 03 Dodge Ram (HEMI of course) hard wired, what a difference. Its not cheep, but worth the sound quality.
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Old 03-16-2005, 10:46 PM   #8
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First off, welcome to SIRIUS Backstage.


The PNP3 supports transmitting on 35 FM channels. The range should be 88.1 through 94.9. I would be willing to bet all of the radios with FM modulation work in the 88 range, but a requirement to use frequencies in that range is simply not true. The FM antenna wiring in your car may have shielding on the wire to prevent signals (albeit the one you want) from being received by your stereo. I have heard of bad experiences with cheap cassette adapters. I know it's $20, but it's worth it to get the quality you have. An option that no one has mentioned yet is a device that allows the signal from the PNP to be tied directly into the car's antenna system. When the PNP is on, the frequencies received by the car's antenna are blocked allowing the PNP's signal to reach your stereo without static.

If you have a chance to take and post pictures of your install, you can upload them into the Photo Album (link across the top) and then link to the pictures here in this thread.
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Old 03-16-2005, 10:50 PM   #9
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Welcome!

You definitely want to get the SATSWB which will connect your FMout port on the cradle to the antenna port of your radio and wll give you very good sound without static.
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Old 03-16-2005, 10:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
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You definitely want to get the SATSWB
Yeah, that's the name of it. I was drawing a blank earlier.
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:38 AM   #11
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I'm on my second day with my Sportster and as I said in another thread, my only complaint is that I can't leave it on one station. I'm getting aggravated with myself, but I guess once I get used to all the stations I'll figure out where I want my dial to be. In fact, the chance that I am actually listening to what it says in my signature down there is miniscule. But yeah, I think I like The Vault and The Spectrum the most so far.
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Old 03-17-2005, 02:05 AM   #12
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One other possible thing to consider might be increasing the output level on the receiver.
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Old 03-17-2005, 02:37 AM   #13
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Word to the wise: If everytime you ask a customer care agent something, you get a different answer, odds are that none of the answers are correct.
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:55 AM   #14
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to the sirius family and hope you enjoy it for many years to come and also to the message board it is great to have you here
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Old 03-17-2005, 09:23 AM   #15
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Wow, thanks for all the helpful advice and hearty welcomes. As I posted on another thread, now I'm dealing with a faulty antenna connection. More frequently than I'd like, I get "Antenna Not Detected" and when I jiggle the antenna connector on the cradle, it comes back on. Don't know if it's the antenna cable or the cradle that's faulty, but something's not right. Guess it's back to Circuit City to see what they can do for me. Wish me luck.

Can someone explain in more detail how the SATSWB works and how it's installed? Would the sound quality using the SATSWB be better, worse, or about the same as using the cassette adapter?
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