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Thread: XM Radio?

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    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    XM Radio?

    I'm going to try again. I did a similar post and got no responses, and it got bumped from the first page of this forum.

    Does anyone use XM radio when touring? If so, what information can you share? Hardware? Reception? Battery Life? Etc.?

    I don't mean to be a pest. If I get no responses this time I'll give up and try a different forum. Thanks.

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    No, I do have Sirius in my truck and at home, and its great.
    The problem with the remote version
    (stiletto) is that the rechargeable battery only lasts 4 hours.
    Now, if you could figure out a way to recharge your battery while pedaling, then satellite radio
    might become a solo touring cyclist's best friend.

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    Why not something like this?

    http://www.thesourcecc.com/estore/Pr...roduct=2019105

    Skip the XM and just go with the good old fashioned kind. Strap it to the handlebars and you're set. No subscription and pretty cheap so you don't have to worry about it breaking.

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    If you can get Grateful Dead 24/7, I'd try it.
    If not, I'm sticking with Sirius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    If you can get Grateful Dead 24/7, I'd try it.
    If not, I'm sticking with Sirius.
    Sadly no, but we must all make sacrifices on a bicycle tour, and having a battery life past 4 hours sounds like a good tradeoff to me!

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    I have 2 X.M. My-fi's. I take them both on tour with me. I usually will just record something like Lucy at night while it is charging. If just do a playback then the battery will last about 5 hours but if I get live programming ,then it might last three. I just use the car kit minus the power cord and it works just fine. I guess the newer recievers do much better as far as battery life goes

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    Quote Originally Posted by dereksticks View Post
    I have 2 X.M. My-fi's. I take them both on tour with me. I usually will just record something like Lucy at night while it is charging. If just do a playback then the battery will last about 5 hours but if I get live programming ,then it might last three. I just use the car kit minus the power cord and it works just fine. I guess the newer recievers do much better as far as battery life goes
    The only flaw in that, is recharging while stealth camping...but then again, it could add a whole new dimension to the free camping experience.

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    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    I think you could get the same experience from an MP3 player with an FM radio. Get one that uses regular batteries and load it up with your favorite tunes and a bunch of podcasts you like and go. If you carry a USB cable you'll be able to reload it at public computer terminals. I have an XM MyFi and it's okay but the batteries don't last long and it doesn't seem very durable. I wouldn't take it on a trip.

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    Senior Member Trucker_JDub's Avatar
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    The Pioneer Inno XM radio is smaller then a MyFi with about 50% more battery life. It has a color screen and can save 50 hours of live programing for listening later as well as play live broadcast while you ride. The power draw for charging is very small. If it where me I would mount the radio on/near the handle bars with the car mount. This would allow you to attach the magnet mount micro antenna in the most unobstructed spot on your cycle. Then get a small folding soler panel and fix it to the top of your front bags, or where ever. The home power cord says '5v 2a max output'. I am almost sure the 12v charger is rated even lower. The battery in the unit is '3.7v'. Even if the solar panel you get is to small to outright power the unit you could turn it off and trickle charge it while taking breaks. Just a thought. I have had XM for 4 years and my Inno for over a year but I have not tried the setup I described if you have any other questions. I would say the total weight (not counting the solar panel) would be around 1- 1.5lbs - just guessing.

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    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Thanks folks. Let me add some details to my query. I already have an mp3 player with FM reception - a Sandisk Sansa with 8gb of internal memory and a slot for expansion cards. I love it! It's all I need for music on a multi-week tour. I've got most of my cd's loaded on it, and with a subscription to Rhapsody I have unlimited access to more music to load. I've loaded some podcasts and those are nice too, although I don't tend to listen to them when riding - only in camp.

    The thing that made me think about XM was the limitations of the FM on my Sansa. It really doesn't get very good reception. Add the fact that I'm often riding in the mountains or out in the countryside where there aren't any stations close, and the FM just isn't very useful for bike touring. However, last summer I was camped at South Whidbey State Park in Washington and was able to receive NPR if I sat at one spot on my picnic table and didn't move. (It didn't work in my tent.) That was very pleasant. I like to stay in touch with the world when I'm on tour. I often buy a USA Today paper to read what's going on. I don't know if I'd listen to XM while riding; I think I'd prefer the mp3 player. But in camp, sitting at the table drinking coffee, or lying in my tent, I think it would be nice to hear some talk, news, etc. (Does XM carry NPR?) I might even listen to a baseball game! And the Weather Channel could be really useful if you could get some local information.

    So my interests lie in listening while stationary, but outdoors. I'm specifically interested in the Inno2. I want to know how good reception is, how good the sound quality is (with my own earbuds), how long the batteries last between charges, and whether the programming would be something I'd pay for.

    I'm wondering if I'm going to have to buy one and be the guinea pig for this group. I suppose I'd be doing a public service. Do you think my wife would accept that excuse?

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    I have only used mine in areas with no mountains so i don't know how it would work there. Never listened to NPR on my XM. I don't think it's on XM (?). As long as the antenna can have open sky with nothing blocking it on the south, the reception is great. If you're only listening while stopped this should not be a problem anyway.

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    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    If you can get Grateful Dead 24/7, I'd try it.
    If not, I'm sticking with Sirius.
    +1,000,000!!!

    There is just something about a Hot NFA>GDTRFB>NFA ,China>Rider,Scarlet>Fire or Help>Slip,Frank to get the juices flowing over morning Coffee!! Oh Hell, why not the whole 4-14-72 show!!

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    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    don't know about battery life, but I believe Sirius (my choice) has models called the Stiletto which are supposed to be nice. I like to use it on road trips in the car and I have one in the house. On a bike tour? Never done that, yet.
    Slow, but at least still moving...

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    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    Definitely wait until the XM/Sirius merger happens or they decide not to allow it. If they merge then either XM or Sirius radios are likely to be obsolete -- maybe both. They would likely pick one service to use or they'll come out with radios that pick up both services.

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    I've been using the portable XM receiver for some time (forget the model name). I've used it while cycling, skiing, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities. It's small, though not a particularly lightweight unit, it's heavier than my ipod or other AM/FM sports radios I've used. It is very well made and seems like a quality product, I've had no problems with mine.

    Function is quite good and the unit is easy to use and well-designed. It has a lot of capabilities, it took me a while to learn how to use them all. One thing I really like: it has a recording function that allows you to program it to record things off the air (up to 50 hours of recording time) and play them back at a later time. I often set it to record my favorite programs and listen to them later at my convenience. You can record and store individual songs like an MP3 player. I generally like the XM programming. There's always something interesting. I listen to a lot of the sports, music and news programming, but I'm not familiar with the Sirius line-up so I cannot compare.

    Battery life is not great...maybe 3-4 hours...and it does not use common batteries. You can buy extra battery packs, but they're a bit expensive. Recharging takes a couple of hours.

    The home kit that comes with the unit has a cradle to recharge and power the unit using AC power. It also comes with an external directional antenna for home use that has to be pointed in the general direction of the satellite. I set the external antenna up in a window. The included earbuds are OK, but the Apple ipod ones are better.

    You can buy an accessory car kit that allows you to use it as a car-based XM radio as well, with charger and a cradle that plays through your auto sound system. It's the only way to travel...no more having to listen to C&W stations, Rush Limbaugh or farm reports while driving through the middle of nowhere.

    Reception when used as a portable unit is quite good only if the receiver is kept uncovered and pointed in the right direction. This can be a real problem for active outdoor activities. If you carry the receiver inside a pocket, or attached to a part of your body not facing, or shielded from, the satellite, the built-in antenna's reception is easily blocked. You can buy an accessory combination headphone/antenna unit that places the antenna directly on top of your head (at the top of the headphone clasp) so reception is unobstructed...if you're wearing a helmet that can be a problem. If you're out in the open it works well, but not under heavy tree cover and other obstructions.

    Overall I'm satisfied with the product. It's not the best thing for active outdoor activities. It's great for driving, camping, at the beach, or anywhere you can remain in a fixed position for good reception. For pre-recorded programming and playback it works just like any other similar unit.

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