Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FM Modulators and Solutions

October 11, 2006

As most are aware, the FM modulation conformance issue is now complete. Both Sirius and XM have taken steps to bring radios into compliance, and the result was a weaker FM modulator than previous models had. For many, this presents no issue, and radios will operate as desired. For others, a weaker FM modulator may mean that consumers get some interference when trying to listen to satellite radio.

Consumers of both Sirius and XM now have a solution. We would like you to bear in mind that the best sound will come from hard-wiring your system, using an aux input, using a tape adaptor, or using a wired FM modulator.

If FM modulation is your choice, here are your options:

Sirius users have a pretty easy solution because Sirius units have an “RF Out” jack built into the docks. Consumers can simply use a wired FM modulator. These are available at retailers such as TSS Radio for under $20, are fairly easy to install (especially if you have easy access under the dash). Some cars will present a bigger challenge than others though. The SIRIUS Wired FM modulator connects between your car's FM antenna cable and head unit allowing you to connect your SIRIUS Satellite radio receiver directly to your car stereo. This is a significant upgrade in sound quality from the FM transmitters that are included with many receivers. Internal relay switches in the modulator allow FM signal to flow through when a SIRIUS receiver is not connected or sending signal.

XM users now have a similar solution with XM Satellite Radio FM Coupler. This solution uses a differing technology in that the idea is to get the FM modulator located as close to the vehicle antenna as possible. Depending on where your FM antenna is, and what type of antenna it is, the ease of installation varies. If you were the type of person that routed your antenna wire for a clean install, then you should have little trouble with this installation. The glass mounted method will be a bit more tricky.

Either method should work fine for most applications. Having the items professionally installed may be something that you want to give consideration to if you are at all hesitant. The bottom line is that we now have FCC compliant solutions for FM Modulation.

10/11/2006 04:37:00 PM

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