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View Full Version : Listening to Satellite Radio in your car through FM tuner question



Craig D Peltier
05-25-2011, 12:51 PM
Does anyone know if quality is affected when the satellite radio isnt directly wired in and instead tunes in via a fm tuner to a non used fm station in your vehicle?
My truck didn't come with it but has an option to via Jeep and the cost is about 800 ( 350-400 for module and antenna, 200 installtion kit specific to vehicle, 200 install) out of pocket ( not through jeep) that would be fully intergrated like factory.
Im thinking of just buying a portable one that tunes into FM. I have had the factory one before in my last jeep but 800 is alot to shell out for satellite.

Thanks

Greg Portland
05-25-2011, 1:12 PM
Back in the day I would have vehemently argued that you SHOULD hard wire the Sirius receiver because they were broadcasting at near-CD quality levels. Today, they are no better than non-HD FM stations (in terms of audio quality). Summary: Go with the FM modulator solution, you will not be losing any sound quality.

$800 is highway robbery. For $250 your can get an Alpine CDA-105 & their XM kit from Crutchfield which includes installation directions and everything you'll need for the install. Most units can be fully integrated with steering wheel controls and have bluetooth & ipod connectivity. I'm not sure if that model specifically fits your jeep but it's an example of what you can get.

Matt Meiser
05-25-2011, 1:25 PM
You used to be able to buy radios that integrated to the factory radio in the aftermarket. I bought one in 2006 for a Chevy Colorado. That was back before the merger and near-bankruptcy.

Do you have and like satellite radio now? I quickly got bored with it and didn't renew after the first year. When I replaced that truck with one that came with Sirius, they pretty much harassed me about renewing after the initial 6 month subscription ran out. I was barely listening by the time the trial subscription expired.

Kelly Colin Mark
05-25-2011, 1:39 PM
I couldn't live without satellite radio in my car. We go back and forth to a cottage every weekend, but even during the week I love being able to listen to wide varieties of music with no commercials. I usually like to listen to rock, but am sure glad not to have to listen to the pretty much the same classic rock playlist that they were playing when I was in high school. We like it so much we have two subscriptions, one for a boombox that we keep at the cottage and only listen to on weekends. I barely ever listen to my CDs in the car, and I sure feel the pain when I'm borrowing my wife's car which does not have satellite.

Jamie Buxton
05-25-2011, 1:52 PM
Is the FM injection wired or over the air? If it is over the air, it might be slightly tricky to get working. I bought an over-the-air adapter to put an ipod in my truck. It works well in the position where it now lives, but if I move it only fifteen inches or so lower on the dashboard, the sound is full of static and distant FM stations.

John Pratt
05-25-2011, 2:27 PM
My XM Roadie XT is not hardwired into the radio and my reception is just fine using an unused FM station (been that way for 5 yrs). The only issues are when we travel long distances and come across a town that is using one of those low band FM stations that my XM is dialed to. It is a fairly simple matter to just change the signal to another unused station though.

Lee Schierer
05-25-2011, 4:04 PM
We play our garmin and also an ipod trough an FM transmitter to an unused radio channel. It works great. As noted, if you travel significant distances you sometimes encounter a local station on your unused frequncy. Switching is easy. Most units will seek an unused channel for you, then all you have to do is tune your radio to that frequency. I doubt with the normal level of road noise in a car you could detect any loss in fidelity.

Craig D Peltier
05-25-2011, 5:01 PM
You used to be able to buy radios that integrated to the factory radio in the aftermarket. I bought one in 2006 for a Chevy Colorado. That was back before the merger and near-bankruptcy.

Do you have and like satellite radio now? I quickly got bored with it and didn't renew after the first year. When I replaced that truck with one that came with Sirius, they pretty much harassed me about renewing after the initial 6 month subscription ran out. I was barely listening by the time the trial subscription expired.

I only listen to satellite, hate commercials on radio and TV. If I could get pandora or slacker radio in the truck I would like it better than Sirius. Maybe I can havent looked into it yet. I suppose my iphone could be plugged into the stereo somehow. I dont have have an AUX in on stereo at least on face.

Jamie Buxton
05-26-2011, 1:13 AM
I only listen to satellite, hate commercials on radio and TV. If I could get pandora or slacker radio in the truck I would like it better than Sirius. Maybe I can havent looked into it yet. I suppose my iphone could be plugged into the stereo somehow. I dont have have an AUX in on stereo at least on face.

Internet radio (Pandora and others) recorded to an Ipod is my solution. The Ipod goes into the truck's FM radio through a $30 wireless adapter (from Iluv). Iphones should be able to use the same adapter. Replay Music and RadioSure are two PC programs for recording Internet radio stations.

Matt Meiser
05-26-2011, 10:08 AM
I listen to Pandora via my Sprint Android phone over Ford's Sync. It works pretty well as long as there's a good signal. Ironically, the most trouble I had on a trip from home to St. Louis was in metro Indianapolis where I had a good signal but slooooooowwwww 3G and no 4G.

Jamie Buxton
05-26-2011, 10:20 AM
I listen to Pandora via my Sprint Android phone over Ford's Sync. It works pretty well as long as there's a good signal. Ironically, the most trouble I had on a trip from home to St. Louis was in metro Indianapolis where I had a good signal but slooooooowwwww 3G and no 4G.

The difference between your system and mine is that your Pandora arrives over the cellular net, while mine arrives over the wired internet. You're dependent on cellular coverage, which can be spotty, and you're probably paying for a data plan that is more expensive than the wired connection. Of course, my version has some time delay from the time of transmission, but for music that isn't an issue.

Jay Maiers
05-26-2011, 1:46 PM
I've got something similar to this in my truck:
http://www.amazon.com/Audiovox-Sirius-FMDA25-Direct-Adapter/dp/tags-on-product/B000KGLL84
It plugs in between your antenna and the stereo. When you turn on your satellite radio, it automatically overrides the antenna and plays whatever is plugged in to the adapter. FWIW, some adapters allow you to input a 3.5mm mini-jack so that you can plug in your IPOD or whatever. I believe the Sirius specific adapters have a different plug that only works with the portable satellite receivers.

Sound quality is pretty darned good with this type of unit; IMO much better than the FM broadcast style.

ETA: I don't think I have this particular unit; I included the link as a general reference only, not as an endorsement of that product.

Orion Henderson
05-26-2011, 2:09 PM
The downfall to FM modulated, which I used for several years, is that in addition to losing sound quality you have to change the signal stations periodically. IE, you live in a place where 88.7 doesn't have a station but you drive through an area where 88.7 broadcasts. $800 for wired unti is ridiculous though. Why not just buy a new head unit for the truck? It'd probably cost less than $300 and sound better than the factory unit.

Lee Ludden
05-26-2011, 4:02 PM
The FM modulated doesn't work well in crowded radio markets. Here in Phoenix, there isn't a frequency available that works all the way through my 22 mile commute - too many FM stations broadcasting.

Craig D Peltier
05-26-2011, 4:15 PM
The downfall to FM modulated, which I used for several years, is that in addition to losing sound quality you have to change the signal stations periodically. IE, you live in a place where 88.7 doesn't have a station but you drive through an area where 88.7 broadcasts. $800 for wired unti is ridiculous though. Why not just buy a new head unit for the truck? It'd probably cost less than $300 and sound better than the factory unit.

My head unit has nav built in, im sure its over 2k.

Bob Turkovich
05-26-2011, 6:42 PM
My head unit has nav built in, im sure its over 2k.

Craig,

Just curious....what year/model Jeep do you have and what model radio? (The radio model code should be three letters - starting with 'R' and can be found on the lower right corner (in white letters) of the face plate.)

If it's a late model Jeep with a Nav radio w/ no code, you might not have the OEM radio. I don't know of a Chrysler late model radio that does not already have Sirius capability built-in.

Craig D Peltier
05-26-2011, 9:21 PM
Craig,

Just curious....what year/model Jeep do you have and what model radio? (The radio model code should be three letters - starting with 'R' and can be found on the lower right corner (in white letters) of the face plate.)

If it's a late model Jeep with a Nav radio w/ no code, you might not have the OEM radio. I don't know of a Chrysler late model radio that does not already have Sirius capability built-in.

It says RDS , its and 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland ( which should have all options except VES ( video) although sticker says -$190 satellite option. Definately no antenna on roof, I had same model same year an it had satellite and there was an antenna on that roof.

Bob Turkovich
05-26-2011, 10:10 PM
It says RDS , its and 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland ( which should have all options except VES ( video) although sticker says -$190 satellite option. Definately no antenna on roof, I had same model same year an it had satellite and there was an antenna on that roof.

I think the RDS you're seeing is not the model code. RDS means Radio Data System and refers to a communications protocol that allowed -among other things - showing radio station formats (Rock, Country, etc.)

I believe your radio is an REC model which was made for Chrysler by Alpine (look again in the lower right corner). If that's the case, my internet search shows your out of luck for either an easy OEM satellite radio or I-pod connection.

Craig D Peltier
05-26-2011, 11:06 PM
I think the RDS you're seeing is not the model code. RDS means Radio Data System and refers to a communications protocol that allowed -among other things - showing radio station formats (Rock, Country, etc.)

I believe your radio is an REC model which was made for Chrysler by Alpine (look again in the lower right corner). If that's the case, my internet search shows your out of luck for either an easy OEM satellite radio or I-pod connection.
I'll look closer. That was in upper left with a symbol before it.

Craig D Peltier
05-26-2011, 11:18 PM
I think the RDS you're seeing is not the model code. RDS means Radio Data System and refers to a communications protocol that allowed -among other things - showing radio station formats (Rock, Country, etc.)

I believe your radio is an REC model which was made for Chrysler by Alpine (look again in the lower right corner). If that's the case, my internet search shows your out of luck for either an easy OEM satellite radio or I-pod connection.

Yes it says REC.

Bob Turkovich
05-26-2011, 11:47 PM
Yes it says REC.

Then I'd look at one of the other options that your fellow Creekers suggested. Frankly, I'd look for a replacement radio (Crutchfield, etc.) before spending that much at a dealer for just a satellite upgrade.

Sound systems were not my area of expertise (I'm a retired Chrysler Powertrain Engineer) but I was always frustrated by how we seemed to be a year or two behind the industry with the latest media features (e.g., mp3 connectivity). I think we finally caught-up toward the end of the decade. All three of my current (2010) Chrysler products have full Sirius capability as well as I-pod connectivity in the glove box and are not the premium sound systems.

Craig D Peltier
05-26-2011, 11:57 PM
Then I'd look at one of the other options that your fellow Creekers suggested. Frankly, I'd look for a replacement radio (Crutchfield, etc.) before spending that much at a dealer for just a satellite upgrade.

Sound systems were not my area of expertise (I'm a retired Chrysler Powertrain Engineer) but I was always frustrated by how we were seemed to be a year or two behind the industry with the latest media features (e.g., mp3 connectivity). I think we finally caught-up toward the end of the decade. All three of my current (2010) Chrysler products have full Sirius capability as well as I-pod connectivity in the glove box and are not the premium sound systems.
It just struck me that I have a video entertainment sytem option on the truck. which means I have a DVD player in the ceiling , on back of console is the player and it has a remote, it has an AUX in for xbox or mp3 etc. It has video and left and right audio. I wonder if I can plug in a Satellite radio to it and be able to control it through the stereo.

Matt Meiser
05-27-2011, 8:38 AM
That should work as long as your radio has an output--even a headphone output. That should let you buy a pretty inexpensive radio. Radio Shack or any electroinics retailer should have a cable. I've got one I keep in my laptop bag to use in rental cars if I have a long drive.

John Lifer
05-28-2011, 7:33 PM
As others have said, forget FM modulator if you are in any kind larger market. Too many FM stations.... Been there and it is a waste. You should be able to have cable from satellite to the input on your entertainment system... Maybe. Kind of ridiculous a high end radio doesn't have audio input in a 2006 vehicle.

Jamie Buxton
05-28-2011, 8:13 PM
..As others have said, forget FM modulator if you are in any kind larger market. ...

My experience is in greater San Francisco, which I think would qualify as a larger market. I've got one FM frequency -- all that I've ever needed to find -- that works for the wireless adapter everyplace I've been.

Craig D Peltier
05-30-2011, 1:20 PM
As others have said, forget FM modulator if you are in any kind larger market. Too many FM stations.... Been there and it is a waste. You should be able to have cable from satellite to the input on your entertainment system... Maybe. Kind of ridiculous a high end radio doesn't have audio input in a 2006 vehicle.

yeah you would think it would have an input. I guess behind the console is counted as one in the dvd player. I bought and apple cable to go to my iphone and plugged it into the rca jacks there.I am able to listen to pandora and anything on my iphone which is a plus , except the cable thats kind of intrusive.I can control volume from steering wheel but thats it.
I talked to a installer at FRYs electronics and he told me only way to have steering wheel controls or stereo that changes the stations is to go OEM. Satellite is not worth $625 in parts plus install.Maybe some day I will sell the entire head unit and buy a new one that has nav and satellite if it makes $$ sense.

Peter Stahl
05-30-2011, 5:36 PM
Go to Crutchfield and send them a email, very good people to work with. If you only want to listen in your vehicle a new radio may not cost much more than a hand held. They have great phone help if you get stuck with a install. Advantage to a portable is you can take it anywhere, plug it into a stereo or use head phone too.

Greg Portland
05-31-2011, 3:06 PM
It just struck me that I have a video entertainment sytem option on the truck. which means I have a DVD player in the ceiling , on back of console is the player and it has a remote, it has an AUX in for xbox or mp3 etc. It has video and left and right audio. I wonder if I can plug in a Satellite radio to it and be able to control it through the stereo.Your stock head unit will not allow you to control the 3rd party sat. radio. You'll want a portable unit plugged into the wiring but you'll have to change the channels on the sat radio, NOT through the head unit of steering wheel controls.

Alternate solution: Have you searched eBay or Googled for the factory sat radio module? There have to be some people who have dumped the factory system and are looking to sell off the parts...

Greg Portland
05-31-2011, 3:10 PM
I talked to a installer at FRYs electronics and he told me only way to have steering wheel controls or stereo that changes the stations is to go OEM. Satellite is not worth $625 in parts plus install.Maybe some day I will sell the entire head unit and buy a new one that has nav and satellite if it makes $$ sense.For your existing head unit, yes. There are aftermarket headunits and wiring harnesses that will allow you to use your steering wheel controls but the versions with GPS navigation will run you at least $500 (+ another $100 for the sat radio antenna and module) from Crutchfield. There are cheaper purchasing options but you won't get the wiring harnesses or step by step directions (OK if you're handy with audio & car electronic systems).

Craig D Peltier
06-01-2011, 6:12 PM
Your stock head unit will not allow you to control the 3rd party sat. radio. You'll want a portable unit plugged into the wiring but you'll have to change the channels on the sat radio, NOT through the head unit of steering wheel controls.

Alternate solution: Have you searched eBay or Googled for the factory sat radio module? There have to be some people who have dumped the factory system and are looking to sell off the parts...
There is one person who was selling module and antenna for $325 was one an only bid. It retails for $410ish . Plus you need a $200 factory installation kit specific to my truck. On a national junk car parts website my radio sells for 1200 with sat. Im not sure what i could get for mine without.

Peter Stahl
06-02-2011, 7:35 AM
Might be easier to trade the whole vehicle in.