How Satellite Radio Works

May 2, 2016 – 09:07 am
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We all have our favorite radio stations that we preset into our car radios, flipping between them as we drive to and from work, on errands and around town. But when you travel too far away from the station, the signal breaks up and fades into static. Most radio signals can only travel about 30 or 40 miles (48 to 64 kilometers) from their source. On long trips, you might have to change radio stations every hour or so as the signals fade in and out. And it's not much fun scanning through static trying to find something - anything - to listen to.

Now, imagine a radio station that can broadcast its signal from more than 22, 000 miles (35, 000 kilometers) away and then come through on your car radio with complete clarity. You could drive from Tacoma, Wash., to Washington, D.C., without ever having to change the radio station! Not only would you never hear static interfering with your favorite tunes, but the music would be interrupted by few or no commercials.

XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio each launched such a service at the beginning of the 21st century. Satellite radio, also called digital radio, offers uninterrupted, near CD-quality music beamed to your radio from space.

In February 2007, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio announced their plans to merge into a single company. XM and Sirius were both in debt, and believed a merger would quickly solve that problem. They thought that the merger would also lead to lower prices and more programming choices for consumers. Some people were skeptical about the two companies joining, though, fearing a monopoly would only reduce competition, raise prices and affect consumers poorly. Sirius and XM received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, but the companies couldn't move until the FCC begrudgingly allowed the merger to go forward in July 2008. The new company goes by the name Sirius XM Radio.


Xact Communications XACT COMMUNICATIONS XTR3CK Sirius Satellite Plug + Play Receiver and Vehicle Kit
Speakers (Xact Communications)
  • Receiver Features Easy To Read Display & 16 Character Scrolling Display
  • Scrolling Display Features Channel Number, Channel Name, Artist Name, Song Title
  • Rotary Encoder Knob with 36 Channel Preset Capability
  • Flip Display, Feature Used When Mounting to a Vehicles Sun Visor
  • Stereo Line Level Audio Outputs
Xact Home Kit for XTR8CK Sirius Satellite Radio Receiver
Car Audio or Theater (Xact)
  • Home kit for the Xact XTR8 plug-and-play SIRIUS satellite radio
  • Desktop docking cradle
  • Indoor antenna
  • Wall-outlet power adapter
  • Audio cable (minijack to RCA)
  • Includes home antenna, docking cradle, AC adapter, and audio cables
Xact XTR8 Sirius Satellite Radio Receiver and Car Kit
Car Audio or Theater (Xact)
  • Built-in wireless FM transmitter for easy car-to-car portability
  • 5-line display with illuminated keypad and control buttons
  • 45-minute buffer with instant replay feature
  • Includes antenna, docking cradle, and DC adapter
UpBright® NEW Car DC Adapter For XACT XTR1 XTR1CK SIRIUS RADIO RECEIVER PORTABLE DOCK STAND Auto Vehicle Boat RV Camper Cigarette Lighter Plug Power Supply Cord Cable Charger PSU
Wireless (upbright)
  • Tested Units. In Great Working Condition.
  • UpBright 30 days money back guarantee. 1 full year service warranty.
Xact XAct XS034 Sirius Satellite Radio Boombox (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
CE (Xact)
  • Satellite radio boombox for XAct XTR2 plug-and-play Sirius satellite radio receiver
  • Front docking slot holds receiver and delivers access to Sirius 120 satellite stations
  • Attached 3-inch full-range speakers (2.5 watts x 2); includes AC adapter
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack for private listening; receiver eject button quickly removes receiver
  • Runs on 6 D-size batteries; measures 14.25 x 7 x 13.5 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty

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  3. Sirius Satellite Radio Receivers
  4. Best Satellite Radio receiver
  5. Satellite Digital receivers