Sirius satellite radio
I have joined the world of satellite radio. I got Sirius mainly
for Howard Stern (show premieres on 01/09/06), but am now really
enjoying all the music channels.
It started on Saturday, December 10th, when I purchased a Starmate Replay ST2
radio and Home Kit at Best Buy. But I didn't open any of the
packages because I wanted to see if there would be any better deals
starting the next day. Sure enough, RadioShack had a better deal: buy the
SIRIUS Starmate Replay Receiver
and get the SIRIUS Starmate Replay Home Kit for free.
Awesome, the free home kit saved me $50 and there was a $50 rebate
on the radio.
The hardware setup was straightforward. I connected the radio up
to my computer, placed the antenna by a
window, and powered on the unit. The Starmate
searched for a signal and updated its channel lineup. Then I went
online, purchased a subscription plan (went with the lifetime
and activated the radio.
The Starmate has an analog stereo line out
to connect to a home audio system and a built-in FM transmitter
for use in the car. The line out is clear and free of static. Testing the FM
transmitter in the house produces occasional static; haven't tried
it in the car yet.
I then experimented with antenna placement. Signals
can be received from satellites or terrestrial repeaters (which are
more common in metropolitan areas). The radio has a signal strength
indicator from 0 bars (no signal) to 10 bars (strong signal).
With the antenna sitting on the window sill, it has 0 bars for
satellite, but 10 bars for terrestrial. Then I moved the antenna
onto my desk that is against the wall opposite the window and the
signal strength varied from 6 to 10 bars, which is still plenty strong for
clear sound. This was great news because now I don't have to worry about
There are currently about 120 channels with a variety
music, talk, sports and news. 65 of those channels are devoted to
music with no commercials; the other categories have commercials.
A neat feature is how quickly and easily you can scan through the
channels. Because the radio has a display that shows the channel
number and name, as well as, the artist and song title, you can
immediately tell what the current song is before you hear a single
note. If you don't like the song, just hit the button and move onto the next channel.
Another nifty feature is the Memory or Song Seek functions. When
a favorite artist comes on, add her to the radio's
memory. Then you'll be alerted every time one of her songs
is played. How cool is that?