Satellite Radio Hack, Continued

Posted by joy

Remember that earlier I had posted about how some satellite radio units were broadcasting their signal to cars around them? Well, there has been at least two mentions of the phenomena in the media recently.

The Wall Street Journal, FTC Tunes In on XM’s Marketing, April 28, 2006

Separately, XM said the Federal Communications Commission determined the company’s SkyFi2 radio transmitter doesn’t comply with FCC emission rules, meaning the signal it transmits to a dashboard car radio is often too strong….

Many consumers without satellite radio have reported picking up its signals, presumably from nearby cars using FM modulators to transmit the signals to their radios. “XM’s immediate problem is that unless they are confident that the accusation against them is wrong, they really have to pull the model off the market until the problem is resolved,” says Mr. Tannenwald. “

The Associated Press, Some NPR, Christian Radio Hearing Stern, April 28, 2006

Their favorite stations aren’t broadcasting Stern’s show, which has moved to satellite radio provider Sirius. Instead, poorly installed or defective satellite radio units, which act as mini-FM transmitters, are being blamed…Some of the units use FM signals to broadcast the satellite signal to the car’s audio system, using frequencies low on the FM band such as 88.1, often reserved for noncommercial, religious or educational stations. The signal from the satellite system can sometimes override broadcasts from those stations for listeners in nearby cars.

If (or should I say when) the FCC decides that both XM and Sirius have overpowered FM modulator units, I wonder how these units would ever be recalled. For the record, I’ve only heard the Howard Stern show (i.e. Sirius) overpowering my radio receiver station. Since switching my XM SkyFI receiver station to 107.1 I haven’t had any issues with hearing other people’s satellite radio.

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