Phase out of Non Geostationary satellites (1 Viewer)

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nelson61

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The end of an era

Sirius is phasing out their non-geo satellite system with their conversion of the upcoming FM6 satellite from it's polar non geostationary design to a conventional geostationary design - similar to FM5 . The Non Geos are 12 years old and will be phased out of service in the next few years

FCC INTERNATIONAL BUREAU
 
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StevenD

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The end of an era

Sirius is phasing out their non-geo satellite system with their conversion of the upcoming FM6 satellite from it's polar non geostationary design to a conventional geostationary design - similar to FM5 . The Non Geos are 12 years old and will be phased out of service in the next few years

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Does anybody know what that would mean for coverage? I would get spotty reception while in Aruba (as its near the equator). I know the official line is "CONUS", but I wonder if the actual signal will reach any further south.
 

nelson61

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StevenD

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So, what do the colored lines mean? Looks like the last red line cuts right over Aruba.

sirius_fm6.jpg
 

nelson61

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Red is -20 dBw. The -20 dbw contour has a power level that is one (1) percent of the power seen at the beam center. The only way you might get reception would be to use a special very large antenna.
 

digiblur

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Jun 8, 2005
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The end of an era

Sirius is phasing out their non-geo satellite system with their conversion of the upcoming FM6 satellite from it's polar non geostationary design to a conventional geostationary design - similar to FM5 . The Non Geos are 12 years old and will be phased out of service in the next few years

FCC INTERNATIONAL BUREAU

That sucks... there were pro's and con's to the system but the higher elevation angles allowed for them to have less repeaters. But then it sucked for people that were trying to setup a stationary antenna as the satellites would move overhead throughout the day. I liked the pseudo system they had now with the one geo-stationary and the others flying overhead.

I doubt they will get the repeater going anytime soon that they have a license for in my area.

This is type of satellite system is why I chose Sirius over XM back 4 or 5 yrs ago.
 

digiblur

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Jun 8, 2005
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Does anybody know what that would mean for coverage? I would get spotty reception while in Aruba (as its near the equator). I know the official line is "CONUS", but I wonder if the actual signal will reach any further south.

I remember seeing pictures of this guy somewhere south of the US that took at 1 meter dish and put the little XM antenna where the LNB was supposed to go. Looked pretty cool ;)

I know I've seen some high gain panel antennas for XM/Sirius out there.

Google to the rescue....

xm_ant2t_645.jpg


Reading the thread the guy talks about he switched to an 18inch dish after he modified the polarity of the antenna...makes sense after you think about it.
 
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StevenD

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I remember seeing pictures of this guy somewhere south of the US that took at 1 meter dish and put the little XM antenna where the LNB was supposed to go. Looked pretty cool ;)

I know I've seen some high gain panel antennas for XM/Sirius out there.

Google to the rescue....

xm_ant2t_645.jpg


Reading the thread the guy talks about he switched to an 18inch dish after he modified the polarity of the antenna...makes sense after you think about it.

I dont see myself laying on a float out in the water with thing. People already look at my funny because I take an iPod and an anchor out with me.
 

VO1ONE

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Aug 13, 2004
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Around 2003 I switched from XM to Sirius because of XM's geostationary satellites. XM's coverage in Newfoundland and Labrador was lackluster to say the least. The 85W satellite drops off coverage around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Reception is dependent on 115W further east of there due to the radiation patterns of the satellites. Of course, by the time you get to St. John's 115W is extremely low on the horizon for a vehicle and reception is very, very spotty. Home reception is alright as long as you don't have the antenna too close to a microwave oven and you don't let it get too buried with snow. XM has installed a terrestrial repeater to alleviate reception issues in town but once you leave town you're out of luck. Sirius however has had stellar reception across the province and has been the only radio you could pick up in many areas across the island and Labrador. Now it appears Sirius will be afflicted with the same problems XM is in the northern latitudes. This news should be extremely disappointing to Canadians, those living in or travelling through small cities throughout North America who aren't blessed with repeaters and anyone who drives on an east-west highway in northern latitudes through rock cuts or next to transport trucks. I would suggest contacting the CRTC but with the millions Sirius has already invested in this they would likely just pull the Canadian licence rather than reconfigure their satellite constellation to at least do a partial Molniya orbit.

As for the dish, a reflector reverses the LHCP to RHCP so modifying the antenna is required unless you want an inherent 20+dB loss. Alternatively you could use/construct a double reflector like the Toroidal dishes use as these would preserve polarization. Unfortunately this won't do much for vehicle reception, where the vast majority of satellite radio usage lies. Instead, Sirius has decided to cater to a very small minority of satellite radio users worsening reception for their bread and butter. I think at the very least I'll be migrating all my radios to month to month plans in preparation for cancellation if the maps are correct.
 

SamCdbs

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Question:

Sats have a lifetime, and cost 10s if not 100s of millions. At what point does it stop making sense to maintain two delivery systems for exactly the same programming? Would it not make sense at some point to pick one systems or another and replace the radios on the ground, perhaps repurposing the other system to something else?
 

VO1ONE

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Aug 13, 2004
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the conditions of the Sirius XM merger being approved was that everyone would be able to continue receiving with their current equipment. It was SiriusXM's choice to consolidate programming to save costs on their end. What I would have liked to see happen next would be satellite radios which pick up both the Sirius and the XM signals. If they kept the XM satellites geostationary and kept the Sirius sats in a Molniya orbit, this would give more spatial diversity and vastly reduce drop outs. Stationary users (i.e. at home) would be appeased by the geostationary satellites and mobile users will be less apt to experience drop outs with a signal coming from 4 different directions. Sirius and XM before the merger were to have worked together to develop radios capable of receiving both systems as a condition of their licence. I believe they did come up with some prototypes but since the condition never stipulated a time frame, neither XM nor Sirius were eager to put a lot of resources into making such a radio a reality. While originally envisioned as a 300 channel super satellite radio, you wouldn't think it'd be too hard to convert it into a 150 channel super drop out resistant radio.
 
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digiblur

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the conditions of the Sirius XM merger being approved was that everyone would be able to continue receiving with their current equipment. It was SiriusXM's choice to consolidate programming to save costs on their end. What I would have liked to see happen next would be satellite radios which pick up both the Sirius and the XM signals. If they kept the XM satellites geostationary and kept the Sirius sats in a Molniya orbit, this would give more spatial diversity and vastly reduce drop outs. Stationary users (i.e. at home) would be appeased by the geostationary satellites and mobile users will be less apt to experience drop outs with a signal coming from 4 different directions. Sirius and XM before the merger were to have worked together to develop radios capable of receiving both systems as a condition of their licence. I believe they did come up with some prototypes but since the condition never stipulated a time frame, neither XM nor Sirius were eager to put a lot of resources into making such a radio a reality. While originally envisioned as a 300 channel super satellite radio, you wouldn't think it'd be too hard to convert it into a 150 channel super drop out resistant radio.

I believe this is what they are doing now... one geostationary and one of the figure 8 orbit satellites. I'm sure the cost of launching 2-3 additional birds is more than they want to spend. So they are making the one bird to cover the Sirius band and XM band. I fully agree with their reasoning here even though it does stink.

They can't have the signal coming from 4 locations. They still have to support all the tuners out there that are XM or Sirius modulation/bands only. The tuner only supports the 3 sections of the bands at one time. The two satellite signals(one delayed by 4 seconds for error correction), and the one slot for TER repeaters.

I'm hoping Sirius ramps up their repeater build out before this...but I know the FCC is hard to deal with on these repeaters from looking at past filings.
 

VO1ONE

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Aug 13, 2004
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When do those "conditions for merger" expire?

I can't locate the verbiage stating that yes this is a requirement but have found the following interesting tidbits:

Applicants state that any migration to a common platform will likely require the development of new chipsets. Applicants state that if the combined company were to migrate to a common platform while a significant number of single-platform devices were still in use, then the combined company would either risk losing millions of customers by forcing the purchase of new radios, or face prohibitive costs to replace millions of single-platform radios, most of which will be hard-wired into cars. Thus, Applicants indicate that it is unlikely that the merged company would convert to a common platform until nearly all subscribers have migrated to receivers with new chipsets capable of operating under a common platform.
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-178A1.doc


Q: Once the dual-chip device hits the market, what will happen to the satellite radios that consumers currently have?

A: The radios won't be obsolete. … Let's assume that you are a subscriber and you like Sirius. If you want to get something additional, then that's your choice and you can always decide to buy a new radio. But we're not migrating you or forcing you to pick up some XM content (on a dual device).

So I think the opportunity of having one radio is again giving consumers more choice. Shortly after the merger, we will have a radio that will be able to get both services, so you'll have a choice if you want to buy that radio or not.

Q: You say that you're still going to run XM and Sirius as separate brands. If so, where will the cost savings come from?

A: I think there are plenty of opportunities for synergies to occur, even though we will still, for the next 15 years, continue to operate a Sirius service and an XM service. …We both spend a whole bunch of money on customer care and the call center and there would be consolidation there. We spend a whole bunch of money on chip sets. There would be savings there. We spend a lot of money advertising and marketing. We have a whole bunch of areas for redundancy.
Sirius CEO discusses post-XM merger service plans - USATODAY.com
 

VO1ONE

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 13, 2004
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I believe this is what they are doing now... one geostationary and one of the figure 8 orbit satellites. I'm sure the cost of launching 2-3 additional birds is more than they want to spend. So they are making the one bird to cover the Sirius band and XM band. I fully agree with their reasoning here even though it does stink.

They can't have the signal coming from 4 locations. They still have to support all the tuners out there that are XM or Sirius modulation/bands only. The tuner only supports the 3 sections of the bands at one time. The two satellite signals(one delayed by 4 seconds for error correction), and the one slot for TER repeaters.

I'm hoping Sirius ramps up their repeater build out before this...but I know the FCC is hard to deal with on these repeaters from looking at past filings.

Yeah this is what they're doing now. It'd be great if they had XM in the same configuration as what Sirius is now. That way legacy receivers benefit from one satellite in a geosynchronous orbit and one in a Molniya orbit. My comment on the signal coming from 4 locations was based on the development of an inter-operable receiver capable of receiving both XM and Sirius signals simultaneously. These receivers would be the only ones capable of fully benefiting of both spatial and temporal diversity afforded by 4 satellites.

Repeaters are a band-aid solution masking the true problem. Sirius has a lot of dormant repeaters across the US caught up in red tape I believe because of interference issues or field strengths exceeding their licence limits. Many of these have been off the air since before the merger even. They've concentrated on bringing the ones in higher population centres on the air but many mid sized cities are left in the dark and small cities were never covered to begin with due to the fact that the higher location of Sirius in the sky minimized the need for repeaters. This will change soon.

I understand they're doing it for money. It's all about money. Hopefully for them they'll still be able to cater to enough people to keep the revenue flowing in. The sad fact is that the majority of the public is complacent with mediocrity. Those in northern latitudes would like to thank the merger for occurring allowing for such budget cuts to happen. Sometimes I wonder if letting one or both go bankrupt and get bought up and operated by other companies wouldn't have been a better way to go.
 

drdroo

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Sep 20, 2005
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This could make for a problem in Canada and here in New England. There can be 30 minutes worth of signal loss on XM traveling from here through the mountains to Vermont. As it sits, my Sirius on-glass antenna works perfectly fine traveling the same trip. Instead I only use my XM radio at home and I have Sirius in my car.

I work for a large SiriusXM retailer and Canadians contact us all the time for conversion kits to come to Sirius, purely because of the reception on XM being horrible in much of Canada. It's no surprise why Sirius has 70% of the market in Canada.

I agree with VO1ONE (73 de K1XVM btw) in saying it'd be better if XM had a moving and a stationary satellite. This would really be the best of both worlds. I have non-stop coverage in my home on Sirius using a flip-up or car antenna, but I also have great service in my car everywhere.
 
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