XM reception very bad


Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 12, 2006
Charleston, SC
I have 3 radios on my account. A portable Sirius unit I have had for 4 years in my truck. My daughter has Sirius built into her VW and my wife has XM built in to her Chevy. We live in Charleston, SC if that matters due to satellite location. My reception and my daughter's hardly ever goes out even into heavily canopied trees roads. My wife's XM reception SUCKS and it has gotten worse in the last year. The same roads I can drive with no interruption she gets no signal message on the unit. It is now so bad it goes out if trees are 50 feet off the road. It seems worse driving south or southeast if that makes sense. Also in areas where not quite bad enough to go out the music "fades" in and out. Normal volume, fade to whisper, normal volume, fade to whisper. This is more annoying than total no signal.

Wife wants me to call and scream at them but I thought I'd check with my satellite guy buddies first .:)Has anything with XM changed? The antennae is factory installed. Is their a signal amplifier or after marker OEM replacement antennae that can be installed? Or is the head unit bad? It is a 2010 Chevy Traverse.

Thanks for any help.



A mighty and noble race originating on Altair IV.
Pub Member / Supporter
Jan 4, 2007
Fairfax, VA
Good questions. I'd say an aftermarket antenna plugged into the receiver and fed out so it can see the southern sky would at least tell you whether it's the OEM antenna or the head unit. When connecting your aftermarket antenna, you might also check if the connection on the OEM is loose... In fact, you should just tug on the cables going into the radio first, and see if anything pulls out.

If the Traverse is still under warranty, perhaps you can get your dealer to fix it.


Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 8, 2003
Tampa/Eastern Ct
I can't speak directly to factory installed antennas that came with the car, but other antennas do exactly that when they get older and will eventually fail. I'm putting money on the antenna or at least the connection to it, not the head unit.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 23, 2006
A Public Bathroom
There may be one of two problems happening: Antenna quality or signal coverage changes.

XM and Sirius antennae have linear amplifiers inside them that slowly wear out over time. If you're still under warranty ask the dealer to take a look. If they want to charge money for the repair consider a plug-and-play radio with a custom mounting kit. You'll be able to use the same subscription wherever you go (usually home and car) without extra fees.

You mentioned that you and your daughter have Sirius units. XM and Sirius are very different systems. Sirius has a satellite relatively high in the southern sky in addition to roving satellites in the northern sky that provide really good coverage without repeaters. XM only has a southeastern sky satellite and a southwestern sky satellite and relies on repeaters. What could have happened is that your area's repeaters may have been decommissioned.

You might want to test out XM using a "trial" subscription on your wife's car using a plug-and-play XM radio..

By the way, Sirius radios are not being made anymore, and in several years the Sirius roving satellites are to be decommissioned in favor of the southeast/southwest and repeater design on the XM network only. It is not known if the new system will use the "high" satellite since the "new" system is not finalized nor is its design being widely publicized.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)