Sirius Radio Signal Problems

by Patrick Nelson

Your Sirius satellite radio connects to your car in two ways. You can use a direct-wired connection or a wireless one. The wireless connection involves the least amount of work but is subject to problems. The Sirius radio you purchased includes an FM transmitter built into the device. The FM transmitter squirts the audio from the Sirius device to your regular card radio.


The problems that can arise with using the FM transmitter, rather getting a hard-wired installation, are that FM, a radio signal, is subject to interference. Interference can include radio waves within the vehicle from other sources, but it is usually because of crowded radio bands where there are many high-powered radio stations cluttering up the dial and signals compete for space in the FM band.

How it Works

Problems can arise if the FM channel of the Sirius radio does not match the FM channel your car radio is tuned to. The default transmitting frequency of the Sirius radio is 88.1. That may not be the best frequency for you. In those areas that are radio-congested, you should check to see that it works. Tune the car radio to 88.1 and test. Can you hear a pure audio feed, with no spluttering and fading? If there is crackling or if the volume is too low, you will need to rethink how you get the Sirius signal over to your car's stereo.

Next Steps

If the sound quality and volume is acceptable, you do not have to do anything else. But if it is not acceptable, you should tune through the dial and select a frequency that is not in use by a radio station. Save it as a preset. Turn on the Sirius radio and adjust the "FM Frequency" setting in the Settings or Menu to match the car's new preset. See if the signal is better.


If none of these troubleshooting methods works, look at adding an extender antenna. There's an internal one which should be fine in rural areas. You may need to add an external one if the frequency band is crowded, as it could be in a major metro area. An external antenna is included with some Sirius radios and radio kits.

Further Problems

Other problems can be related to the radio frequency (RF) in your car. Interferences from multiple radios like CBs and ham rigs will wipe out the FM, and you will have to use the direct connection.


About the Author

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.

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