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» The Geek Culture Forums   » News, Reviews, Views!   » Fun and Games, and Reviews   » Delphi Roady2 XM Satellite Radio Receiver

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Author Topic: Delphi Roady2 XM Satellite Radio Receiver
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted January 03, 2006 20:19            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OK, my grandfather's gadget-junkie genes have come through again. We bought an XM receiver...the Delphi Roady2 receiver. It was in stock at Best Buy for $29.99--less than the price of an A-list Xbox title!

Once I got it home last night, I worked on setting it up in my Oldsmobile Alero. The receiver itself is very small, about the size of a pack of cards. The toughest part of the installation was setting up the antenna, which mounts on the car roof with a magnetic mount, and routing its feed into the car interior. I used the included vent mount for the radio, as the Alero is kind of short on empty dash space, but it can also use flat or swivel mounting. After attaching the antenna, the cigarette-lighter-jack power cable, and the audio output cassette adapter, I powered it up (with the ignition key turned to ACC so the stereo was on, natch) and heard the XM Preview Channel (XM1).

(Incidentally: This morning, the cassette deck got balky and wouldn't take the XM cassette adapter. No problem; the Roady2 includes an FM transmitter which can beam its singal straight to your car stereo, like the mini-transmitters you can buy to use with your iPod. Setup of that was easy, and the sound quality was more than good enough. Cool deal.)

Then, it was back inside, armed with the 8-digit radio ID (printed on the back of the radio, on the packaging, and also available by tuning the radio to XM0), to set up the standard $12.95/month account. One gripe: XM's Listener Care site doesn't like Firefox at all, so I had to reboot into Windows and use IE to activate the radio. When I got done, the site flashed up an offer: they wanted to send me another XM receiver, free! (You do have to pay for service on it, but at a reduced rate of $6.99/month.) What the hell, I thought, and ordered it, thinking that Pamela might like it for her Saturn. (This receiver will be a RoadyXT, a newer, more advanced model. I'll report on that when we get it.)

Then I went back out to the car; already, channels were coming in. I did some setup and familiarization, then drove around for an hour or so to test the reception and operation. The Roady2 has a rocker-switch like tuning control on the corner, along with a row of keys for selecting either presets or direct-entry channel numbers. All controls were easy to operate even while the vehicle was in motion, although the manual warns you, like the Doors in "Roadhouse Blues," "Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel." As a cute touch, the backlight for the display and buttons can be set to one of seven different colors.

As for the reception...well, it has to be heard to be believed, and even then you might have trouble believing it. In driving all around the metro area, I've noticed only a couple of places where reception dropped out momentarily, and the majority of those were when driving down 46th Avenue between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards, where the road runs directly under the elevated deck of I-70. And, when reception drops out, it doesn't "fuzz" like ordinary FM does; it stays crystal-clear right to the moment of drop-out. (Digital transmission, don't'cha know.) Even driving straight through the new Denver Convention Center (along Stout Street downtown) didn't faze it.

There are a metric shitload of channels available on the service; if you can't find something worth listening to on XM, there's something wrong with you, seriously! Some stuff that stands out:

XM8 "The 80's on 8" - I've been mourning the loss of the all-80's 96.5 The Peak ever since they got sold and became "Radio Tricolor" (Mexican radio). This is better.

XM16 "Highway 16" - Pamela seems to like this channel; I'm not much for country myself.

XM24 "Sunny" - This one reminds me of the old KBIG and K-JOY in Los Angeles...lots of "beautiful" Muzak-type stuff.

XM44 "Fred" - Good solid alternative music. Other good complements to this channel are XM47 "Ethel" and XM54 "Lucy."

XM51 "XM Music Lab" - Progressive rock and fusion! Wow! I heard them play a track from Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (and not one you normally ever hear, either!), and the channel has been known to play Marillion! Holy crap!

XM71 "Watercolors" - I'd been listening to a lot of smooth jazz in the car recently, on KJCD 104.3. This channel is like the distilled quintessence of that station. And the fact that the radio displays the artist and title of the songs they play will help me to recognize stuff I like--no waiting for a back-announce!

XM113 "XM Pops" - Put it on this channel or XM110 "XM Classics" to really hear the quality of the reception. I punched over to it this morning to try the sound quality of the transmitter, and heard some nice Rachmaninoff.

XM121 "Fox News" - The audio from the cable channel. You libs might prefer XM122 "CNN," XM123 "CNN Headline News," or XM130 "MSNBC."

XM144 "NASCAR Radio" - How many days is it until Daytona, anyway? [Smile]

XM167 "Air America Radio" - Now here's one that you liberals will like! Not for me, though. Fortunately, there's also XM166 "America Right," which has such personalities as Dr. Laura and Michael Reagan.

XM202 "High Voltage" - Features Opie & Anthony, if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not.

XM204-209 "Home Ice" - NHL games! Hockey talk! Cool!

If you're an XM subscriber, you can also listen to the music channels online (just not the news/talk or sports stuff). That worked for me on Linux, and also worked for Pamela on Windows XP. And, of course, their music channels have no commercials! Just the odd station promo, and occasionally a DJ voice.

The radio also lets you do things like set up alerts when a song by your favorite artist is playing on another channel, remember song titles for later retrieval, and monitor stock quotes. They pack a lot of features into that little package!

In conclusion, if XM Radio were any more addictive, it'd be regulated by the DEA. (Mainlining the music, in full digital straight off the bird!) Music junkies will love it, as will other radio enthusiasts. And, with the low price on the Roady2 receiver, the barrier to entry has never been lower. Big thumbs up here! [thumbsup]

(Yes, XM is now available in Canada, too. In fact, they've put a number of channels of Canadian content onto the service to comply with Canadian law, including some in French. I think the NHL coverage counts for this.)

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drunkennewfiemidget
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted January 04, 2006 07:27      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yup. The CRTC here allowed Sirius and XM to be sold and broadcast here. I'd consider putting it in my car, and might still someday after I buy a new deck for the car.
Posts: 4897 | From: Cambridge, ON, Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted January 04, 2006 15:47            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
FWIW, here are the XM channels that look to have been "Canadianized":

XM52 "(un)Signed" - New and emerging rock from Canada.

XM100 "Air Musique" - New and emerging music, in French.

XM102 "Sur la Route" - Pop hits, in French.

XM153 "Laugh Attack" - Uncensored Canadian comedy.

XM172 "Franc Parler" - Sports and more, in French.

XM204-209 "Home Ice" - Hockey! (Not that this doesn't appeal to Americans, too, but...)

XM244 "Canada 360" - News and information about the Great White North.

XM245 "Quoi de Neuf" - More Canadian news and information, in French.

Don't know about Sirius...their receivers are more expensive, I'm told some of them tend to run hot, and I don't like Howard Stern anyway. Also, many people have said that XM's music channels play more "deep tracks" than Sirius' do.

(Sirius was also a lot more "serious" about the naming of their satellites; they're just called "Radiosat-1" through "Radiosat-4." XM has three satellites currently operating: XM-1 "Rock," XM-2 "Roll," and XM-3 "Rhythm." A fourth satellite, XM-4 "Blues," will be launched possibly as soon as this year.)

One thing that is missing from XM...they've got 21 different local traffic/weather channels, but none of them cover Denver. I think Denver is the biggest market they don't cover, though, so we might get it eventually, unless they're really strapped for bandwidth...

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ParodyMan
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Icon 1 posted January 05, 2006 08:01      Profile for ParodyMan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My roommate was given an XM receiver for Christmas and he loves it. He just threw the antenna to the back of his dashboard, which works pretty well in our area.

One downside: this is NASCAR's last year on XM; they move to Sirius in 2007.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted January 05, 2006 11:07      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:

Don't know about Sirius...their receivers are more expensive, I'm told some of them tend to run hot,

I'd be hard pressed to believe that you could link the temperature of a satellite receiver to which provider's content it was receiving.. various brands make various receivers for various different satellite broadcasters... some will run hot, some won't.. depends on the maker, not the broadcast company...
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Pamela
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Icon 1 posted January 05, 2006 21:36      Profile for Pamela     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ParodyMan


Yes, you are right after '06 NASCAR will be leaving XM Radio....sigh. My stepdad in the middle of nowhere Arizona will have to switch since that was his prime reason for getting XM radio...another sigh.


PS- I am new to Geek Culture, so if I mess up go easy on me at first, please. [Wink]

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted January 05, 2006 23:51            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ParodyMan:
One downside: this is NASCAR's last year on XM; they move to Sirius in 2007.

Aw, suuuuuuuuck! [Frown] [shake head]

Please tell me they're keeping the NHL for awhile...

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted January 13, 2006 13:19            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some small updates here...

First, Pamela's RoadyXT did show up this past week, and I installed it for her in her Saturn. The XT unit itself is smaller and lighter than the Roady2 (so small, in fact, Pamela can keep it in her purse!), and includes a "docking cradle" system that can be left attached in the car. The antenna installation was virtually identical, and it also uses a cigarette-lighter jack power supply.

Because I was delayed in getting it installed, I had to "refresh" the radio once I had it powered up, which is a simple process that can be done from XM's Listener Care Web site. Before I did, the only channels that worked were the Preview Channel (XM 1) and the Emergency Channel (XM 247); within ten minutes of the refresh, though, all channels were coming through just fine. I configured it with my presets at Pamela's request, though she did make a change or two; she dumped Watercolors in favor of Highway 16, for instance.

Its UI is just a touch more advanced than the Roady2's; for one thing, the artist and title displays will auto-scroll to show a lengthy name in its entirety. The radio also features "Info Services" that will display scrolling sports score info, similar to the stock ticker. It can select MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL scores by team, and some other things; I programmed it for all Denver sports teams (Broncos, Rockies, Avs, Nuggets), and for NASCAR updates. It all looks good to me; you'd do just as well starting out with this one as with the Roady2, though it does retail for somewhat more

Second...today I was out doing some errands, and, just prior to stopping at AutoZone (yay AutoZone! Fight the SCO bastards!), I was listening to MusicLab (XM 51) and a live interview with the members of Rush. Well, after I got back out to the car, I started up and turned on the XM again...and MusicLab was doing one of their little promo bits (something like "For musicians only! MusicLab, XM 51!"), but, on the display, it said, "Marillion". Sure enough, right as the promo finished came the opening guitar riff of "Alone Again In The Lap of Luxury," one of my favorite tracks from Brave. That's the first time I've heard Marillion played on any radio service! Thanks for making my day, XM! [Cool]

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