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Old 10-29-2012, 08:36 PM   #1
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Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

I recently bought a new car, and it has a feature I didn't even know I NEEDED for my van.

My new Jetta has trial of Sirius satellite radio with Bluetooth for hands free cellphone use. I don't really need the Satellite radio on a car that is used locally. The Bluetooth is cool, but I don't really use my cellphone except when I'm traveling.

It would make more sense to have that radio setup in my traveling van. And the Bluetooth also.

What do I need to update my SMB radio for Sirius/Bluetooth? Besides buying a new van that is.

I'm guessing the antenna would need to be on the Penthouse to prevent the top from blocking the antenna with the top up.

Is there a radio that will drop into the existing hole in the dash? It would be nice to have a display similar to the one in the VW?

Do need two antennas, one for am/fm and one for satellite?

What is there that I don't even know enough to ask?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Mike
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

My SMB had Sirius, and honestly, I didn't use it much. I much preferred using my MP3 player with my own music and no annoying DJ.

My Nexus 7 tablet has bluetooth, and so does the headunit in my Excursion. A very convenient connection method, though not really necessary as a direct cable connection (aux input or USB input) provides just as good a connection (probably better) without extra low level WiFi radiation and without using extra power from my tablet (not an issue if powering it with a USB cable).


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Old 10-29-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Mike even though I have 120 GB of music on my I-Pod, I love the Sirius radio. I'm not sure if they make it anymore but I have the after market unit that can pop out of the cradle and go into the portable ghetto blaster. I prefer that cause you can still listen to music while around others if need be. The vehicle antenna goes just above the rearview mirrior on the roof and the PH doesn't bother it. Trees do though and because the satelites move, w/o a somewhat clear shot of the sky it will cut out at times. Much of this depends on where you are. For example it always cuts out on 108 at Mi-Wuk but hardly ever cut out on me driving from there to Colorado...go figure. I also thought the canyons is DV would be a problem but it worked fine there as well. Heavy tree cover seems to be the worst. It has a Sat locator function on it to help point the antenna on the Ghetto Blaster and the antenna has a long cord to help you trip at night when you forget about it. Just add alcohol and it crashes to the ground Usually you don't need to move the antenna much but parked in heavy cover can be an issue when using it in the van cradle. I was told they make a splitter for duel antennas. Worth it? YMMV but there is something to hear DJ's talking about stuff whether about the artist, songs and the like. Makes me feel less alone when I am and if I want to be alone it's off. Your stereo must have an aux input if but these days many come Sirius ready.

Oh ya, I'll bet something wireless is close or already out there.

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Hi Mike
Congrats on the recent hike

1st start by going to the Crutchfield website and start doing some research there. They have complete DIY install kits that are very complete.

The options are many. The prices are tied to the options you want.

We have the Kenwood nav system, Bluetooth, Xm (Sirius) unit that also has the backup camera and can play DVDs. We use everything except the DVD player. Been real happy with the unit. There are separate satellite, GPS, and am/fm antennas. The satellite wire actually pokes thru the windshield gasket and is mounted just above the center of the windshield on the roof. About the only time it drops a signal is in deep canyons. (Like Gohler Wash.). Although there is a section on hwy 50 on top of the sierras that always drops as well. Go figure, its about as close to the satellites as you can get. The GPS antenna is mounted on the dash.

We prefer the XM side rather than the Sirius side because of the baseball coverage. (Spring training is just 5 months away.)
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:13 AM   #5
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Mike, we got Sirius radio installed a couple months after getting our SMB. I love it for traveling since you do not need to be constantly scanning for a new radio channel. If you are a sports fan, having access to all the various live broadcasts is great as well. I've been a Howard Stern fan since the late 80's so that is a big bonus for me. We didn't need to buy a new head unit since we already had a Kenwood. We just had a Sirius adapter and antenna installed. Depending on your head unit, this may be an option. The antenna is a magnetic, puck style that actually sits on our roof right above the windshield in front of the penthouse. I can take a picture if you would like, just let me know. We never have reception issues with this setup...at least none as a result of this location. Just don't let anyone convince you that putting the antenna on the dash would be adequate.

I haven't bothered with a dedicated bluetooth option since the diesel van is a bit too loud. It is less convenient, but I just use a wired earphone/microphone combination when needed.
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:28 AM   #6
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

We've listened to XM from the get-go via its Internet feed as that's where Bob Edwards landed after NPR dumped him days short of his 20th anniversary. We had the radio added to our SMB by IA Solutions/Fresno, thinking it would give us the aforementioned Bob Edwards plus other options in the back country in particular. Quite happy with it though we don't listen to 99% of its channels. XMPR and Jim Ladd on Deep Tracks, BB King Blues, POTUS are the main spots. Others probably do the same but with different selections.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:22 AM   #7
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Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Mike,

You NEED satellite radio
You NEED a back up camera
You NEED GPS
You NEED Bluetooth

A double din Kenwood touchscreen will take care of all of that. I have an Eclipse that does almost all that, but can't recommend it as they are discontinued as well as their support and GPS update disc.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Thanks for the ideas guys.

OCSMB, I have a new Garmin GPS and a nice backup camera already in the van. But, I NEED the satellite radio and Bluetooth for the phone.

Running OptiLube summer formula and DieselKleen +, the diesel is quiet on the road - quiet enough to use the phone for sure.

After I get this project finished, I'm done spending money on my van!

With regards to Mac,

Mike
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

I LOVE SiriusXM. But then again I grew up with DJ's deciding what I should hear, and back in the days of Mexican AM radio and independent stations that was great. Sat radio has that same vibe, and more.

It's pretty easy to install. But beware: SiriusXM charges by the radio. So if you have one radio in one vehicle and another radio in another vehicle (two), they charge you for two. You seem to have a built-in in your daily driver, so you'd have to deactivate that one and get a new radio for the van and activate it (or pay for both).

I prefer a portable sat radio. I've got a Stiletto 2, which they don't make anymore, but it can be used in any vehicle or at home in a dock, which simply has a source of power (uses about 5V, IIRC), an audio out port for headphones or speaker, and an antenna connection (SMB I think; a standard you can get at electronics places or ham shops). Some docks have remotes, presets, etc. And it came with nifty headphones that combine with an antenna, so you can walk around listening to radio.

On the van it's pretty easy to mount an antenna. They have mag mount ones with the car kits, and it's best to put it on metal. The cabin roof works great, and the wire slips under the windshield molding and routes into the van. A cig light adapter for power, and use the aux port on your existing van stereo with a stereo male to male jack and you're good to go. The portable version they now sell is the XM3pi (where do they get these names???). The Lynx is another one you can move around; it's their latest-greatest I think. If you don't have an aux input on your van stereo you can use a cassette adapter (if it's THAT old). They also have the gizmo that lets you send it over an unused FM frequency, but I never had success with those in populous areas.

I don't believe SiriusXM themselves sells a radio with BT for phone use; the Lynx will stream to BT speakers though. Some other vendors may sell such a radio.

And yeah, you'd still need an AM/FM antenna. Completely different frequencies. The penthouse does sorta block the XM antenna, but it usually doesn't completely hose it. Note that some vehicles have SiriusXM antennas installed even if you didn't get that option when you bought the vehicle. My Mini, for example, had one and it was simply a matter of finding the connection under the carpet. The OEM antennas usually look like little shark fins.

Rob
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: Satellite Radio for 04 SMB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
I recently bought a new car, and it has a feature I didn't even know I NEEDED for my van.

My new Jetta has trial of Sirius satellite radio with Bluetooth for hands free cellphone use. I don't really need the Satellite radio on a car that is used locally. The Bluetooth is cool, but I don't really use my cellphone except when I'm traveling.

It would make more sense to have that radio setup in my traveling van. And the Bluetooth also.

What do I need to update my SMB radio for Sirius/Bluetooth? Besides buying a new van that is.

I'm guessing the antenna would need to be on the Penthouse to prevent the top from blocking the antenna with the top up.

Is there a radio that will drop into the existing hole in the dash? It would be nice to have a display similar to the one in the VW?

Do need two antennas, one for am/fm and one for satellite?

What is there that I don't even know enough to ask?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Mike
Ignoring (and agreeing with) others comments on GPS / Backup Camera.

Yes, you can get a dropin head unit with everything you want, The size is odd as it's not a full double DIN but very close to it.

The Sirius will cost you extra, the indash unit will usually be Sirius "ready" meaning you can add a sirus box and that box can be controlled by the indash unit. (So don't forget to add that to price)

You will need to antenna's one for Radio one for Sat.
Sat antenna above your windshield will "probably" be fine with the top being up, you could put it on your dash and it would still work. It really needs a clear line of site while moving, when stationary you can get away with a lot. But test it to be sure.

You may also want to look for iPOD and / or USB stick compatibility in both music AND movies, plus digital radio.(as in Digital FM, not Pandora)

Kenwood (and probably others) make some models with no CD / DVD / Tape playback, only USB & iPod digital for local playback (still has Sirus/Radio&Digital Radio), I have one in my Truck and would never pick anything else now. In the Van I have an Alpine top of the line double DIN with everything, I had to modify the dash to make it fit.

Crutchfield is the best web site to browse units and what will fit, plus anything you want to know.
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