Getting Satellite Radio In Your Car Stereo

You can turn your FM car stereo into a satellite radio car stereo by following these simple step-by-step guidelines.

Satellite radio car stereos are now included with many new car models, but you don't need to buy a new vehicle to listen to satellite radio in your car. If you have a regular FM radio, you can install a satellite radio receiver into your car and turn it into a satellite radio car stereo in no time.

Plug-n-Play Satellite Radio Receivers

If you have an FM car stereo and want to turn it into a satellite radio, you'll need to purchase a "ňúplug-n-play' satellite receiver. You can buy these from several sources including discount electronics stores that sell car stereos, or directly from the satellite radio company you subscribe to. Plug-n-play receivers are roughly the size of a Walkman radio, and attach to your car's dashboard or to the inside of your windshield with a special suction cup attachment. Here are some tips on how to install a plug-n-play receiver, starting with a list of the things you'll need for the job:

1. Plug-n-play satellite receiver

2. Car installation kit

3. Stereo wire

4. Screwdrivers, both Philips & flathead

5. Electric drill

Satellite Radio Car Installation Kits

The car kit you'll need can be purchased where you buy your plug-n-play receiver, and includes an antenna, a cigarette lighter adapter, a mounting base and a cradle. When your installation is finished, your plug-n-play receiver will "plug" into the cradle, so it's important to buy the correct car kit for the receiver that you choose.

Satellite Radio Antennas

The small antennas used for satellite radio car stereos attach to the hood of your car with a very powerful magnet. The best placement is directly above your back windshield, either on the left side of your car or the right. You'll need to connect the antenna to the receiver cradle with a single wire. Stereo wire is inexpensive, so make sure you have more than you think you'll need to avoid needing to splice an extra length on.

- Using a flathead screwdriver, gently lift up the seal on your car's windshield below the antenna. Poke the end of the stereo wire through the small opening you make, and then finish pulling the wire through from inside your car.

- Run the stereo wire all the way to the front of your car where your satellite receiver will be placed. To protect the wire from accidental breakage, you should hide it underneath the floorboard carpeting in your car. Using a screwdriver, remove the floorboard trimming along the inside interior and place the stereo wire underneath. Reattaching the floorboard trimming as you go, finish running the antenna wire up to the front of your car. After you've finished installing the satellite receiver cradle, attach the antenna wire to the back of the cradle.

Installing the Mounting Base and Receiver Cradle

If you want to install the mounting base to your inside windshield using the suction cup that comes with the car kit, you can disregard the dashboard mounting instructions. But for easiest accessibility while driving you might prefer to place the plug-n-play receiver on your dashboard. Here are some tips for installing the car kit.

- Decide where you want your receiver to be placed. Pre-drill holes for the mounting base, so that you don't crack your dashboard while tightening the mounting base down with screws.

- Once you have the mounting base attached to your dashboard, follow the instructions included with your car kit to attach the receiver cradle to the mounting base.

- Plug the satellite receiver into the cradle

Getting Power to Your Satellite Receiver

Using the cigarette lighter adapter, plug one end into the back of your plug-n-play receiver cradle, and the other end into your car's cigarette lighter receptacle. The only remaining task is to connect your car stereo speakers to your satellite receiver - which is a breeze, since satellite radio receivers use wireless technology. You just tune your FM radio to an unused FM radio frequency, turn on your plug-n-play satellite receiver, and enjoy your newly installed satellite radio car stereo.

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