Jump to content

XM Antenna Question


rickmoen

Recommended Posts

For the XM radio experts out there.

 

I went for a ride this afternoon with my XM SkyFi2 played through helmet speakers (Autocom). The weather was cloudy, upper 30's to low 40's for temps (Wisconsin). While riding, the music kept cutting in and out. The screen gave me the dreaded "Antenna" and "No Signal" messages while the tunes popped in and out between periods of silence. I'm using the little, magnetic antenna with the 20 foot wire. A friend with a new car that has XM radio who was driving at about the same time and said that she had no service interruptions. I know that satellite radio is susceptible to sun angle confusion, but I thought we were passed that time (maybe). I don't understand why she can get uninterrupted service and I can't. We both pay the same price!

 

My question is, would getting an XM GXM30 antenna and plugging it into my SkyFi2 as an antenna give me better reception? Is this even possible? I also have a BMW Zumo 550, so I can't just plug a GXM30 into the Zumo (unless Garmin updates firmware that permits doing this).

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Rick

Link to comment
My question is, would getting an XM GXM30 antenna and plugging it into my SkyFi2 as an antenna give me better reception? Is this even possible? I also have a BMW Zumo 550, so I can't just plug a GXM30 into the Zumo (unless Garmin updates firmware that permits doing this).

 

Your Zumo 550 is the interface to GXM30 antenna/receiver. My suggestion is to ditch the other SkiFi unit entirely and use the Zumo 550 as your sole XM play source. I'm a recent convert and newby to adding XM to my Zumo this way (see my thread on XM "puck" placement elsewhere here a few weeks ago). The only issue is that you would need to transfer your XM subscription to the GXM or add a "family" XM plan to keep both receivers active.

 

 

Jeff

Link to comment

I'm pretty sure you missed his quote in its entirety. The BMW Zumo doesn't feature XM. So a GXM30 isn't an option.

 

I personally am not aware of any external antennas for a Skyfi2, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Link to comment

My understanding is that a "normal" Zumo 550 will accept a GXM30 for a radio player. I have a BMW Zumo 550 (which I now regret buying). In the "dealer branding" of the unit, Garmin agreed to BMW's specifications, which included using Sirius radio (like their cars) rather than XM. Bottom line is that my BMW Zumo 550 won't allow the GXM30 to work without an update from Garmin. I sure wish that I could plug the GXM30 into my GPS, but that doesn't look like its in the cards for a while.

Link to comment
I'm pretty sure you missed his quote in its entirety. The BMW Zumo doesn't feature XM. So a GXM30 isn't an option.
Oops, edited to state I missed that he has a BMW branded Zumo. Many assume (as did I originally) that an XM receiver is already in the standard Zumo 550 and it just needs a GXM30 and subscription, so clarity on that is good. I can't imagine what advantage a separate, non-Zumo integrated XM receiver unit has over the Zumo 550/GXM combo, considering voice-over GPS directions momentarily overriding music source.

 

Jeff

Link to comment

Part of the reason XM works better in cars than bikes is that their antenna is attached to the roof which is an excellent ground plane. A bike's ground plane is much smaller. After I converted from standard ski fi to the GXM30 via a zummo 550, all of my drop-outs and fade-outs went away. Part of that reason is that GXM30 is not just an antenna, it IS the XM radio with integrated antenna (i.e. no 20 feet of wire to loose signal). The 550 just provides the man machine interface.

Link to comment

I had this same problem. Initially thought that it might be a corrosion issue and hit the antenna connections with some deoxit. Didn't fix the problem. Replaced the antenna with another standard XM antenna and it fixed the problem.

Link to comment

As someone pointed out, the GXM30 is actually an XM receiver inside an antenna. It will almost certainly not work with your SkyFi2.

 

The two messages you got from the SkyFi2 tell you different things. NO SIGNAL means the antenna is connected and working but the radio isn't seeing a signal. That can be because the signal is blocked by some obstruction or the antenna isn't aimed right. NO SIGNAL means nothing's broken, it just isn't seeing a satellite.

 

ANTENNA means that the radio thinks there's no antenna connected. This indicates that the antenna connector isn't connected (duh) or that there's an electrical or mechanical fault in the antenna, cable or connector (or in the radio connector). This is an indication of a hardware problem.

 

#1, try removing and reseating the antenna connector. #2, diddle with the antenna wire at various points and see if you can get it to say ANTENNA. #2, replace the antenna. You can get one for $14.48 at XMFanStore right now. #4, if you keep getting NO SIGNAL, move the antenna somewhere else on the bike. Higher is better so it can get a more unobstructed view of the sky.

Link to comment

Rick, you didn't tell us where you have your antenna placed. I've got at Skyfi2, with the antenna attached to the top of the clutch fluid reservoir via 3M Dual Lock. Never have any problem with reception. My radio is mounted to a homemade Lexan plate which fits between the handlebar mounts. All the extra 500 feet of wire is buneled under the Lexan, out of sight.

 

Other locations I tried with the antenna would occasaionally lose the signal.

Link to comment

If you're getting an ANTENNA display then your receiver believes there is no atenna hooked up. A NO SIGNAL message means there is an antenna hooked up but no signal. I believe that you have a bad antenna. I had an antenna go bad on my trip out to Gillette. It would keep giving me the NO SIGNAL message with clear blue skys. I bought a replacement from Cycle Gadgets and it fixed the problem.

 

 

Link to comment

First, thanks for the many responses, ideas to try, and advice. As far as to where the antenna is mounted, it is above the clutch reservoir. I have a RAM mount base plate on the clutch reservoir. Fastened to the base plate is a piece of metal that rises about 2 inches above the base plate. It is like the letter "z" with the slanted part being vertical. The antenna sticks very well to the piece of metal. The SkyFi2 radio is attached to the base plate using the standard RAM mounts. As Mark has done, I've bundled the extra antenna wire and tried to hide it under the tupperware at the front of the bike. Haven't had time to try the suggestions today - long "honeydew" list - but try them and post back on the results. Thanks again.

 

 

Link to comment

My advice: if you really like Sat. radio, sell your BMW branded Zumo to someone who doesn't care about the radio part, and get a "real" Zumo and the GXM30...and be done with it. I have the GXM30 running thru my Garmin 478 and it works flawlessly...signal may drop out occasionally in deep canyons but only briefly. The simplicity of having it all in one unit, plus the voice override for the GPS directions is worth it. It seems to be well designed and engineered. :wave:

 

(It even works in my garage when I'm working on the bike! Reception is very strong.)

Link to comment

I agree with bobbybob plus it solves the skifi not being waterproof issue. My reception with the GXM30/Zumo is much better than when I had a seperate XM radio/antenna.

Link to comment

Update. I went for ride yesterday and tried the antenna swap idea. Temp was 32 degrees, cloudy and windy (Wisconsin). Thank God for heated seats and grips! Tried swapping the standard, small, magnetic antenna with a lightly used one from a Roady2. There was a significant decrease in dropouts. The terrain here is mostly rolling hills of maybe 100 feet of local relief or just plain flat. This swap was a great improvement. Then I tried the home or inside antenna that comes with the SkyFi2. There were very few dropouts with this one as well. Interesting thing was that they occurred right away, but after a few minutes, there were none. Antenna break-in? HaHa. Beyond my knowledge level.

 

It seems like my problem is a faulty antenna. I'll continue to play with the other two antennas to achieve the best reception. Long-term, Bobbybob's suggestion seems to be the best solution. I assume that the BMW Zumo and "normal" have the exact same dimensions so that a swap of GPS units could be made with a willing partner. That would save having to re-wire. I didn't use the BMW wiring harness. I wired directly to the battery, via a fuse block.

 

Thank you to all who offered suggestions. This is the best web site ever!!!

Link to comment
...While riding, the music kept cutting in and out. The screen gave me the dreaded "Antenna" and "No Signal" messages while the tunes popped in and out between periods of silence.......

 

Was this a one time deal or does it happen all the time? I had that same problem when I first installed my Roady XT XM radio. I think its stock antenna is the same as yours. I kept trying different locations for the antenna until I found putting it on top the right hydraulic reservoir worked best. If your experience above was just a one time shot I'd not worry about it. I still get those error messages infrequently depending on the terrain, weather, etc.

Link to comment

Pretty much all the time. My antenna is above the clutch reservoir. I doubt moving it to the other would matter, but who knows? Going to Gillette WY, last summer, across South Dakota, it happened constantly. I ruled out the terrain blocking the signal there. Pretty sharp on my part, huh? When I got home, I replaced that antenna and that seemed to fix the problem - until several weeks ago. I don't understand why an antenna would "go bad." They don't get played with or are rarely even moved.

Link to comment
DaveTheAffable
My advice: if you really like Sat. radio, sell your BMW branded Zumo to someone who doesn't care about the radio part, and get a "real" Zumo and the GXM30...and be done with it. I have the GXM30 running thru my Garmin 478 and it works flawlessly...signal may drop out occasionally in deep canyons but only briefly. The simplicity of having it all in one unit, plus the voice override for the GPS directions is worth it. It seems to be well designed and engineered. :wave:

 

(It even works in my garage when I'm working on the bike! Reception is very strong.)

 

+1 Several have tried "cleaning, and re-installing" the Garmin firmware and have had no results.

 

From the Garmin FAQ-

 

Question: Does the BMW Motorrad zūmo® have XM capability like the zūmo 550?

 

Answer:

Unlike the zūmo® 550, the BMW Motorrad zūmo is not compatible with the XM service. BMW has an agreement with another satellite radio provider.

 

Too much money for the 550, XM30, Autocom, and Autocom Dongle. :mad:

 

I have it all, along with my Blackberry integrated (I'm on call) and I LOVE it. :/

 

Link to comment
Update. I went for ride yesterday and tried the antenna swap idea. Temp was 32 degrees, cloudy and windy (Wisconsin). Thank God for heated seats and grips! Tried swapping the standard, small, magnetic antenna with a lightly used one from a Roady2. There was a significant decrease in dropouts. The terrain here is mostly rolling hills of maybe 100 feet of local relief or just plain flat. This swap was a great improvement. Then I tried the home or inside antenna that comes with the SkyFi2. There were very few dropouts with this one as well. Interesting thing was that they occurred right away, but after a few minutes, there were none. Antenna break-in? HaHa. Beyond my knowledge level.

 

It seems like my problem is a faulty antenna. I'll continue to play with the other two antennas to achieve the best reception. Long-term, Bobbybob's suggestion seems to be the best solution. I assume that the BMW Zumo and "normal" have the exact same dimensions so that a swap of GPS units could be made with a willing partner. That would save having to re-wire. I didn't use the BMW wiring harness. I wired directly to the battery, via a fuse block.

 

Thank you to all who offered suggestions. This is the best web site ever!!!

 

Rick, consider that the intermittent problem could actually be in the radio itself rather than the antenna. They make those things as cheaply as possible--look at Ebay for used ones. Dirt cheap. The Garmin, by nature of the "completely sealed receiver/antenna unit" with no direct mechanical access to it (thru buttons, etc.) may be the reason why they work so well.

Link to comment
Pretty much all the time. My antenna is above the clutch reservoir.....

 

Yep, if it's that way almost all the time then my solution won't work. Hmmm. Since you've had two that acted like that, I wonder if it's the radio itself? Maybe a bad antenna input receptacle?

 

Is there anyway you can try a different radio?

 

PS - My new SkyFi3 radio just came to me today via UPS....it will be replacing a Roady XT radio......wish me luck. :Cool:

 

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...