GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I saw an old thread or two about this but I thought I'd start this one because I'm thinking of dropping the headliner and getting to the XM antenna to see if there's anything I can do to boost the signal. Has anyone tried anything?

I live in the country and didn't really pay much attention because the only place it went out was along a ~1 mile stretch where there are high power lines on the side of the road. But... I've been doing more driving down in the city this week and just about every city road that has power lines on one or both sides causes the XM radio to lose signal. It's so bad that either I'm going to stop using XM or I have to fix it somehow. None of my prior cars had this problem in the same places.

So I guess I'll start by asking, has anyone tackled this problem and gotten any results? Of course, the car is under warranty (2017) but from the older threads it doesn't seem like much relief is to be had by taking it to the dealer. I'm hesitant to do that anyway because it makes me cringe thinking about the dealer tearing into things.

Thanks,
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
I think there is something wrong with your antenna or the wiring that connects to it. I think the antenna is in the shark fin, and working in there would require minimal "tearing into things." Maybe start there and see what you find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Mikey

Have the same issue with my '17. Strangely it's not every channel. I haven't researched it fully but typically the lower channels (6-9) almost never cut out, the comedy channels (94-99) cut out maybe 25% of the time. I haven't taken it in for it yet though I should - maybe I'll mention it during my next service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I pulled down the headliner in the back today. I could see the two sets of wires going into the shark fin. I assume one is probably FM and the other XM. Both plugs were tight but they were routed right next to some other wires. I moved them away a little so they weren't running parallel to the other wires. Will see if that makes any difference tomorrow. Also, I had SXM send a refresh signal. Don't see how that could help but there were a number of reports saying it helped reception for people. Maybe placebo since I thought a refresh did nothing but open up channel numbers based on subscription.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
Just as a data point, I get virtually perfect reception on all XM channels except when I drive into a parking garage, and 2 other specific spots: one is under a rail road overpass, and one is as I pass through a somewhat deep stream valley with heavy tree cover overhead. It will drop out for ~1 second at those spots. Otherwise it is solid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Just as a data point, I get virtually perfect reception on all XM channels except when I drive into a parking garage, and 2 other specific spots: one is under a rail road overpass, and one is as I pass through a somewhat deep stream valley with heavy tree cover overhead. It will drop out for ~1 second at those spots. Otherwise it is solid.
SXM is satellite based. So if you can't see the sky, you aren't going to get reception.

In general, the radio in this car sucks. SXM, FM, all get poor reception. Haven't we already discussed on this forum that the Volt is not a luxury car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
SXM is satellite based. So if you can't see the sky, you aren't going to get reception.

In general, the radio in this car sucks. SXM, FM, all get poor reception. Haven't we already discussed on this forum that the Volt is not a luxury car?
I'm in FL. Sats are high in the sky and none of these areas have an obstructed view! We're talking open sky w/no or one story buildings set back off the road. Would you consider a 2013 Kia Soul a "luxury" vehicle? Because that car never loses SXM signal: in the same spots nor anywhere else for that matter. If a Kia Soul with a dollar store radio can do it, I don't see why a GM vehicle with their flagship (decent) infotainment system can't.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
I'm in FL. Sats are high in the sky and none of these areas have an obstructed view! We're talking open sky w/no or one story buildings set back off the road. Would you consider a 2013 Kia Soul a "luxury" vehicle? Because that car never loses SXM signal: in the same spots nor anywhere else for that matter. If a Kia Soul with a dollar store radio can do it, I don't see why a GM vehicle with their flagship (decent) infotainment system can't.

Mike
Hey, the Korean's make most of the best electronics these days... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,763 Posts
Satellite Radio signal reception in North America is affected by how far south you are relative to the satellites' track. In some locations terrestrial repeaters are used to augment what would otherwise be a weak satellite radio signal. The Gulf Coast could be one of those areas with marginal satellite radio reception.

Some years ago I tried to used a Sirius Radio receiver from home, this was in South Florida. I had to return the radio as I could not receive the signal from the home location even with an optimal window exposure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Satellite Radio signal reception in North America is affected by how far south you are relative to the satellites' track. In some locations terrestrial repeaters are used to augment what would otherwise be a weak satellite radio signal. The Gulf Coast could be one of those areas with marginal satellite radio reception.

Some years ago I tried to used a Sirius Radio receiver from home, this was in South Florida. I had to return the radio as I could not receive the signal from the home location even with an optimal window exposure.
AFAIK, the XM satellites are closer to the equator so you should get a better signal in the south. But even if that's backwards, that explanation still requires a reason as to why all the other vehicles I've had in this same area in the past 10 years have no problem, yet the Volt does. 2005 Corvette, 2008 Solstice, 2010 GMC Acadia, 2009 Challenger, 2015 Challenger, and 2013 Kia Soul: all zero problems in the same area.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
AFAIK, the XM satellites are closer to the equator so you should get a better signal in the south. But even if that's backwards, that explanation still requires a reason as to why all the other vehicles I've had in this same area in the past 10 years have no problem, yet the Volt does. 2005 Corvette, 2008 Solstice, 2010 GMC Acadia, 2009 Challenger, 2015 Challenger, and 2013 Kia Soul: all zero problems in the same area.

Mike
There's a very easy explanation. Lousy radio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
That is why it seems likely you have a disconnected antenna wire terminal, broken antenna or antenna wire, interference, or some similar kind of problem that is affecting your reception.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
If you really want to figure it out, go to the local dealer and listen to a radio on the lot and compare.
I'll take it to the dealer soon. The problem is going to be repeating the problem at the dealer as it is sporadic. I guess I'll have to make note of the areas where it drops out on the way to the dealer and maybe tell them to try it in those locations.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
I'll take it to the dealer soon. The problem is going to be repeating the problem at the dealer as it is sporadic. I guess I'll have to make note of the areas where it drops out on the way to the dealer and maybe tell them to try it in those locations.

Mike
If every Volt radio on the lot performs as poorly as yours, you are SOL. If not, you have a case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
If every Volt radio on the lot performs as poorly as yours, you are SOL. If not, you have a case.
This is probably true, although I once had a vent problem on a Honda. The tech checked another car and said they all do that. I said, yeah, I know... they are all broken (and proved it). He fixed it under warranty. And he even had to drill a hole and add a screw that was never designed into the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
This is probably true, although I once had a vent problem on a Honda. The tech checked another car and said they all do that. I said, yeah, I know... they are all broken (and proved it). He fixed it under warranty. And he even had to drill a hole and add a screw that was never designed into the car.
I'd take a rogue screw right in the middle of the roof if it'd fix the problem. ;) Oh well, time is scarce for me right now but hopefully by the end of next week I can take it in.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
I read through this thread and there is a lot of information. XM should perform very well in South Florida as it uses geostationary satellites orbiting above the Equator. Sirius on the other hand (as an earlier poster mentioned) worked better in the North as it used multiple satellites that were in a lower non-stationary orbit which had a center point somewhere around Minnesota. They now both use the geostationary satellites. In my case I haven't had an XM reception problems with my Gen2 Volt in central Florida. I have a couple of areas where I am in sight of a microwave tower and get drop outs close to it. XM reception when I am in Northern Michigan is a different issue when driving on tree lined highways in an east-west direction as the trees will cancel the signal. If you take the car to the dealer, he can check the signal strength from the antenna to the head unit and see if there is a problem.

I have had either Sirius or XM for years and when living in the North (and with the old satellite system) Sirius was the only option. XM's compression on their music channels is so bad I have given up listening to music on XM and have gone to streaming services such as I-Heart radio, Pandora, Slacker, Tune-In, etc. No drop outs, no fading and the data usage isn't that bad. You can also stream XM with your subscription if you have the XM app. This might work for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
You can also stream XM with your subscription if you have the XM app. This might work for you.
Thanks for that detailed response! I picked out these last two sentences because I did that just last night: I activated the online streaming for my XM account. I downloaded the app and it works fine but I haven't tried it in the car yet: as I understand it, you can't operate it from Android Auto. Do you know if, using the XM app, you can have it stream in the car and also be able to operate it via the infotainment display as you would an Android Auto app? It becomes a lot less useful to me if I have to listen to it with the aux cord and I have to activate the phone display in order to see the song names. The artist/song name are important to me because when I hear something new, I like to make note of it so I can go watch the video, etc. later.

Thanks,
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,782 Posts
Mine only drops out when the antenna doesn't have LOS to the satellite(s). Running up and down the hills in OK and MO I rarely have a signal issue. I do find that the quality of the radio output is not good. It is way attenuated compared to other sources.

This particular setup sounds like there is a definite issue. Especially since other satellite radios work in places this one does not.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top