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Satellite Radio Companies
By Jason Allen
The introduction of satellite radio has been one of the biggest innovations in recent FM broadcasting history. This radio signal can be heard at a distances of thirty five thousand kilometers and beyond. That is more that twenty two miles with a clear reception, no static and more than one hundred stations to listen to. The inception of this concept was 1992 when the Federal Communications Commissions gave up the S band on the radio wave spectrum (2.3 GHz) to Digital Audio Radio Service. The companies that were initially given a license to broadcast on this spectrum were XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Currently, there are three satellite radio services broadcasting around the world: XM and Sirius in North America and WorldSpace in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The three satellite radio companies each have a different system for broadcasting their signals. This means that a customer would end up buying specific equipment depending on what company they subscribe to. There are three parts to a satellite radio system: the ground repeaters, the satellites and the radio receivers. The XM satellite radio has satellites that are geographically located above the equator at all times. To combat the issue of obstacles such as hills, bridges and buildings, the XM radio service has a network of repeaters. These are antennas that get the signal from the satellites and transmit it to the subscriber’s radio. The Sirrus radio service is set up a little

differently. The satellites are elliptical in structure and they orbit the Earth. Because these satellites are on a higher level, the signal is usually clear and there is no need to have quite as many repeaters.

The satellite radio programmers are able to choose what music or program to fill air time. Many use CD’s or have musicians come in to perform live. This sound is transmitted via a digital format. The signal is encoded by the satellite and then sent to the repeater antennae. The repeater moves it along to the subscriber’s radio which decodes the signal and plays the sound. Satellite radio also utilizes digital compression which is a method of reducing a set amount of information into a bandwidth using complex algorithms. If you are a subscriber, you will have to purchase the correct equipment to get the signal.

The amount of people who subscribe to satellite radio has grown due to the improvements made to the technology. The appeal of the radio station has always been the fact that the radio doesn’t depend on advertising to pay the bills, therefore the programs available are commercial free.


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This page was updated on Nov 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.