Well, your right about some of it.. but alot of it is misleading JML.
Sirius operates 3 geosyncronous elliptical orbit satellites. It's being made to SOUND as if they fly in all kinds of weird directions and shapes, they don't. They follow a specific orbit. The orbit by ground tracking looks like a Figure 8 pattern, wide circle to the South (over South America) and a smaller circle over North America (Manitoba, Canada specifically). There is always one satellite powered down while it is below the equator, and there IS ALWAYS two broadcasting satellites far above the equator (where XM's two satellites are located). Both satellites are typically 60 to 90 degrees elevation anywhere in the United States AND Canada. While both companies are only licensed in the CONUS. The handoff between satellites only occurs as one satellite is rising, and one is setting. But during this 5 second transition, one satellite remains broadcasting at full peak of its orbit. Sirius provides near-uninterrupted signal to all of the CONUS, most of Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Cuba. You will never hear that from Sirius, but it has been reported from many Sirius customers all over the country. Not to mention Sirius has an exceptional signal at home in the CONUS. Urban, or in the middle of the Grand Canyon.
Sirius has less repeaters (around 110), because they don't need around 1,100 repeaters like XM has. Their satellites are not blocked nearly as often as XM's. And to further improve reception at airports, and other venues.. Sirius is adding 50 more repeaters over the next 9 months.
Home reception is easy to achieve with any satellite radio product, as long as you position your antenna properly. With XM, point it out of a Southern facing window and you'll be great. Sirius, point it toward Manitoba Canada (where one satellite always is) and you will get excellent reception. If your not sure where to position it, that's why home units come with a "zone" brochure to show you the area you should point your antenna to receive the best possible signal. If you do as recommended by the Home kit for the product you purchase, you will always receive uninterrupted service. Rain, sleet, or snow.
And to that report you posted, that was quite a long time ago... right after Sirius had launched service. XM had MANNYYYY reception issues with their repeater network for months after their national launch. But no, XM fans didn't see it that way. Sirius couldn't be given several months to work out the bugs. They shouted that Sirius was inferior, and XM was better. Not so anymore. You also seem to know XM's cash position well, but did you take the time to sort out Sirius's? Aparently not. XM is still in debt, significantly.. around $1 BILLION in debt. Sirius eliminated $1.1 Billion in debt ($200 million remaining and due in 5 years), and is currently OVERFUNDED by nearly $300 million beyond cash-flow breakeven in 2005. Now, i'm not trying to sound rude here.. but did you just not do any research on Sirius financials, or are you stretching it out for XM to sound better?
Take a Kenwood Here2Anywhere, or an AudioVox SRS Shuttle just about anywhere and I guarantee excellent reception.
As far as the Friends & Family promotion. It is legit, no term requirements. But you maybe out of luck if you didn't jump on this sooner. John has been running low, so call if you havn't already.