Well, it got better after a little while, so I thought it was just a (inexplicably) rough patch of reception I had to pass through. Actually, it turned out to simply be the final gasps before the tuner in my S50 finally blinked out for good. I got nearly 3 yrs out of the thing, so I suppose that isn't too bad (though I know that well-built electronics in this day and age should and do last far longer than a paltry 3 years). To be specific, the docking unit and portable unit got this far completely functional (nothing "bricked" or lights out), with the exception of a "burnt out" tuning circuit that would actually provide a viable satellite signal to the rest of the device. It even survived the latest firmware update (which was rumored to brick some docking units, outright). It did run pretty "hot", so I imagine that was the key ingredient to bring its eventual demise.
I replaced it with the cheapest unit I could find (an Inv2)- no way is Directed Electronics going to get another $300 off of me for a Stilleto, and have that go to pot. The S50 experience has reinforced the impression to me that they are still a 2nd rate electronics designer when it comes to equipment robustness and freedom from bugs- sorry to say.
So I just wanted give an update to the peculiar reception issue I experienced earlier. The antenna was fine. The exposure to satellite/terrestrial transmitters was fine. It was just a tuner with 1 foot in the grave. If you have an "older" model with the larger chipset that "runs hot" that amazingly still runs, you are a winner for getting one of the few "good" units that came out of that era of Sirius hardware...but please take note, it may still be subject to a decidedly finite lifespan due to its inherent running temperature. Over time, it's going to cook itself until something critical fails, imo.
Margot Robbie is THE most exquisite human creature on the face of the planet, in this moment in time.