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XM Radio Goes Offline - Two Days of No Service

On Monday XM Radio attempted an upgrade and mentioned that some customers may have some disrupted services due to a software issue. Overnight, some subscribers received an e-mail message that anticipated "full signal strength will be restored by early Tuesday morning." Apparently, the delays lasted a bit longer, and some fans at popular forums began to share information about their situations and observations.

From Tom Servo at the XMfan.com forums:

XM apparently tried to do a software update on XM-3, and it failed. In trying to get the satellite back up, they had to move it, which required shutting off the transmitter(s).

It's now "the next day" and it's still not back on. XM is saying it could be this afternoon (Tuesday afternoon, EST) before service is restored.

While there the two "live" satellites both cover the continental US and southern Canada, each throws more signal over one side of the country. In this case, XM-3 is over the Eastern US, and it is here that more outages can be expected.

The higher in latitude you are, the most likely you'll experience problems, since the satellites will be lower in the sky.

All terrestrial repeaters, as far as we know, get their signal from XM-3 only, which means they are all off. Reception in urbanized areas is going to be very tricky.

Since there's not another satellite acting as a buffer, anything that gets between your antenna and XM-4 will cause a dropout.

If you have a home kit / home receiver / portable and aren't getting a signal, try moving your antenna around. If you can get a clear view of the south-southwestern sky, you should get some signal.

People with Roady-type receivers (and I think Commander and SkyFi's too) can access the service menus like this:

With the receiver off, press 2-0-7 on the keypad, followed by the "select" or "XM logo" button. To scroll through the menus, press the display button.

Of special interest to aiming antennae is the "BER %" selection. The numbers are a percentage of the block error rate. I think (but don't hold me to this) anything under about 3.0% will get you solid reception. The first number is for XM-3, the second for XM-4 and the third is for terrestrial repeaters. Right now mine says "100 - 0.0 - 100" meaning only one satellite is being received.
What is more odd, is that XM Radio posted NOTHING at all on its website informing users of the issue or any steps being taken to resolve it. As a result, users were forced to figure it out on their own and deduce the situation from other advanced users and troubleshooting methods.

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