How Can I Get Better Reception on My XM Radio?


XM Radio is one of two radio frequencies that operate from a satellite in North America. It's run by Sirius XM Radio and provides pay-for-service radio, much like cable does for television. Even though it's called XM, the letters actually mean nothing. Many XM radios are run through unused FM stations. Getting poor reception from XM is often not so much a matter of buying better hardware, but about hardware configuration.

Research the Best FM Stations to Use

  • If you're receiving your XM Radio through an unused FM frequency, suggests that you visit the following website for a listing of the clearest unused stations in your local zip code:

    Using a radio station with an influx of static will result in poor performance. Simply enter your zip code and the site will give you at least one station, saving you the trouble of searching for a station on your own.

Use an Old Satellite Dish for Reception

  • If you use XM Radio primarily at home, switching from the conventional FM frequency to a satellite dish can be effective. Don't worry about trying to find a newer model dish. All satellite dishes will work equally well. The only disparity between dishes occurs when you're trying to pick up television waves. Radio waves are so much easier to transmit that ultimately it doesn't matter what kind of dish you buy. Browse local garage sales, check out used goods websites such as, or ask a friend who's throwing one out. Simply replace the antenna that comes with your XM Radio kit and install the dish. Your reception will be better.

    The microwaves from the satellite will bounce off almost anything. Align your dish to the best reception in the sky. You can find a corresponding satellite by visiting the following website:

    Get out your smaller antenna and put it on the receiving arm of the larger dish. You even can use very basic materials such as duct tape to temporarily set it in place. Move the larger dish around until you hear that you have proper reception from your radio.


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