Rock and Roll Satellites Beam Satellite Radio Coverage to Earth

If you are new to the satellite radio wave, you may be wondering exactly how satellite radio works and more importantly how it is possible to provide you with such crystal clear coverage continent-wide.

Satellite radio is able to provide coverage through two satellites which orbit the atmosphere. The satellites are Boeing HS 702 satellites which bear the ironic names of Rock and Roll. One satellite is located 85 degrees west longitude while the other satellite is located 115 degrees west longitude. The satellites orbit approximately 22,000 miles high above the Earth.

Rock was the first satellite to be placed into orbit on March 18, 2001. The second satellite, Roll, went up into the atmosphere on May 8th of the same year. In the event one of those two satellites should experience problems, a third satellite is ready and waiting to be launched.

A satellite radio station back down on Earth transmits a signal to the two satellites, which then bounces the signal back down to the ground again. Radio receivers owned by consumers who subscribe to satellite radio have the capability of receiving and then unscrambling the digital signal. That particular digital data signal can contain up to one hundred channels of audio content.

Along with the encoded sound, the signal can also contain further broadcast information as well. This includes the song title, artist and music category. This information can be displayed on the LCD of radio receivers, providing consumers with information about the audio content they are hearing through their satellite radio.

Since buildings could potentially block out the signal from the satellite in urban areas, broadcasting equipment is further supplemented by transmitters on the ground.

A unique chipset is contained within each receiver. The first chipsets were delivered to manufacturers in the fall of 2000 in anticipation of the production of satellite radio receivers and the arrival of satellite radio programming. Two integrated circuits are contained within each chipset. In addition, each satellite radio contains a small antenna which is capable of receiving the digital signal broadcast from the satellite.

From the very beginning car manufacturers recognized the value that satellite radios would present to consumers and began investing in digital satellite radio. GM quickly invested several million dollars, with Honda quickly following suit. In late 2000, General Motors began installing the first satellite radio receivers in their vehicles.

Since that time, the satellite radio industry has advanced rapidly and consumers can now choose to have not only satellite radio receivers in their vehicles but also in their homes as well. Small hand held satellite radio receivers also make it possible for consumers to take their music and programming with them wherever they go.

Subscription prices for satellite radio service fit just about any budget, providing subscribers with the ability to listen to a digital sound that is crystal clear. Subscribers also gain the advantage of having access to more than 100 channels of talk, news and music. A large majority of the satellite radio stations are commercial-free. Even the channels which are not commercial-free have far less advertisements than standard radio.

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