Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio
Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio. Click image to enlarge

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Sirius Canada

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Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio

Since its introduction to the Canadian market in 2005, satellite radio has become a very popular alternative to mainstream radio. Many new cars now have satellite radio as standard or optional equipment. The appeal of this service is the wide range of channels offering every genre of music, sports, news, kids programming and talk radio, and the promise of commercial-free programming.

One thing we have all experienced when travelling: you find a station you like, and an hour later it’s faded away and you start searching again. Not with satellite radio. You could listen to the same channel from Vancouver to Charlottetown.

Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio
Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio. Click image to enlarge

Traditional radio signals are broadcast over the airwaves, which limits their range, while satellite radio, as the name says, is provided via satellites in space. Unlike traditional radio, which at times doesn’t provide the cleanest sound, satellite radio supplies users with a crystal clear sound no matter how far away from their local city they are.

SIRIUS Satellite Radio is the largest provider in Canada, with over 750,000 paying subscribers. SIRIUS has three satellites that travel in a figure-eight orbit above Canada and the U.S. This means that each day a satellite is directly above Canada, broadcasting its signal to your antenna at a 60-90 degree angle. This gives users more consistent coverage and quality.

“The orbit of SIRIUS’ satellites is well suited to Canada’s geography,” says Jeff Roman, Senior Manger Corporate Communications.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission requires Satellite Radio providers to maintain a one-to-nine ratio of Canadian to international programming. This means that of the 120 channels that SIRIUS offers to Canadian subscribers, 12 are Canadian produced. The Canadian programming partners include: CBC/Radio-Canada (English and French music, English and French news, sports, and current affairs programming), Score Media (English sports talk), Astral Radio (French music), The Weather Network (Weather in Canada). It costs $14.99 a month to subscribe, and there are savings benefits for signing up for one, two or three-year and lifetime terms.

Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio
Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio
Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio. Click image to enlarge

The newest receiver from Sirius is the Sportster 5. It has a large multi-color display, which can be changed to suit your vehicle’s décor. Included are a remote, a vehicle dock, antenna, and several mounts to allow various installation options. Universal accessory docking kits and audio systems are also available to easily allow this radio to be used in your home, RV, boat, office or in additional vehicles. The Sportster5 retails for $149.99 and the universal home kit is $69.99.

The universal home kit was easy to set up. You set the radio into the dock, hook up the power cord, and plug the audio cable into an auxiliary input on a mini system or audio receiver (you can also use amplified speakers). Then you hook up the antenna. The best reception can be achieved by installing the antenna outside the building (extension cables are available) on a soffit at the roof with a clear 360 degree view of the sky. The radio has a signal strength meter to help in positioning. I managed to get good reception by placing the antenna inside on a window sill.

For the car, I had my system installed professionally at Best Buy. Installer Nathan White did a fantastic job. On my vehicle (2006 Hyundai Santa Fe) he installed an FM modulator ($29.99) which eliminates outside static and interference sometimes experienced with a wireless FM connection. Just tune your FM to 88.1 and you get crystal clear sound. He also wired the power cable direct to the vehicle, which eliminates having to use a power point. He did a nice job of hiding the antenna cable under trim and seals for an invisible installation. Costs vary but typically its $99 plus any additional parts. Installing the kit yourself is not difficult, but I highly recommend professional installation for a nice neat appearance.

Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio
Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio. Click image to enlarge

The Sportster 5’s large well-lit and easy-to-read screen displays the channel, artist name, song title and time of day. It can also pause, rewind and replay up to 60 minutes of live radio. The other neat thing this receiver has is a sports ticker feature that can be programmed for your favorite sport and the scores updated live across a ticker at the bottom of the screen.

The programming is great and some of my favorites are the Blues, Jazz and Comedy channels. But programming is not entirely commercial-free. Unfortunately, the sports channels, comedy, news and many other channels are interrupted with commercials, just like most conventional radio stations. So far, the music channels are commercial-free.

Satellite radio is here to stay and for anyone who spends a lot of time in their car this is a must have. I have had the radio for over a month now and I am addicted!

For more information and other radio packages and options visit Sirius Canada.

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