This Is How Satellite Radio Works

Satellite radio has become such a large part of our lives, yet most of us aren’t quite sure how it works. If you’re wondering how it works, you came to the right place. We’ll give you a basic overview of the process.

With satellite radio playing in thousands of cars across North America, one might be inclined to believe that some voodoo magic is involved. Obviously, that’s not the case. There are a few satellites, signals, and radio receivers to thank for the luxury of listening to songs and shows on the road anywhere and anytime we want.

Satellite Radio Nitty Gritty

satellite radio service coverage area

Image credit: SiriusXM®

In the early 2000s, SiriusXM® sent two Boeing HS 702 satellites and then two BSS 702 satellites into orbit. All the satellites were placed in parallel geostationary orbit approximately 22,000 miles from Earth. They’re positioned in such a way that there’s a satellite above the continental United States at all times.

Today, the two BSS 702 satellites are the primary satellites while the Boeing HS 702 satellites serve as backups. Here’s what happens when SiriusXM®‘s ground station in the Washington, DC area transmits a signal to the satellites:

  1. The satellites automatically bounce the signal back to all the radio receivers on the ground, including the one in your car.
  2. Using a small antenna, your receiver picks up the signal, decodes the data stream in the signal, and converts it into over 170 channels.
  3. Your receiver decodes additional information from the signal, including the show/song title, the host’s/artist’s name, and the show/music genre. It displays the information on your SiriusXM radio screen.

What a time to be alive! If you have a car that lacks satellite radio, treat it to a piece of state-of-the-art 21st-century technology with a satellite radio kit from VAIS Technology!

Categories: Satellite Radio