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XM Roady2 Install

Before I bought my new 2004 Jeep Wrangler, I had a Delphi SkiFi XM satellite radio receiver inPICT0004stalled in my Chevy S-10 pickup truck.  While one of the nice features of the SkiFi (and new SkiFi2) receivers is that they can be moved from vehicle to vehicle (or boom box or home stereo for that matter), I could not find a place that looked right for it in my new Jeep. It just felt to big and bulky for the Jeep’s tighter quarters. 

AfterPICT00014 doing a little research on new XM radio receivers, I opted for the new Roady2.  The RoadPICT00017y2 is not quite as portable as the SkiFi in that it does not have the same freedom in cradle availability. However, it is quite a bit smaller, and comes with everything you need to start using it out of the box as opposed to the SkiFi which requires you buy an optional cradle to use it... either a car, home or boom box.

Finding the “right” mounting place in your vehicle is always the challenge due to several factors. First, you want to find a place that gives you optimum viewing of the screen without compromising your view of the road or other instruments. Then there is the matter of cabling: power, antenna, and PICT000502audio output

In my truck, the bulkier SkiFi (in its bulkier cradle) fit easily next to my steering column affording a good viewing location as well as fairly easy access for cabling issues. In the Jeep however, the steering column area did not work well for mounting. The column is shorter and the turn signal control was in the way.  There was a spot down on the center PICT0008console that could of worked, however, I felt it was not as favorable for viewing while driving, since one would have to look down past the shifter. I instead opted for the overhead area above the windshield.  It provides for easy viewing while driving with just a quick glance over to see the controls.
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Of course the challenge in this was the wiring, since I now had to route all the cables from the top of the wind shield down to the underside of the dashboard.  In the truck I had a cassette player with an external CD player, so it was simple to use the cassette adapter option for audio.  On the truck my CD player already used an external FM modulator for audio, which precluded me from using an external FM modulator for the SkiFi (I tried it, it did not work well).  I simply used the cassette adaptor option, and routed the cable through the dash so that the cabling was nearly invisible. 

This was not an option on the Jeep, since there was no cassette player.  No direct input either like some after market radios have.  I was going to have to use an FM modulator for audio input.   This turned out to be easy since the Roady2 has one built in. Simply find the quietest frequency from a selection of about ten, and then tune both the Roady2 and your FM receiver to the same frequency.  It should be noted that while this does work relatively well, the signal quality is not the best.  It is easily as good as any FM station you will receive, but not nearly as good as digital satellite is capable of. In the near future I will be installing an external FM modulator that connects inline with the antenna (similar to the CD player in my truck) and will add the details here at that time.

The antenna mounting is a little more difficult on a Wrangler than some vehicles, since the tops are not metal, the tops are removable, and there is no trunk like on most vehicles. This does not mean there are no options, there are several actually. You can mount the included antenna on the hood, which should work as well as a trunk mounted antenna will. You can mount the antenna on some other metal structure with varying degrees of success depending on location, or you can purchase either a glass mounted oPICT0002r chassis mounted antenna. I decided to give the included antenna a try until I could find another optional antenna that I liked. For my first try, I decided to place the antenna on the passenger side top hold-down clamp that is behind the passenger side visor.  This worked surprisingly better than I anticipated.  I do experience loss of reception occasionally since this is a vertical instead of horizontal orientation.  But around town and for most daily driving this works quite well.  For my next test I am going to make a small metal bracket that will run horizontal and parallel to the inside roof top, and then mount the antenna on top of the bracket. One of those visor shelves or radio mounting brackets would also work I imagine. This should in theory work as well as a roof mounted location since the tops on Jeeps are non metallic.PICT0010

For power, I simply made an extension cord for the included adaptor cable and ran it down behind the various covers to the unused cigarette lighter socket (the Jeep has two - one that goes on/off with the key, and one that is always powered).  In the near future I will be installing a hardwired adaptor to eliminate this one visible wire in the cockpit. (UPDATE: The XM RF Modulator install on PAGE 2 eliminated the need for this mod).

For now I am quite happy with the installation.  UPDATE: I have added an XM RF Modulator to the system for increased fidelity. You can read about the modulator install on PAGE 2.

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