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Question Of The Week

Blocked Sirius XM Satellite Radio Antenna Solutions

TCM readers have outsmarted Ram trucks and found several solutions to the blocked Sirius XM antenna challenge.  Readers also reveal solutions for Chevy and Ford trucks.

This week’s Question of the Week was, “How have you solved the blocked Sirius XM satellite reception on your truck camper rig?”

Ram 3500 Sirius XM magnet adapter

“I found a $15 combination magnetic GPS and Sirius antenna that should work on your Ram 3500.  It would be placed on the truck’s hood.  Link: Pink Antenna – Navigation Blutooth GPS Sirius XM

The less attractive and more costly alternative is to do what I did initially to my Chevy, which was to purchase a second factory shark fin antenna and mount it out on the hood or front fender of the truck.

Unfortunately, this would require drilling a hole in the hood/fender to mount the antenna and route the cable.  Also, other drivers tend to hum the theme from Jaws when they see your vehicle on the road.“ – John Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F

Sirius XM Magnet adapter on Ram truck

“I had a 2011 Chevy that I fixed the blocked Sirius XM antenna problem using your very helpful article, “Blocked Sirius XM Radio Antenna Quick Fix”.  I took it off the truck when I traded it in this spring on a 2015 Ram 2500.  I thought I could easily put the antenna on the Ram just as I had on the Chevy, but I could not find that same box that was behind the glove box on the Chevy.

I took the antenna and Fakra adapter to my Ram dealer as I did not want to tear my truck apart looking for the connection.  When they were done, they had the antenna mounted exactly as shown in your picture.

On the way home I noticed the signal cutting in and out.  I moved the antenna more on top of the hood and have had no more problems.  I do not get the “Check Antenna” message on my radio screen like you do.  My truck does not have GPS navigation though.” – Terry Gfeller, 2015 Ram 2500, 2013 Lance 865

XM Sirius Ford truck

“We had the same problem that you had, but found that Ford has a solution available through their parts department, which relocates the antenna onto the cowling on the driver’s side, just in front of the windshield.

The antenna part is FOMOCO DC3Z-10E893-A.

The only problem is when driving northeast, there is still some radio signal blockage. Otherwise, it works great and is an easy install.” – Nick Rukavina, 2015 Ford F350, 2015 Northstar Arrow 8.5

“I have an Onyx Sirius XM radio in our truck.  I put the antenna on left front fender.  The Onyx control head slips in and out of a car kit so I move it between vehicles and my shop.  I was able to find additional car and home kits on eBay pretty cheap.

I recently renewed my Sirius XM subscription.  I was able to negotiate a lower rate and upgrade that allows me to also listen to Sirius XM radio via the internet.  The first couple of Sirius reps I spoke to said they could not reduce subscription price and no upgrade was available.  I left the call saying that I was still thinking about renewing.  On the third call, the rep was eager to keep me as customer, so they dropped the subscription price and gave me the upgrade.” – Rich McGuire, 2006 Ram 3500, 2008 Bigfoot 3000

Ram Sirius XM camper block fix

“A friend of mine made me a mount that I installed under the front edge of the hood over the passenger’s headlight.  I then mounted a factory Ram rooftop antenna in the mount, and ran the cable back to the passenger’s side kick panel where I unplugged the rooftop antenna and plugged in the new front mount antenna.” – Ken Colvin, 2011 Ram 3500, 2011 Real Lite HS1810

“I mounted the antenna on the center line of hood about 6-inches from the back edge.  I do lose signal occasionally when the satellite is behind me.  The antenna is out of reach from passing hands.  I mounted another on my Jeep in the same spot!” – Tom Best, 2008 Ford F450, 2010 Chalet TS116

“Long ago I bought a XM Skyfi (if I remember the name right) which had its own subscription.  It receives the signal and rebroadcasts out to any FM radio.

I have an antenna mounted in my boat, truck camper, and a unit in the house that I move the Skyfi unit to and from.  It works great in the camper with the antenna on the hood like your truck.

As a bonus, with the Skyfi sitting on the dash, I receive good signals to the camper radio as well.  I point the remote through the camper’s sliding window and can change stations from the camper.  Some of these systems are getting too complicated, but we enjoy the satellite radio.” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E

XM Sirius camper blocking solution

“My 2011 Ford F350 was factory equipped with GPS and Sirius radio.  With the camper on the truck, GPS signal was non-existent and Sirius marginal at best.

The truck was ordered with camper special package, so I claimed it was a warranty issue.  I had to elevate it to the local dealer service manager, but I got it fixed under warranty.  They left the original antenna on the roof and put another on the far left side of the plastic cowl at the bottom of the windshield.  I’m not sure if they combined the two antennas or just connected the new one.  The parts used were all from Ford.” – Dave Erickson, 2011 Ford F350, 2006 Arctic Fox 990

“I bought another antenna from Ford and mounted it on the cowl on the driver’s side by the windshield.” – Rob Abear, 2015 Ford F350, 2015 Arctic Fox 990

“I think you have a different problem.  The one antenna on the roof does both cell phone (for the Uconnect) as well as for the GPS receiver and Sirius receiver.  Yours should have a shark fin antenna with two cables.

See here: http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/bodybuildersguide/2014/ramHD/

Look on the left side of this page, under electrical wiring, and click on the + sign to open upfitter electrical instructions.  Then select satellite radio and cell antenna relocation guide.  This shows how it’s wired.

Note: All the pictures on the linked page above are upside down.  Read the text and you will see this is the passenger’s side where antenna routes.

Mine does not have NAV or even cell (I have the U-connect 5).  For me, it was as easy as pulling the A pillar on passenger’s side.  There is a connector in there for coax cable I took apart.  I bought an 18-inch extension cable from the same people I think you are dealing with.  The Sirius stuff plugs right into this factory cable after you take the plastic outer connector cover off.

I ran this extension down behind the glove box.  I also routed the radio end from the A pillar location to this same place behind glove box.  Then I ran that same antenna you bought from the center of the hood (really it works best in center of the hood) and then behind the dash.  I came in through passenger’s side fender well, into the door opening, through a piece of rubber in the door jam, and into that area where your feet kick the panel on passenger’s side.  I also ran this antenna end up to behind the glove box.

When I load the truck camper in the summer, I put the puck on the middle of the hood, drop the carpet below the glove box, and plug the hood antenna into the cable that goes to radio (behind glove box).

When I unload the camper in the winter, I unplug the hood puck and hide it under the hood.  Then I plug the extension cable from the original radio into the cable that goes to the radio (behind the glove box).

The problem you have is that your antenna might have two leads; one for cell, and one for NAV/SAT.  You are trying to plug the Sirius puck antenna into the combo NAV/SAT cable.

I only have one cable, for SAT only.  I do see a part number listed on one of those drawings for what they call the puck antenna, which is what they are calling SDARS.  On one of those pages it shows the 05064973AB puck antenna back on top of cab, all the way in back of driver’s side.  My 2015 is up by the clearance lights.

To be honest, in some areas I have found my Sirius magnetic mount antenna on the center hood still is not that good, so I will stream music from my cell phone direct into my radio over Bluetooth.  You can stream from Amazon prime for free if you’re a member and you have even more choices that Sirius radio.” – Will Rosenberry, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Wolf Creek 840

XM Sirius GPS Antenna on Dodge Ram truck

“I found a Sirius Dual Antenna Kit from OEMautopartsco.com.  It’s an OEM Chrysler product for Jeep/Dodge vehicles for the radio and GPS.  I had to access the back of the radio to remove the antenna connection and plug in the new antenna.  It’s the same connector and color.

The only issue is that the unit is not a magnetic mount.  It has a nut and bolt, so I had to fabricate a mount and attach it to the front of the truck.  The GPS and radio work perfectly now.  I had a little concern about the mount protruding from the front of the truck, but it hasn’t been a problem.  I don’t know if this antenna connection will work on the other truck brands.” – Richard Sassone, 2013 Ram 2500, 2011 Northern Lite 8-11 Classic

“I have a GMC and the remote magnetic antenna works fine.  This does concern me for my next truck, which more than likely will have this issue since auto manufactures tend to share the same suppliers.

I have two suggestions gained from a similar issue with a third party radio which was used in a boat and a previous Ford truck.  I suggest you try another brand of remote antenna first.  I found that a Shakespeare branded antenna did not work, but an XM branded antenna did the job with one radio and the opposite was true with a different radio.

If swapping antennas doesn’t fix the issue, then the next option is to purchase the factory Ram cab mounted antenna assembly and install it either on the camper roof or somewhere on the truck that’s not blocked by the camper.  I did this with the a F450 Ford truck.  The only thing you need is a suitable mount and Fakra extension cable.  I could speculate more but, without getting my hands on the radio, I would be guessing.” – Scott Park, 2011 GMC 2500HD, 2015 Lance 865

Shark-fin-5500-kauffman

“I had the same problem.  With my 2012 Ram 3500, I bought a shark fin antenna from Ram and fastened it on the hood with a magnet using Gorilla glue to the magnet and antenna.  There is a junction in the line from the factory antenna in the passenger’s side kick panel.  I unhooked the factory antenna (yellow one) and coupled in my new antenna.  It worked great.

For my 2015 Ram 5500, I did the same thing except I drilled a hole in the hood and mounted the antenna permanently.” – Jim Kauffman, 2015 Dodge 5500, Eagle Cap 1160

“This isn’t the solution you’re looking for, but it’s a sure-fire way to get Sirius XM reception on newer Ram pickups.  Move up to a 5500 with an 84-inch cab-to-axle chassis.  Then, mosey on down to Douglass Truck Bodies and have them build you an 11-foot camper truck body with cab-high compartments up front.  The extra 3-foot setback puts the front of the cabover well behind the factory Sirius XM roof mounted antenna, enabling satellite radio reception 100% of the time.  Of course, being the doltish clod that I am, this perk never occurred to me until I read your article.” – Gene Yale, 2016 Ram 5500, 2015 Host Mammoth

“I got an XM auxiliary antenna bought from Crutchfield with a 20-foot antenna lead.  I bonded a small steel plate on the top of the camper’s roof with RTV.  Make sure to remove the antenna when unloading the camper from the truck.  I didn’t once.  I hope I don’t forget again because it’s kind of expensive.” – Ray Steinmeyer, 2007 GMC 3500, 2007 Host Yellowstone 115DS

“I was told that if you take it to a Best Buy they will solve the problem.  If you get the answer for a Ram, please forward it to me.” – Stephen English, 2014 Dodge Ram 3500, 2013 Lance 1172

“I installed a hood-mounted antenna and a Sirius docking station inside the truck.  The audio output from the Sirius radio is fed into the Aux input of the truck radio.  I do not use the factory Sirius radio.” – David Gladstone, 2016 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox

Sirius XM with CampLite Camper

“Soundwerks Plus in Freeport, Illinois put the wire under the lining, and on the front of my rig.  Only an inch of wire is showing.” – Betty Stratton, 2014 Ram 2500, 2015 CampLite

“We purchased a Sirius XM radio that plugs into the 12-volt power port and uses the radio tuned to a free channel for the truck stereo.  I ran the magnetic antenna to the hood.  The only annoyance is having to occasionally find another free FM channel as you run down the road.  When driving south or southwest we get reception from the installed roof antenna.” – Steve Wright, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 1172

“I solved it by letting the free first year Sirius XM subscription lapse, and just doing without.  This took care of the issue for me.  I’m finding NPR and other public stations to be more edifying than most commercial broadcast outlets, and I’m also becoming more aware that I just don’t need much else.

Sirius/XM is great, but for me, not paying is better.  This does not solve your problem and it would not have been acceptable to me years ago, but I find it to be a good thing to do a little off-loading once in a while.  Two more things not paid for; a new adapter and a new antenna.  Thanks for tolerating geezer attitudes.” – John Tully, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 855

“I have no solution.  I’m only commenting that, one, this is an annoying problem and I wasn’t aware it was a wide spread issue, and two, it was my next project to conquer.  I am thankful for your timing as you probably saved me from a serious waste of time.

My Ram truck fix was to add an antenna to the Ranch Hand grill guard.  My GPS unit still receives, but I am suspicious how they would work together given what you experienced in your article.  I look forward to the responses and possible solutions.” – Travis Shull, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2015 CampLite 9.6s

“Problem solved!  I didn’t have to take my dashboard apart either!  I loaded my 16GB flash drive with 2,700 of my favorite tunes.  Now we hear our music crystal clear with no drops whatsoever!  We dropped our subscription to Sirius and saved some bucks too! Done.  Easy-peezy!” – Dan Daddieco, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165

Sirius shark fin on hood

“I purchased a factory antenna along with the longest cable extension and put on a hood ornament.  Using a cardboard template from under the hood I marked it and made the hole.

Sirius XM shark fin on hood

I drilled and ran the cable through the right side A-pillar as the radio connection is in the pillar.  This install works great!” – Donald Starkey, 2015 Ram 3500 Longhorn, 2005 Lance 1121

“The first time they installed the antenna they put it under the front of the hood, but I was back three days later because it didn’t work.  I have a huge front bumper with my oversize spare tire on the front.  The installer put the antenna behind the tire on the bumper where it had clear access and was as far away as possible from the cabover.

The other idea we had was to put the antenna on top of the camper with a quick disconnect for when the camper was off the truck.  The bumper fix worked, so we didn’t have to go any further.” – Karen House, 2005 Ram 2500, 2005 Lance 811

“The number one thing you need is a really, really smart technician/mechanic at the dealership of your make of truck.  We were told too many times that the problem was with our camper blocking the signal.  And in part, that is true, to some extent, especially when headed north.  We originally had the after-market Sirius antenna installed on the hood and connected under the glove box.  Wrong!

Our really, really smart guy at our local GMC dealership went on his computer and printed out the entire wiring schematic for all the high technology.  It was clear to him right away that plugging in under the glove box was the wrong place because it disconnected the navigation system.

He reconnected the factory antenna at that spot and connected the after-market Sirius antenna to a spot up in the ceiling above the headliner which was the specific Sirius XM connection.  It has been greatly improved ever since.  The next step we are thinking about is putting the after-market Sirius antenna on the roof of the camper.  If we do that, I have learned that the antenna has to sit on a piece of flat metal as there is some magnetic interaction between the antenna and the metal to make it work.

I don’t know if we will get to this this year or next, but would love to know if anybody else has put it on top of their camper.  There would have to be a connect-disconnect plug which we haven’t quite figured out yet.  The bottom line is to get a really smart technician and a printed out schematic of all the high tech wiring.  That way it should be obvious to someone who knows what they are doing.” – Marcy Jones, 2015 GMC Sierra 3500, 2015 Northstar 9.5 Igloo U

“No.  The oddity is, with the antenna in the back right (from driver’s perspective) cab roof location, the GPS works perfectly with the camper on, but no Sirius XM.  So I dug in via the Diesel Truck Resource site and someone suggested the remote Sirius XM mag mount antenna (no one as I recall mentioned the Fakra unit) as the receiver unit that is behind the front passenger’s kick panel has two plugs, one for Sirius XM and one for GPS.  So I simply unplugged the Sirius XM plug from the unit and plugged in my remote.  Oddly, Sirius XM worked, but the GPS did not!  I tried swapping the plugs, nothing.  I think we’re simply screwed.” – Nik Rende, 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 2001 Lance 1121

Here’s a link on the Cummins forum to a possible work around on XM/GPS on the Ram trucks.” – Charles Patton

“I couldn’t believe you posted this subject.  I read your last article twice trying to get around my problem, but my F350 doesn’t have a separate Sirius module that I can get to and adapt a second antenna to.  The Sirius receiver is built into the Ford factory stereo and getting to the back of that dashboard takes an act of God or a small Army.

I called Sirius to see if they could be of any help and the first person I spoke with couldn’t find any answers (on his pre-configured help screens) so he pushed me up to the second level of support.  The gentleman who answered the phone became my small Army.  His first words were, “First, you have to promise you did not get this from me”.  I said, “Okay” and we continued.

Sirius XM Vehicle Kit DV3

He said to get on Amazon and order a Sirius Stratus 7 Receiver Kit with Automotive Mounting Kit.  While I was on Amazon, I bought two additional mounting kits, as he suggested, without receivers – I’ll explain later.  They are very simple to install.

Mounting magnet antenna

You mount the antenna out on the front of your hood and route the cable safely back into and through the firewall to your mounting point.

Sirius XM magnet on Ford hood

Connect the supplied line in cable and plug to your truck’s (Sync for us Ford folks) line-in jack, connect the supplied cigarette lighter plug to a convenient power source and then connect them and the antenna plug to the Power Connect vehicle dock.

Sirius radio using 12-volt

Find a convenient mounting point for the dock and get it mounted with the supplied Gorilla sticky backing.

Quick change Sirius XM head mount

Once you are ready and can power up the radio, call Sirius and cancel the ESN of your F350’s radio.  Tell them you are transferring your subscription to a new receiver.  Once you are through, you can give them the new ESN of the Stratus 7 receiver.  Once the change is complete, you are up and running.

Sirius XM can also be used on car

He asked, ”You said you had a car that your service ran out on?”.  I said, “Yes”.  He said, “Now you can install one of the additional mounting kits in your car and the other in your camper and have Sirius service in three vehicles for the price of one subscription”.  I mounted the second kit in our Ford Fusion which was also very easy.  I haven’t mounted the third kit in the camper yet and I’m not sure if we need it.

Oh yeah – Sirius didn’t tell me this!” – Jim Duarte, Ford F350, Eagle Cap 850

“Previously we had a Ram 1500 with 1800 pounds of payload.  We upgraded to a 2500 and bought the Adventurer 80RB.  To address your question, the Sirius radio antenna on the 1500 was positioned on the roof about a foot from the back window.  The cabover blocked signal about 80% of the time.

After getting the 2500, I noticed that the Sirius radio antenna had been mounted on the roof about six inches behind the windshield (much further forward).   The cabover on the 80RB does not block the signal at all even though it sits above the antenna by a little bit.  We have perfect reception.” – Neil Mullen, 2016 Ram 2500, 2016 Adventurer 80RB

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