Delphi's potent and pocket-friendly SA10000 XM SKYFi satellite radio receiver flits easily between home and car and puts XM Radio's wealth of music, sports, and news offerings at your fingertips, whether you're accessing the service's 100-plus channels via the receiver's stylish faceplate or through the supplied remote control. We found the receiver's display and controls well laid out and easy to navigate. More importantly, XM's radio service is every bit as enjoyable as its hardware is simple.
Use of the receiver requires a paid monthly subscription to XM Satellite Radio ($9.95 per month, no contract required). You'll also need either a car or a home docking apparatus such as the Delphi SA10002 XM SKYFi vehicle kit or the Delphi SA10034 XM Portable CD audio boombox (whose use is by no means limited to the home). The receiver pulls in the signal, while a docking station provides DC power and traditional features like speakers, headphone jacks, and antennas, depending on the accessory. For this review we used
the XM portable boombox. It bears repeating: the SA10000 receiver will produce no sound without an ancillary listening device.
The XM service offers good music with minimal repetition whichever direction you turn, all conveniently arranged by category or by channel. Using the remote's display button, you can even view the artist or the name of the song currently playing as you scroll past stations. XM's channels break down into 68 music channels (all of them commercial free), 33 channels of news (ABC, CNN, Fox, and a host of other mainstream networks), sports (led by 2 ESPN and 2 NASCAR channels), talk, and entertainment (Discover, E!, others), as well as instant traffic and weather updates for 21 major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Within the major music categories--rock, "hits" (pop), country, jazz/blues, and urban--subgenres abound, offering many exciting places to revisit classics and discover new favorites. Notably anomalies are channels devoted to new age (Audio Visions), progressive-rock/jazz fusion (XM Music Lab), rock bands lacking record contracts (Unsigned), and great moments and music from films (Cinemagic). There's even a channel for Starbucks' excellent HEAR Music, centered on jazz musicians and singer-songwriters and the musicians who inspired them.
Underserved are classical music (3 channels cover orchestral music, vocal music, and single movements of larger works), children's music (teens may enjoy Disney radio, but XM Kids is just plain soggy), world music (7 channels, 4 of which are Latin and 1 of which is devoted to music from Jamaica), and--most surprisingly--electronica. XM's dance and electronic music leans heavily on beats, going mainstream with hip acts like Royksopp, Moby, and Zero 7.
The receiver offers 20 station presets (2 banks of 10) and 10 memory settings, which recall artist, song, and station after the fact so you can make notes or hunt out CDs later.
To evaluate XM's sound quality we fed the headphone output from the SA10034 boombox to an integrated amplifier and speaker setup. Quality proved remarkably consistent channel to channel. Relative to our CDs and MP3 music files, the quality of the XM service sounds closest to 128 kbps MP3--wholly listenable and usually downright enjoyable, if not as smooth, full-bodied, and detailed as linear (uncompressed) CD sound.
Bass is decent--a little hyped on rock material, like FM radio--and the treble frequencies sound natural and free from most of the artifacts often heard in lossy digital compression. XM's classical programming sounds even better than its rock programming, with fewer artifacts and a wider stereo soundstage. Better than FM? For its silky background quiet and slightly wider dynamic range, we'd have to say yes. --Michael Mikesell
Excellent sound quality
Great indoor reception
Consistent audio quality, station to station
Commercial-free music channels
Excellent pop and alternative-rock selection
Dedicated progressive-rock/fusion channel
Deep country/folk, urban/R&B, and jazz/blues offerings
Includes a new-age channel
Localized traffic and weather updates
Not usable without ancillary hardware (a headphone jack would be nice)
No NPR (though XM Public Radio is a good approximation)
Minimal electronica coverage
Limited classical selection
Weak children's offering
What's in the Box
Delphi XM SKYFi radio receiver (SA10000), wireless remote control, 1 CR2032 lithium battery, and operating and quick start guides.
Step into the future of radio with the Delphi XM SKYFi radio receiver, which connects to the XM satellite radio network and over 100 channels of programming. You'll get crystal-clear reception, whether at home or on the road, thanks to XM's powerful satellites and vast network of repeater stations throughout the continental U.S.
With the SKYFi vehicle kit, the SKYFi radio receiver is easy to set up for satellite transmission through your car stereo.
Note that the SKYFi radio receiver requires a monthly subscription, as well as either the separately available home or car connection kit to receive XM radio signals.
The sleek, compact SKYFi radio receiver features a large orangish-red 5-line display (with adjustable font size) that displays song title, artist, channel category, and channel name/number information. It has control buttons for on/off, saving song information to memory, and preset programming (up to 20 presets), as well as a scroll wheel that enables you to quickly search through the channel categories and stations. The SKYFi radio receiver also comes with a remote control with the same control buttons as well as an audio mute control. The remote control uses a 3-volt CR2032 lithium battery, available at most retailers that carry electronic products.
The SKYFi radio receiver inserts neatly into the SKYFi Boombox for satellite radio wherever you want to take it.
You can listen to one station while previewing program information on up to five other channels. Additionally, you can save the song and artist information displayed on the SKYFi radio receiver to help you remember your favorite songs when you hit the CD store. The line-out level control adjusts the audio level if it is too high, causing distortion, or too low for your car.
What Is XM Satellite Radio?
XM Satellite Radio was the first satellite radio service to be offered in the U.S. It features a state-of-the-art broadcast center in Washington, D.C., two Boeing 702 satellites (providing 18 kW of power--the most powerful commercial satellites ever built), and approximately 800 terrestrial repeaters located throughout the continental United States for seamless transmission. Service is not available in Hawaii or Alaska.
XM Satellite Radio offers 101 channels, including 70 music channels, over 35 of which are commercial-free, and 31 news, sports, talk, and children's channels, broadcast coast to coast in digital quality. Basic service is available for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99, with premium channel(s) available at an additional monthly cost. Under the XM Family plan, subscribers get a discounted rate of $6.99 per month for additional radios.
XM's programming partners include Sesame Workshop, NASCAR, Associated Press, ABC News, CNBC, CNET, BBC World Service and BBC Concerts, Radio One, CNN/Sports Illustrated, Hispanic Broadcast Corporation, Disney, and ESPN.
What's in the Box
Delphi XM SKYFi radio receiver (SA10000), wireless remote control, one CR2032 lithium battery, and operating and quick start guides.
(sometimes called ski de randonnee, ski mountaineering, and AT [alpine touring] or variants) uses special ski equipment
that enables the user to climb then descend slopes without the aid of ski lifts. The principal differences are a binding with a freeheel for climbing and skins that attach to the base of skis. The free heel makes for fluid, walking like movements when climbing or traversing flat slopes. The skin, usually made of Mohair or Nylon or a mix of the two grips the snow and prevents the ski from sliding backwards. Climbing on skins is usually referred to as skinning. Slopes of up to 25 degrees can be climbed directly. Steeper slopes, up to 35 degrees, can be climbed in a series of traverses linked by kick-turns or conversions. Beyond 35 degrees it is often easier to strap skis to a special touring rucksack and climb on foot, perhaps with crampons.
Climbing steep, icy slopes usually requires ski crampons (also known as harscheisen or couteaux from the German and French words). Made of sheet steel or aluminium these have a sawtooth pattern which grips the slope and are attached to the binding or directly to ski. Once the objective, summit, mountain pass or ridge, is reached skins are removed and stowed in a rucksack and the heel is locked down (except for telemark where the heel remains free). The skier descends much as he would on a ski resort.
Ski tourers face dangers from avalanches, crevasse falls on glaciated or pot-holed terrain and falls on icy slopes. Typically each member of the group will carry avalanche search and recovery equipment including an avalanche transceiver, snow shovel and probe. On glaciated terrain each member of the group will wear a climbing harness and will usually be roped together for climbing and possibly for parts of the descent.
Pure touring skis typically weigh less than 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) for a pair. Bindings range from 600 grammes (1.3 lbs) to 1.8 kg (4lbs) per pair. Touring skis are durable to cope with a range of conditions. They often feature a small hole at the spatula which can be used
to construct a stretcher although with the spread of mobile phones and mountain rescue services this is not so essential nowadays. Touring skis sacrifice downhill performance and the lightest may require considerable skill on behalf of the user. Skis for powder use will usually be wider and shaped to aid flotation and turn initiation. Extreme skiers may use straighter, stiffer skis which give better grip in icy conditions. Skis are shorter than those used
Touring boots weigh from around 2.5 to 4 kg (5.5lbs to 7.5lbs). They are shorter than downhill boots and will feature a profiled rubber climbing sole (Vibram). They are more flexible than downhill boots which gives less control, especially at speed, in difficult snow or on steep terrain.