Can You Hear Me Now?

This is a problem that I’m sure we could figure out a solution if there is a solution but if some of you have solved the problem before, please tell me how you did it.  We’ve had so much going on that we haven’t taken the time to try to figure out solutions.

Above shows the XM Radio sitting in the window.  Do you notice that the antenna is outside the window?  That’s fine til it rains or worse, til I forget and leave it outside one night and the dew ruins it.  Between the metal building, the 11″ walls and maybe the Low-E windows, we cannot get a signal for anything!  We have the booster for XM but it does nothing to improve our reception.  Same thing in the house . . open a window and stick the antenna out and I have satellite radio.

And . . the cell phone . . same thing!  We have a micro-cell in the house but apparently only one micro-cell will work, though I having fully accepted AT&T’s explanation of why that’s so.  With the micro-cell, the cell phones work in the house.  Without the micro-cell in the sewing room . . no cell phone service.  Not by the windows, not by the doors . . I have to walk completely outside to get cell service and out here, we don’t have 3G so unless I go back to the house with the micro-cell, there’s basically no cell service.

And . . can it get any worse?  🙂  Seriously, these are all minor inconveniences but as you might guess, the wireless internet from the house will not come through to the sewing room.  We ran cat 6 lines out there but til the electrician can get the trench dug and wires over there from the house, I have no internet out in the sewing room either!

Once the internet is hooked up, we’ll get another Magic Jack phone out there.  We’ve had Magic Jack for a couple of years now and love it.  It should work fine out there and at least I’ll have a phone.  Doesn’t look like we can get a Brownwood number and since our home number is a Joplin number, no telling what number we’ll choose for the sewing room!  🙂

Maybe I should forget about the internet, forget about the cell phone, forget about the radio and just sit myself down and sew all day without interruptions.  Seriously does anyone have a fix that you’ve tried and you known works?



  1. 1


    I’m sorry I can’t help you but I know I certainly couldn’t do without my technology now that I have it–cell, computer and radio! One of your very smart readers will certainly have a solution.

  2. 2

    Sharon Spingler says

    I have XM in my studio and in our bedroom. For the studio, I have to wedge the antenna in a window and close it up as far as I can to keep it locked into place. Then I filled the rest of the space with pieces of batting to keep the wind out. It’s on the east facing side of the house so not much chance of rain coming in. Not that we get a lot of rain.

  3. 3


    Doesn’t XM have the ability to have internet access? There are lots of radio stations that use the net to broadcast. I listen to and watch on my laptop.

    So perhaps once the trench is out there to the studio, you could use the laptop to access it? But, if you have music playing, can you still get good speed for other programs? And, they probably charge for the additional internet service but it might be a possibility to use the internet and get rid of the physical radio/antenna.

  4. 4


    You’ve discovered one of the disadvantages of living in a really rural area…no reception. We have the same problem here in our little NE Nebr. town. We have steel siding on our house & the only way to get regular radio reception is to put the radio on top of the water heater in the basement with a wire running from the antenna to the water pipe…weird. Cell phones don’t work the best either. I like peace and quiet but DH can’t handle it. There are booster antennas for wi-fi….maybe something like that would work for XM too.

  5. 5

    lw says

    You need a roof mounted xm antenna like this one: Terk XMICRO2 Single INPUT High Performance Roof Mount XM Antenna. It’s at amazon for about $12. There are other ones out there as well.

    You can try cell phone roof mount antenna or repeaters for the cell.

  6. 6

    Julie B says

    You have built what is known as a Faraday cage – completely surrounded by metal. Radio waves cannot travel through metal, so you will not be able to receive anything that is received via radio waves. If you want internet, you will need to thinkabout cable routes. Telephone/internet via cable underground, or overhead! Then you’ll be able to play your radio through your internet.
    I am in the UK, so cannot talk about the different US internet/phone providers. But I spent 10 years working in a mobile phone infrastructure company so do have a good idea of what I am talking about.

  7. 7


    Welcome to the world of steel sided buildings. When i had XM, I left the antennea outside all the time, mine wasn’t bothered by weather. We now have our satalite radio (sirrus) thru our cable provider, so I don’t have to pay extra anymore as it comes with our package. For internet, we went with a hotspot (verizon) so it goes wherever I’m at, since we needed to have internet in our shop on occasion also, so it just goes with me and its cheaper per month than our last provider, I can’t stream movies with it but I didn’t do that before anyway.

    Anything i possible when you live in the country if you just explore all the options.

  8. 8

    Sally H says

    Our XM antennas stay outside all the time — been doing it for years without a problem. They are out there in snow, rain, whatever, and the only time I think about them is when the cat wants in and blocks the signal .

  9. 9

    Denise says

    Hmm…. a little yellow rain slicker and umbrella for the antenna? Okay, not helpful but you have to admit it would be funny. 🙂

  10. 10

    Roberta says

    When you find out how to get radio I’d love to know. We have a similar problem with our metal house. We don’t have cell phones and just one cable entrance with wifi so good though the house with that.
    With a faraday house you are safier if there is every and EMP attack, your things won’t be damaged but might not connect because others are down.

  11. 11

    Jan W. says

    We have a steel building in Wyoming and the xm antenna is attached to the underneath side of the skylight and works great. The xm satellite is located just over central Texas, almost straight up, so you need to place your antenna in a direct line of sight. Also, the weather doesn’t harm the antenna if it’s left outside. I can quilt; my husband sends you his xm knowledge!!

  12. 13

    Vickie says

    I have 2 solar tubes…which are like small skylights. I put the antenna there. Yup living in the country is special!~!! I remember the first time the electricity went off….I forgot the pump wouldn’t work so we had no water either LOL. Now we have a generator…Handy little unit 🙂

  13. 14

    SarahB says

    For the cell phone you might have to get a “network extended” box that hooks to the internet to increase your reception. Problem with this is that the little magic box still has to be in the highest point in the house/sewing room and close to a window. We have one on top of a bookcase in the center of the house but we don’t have a metal house either. Also it doesn’t solve the internet problem… I think the idea of installing a solar tube and putting the antenna in that is great! You can run the tub right over the storage overhead into the roof of the garage. Just make sure your builder puts something around the tube to protect it from bangs and bruises when moving storage above the sewing room.

  14. 15


    No solution, but if it helps any, I live right smack dab in the middle of baton rouge and I have to go outside for my phone to ring and to pick up my messages. That worked fine when Bonnie Doon needed to pee every hour, but the bassets have cast iron bladders!


  15. 16

    Kristin says

    I can relate to your technical difficulties. I live in an all cement condo (block walls, slab floor and ceiling) that was built by the government 60 years ago. I have minimal outlets and in my sewing room, the radio doesn’t like to come in when it’s plugged in with the iron. So annoying! Good luck sorting things out.

  16. 17


    We finally went with ethernet over power for connecting up the parts of our home wireless network, in a large old house with a lot of interference locally. It works fabulously, and might well solve your network problem without running wires.

    (Ours was to replace a setup in which multiple wireless access points tried to do wireless bridging with each other. We can generally talk to the nearest access point; the wireless bridging was the weak link.)

  17. 18

    Cynthia T. says

    I asked my brother who is a computer geek and here is what he had to offer:

    Hi Sis,

    I read this a couple of days ago but it was as I was leaving work.
    It sounds like it’s her XM that’s a problem. I have that too and they’re really sensitive about needing their antenna facing the southern sky.
    If she get’s the web OK (I don’t recall from the article), then an option exists for an additional $2.95/mo which gets you XM over the internet with your existing account. I do this to get it on m,y Ipod.

    I might not renew wityh XM though if I could figure out a way to utilize Pandora when I.m offline.

    I have something else here though that helps if you’re only getting a weak signal – for web’ not XM. It’s from enGenious and it’s a signal booster. Don’t have model # handy but can get it.

    Must get moving. Love you!