In flight satelite WX

ultrarunner

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I am considering WSI Inflight and XM Weather Works. Both installs price pretty close. User interfaces are similar as well from looking at each of their websites.

WSI has a bit higher annual subscription rate, but advertises all of North America and also into Canada.

XM indicates their satelite coverage is only continental US and coastal waters.

So, with the amount of flying we do in the islands, Carribean Sea, and Central America, I am leaning toward WSI, as it appears I'll have coverage in those areas.

I would like some comments from those that have used these systems. Also, does anyone recall which trade pub reviewed these systems recently?

thanks
 

bigD

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We have XM, and it's been great. Real time weather (well, 5 minutes old), as well all the text information (METAR's, etc) you need at your fingertips. I wasn't the one that made the decision to implement it, so honestly I don't know if it's better or worse than any other system. I only fly domestically, so the coverage isn't an issue.

We have tablet PC's to display the information, and the data is fed to the tablets via Bluetooth. It's pretty slick - no wires anywhere.
 

ultrarunner

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bigD said:
We have XM, and it's been great. Real time weather (well, 5 minutes old), as well all the text information (METAR's, etc) you need at your fingertips. I wasn't the one that made the decision to implement it, so honestly I don't know if it's better or worse than any other system. I only fly domestically, so the coverage isn't an issue.

We have tablet PC's to display the information, and the data is fed to the tablets via Bluetooth. It's pretty slick - no wires anywhere.


The Bluetooth option...I will inquire about that.

thanks
 

AlabamaMan!!

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WSI is very good also. Havent had any problems with it, but have not used XM so I cant compare the two. Its great to have anything like that on board, especially when doing transcons, to keep your options open a lot further out with more go-juice on board.
 

mike1mc

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bigd,

does the XM box send the info via bluetooth to the EFB? We are using FG-4000 units from ADR and looking at XM. We have the service hooked up to an Avidyne EX500 in our King Air, and looking at getting the service for some of the jets with the EFBs. You get METAR, TAF, Winds Aloft, etc? Thanks.
 

bigD

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mike1mc said:
bigd,

does the XM box send the info via bluetooth to the EFB? We are using FG-4000 units from ADR and looking at XM. We have the service hooked up to an Avidyne EX500 in our King Air, and looking at getting the service for some of the jets with the EFBs. You get METAR, TAF, Winds Aloft, etc? Thanks.


Yes, the Bluetooth is used to send the XM data to our tablet PC's. We don't use specific EFB's - just a Windows based tablet. Incidentally, the tablets are also our personal PC's, so we take them home with us and use them for day to day stuff too (I'm posting this from my tablet). We do get METAR's, TAF's, winds aloft - basically everything you'd get by looking at a WSI station.

It's nice, and pretty easy to use. There are no wires to deal with, and it's essentially just like having WSI sitting in your lap while you fly. The only problem is that the tablet PC I use (from Motion Computing) has a backlight that's pretty bright at night, even on it's lowest setting. I wish I could make it a little darker. We're also trying to find good ways of mounting the thing. Right now I just have it on my lap, but it's not lashed down at all, which is kind of a problem in heavy turbulence. It's a little too large to be somehow attached to the yoke. So we're still experimenting.
 

Diesel

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Big D-

I'm looking at doing the same thing. Can you send me to some websites or something that sells the bluetooth setup or did you just make it yourself.

Where is the antenna mounted? How do you have the antenna hooked up to bluetooth? Also what level subscription are you on? Are you running it off of 12v?

Please give as much info as you can thanks.
 

bigD

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Diesel - we did everything pretty much through Anywhere Map - www.anywheremap.com . The XM receiver has the Bluetooth functionality built in. It's tucked away, hidden behind the co-pilot's seat, and is directly wired into the 24 volt system (I fly a Cheyenne II). The XM antenna is attached to the fuselage. The GPS portion of the system uses the same antennas that the Garmin 530 and 430 use. We pay $49.99 per month for the serivce.

The nice thing is that you can buy the setup without the tablet - so you can pick whatever PC solution you want. If you'd like, you can get the tablet PC included - it just depends on what you want to do. We could get the tablets cheaper elsewhere, so we elected to just get the XM receiver, and we got the tablets on our own.

It's a lot of functionality for not a lot of money. We're happy.

As far as the tablet itself - we don't have it wired into the electrical system of the plane. The battery life is about 4.5 hours, so I just make sure it's charged before I fly, and have it run off the battery.
 

SabreFlyR

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bigD said:
Diesel - we did everything pretty much through Anywhere Map - www.anywheremap.com . The XM receiver has the Bluetooth functionality built in. It's tucked away, hidden behind the co-pilot's seat, and is directly wired into the 24 volt system (I fly a Cheyenne II). The XM antenna is attached to the fuselage. The GPS portion of the system uses the same antennas that the Garmin 530 and 430 use. We pay $49.99 per month for the serivce.

The nice thing is that you can buy the setup without the tablet - so you can pick whatever PC solution you want. If you'd like, you can get the tablet PC included - it just depends on what you want to do. We could get the tablets cheaper elsewhere, so we elected to just get the XM receiver, and we got the tablets on our own.

It's a lot of functionality for not a lot of money. We're happy.

As far as the tablet itself - we don't have it wired into the electrical system of the plane. The battery life is about 4.5 hours, so I just make sure it's charged before I fly, and have it run off the battery.

Could you tell me who did your installation? I would like to find out how they connected the portable unit to an external antenna.
I've got the XM bluetoothed to our FG-4000, but am using the portable antenna. The avionics shop I dealt with said there was not a way to connect this XM receiver to an external antenna because of the difference in the connectors. I have the external antenna already installed in anticipation of eventually installing the certified version but it would be nice to do away with the portable antenna in the glareshield in the meantime.
 

bigD

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SabreFlyR said:
Could you tell me who did your installation? I would like to find out how they connected the portable unit to an external antenna.

I wasn't the one in charge of getting it done, so honestly I don't know. I'll make some phone calls and find out - although it might be Monday before I get an answer for you.
 

SabreFlyR

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bigD said:
I wasn't the one in charge of getting it done, so honestly I don't know. I'll make some phone calls and find out - although it might be Monday before I get an answer for you.

I'd appreciate it. So far nobody, including Weather Worx can tell me where I can find a connector that will hook the portable unit up to the fixed permanent antenna.
 

Diesel

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Interesting, thanks for all the info. I didn't realize the xm had a bluetooth in it. I'd like to go with a non permanent install for the short time being and I saw on NBAA airmail once that guys were putting the antenna on the dash and stuff like that. Our king air is in the experimental category anyway and I'm trying to avoid paperwork until it's out of experimental.

I've got the tablets allready so that works out pretty cool. I got sick of updating the books when i only use a couple of airports.

I've owned a bunch of xm radios over the years. I actually got an email from xm explaining that i was the first 100 people to sign up years ago. I remember signing up but having to wait for them to turn the satelites on, i knew it would be a hit.

XM's real buisness is data but the music is the way people understand what the unit does. How big is the antenna? A size of a quarter like the auto or bigger?
 

Diesel

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BigD-

Thanks for the website. It had exactly what i needed and it looks like it's not that big of a cluster F. I'm trying to decide if i want the wx or the GPS capability.

I'm using jeppview and having a gps would be nice because it expands what jeppview can do. Such as using the following on the map.

How was the setup or was the system installed before you got the job?

I'm going to have the guys run a cigaret lighter behind the seat and put everything there.

Would you suggest the 49 or the 29 dollar subscription? We only fly about 4 times a month but they are 5-6 hour legs to florida.
 

SabreFlyR

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Diesel said:
XM's real buisness is data but the music is the way people understand what the unit does. How big is the antenna? A size of a quarter like the auto or bigger?

It's a little bigger than a postage stamp. I lay it at the bottom of the windshield in the Beechjet and it works good. Only problem I have had is a weak signal when we're in the northeast, but just sliding the antenna further up on the glareshield sloves it.
We have had no problems with the bluetooth receiver and also use a bluetooth gps receiver with XM and it works great to. If you get in touch with Wx Worx they'll set you up.
 

Diesel

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Thanks it sounds like the antenna is the normal size. When i first got xm the antenna was the size of a brick. Now they are real small and compact. That's great. I've installed xm in all my cars and even carry a myfi.

I'll be ordering the setup on monday and hope it comes before friday. I'm still deciding which subscription to get... Is the 49 dollar one worth it? We only fly 4 times a month if that but would like to have all the info we can get. Do you really use all the info?
 

SabreFlyR

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Diesel said:
Thanks it sounds like the antenna is the normal size. When i first got xm the antenna was the size of a brick. Now they are real small and compact. That's great. I've installed xm in all my cars and even carry a myfi.

I'll be ordering the setup on monday and hope it comes before friday. I'm still deciding which subscription to get... Is the 49 dollar one worth it? We only fly 4 times a month if that but would like to have all the info we can get. Do you really use all the info?

We use the radar, strikes and metar/taf the most, but the rest of it comes in handy for us at times. In the scheme of things for us the extra $ didn't make much difference.
 

bigD

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Diesel - we're on the 49.99 subscription, although I tend to spend most of my time using the radar. Knowing the tops of the storms is nice, which doesn't appear to be available on the 29.99 option. With the money the company spends to fly the plane to begin with, I think the extra twenty bucks a month tends to get lost in the noise.

I wasn't around when the plane got fitted with this (I've only been flying it for a few months), but I've heard that the installation was very easy.
 

Diesel

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Yeah you're right i'll go with the 49 dollar option. It wasn't the price that was the worry just how much did you use the features.

I'm just sitting here waiting till monday when I can order the stuff. I'm going to have have the avionics shop wire up connection behind the seat.

One question though. Sorry.

On the website it shows a bluetooth GPS. I'm guessing that's a gps only bluetooth antenna it's not XM too? The XM antenna would be wired and is about the size of a 50 cent piece. They don't have any bluetooth XM antennas do they? Wire's drive me nuts.
 

bigD

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Diesel said:
On the website it shows a bluetooth GPS. I'm guessing that's a gps only bluetooth antenna it's not XM too? The XM antenna would be wired and is about the size of a 50 cent piece. They don't have any bluetooth XM antennas do they? Wire's drive me nuts.

I'm going to have to go out to the airplane to see exactly how it's set up - I haven't really taken a good look at the installation. My understanding is that there are two Bluetooth enabled receivers - one for the XM weather, and one for the GPS. The Bluetooth is what allows both the GPS and XM weather data to be transmitted to a tablet PC without any wires - it can't be used to eliminate antenna wires for the receivers.

Tomorrow I'm going to search for some answers on my particular setup. All I know is that there are *no* visible wires anywhere in the plane, and I do know that the receivers are wired directly into the aircraft power. Unclear is how we're dealing with the antennas. I've been told it's hard wired there too, but I don't know how that's being done.
 
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