A peek inside the MiRGE radio - Orbitcast

A peek inside the MiRGE radio

MiRGE RadioOh sure, I got to manhandle the MiRGE (the first truly interoperable satellite radio, ever) at CES 2009 a couple months ago, but what I really wanted to do was smash it open with a hammer and peek inside at the guts.

But thanks to the boys at the FCC, no hammer is necessary in order to do a virtual autopsy.

Buy the MiRGE direct from Sirius - the only place you can get the MiRGE. Includes interoperable "Dock & Play" Radio + Vehicle Kit. (Now a new lower price!)
[Click for more info]

Get the MiRGE Home Kit and enjoy both Sirius and XM in your home, office, or on your other stereo system/powered speakers.
[Click for more info]

What you see up top is the front cover off, and that's actually the beginnings of the XM circuit board. Below you can see the back cover off, unveiling the Sirius circuit board:

MiRGE Radio

When we remove the heat sink, now you can see the entire Sirius PCBA (nicknamed "Picasso") exposed in its full glory:

MiRGE Radio

Flip the circuit board over, and you can see the front view of the Sirius section of the MiRGE:

MiRGE Radio

Now we take a look at the XM side of the MiRGE. Here's the front view of the XM circuit board. Note the user controls (knob, push buttons, etc.):
MiRGE Radio

Flip it over, and we see the rear view of the XM circuit board. The heat sheild has been removed in this photo:
MiRGE Radio

Quite literally, the MiRGE is two Sirius and XM satellite radios coupled together, with two individual circuit boards. It uses the XpressRC as the platform, with the main proprietary component being the interoperable antenna.

Unfortunately, I think we'll need a hammer to get inside the antenna.


Something is keeping it off store self. I wonder what it is? I'm guessing its to expensive to make on a mass scale.

Thanks for the intel. As posted looks like XM & Sirius receivers sandwiched together.

I'm gonna hold on to my trusty 'lil 'ol SkyFi (generation 1 - circa 2002) untill my sub runs out next year and more than likely buy a "Slacker" unit. Price will probably be down then.

Just about bought a reconditioned Inno a few times but am kinda glad I didn't.

Just curious, is the "MiRGE" totally portable like the Inno?? That is the one thing that made me want to buy an Inno, I could wear it while cutting the grass,etc. Still that's what I have a digital multi-band Sony Walkman (bought at Circut City years ago) for. Seems like I paid $30 when it was on sale. Still working fine.

No, the MiRGE radio is not a portable radio. It's virtually identical to XM's XpressRC and is a plug-and-play radio.

If you like Slacker, you'll love a good old transistor AM-radio! Best of all it's free, and you can get one for pennies on the dollar; What I would find enjoyable, is mowing my yard with an old circular push-blade mower, or better yet, a scythe, while jamming to golden-gospel oldies on the am-band!

Oh, how I pine for the days of Yellow-Fever and sitting around the RCA!

No, it is not portable at all. It is like the XpressRC which is a Plug-n-Play unit.

Couldn't the same be achieved with any XM radio, any Sirius radio, and a bit of duct tape? LOL!

Nah, good stuff.

who cares? They could do this much easier in a web application for the iPhone. More old tech for the new tech generation.


Thanks for the look inside. You have a unique way of covering this industry. Keep it up.

And for Anonymous 9:45 AM, Keep it up as well.


I know that in an earlier post, you said the MIRGE will be out sometime in the spring.

Do you have any new information as to a more exact time/date as to when this will be released?

If so could you post it?


orbitcast has officially jumped the shark

What could possibly be interesting about the antenna? XM antennas work perfectly well with Sirius, and vice versa. Two antenna jacks, for two different lines of sight, with either circuit able to use either or both, now *that* would be an advantage.

mitchman, the reason its not out on the shelves yet is because its not due out until sometime in the 2nd quarter. i do believe i remember reading that it should be out sometime in april.

ryan or taylor, correct me if i'm wrong.

Yeah, it didn't look portable to me. It does look like Xpress or SkyFi plug & play units. That big control knob gives it away.

Like I said, I'll hold on to my trusty "lil 'ol generation 1 SkyFi till my sub runs out. Maybe though I can get a REAL good deal on an Inno.........

What is the point of an interoperable reciever at this point since yhe music channels are pretty much the same and with the "best of" packages. Just get it over with and make all programming available to any radio

Interesting article and photos, thank you.

This would have been cool back when there were two satellite radio services, and I'd have surely bought one. Now, with them 90 percent the same, why would anyone need this?

What I find interesting is the complexity differences between the XM chipset and Sirius chipset. It's extremely evident that XM's chipset is MUCH more simplified and requires much less supporting hardware, proving that XM was definitely much more advanced in their technology than Sirius. Even if the gold trace down the center of the Sirius board separates the Sirius receiver chipset from the receiver's own control system, both sides have a lot more in them than the XM heat sink/RF shield has under it.

I think this clearly demonstrates that XM's chipset was much farther along in development than Sirius'. I can only hope for Sirius XM's sake that the folks in Boca Raton are still on the job. There's no doubt in my mind that XM definitely had the technical side of things covered much better than Sirius.


If things do get out of hand and the Russians take out some of our satellites, what would happen to Siri? Would they be forced to join Internet Radio? Oh my! Oh no! Maybe they would get the iPhone app out by then.

Sure hope THAT doesn't happen! I would hate to see Orbitcast have to change their moto to "All things that go boom in the sky (but now we talk about Music on the Internet)".

I am a big fan of satrad, but this lame technology leaves me cold.


XM is more simple in several cleverl ways.
First the radio only tunes 6 MHz, or half the full signal at a time, meaning that only half the bit stream has to be decoded (that's 2 MHz times 3 for SAT1, SAT2, and TERR). Sirius, on the other hand, has to decode the full 12 MHz signal (that's 4 MHz times 3). XM literally cut the complexity and power requirements in half. As a bonus the XM signal, being in smaller 2 MHz slices, has a higher effective power.

Second, XM had WorldSpace and satellite mobile phone experience and patents to work with. Sirius had Lucent design theirs first and we all know what eventually happened to Lucent.

This radio must run dangerously hot to the touch.

As for the interoperable antenna there really isn't much there. It's just tuned for the entire 24 MHz band and not just the 12 MHz for one service.

Why don't you crack open Mel's head so we can see what the hell is going on?! Theres got to be a faulty circuit board or antenna problem... or something. Might be eligible for a factory recall.

Is this a sinking boat? I had to upgrade to a Starmate 4 to get the best of XM package, now I will have to purchase a Mirge to get MLB and upgrade the subscription to all in one. Just got off the phone with Sirius to find out if my Terk mushroom antenna will recieve both signals and they tell me NO.........Gee, no wonder the company is courting so many partners trying to stay afloat.