What are satellite radio car kits?
The gear you need to enjoy satellite radio while you drive
A circuitous path, involving England, New York, rural Michigan, Indiana, and lots of parts in between brought Matthew Freeman to Charlottesville, where he's been writing about mobile audio/video for Crutchfield off and on since early 2000. He fosters an eclectic taste in film, and is fond of a wide range of music. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he found his way to the University of Notre Dame, where, in an act of charity unsurpassed in the history of Western civilization, he was given a B.A. in English.
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If you'd like to use your Dock & Play satellite radio in the car, you'll need to make sure you have a compatible car kit. Many Dock & Play radio packages include a car kit with the satellite tuner. The accessories in these kits let you power the radio and play the sound over your car stereo. You'll generally find the following gear in a car kit:
Kits include the accessories you need to use your Dock & Play satellite radio in your vehicle.
- A cradle: Also called a docking station, the cradle is where the radio actually sits. You just have to mount it in a convenient spot on your dash or center console. All power and signal connections are made here.
- A DC power adapter: The power adapter plugs into the cradle at one end, and into your vehicle's 12-volt outlet (aka cigaratte lighter) with the other
- A magnetic antenna
- Connecting cables
Where should I mount the cradle?
On the dash or on the windshield are the two most popular mounting spots
Mounting the cradle for your Dock & Play in a convenient spot is essential. You want to make sure you can reach and see it easily, and that it doesn't interfere with any of your vehicle's controls (like the climate controls, for example). There are a variety of vehicle mounts and device holders available, including:
- The included mounting bracket: All car cradles come with a mounting bracket with an adhesive pad; you just find where you want to mount it and stick it there.
- A windshield mount: Some Dock & Play kits come with brackets that let you mount the radio on the windshield (as long as it doesn't obstruct your view). A specialized few will slide onto your sun visor like a garage-door opener.
- Universal mounts: If none of the above methods will work for you, consider a universal mount. These versatile mounts can be attached to spots on or near your center console. They're great for cars, of course, but you can also use them on bikes, boats, ATVs, motorcycles, gold carts, and more.