My lunch is nuking Sirius
February 2, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Why would a microwave oven in the next room ( approx 15 ft from the antennae) kill my Sirius reception?

Whenever I nuke something my Sirius home reception drops out for the duration of the cooking. The home antennae points nortwest out a window 15 ft or so from the microwave oven. The oven is behind a wall separating it from the room the antennae is in.
posted by Gungho to Technology (7 answers total)
Well, a microwave oven can also knock out Wifi reception and cordless phones at the 2.4GHz frequency range. Apparently satellite radio receives at 2.3GHz. So maybe it's the same thing?
posted by cabingirl at 9:50 AM on February 2, 2011 Point 8. Microwaves can cause trouble.
posted by PickeringPete at 9:51 AM on February 2, 2011

Your microwave is leaking radiation. Get a new one.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cool papa ...welll it is 25 years old...
posted by Gungho at 11:32 AM on February 2, 2011

Think of it this way. Sirius is sending the radio signal to you from its satellite in orbit way, way up there in the sky. (22,236 miles, actually.) By the time the signal reaches you, it's really, really weak. But when your microwave is on (how many hundreds of watts is it?) it's full of, really, really powerful microwaves, which are themselves a radio signal. If they they aren't completely contained inside the oven, they will win the battle and overwhelm the Sirius signal. Microwave ovens are built to contain the microwaves really, really well, but a 25-year-old oven could well be leaking a little bit of its microwaves. Replacing the oven with a new one would probably help. You could also try placing your Sirius antenna farther away from the microwave, and aiming it carefully to maximize the satellite signal.
posted by exphysicist345 at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2011

Before you go replacing your microwave just because of that, my microwave is only a couple of months old, and right from the start it always interferes with WiFi in my house when it is on. So replacing it might not solve your problem. Moving its location in the house might. (Or moving other stuff to act as a shield). My WiFi comes back when someone is standing directly in front of the microwave (note to self: check any future children for strange mutations.)
posted by lollusc at 4:49 PM on February 2, 2011

Yeah, our newish and good-quality Panasonic microwave also takes out wifi. I don't think it's an "aa it's cooking our children!" kind of "leaking radiation", it's just that wifi is so sensitive to interference that microwaves, bound to leak some energy, leak enough to lose wifi in the noise.

(A microwave might use 700-1000 watts to cook the food, and wifi might be in the 200 milliwatt range -- so leakage of 0.05% or less or so would be enough to drown out the wifi signal.)

So yes, technically the microwave is "leaking radiation", but so is the wifi antenna during regular use!
posted by mendel at 3:12 PM on February 3, 2011

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