When the XM PCR radio came out in 2003 I immediately bought one so I could use it at the office. The computer controlled aspect of the radio was great and less messy than some of the other XM radio options available at the time.

We used it for a while, but it sat languishing unused for the past few years. I dug it out and tried to see if I could get it to work with my Mac. It turns out the community has done a good job of writing tools for this device.

On the Mac, an application called JXM is available that controls the radio. It provides a straightforward Java-based application that uses the Java serial communication extensions to do its dirty work. Getting the communications layer to work is the tricky part.

The XM PCR is a USB based serial device using a very common chipset from FTDI Chip. After installing the FTDI Chip driver and connecting the XM PCR to the Mac, you should see the following displayed in system.log

Jan 21 20:20:46 catfight kernel[0]: FTDIUSBSerialDriver:        0  4036001 start - ok

Now you just need one more crucial piece - a working implementation of the Java communication extensions, which Apple annoyingly does not provide on their own. A commonly used open source package to provide this functionality is RXTX. This software can be built and installed manually, or you can use an installer than the JMRI folks have so nicely built for us. Once installed, JXM should run and be able to successfully open the communication port created by the FTDI Chip driver.

In my case, the XM PCR had been turned off for so long that the radio was inactive. Luckily the XM website makes it easy to refresh a radio that has fallen into this state and it only took a few minutes to get the radio back in action.

Unfortunately the XM PCR cannot make the channels suck any less after the wonderful Sirius XM swizzle.