XM Weather, FIS-B or cellular?

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Rhino

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Starting to nail down some details on my panel and am weighing cockpit weather options. I'm probably going to be VFR only, so I don't need really robust weather display (avoid the green stuff). That would seem to make FIS-B the more logical choice, not the least of which because it's free. But since I'm flying low and slow almost all the time, I have no clue how reliable FIS-B would be for me (no direct experience with it). I know low level reception will be to some degree dependent on if there's a FIS-B station nearby, but I have no idea where they are. Do they map them somewhere? At what altitude/distance should I count on receiving reliable FIS-B weather? Alternatively, being low and slow means I almost always have good cell reception, and my tablet displays great weather when ported through the mobile hotspot on my phone. I'm not really concerned with delay because I'll be avoiding weather rather than trying to fly through it. I'm leaning toward FIS-B and cellular, but I guess I just want to see if anyone has some personal perspective to offer, ideally through direct experience, but I'm not that picky.
 

Rhino

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The FAA puts out a coverage map for ADS-B and radar coverage, that you can import into Google Earth, but it doesn't show the actual locations of the ground sites. It also doesn't specifically address FIS-B coverage, so there's no way to know if the ADS-B coverage it depicts also mean you'll receive FIS-B. It does allow you to show or hide different map layers for varying altitudes, five total, from 500 to 10,000 ft AGL. The locations are out there somewhere, because they display on Foreflight and one of the other aviation apps. But again, I don't know if that's general ADS-B only, or if it differentiates the locations of FIS-B ground stations. Has anyone here used FIS-B for weather at lower altitudes? If so, where, and at what altitude?
 
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TFF

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The low altitude use I have seen was in a good coverage area, so I don’t know about low and away from everyone situation. At higher altitudes, it works, but again as far west I have seen it work is Kansas. Usually I’m east of the Mississippi River. It’s good to get it, as it will only get more and more coverage. XM is the best for the freshest information with best signal as of now.
 

Rhino

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Well, I'll be mostly east of the Mississippi, and most of my flying will be local. That's also where I'll be most likely to do low and slow (500-1,000 AGL), so cellular will probably do me just fine. Assuming I stay VFR only, I probably won't need it much locally anyway, since I won't be venturing near anywhere with precipitation activity or potential. Anything beyond the local area will probably be around 1,000 to 3,000 ft, where cellular will probably still do fine in any circumstances where I can't get FIS-B. Cross country would be my most likely need, and I'd usually be at higher altitudes for that. So absent any other input to the contrary, I think I'll just plan on sticking with FIS-B and cellular for the time being.
 
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