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coachdave

Over The Air TV

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Hi Gang!

Just about every topic has to do with satellite TV. Would like to know if anyone watches TV the old fashioned way and what kind of antenna or set up is best. Been there and done that with the satellite and can find just about all the TV we need on the regular networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CW and, being older than dirt enjoy Retro TV).

Thanks.

"Coach Dave"

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Dave,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Yes, we also watch some "over the air" TV-- particularly for local weather and news.

When our old Datron Satellite dish went out, we replaced it with this one http://www.kingcontrols.com/king_dome/9704.asp.

It has a built-in nicely boosted off air antenna in the same dome. Brings in off air stations far better than our old Wingard bat-wing which I have since removed.

Brett

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Coach Dave;

We use the original equipment "bat wing" antenna on our motor home and am very pleased with the reception we get in Melbourne, FL and on the road. Don't forget to turn on the booster. Without the booster, the reception is poor to non-existant. We probably get about 30 over the air stations in Melbourne.

Go to http://www.zap2it.com/ and go to your location and you can see the schedule for that area for your choice of cable or over the air TV.

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Guest BillAdams

With the new era of digital TV broadcasts the OTA TV reception can be better than any other form as the OTA TV is a full uncompressed signal. This means that where an HD signal is available it will actually be a better picture than if you were watching via satellite. With that said, I would not give up my satellite. Not only for the additional channels available but for the universal coverage area.

The "new" TV really isn't new, but it does take some adjustments. About 75% of the OTA signals are now broadcast on the UHF frequencies. In the past the analog signals were broadcast almost entirely on the VHF side. The bat-wing antenna is still the best antenna available for the RV market but this antenna was optimized for the VHF channels (the long arms are VHF) and the UHF antenna is fairly small and located inside the plastic head. The addition of the Wingman directional elements will improve the antennas UHF reception.

For the best reception, height is might so even the best antenna that is 6" above the roof will not perform as well as an antenna that is raised 3' into the air. The digital signal is a bit more difficult to chase and locate since you don't get a fuzzy picture that you can use to properly point the antenna until the picture is clear. With digital, it's nearly all or nothing so getting the antenna pointed correctly is important. I use 2 sites to help me point the antenna when I am parked in an unfamilar location and this makes the first scan for local channels a little more successful.

http://www.antennapoint.com/

http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

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Just a question..........when we were in Atlantic Canada, namely, Prince Edward Island last year, I asked about dgital tv..........they did not know what I was talking about. Kind of makes one wonder what kind of bill of goods we have been sold................digital tv .........indeed.

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Guest BillAdams

Just a question..........when we were in Atlantic Canada, namely, Prince Edward Island last year, I asked about dgital tv..........they did not know what I was talking about. Kind of makes one wonder what kind of bill of goods we have been sold................digital tv .........indeed.


So what's the question? The US is now broadcasting the majority of their programming in a digital format and Canada is not. So........

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Guest Wayne77590

With the newer digital tv's don't forget to use the built in signal meter. I have found it to help when a channel was a little intermittent with "pixelating." (Is that a word?)

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Guest BillAdams

Someone mentioned a booster to turn on for Air TV. Where might that be?

Don


If you have a Winegard Batwing antenna the most common location for the booster is on the video control center (push buttons for TV, Sat, Cable, etc) in a Class A coach and some of the newer 5th wheels. In many trailers, 5th wheel and older motor homes you will find a small box with a tiny push button or slide switch and a light. The booster part is actually a misnomer. This is simply an on/off switch for 12V power which supplies power to the booster located in the head of the antenna itself.

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NO BILL OF GOODS -------- DIGITAL TV & RADIO SIMPLY WORK BETTER AND ARE MORE AFFORDABLE (DO YOU HAVE A ANALOG P.C.?) DIGITAL TV PROVIDES A BETTER SHARPER PICTURE & STABLE COLOR (NO MORE GREEN OR PURPLE PEOPLE) BETTER AUDIO AND MORE SEPARATE PROGRAMS PER CHANNEL.OUR PBS STATION HAS 4 SEPARATE PROGRAMS ON ONE CHANNEL DURING THE DAY AND DROPS ONE CHANNEL AT NIGHT TO BROADCAST 1 CHANNEL IN HD. THE BROADCASTERS LIKE DIGITAL BECAUST THE TRANSMITTER USES LESS POWER AND REQUIRES LESS MAINTAINANCE.NO MORE GHOSTING STATIC AND SNOW IN YOUR TV IT'S DIGITAL EITHER IT WORKS GREAT OR IT DOESN'T.

IF YOU STILL LIKE ANALOG THROW AWAY YOUR DVD PLAYER (DIGITAL) AND USE ONLY YOUR ANALOG VHS TAPE PLAYER.

EUROPE AND MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD HAVE ALREADY SCRAPPED THEIR ANALOG TV AND RADIO AND ARE 100% DIGITAL.

BY THE WAY THROW AWAY YOUR CELL PHONE AND YOUR CD PLAYER THEY TOO ARE 100% DIGITAL.

I HOPE THIS ANSWERS ALL YOUR QUESTIONS.

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Hi Gunther,

While many of your points about DTV are correct the fact is this change was basically forced upon all of us. We all have paid for it with partially funded converter boxes, new TV's, higher cable rates, etc, etc. And this doesn't begin to touch on things like the hundreds of thousands of wireless microphones thrown in the trash because DTV signals interfere...has your place of worship had to spend a few hundred or thousand because of this? And who benefits the most? The FCC, who made the decision that we needed DTV! They freed up a bunch of frequencies and then auctioned them off to cellphone carriers to the tune of billions of dollars!

And as far as digital being better, sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. Music for example nearly always starts analog (non-digital instruments, voices) and can only be heard in analog (ears). If you go to the pickiest audiophiles they listen to their music, even today's latest recordings, on vinyl LP records! Why? They sound better. Digital recordings are cheaper to make, more convenient to carry around, but they are not an improvement in quality for us listeners. And when we were pushed into cassette tape use we saw how the industry was happy to horribly degrade quality to increase profit (Phillips invented cassettes strictly for use in dictating machines). The same is now being done with "digital cinema". Test after test has shown that the very finest DC equipment approaches the lowest quality 35mm film projectors so the industry rushes to install it (because they can cut staff and have more and higher paying pre-show ads) and tells us "it's better, it's DIGITAL!" don't believe all you read.

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Guest BillAdams

I would consider a discussion about better or worse of no particular value to anyone. Some will like it, some will not. In either case, whether you like it or not, it is here and here to stay. Let's move forward and see what we need to do in order to properly deal with the new reality.

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Does anyone have any experience with the new antenna introduced by King Controls. It is called the JACK antenna. Their testamonials says that it does a significantly better job than the Wingard Batwing. Sure would like to know if it really is. I added the wing thing to my batwing but don't notice any real difference in receiving digital signals.

Hugh

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Guest BillAdams

Does anyone have any experience with the new antenna introduced by King Controls. It is called the JACK antenna. Their testimonials says that it does a significantly better job than the Wingard Batwing. Sure would like to know if it really is. I added the wing thing to my batwing but don't notice any real difference in receiving digital signals.
Hugh


In areas where the signal is already strong, or in areas where no signal at all is available, no antenna or antenna booster will/can help. However, the Wingman is well proven by outside sources to increase the signal available to the Winegard Batwing's UHF antenna. The Jack is a Chinese made antenna that should work just about the same as the Winegard but it might be slightly less directional. While at the WIT rally in Iowa this year we took off our first (and only) Jack antenna for a customer who requested that we re-install the Sensar IV (built in Wingman). Other than the US made Winegard and the Chinese made Jack, I am not sure that there is a tremendous amount of difference but I like US made and I like the way my Batwing/Wingman works.

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I have recently aquired two "Jack" Antennas from King Controls. I used one to replace a huge Yaggi array on my house. There are several signals I receive, the closest is about twenty miles away. It locks on to the signals and stays, none of those little square pixel things that were so annoying. Because of the new found signal quality at home, I installed one on the coach to replace the over-the-air Winegard Batwing. It works on the same movable arm as the Batwing. If you can crawl around on top of your coach you can install it yourself, instructions and parts come with each antenna, including the power booster. A better picture for 50 bucks + shipping, and the at King Controls are pleasant to deal with.

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Guest BillAdams

Is it necessary to use the antenna boost built into the Wineguard control box when using a digital converter box, or does not the converter box have its own amplifier?


The term booster is not correct in the form that you are thinking. The power supply (either separate or built into the control box) inside the coach is just that, a power supply. The booster is in the head of the Winegard antenna. The antenna MUST receive this 12V power to be functional and you CANNOT install the converter box in the line that says Antenna In our you will lose the 12V to the roof as well as possibly damage the converter box. The digital to analog converter boxes must be installed AFTER the control box and they need to be capable of analog pass-through if you want to be able to watch anything else that passes through the control box.

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Hi Bill,

Thanks for your great tips. I had my converter box in line between the antenna and the control box. I just moved it so that it is in line after the control box and before the TV. It works much better.

The website for locating TV transmission towers is simple to use and will be a tremendous help.

Thanks again for the great tips.

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Okay, not to drudge up an old thread, but the http://zap2it.com/ website answered my question of how to figure out what was on over the air broadcast TV for a given location. We also found another website that works well, http://www.tv.com/. Two reference websites that work, Sweet! Anyone found a better website or use something else?

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Okay, not to drudge up an old thread, but the zap2it.com website answered my question of how to figure out what was on over the air broadcast TV for a given location. We also found another website that works well, tv.com. Two reference websites that work, Sweet! Anyone found a better website or use something else?

We recently added the Wingman add on to our Batwing and now watch a lot more over the air TV. These two websites will come in handy on our future road trips. Thanks for the info.

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Is it necessary to use the antenna boost built into the Wineguard control box when using a digital converter box, or does not the converter box have its own amplifier?

Yudamann,

You will still need the 12 volts supplied to the antenna and the amplifier to get any real good signal levels!

The Converter boxes do not have signal amplifiers in them.

For longer runs you might need to install a signal amplifier to boost the higher frequency channels and the higher channels numbers do not mean that channel the frequency is high.

The frequency's where assigned by the FCC and what frequency was open and unlikely to interferer with other frequencies.

It did not always work as planned though. LOL

Rich.

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Our 1989 Foretravel had the original old​ Winegard antenna that would not accommodate the Wingman attachment. We were only getting seven (7) channels while the coach was sitting in our driveway and the antennae was not raised.

I installed the JACK antennae head and, under same conditions (not raised), went up to 17 channels! BEST $49 I've spent in a long time.

While camped at Boulder Lake Nat'l Park we were the only ones that could get the Green Bay Packer game in the deep woods.

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IMO a Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV directional crank up antenna is the best you can do for over the air TV in a non-fixed RV for a solution that is easy to deploy and stow. Why? It gets your antenna up 3' higher for better reception and its directional so you get better reception due to that as well. The best of all is mating this with the Winegard Sensar RFL-342 Pro Signal Strength Meter with adjustable OTA amplifier. This displays signal strength by channel with a bright visual display, and also with variable audio tone if desired.

If you have internet on your computer, tablet, or smart phone you can go to http://antennaweb.org/, put in a zip code and it will show you all the over the air stations possible and how strong or weak their signal will be at that zip code. It will also show you their real channel they transmit on as with HDTV the channel displayed is not the transmitting channel anymore. This can be very helpful if you are using the Winegard Sensar Pro Signal Strength Meter to get a directional antenna pointed and signal maxed out for a particular channel.

I have a Winegard Sensar III with Wingman add-on. (Note: all new ones are the RVW-395 Sensar IV and already have the Wingman on them so don't be confused. Wingman is just to upgrade Sensar III to the Sensar IV configuration for better HDTV reception.) IMO its the best you can do for over the air TV on a RV. Down side is getting it pointed in the right direction. I recommend using the Winegard RFL-342 Sensar Pro Signal Strength Meter and Amplifier with it, It lets you see TV channels and their strength in real time so you can point the antenna quickly. The gain is adjustable from 0 to 20 dB ( 1X to 100X amplification ) in 1 dB steps. Once or twice when camping near cities, the TV signal has been so strong I had to turn down the gain to pick up all stations, but normally I can just leave it set to 20 dB gain and never change it. The second down side is it is another item for your departure check list, you have to MAKE SURE you lower it and stow it before driving away, it is not designed for the wind load of a moving coach even if you don't hit anything with it sticking up 3' higher than the roof of your RV.

I have used the King Jack antenna and it works but IMO the Sensar IV antenna will pick up signals that are weaker when properly aimed and used with the Sensar Pro Meter / Amplifier. That said many places the signals will be of a strength that both will do fine and get the same stations.

RAS

Manhattan, Kansas

2008 Itasca Cambria 29H

2013 Fiat 500C

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I just replaced the BatWing Antenna on my MH with a King Jack OA8200 antenna. This antenna works very well and it is only 12 inches high, you never have to crank the antenna up or down plus it has a signal strength meter to help find the best tv tower signal. We went to an RV Show in Sacramento last Friday and I noticed that most of the motorhomes have the King Jack as the standard antenna.

Hope that helps.

Richard

Magalia, CA

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