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Old 10-06-2018, 11:29 AM   #1
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Antenna help please!

This was my first camping season with my new to me 1995 Solaris1950. My television reception is just about nil..in May I got many channels at my first outing (a wide open site),I then started back to my state park wooded campground where I have gone for years with no tv problems, but got just three channels on the site, next time I got only a different three channels on a different site,and now NONE on a site where I usually got many channels..people across the street from me got 28!! I do get reception at home in my driveway but must raise the antenna off the roof some. The cable from the box to the antenna checks out on the 12v so I know there is power to the roofline going to the booster. Have not checked the actual power AT the booster-not sure how. The cables and connectors are showing their age and weathering. Can this decrease reception to the point where I get none in the campground? YES I am in the woods at the time but with my other units the reception there was good. Do you think changing all the cables OR replacing the whole head is the solution? (and YES, I do the channel search on the tv)Thanks for your help in advance! Janalee
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janalee View Post
The cable from the box to the antenna checks out on the 12v so I know there is power to the roofline going to the booster. Have not checked the actual power AT the booster-not sure how. The cables and connectors are showing their age and weathering. Can this decrease reception to the point where I get none in the campground?
Maybe I missed it your wording. If you unscrewed the cable going into the actual antenna head on the roof and got 12 volts there on that cable, then the wall power supply is working and at least up to the antenna itself.

I have had the actual antenna head go bad. Inside is a small circuit board and it went bad. There was something with the Wineguards in the later 2003/2004 time frame that had early life issues and I have several 2004 campers. I replaced the head and it all works good. Even better when I added the wingman add on antenna.

If you have rusted connections on the cable up on the roof, I'm not totally sure if that is a reception issue. I would think it can be as it adds resistance and even maybe a crossover between the 2 wires. Mainah may know more on that.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=JohnB;146325]Maybe I missed it your wording. If you unscrewed the cable going into the actual antenna head on the roof and got 12 volts there on that cable, then the wall power supply is working and at least up to the antenna itself.

Yes John.. I unscrewed that cable and determined my power supply IS working. That connector is not
good up there-no excess to work with so I don't know if it can be replaced without actually replacing the whole thing down to the wall supply. I am sure this will have to be a Spring project as the season is done here,but I sure would like to know my options. When we do tackle it I will try to gently tug that power cable up a bit and reseal it. I think you may be correct about resistance issue-I could try that first before replacing the whole head. Does anyone know how to actually test the antenna head itself? Can I get to the connectors on the antenna head itself to replace them?
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:15 PM   #4
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There is no real way to test it without totally taking it apart and some test equipment would be required. If you have 12 volt though the cable that means the amp inside the antenna is being powered the older bat wing amp were prone to corrosion. Here is a replacement for what you have I'm not a fan of camping world but others offer the same thing. campingworld.com/winegard-wingman
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:55 AM   #5
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Did you unscrew and inspect the coaxial connection on the roof?
I recently had intermittent reception and turns out that connection was corroded. Replaced that and all is good.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:13 AM   #6
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Janalee the older antennas did not have extension on the front they added the little extension to improve the digital signals the TV stations are now using it increases the gain of the antenna to help overcome the effect of the reduced power the TV stations now use. There is a slight draw back to it as it does make turning the antenna a little more critical. The switch inside the camper supplies 12 volts to the antenna the actual amplifier is a board inside of the batwing antenna itself as I'm sure you have noticed without the switch on it's pretty much worthless but if you have 12 volts at the antenna end the amp inside the antenna is getting the required power. The fact that you have 12 volts pretty much points to a defective amp inside the antenna.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:24 PM   #7
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Antena

I had that problem until I replaced the whole antenna with a (King Jack). Many, many more channels now. I tried the Wingman with no luck.

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Old 10-07-2018, 08:08 PM   #8
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I have a flat panel antenna it replaced a wingman it is slightly better than the old batwing only because it receives from both sides. All of the camper antennas relay on a good amp inside of the antenna because by themselves they do not have the necessary gain to provide good reception. I never really had an issue with the old one but I'm a geek and like to try things.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Janalee View Post
That connector is not good up there-no excess to work with so I don't know if it can be replaced without actually replacing the whole thing down to the wall supply.

I am sure this will have to be a Spring project as the season is done here,but I sure would like to know my options.

When we do tackle it I will try to gently tug that power cable up a bit and reseal it. I think you may be correct about resistance issue-I could try that first before replacing the whole head. Does anyone know how to actually test the antenna head itself? Can I get to the connectors on the antenna head itself to replace them?
I'll pass along what I have found on the TV cable, on many of the Sunlines at the factory they pumped caulk into the roof mounting unit around the cable to help seal water out. Then some have a boot on the cable that slides over the roof mount. Point being, with that caulk in there, it may not pull out any more cable. To replace the cable, warming the caulk will soften it to release it and it will pull most likely like taffy until you get a few inches or feet of the cable out. There is a coupler union up in the ceiling to join the antenna lead to the wall power outlet leed. Or at least on mine there was. The connection is buried up in the attic above the roof unit crank.

On the rubber roof campers they used Dicor and it will soften with heat from hair dryer or heat gun. Just keep the heating moving and do not cook it if you have a rubber roof. I do not know what caulk they would of used if you have a metal roof. Odds are high it too will soften with heat.

To test the antenna head itself. In my case I kept removing issues with known working parts to end up with the only thing left which was the board inside the antenna. I changed the wall power unit, no change. To eliminate the cable, I bought a new 25 ft test cable with ends crimped on it, hooked it direct to the inside the camper wall power unit and went out the door and up direct to the antenna. Still no change. But since you have 12 volts on the roof going to the antenna, I agree with Mainah, it sounds like the board inside the head is bad. For sure make sure the connection is good and not corroded. When I replaced the head, then all started to work and work well.

You do not have to buy the entire lifting assembly and the head, just the head.

This post of mine may help some on taking it apart. Yours might be a little different but I suspect only by Winegard upgrade differences over the years. Winegard Antenna Repair

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:12 AM   #10
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Frankly I would not mess with the cable if the connection looks clean it's fine. Save the money of buying a connector and a tool to crip it that is something you would need to install the connector. With a reading of battery voltage it pretty much means the cable is OK. The box in the camper is a connection point and a power switch I can't remember but I believe there is a choke to keep rf out of the dc line also is no amp inside most also had a empty "F" connector that could be used by a second TV. Measuring resistance would be tricky because you would need to have both ends handy or really long leads on the meter or a dummy load of know resistance. The cable itself is 75 ohms but that is something a simple voltmeter can not read the only thing it will basically show you is show you is a open or a short it may show might resistance if it's full of water or badly corroded but in that case the voltage would be below the 12 volt range. The true business end of the whole affair is inside of the antenna head it's self.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:07 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your help..think I may replace the connectors AND the head as I will be staying at a campground next season for the summer. My brother, who was my "tow person" and "repair person" passed away suddenly six weeks ago, so it has to be a once and done fix now.
Again, thanks! P.S. You guys here are the best!!!
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:05 PM   #12
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As a retiree from a cable company, most connections are virtually the same
We found more times than not the the center core of the cable can have a build up of a microfilm or tarnish or other crud, kind of almost naked to the eye. It's a result of every day moisture and dust or other airborne "stuff" cooking fumes...., sometime it's as simple as a loose connector causing the grief.

Sometimes a simple cleaning can do the trick. You can use an alcohol or after shave and Q-TIP and swab down the center core.

If the connector was installed by hand & pliers and not a proper prep-tool and proper crimper, then there's a chance of incomplete electrical connection. Even with or without a proper crimping, there's that braided ground on the outer section of the sheath. Look right down in the center of the connector and see if a tiny piece of braid MIGHT be wrapped around the center core which will cause the signal to ground out. I found that a couple of times after a deep search. It turned out one of my prep tools had a dull blade and was not cutting through the outer sheath properly and left some stray braided wire to warp around that center core.

Also, there is what we refer to as an "F-81", commonly known as a barrel connector for joining two pieces of cable, the inside jaws of the connection could be spread apart and from a myriad of reasons and the jaws now don't clamp as tight as they should on to the cable's center core. Kind of like the 'limpy' handshake???
Cheap connections from the dollar store are famous for this.

Notable note: The RG6 cable center core is thicker than the RG59 center core.
If you happened to use a USED F81, make sure it wasn't previously used on an RG6 cable and now you're using on RG59 cable. Over time the jaws of the F81 while expand for the RG6 cable and being aluminum through heat of summer etc it can stay in its expanded position, so when you NOW use it for that RG59 cable the jaws are too far spread to re-clamp on the RG59 (did I confuse you yet?)

Check to see if during an installation had a staple accidentally going through it so to tidy up the cable up walls down the sides. I've pulled many a staple. The staple will stab the cable and cause and RF short inside.

Remember trailers move and vibrations are constant, so anything that was installed at any point in time are subject to these vibrations. from the antenna connections (even inside the antenna itself), down to where it connects to the TV. "any chain is as good as its weakest link.

I'll go on to say that soldered connections inside the antenna can become those "cold solder joints" and a simple re-solder can fix everything. This is not to say it's not a bad pre-amp. or a broken trace in the printed circuit.
Check the simple and easy stuff first
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:57 AM   #13
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For grins I just checked a number of sites for RV TV issues not a single one suggested to check for voltage at the antenna head. DC is injected into the coax via the switch in the camper it powers the amp inside the head the ideal with the amp is to overcome two things an inefficient antenna and cable loss. The only true way to test the cable would be a 75 ohm dummy load and a return loss bridge not something the RV owner would be likely to have. A visual inspection of the cable would tell a lot if it looks shody it probably is. I can say a sudden loss of reception with a RV antenna in the ones I have dealt with has been the antenna amp.
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