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Old 07-05-2010, 09:32 AM   #1
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TV Reception

Does anyone still use the Winegard antenna that came with the Sunline?

Is there any thing that has to be done, since going digital, to pick up signals?

I even installed the upgrade of the Wingard Sensar, but still can not pick up any channels.

I get a "No Signal" on the tv. Do I need a converter box?

Thanks
Phil
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:49 AM   #2
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Hi Phil,

You'll have to be sure the booster is on, to use the antenna. If it is on, you will either need a digital-ready TV or a converter box.

We're in Brunswick, MD this weekend (Leaving today ) and our digital-ready TV picks up around 20 digital channels.


BTW: We also installed the Winegard Wingman on our Sensar antenna. It was about $26 at Camping World..
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I did assume you would need a converter. I purchased a flat screen last year, and I think anything you buy anymore is digital ready, right?

I have had no luck picking up any stations even with the new tv.

Going camping next weekend, will give it another try then.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillong View Post
I purchased a flat screen last year, and I think anything you buy anymore is digital ready, right?

I have had no luck picking up any stations even with the new tv.

When searching for channels, you need to be sure and select "Air" and not "Cable"

A flat screen purchased last year, would almost have to be digital ready.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:39 PM   #5
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If you purchased a tv last year you should certainly be digital ready, we don't get a ton of channels normally with our (and it's just a cheap one purchased at CVS) but we usually get 3-4 at least. We don't have any mods on our antenna or anything.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:54 PM   #6
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As EMD driver said, you have to put the TV on "antenna" not "cable". The standard Sunline antenna works great, I've never had a problem and get a number of channels wherever I go.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:28 PM   #7
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Question

I also installed the Winegard Wingman & get many stations, also the digital stations are clearer than the cable stations you get at the campgrounds. So I never use the cable @ the campsites anymore.

One problem I have is in the FL keys, I get 8 channels BUT NOT all the time ....most of the time the signal is too weak.....

QUESTION.... Has anyone added signal strength to their Ant. by raising the Ant. or by ANY other means ?
I can't find any other RV antennas at this time, that have a better range.

Thanks
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:14 AM   #8
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Phil, it is still possible that your flat screen TV is not digital. If you have used it at home in the house without a converter and it works fine, then it truly should be digital.

There were a lot of deals to be had before and after the actual switch to DTV as retailers sold off their remaining analog stock. Flat screen tv's were widely manufactured in analog configurations so it is possible that you do need a converter. If you know someone who has a converter, perhaps you can take the tv to their place and plug it in to see if it solves your problem.

I happen to have two Zenith DTV converters that we used for about a year in the Rochester area. Since we've moved, there is no decent broadcast signal to capture so we added "local channels" to our Dish Network. The converters are now sitting in their boxes. If you find you need one, send me a PM and we can work something out.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvrque View Post
QUESTION.... Has anyone added signal strength to their Ant. by raising the Ant. or by ANY other means ?
I can't find any other RV antennas at this time, that have a better range.
Joe, height does matter when it comes to DTV. When we lived in the Rochester, NY area, we got poor digital reception in the downstairs of the house, but very decent reception upstairs with just a rabbit ear antenna. So I ran some coax from the living room to an upstairs closet and tucked the antenna in there. Presto! We got all the local DTV channels loud and clear plus a few out of area channels.

I don't know of a way to physically raise the Wineguard antennas. But a friend uses a 20' telescoping window washing pole as a flag pole on his TT. Perhaps it would be possible to use a pole like that to raise an antenna on campsite. The Wineguard wing is likely too heavy for the pole but there may be other antennas that would do the job.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #10
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One more thing you need to do at each campsite or when changing from air to cable is use the TV's setup menus to have it search for available channels. This is really easy to forget because on a home TV you do this once when it's new. On a trailer you should do it at every new location. Thanks to fellow members at WNY M&G for tipping me off about that one when I complained about not getting any reception even though we were close to both Buffalo and Rochester.

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Old 07-06-2010, 08:41 AM   #11
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Yes, that's an excellent point Henry! Once on antenna mode it is necessary to search for channels every time you change locations. Forgot all about that technicality.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins View Post
Joe, height does matter when it comes to DTV.
I don't know of a way to physically raise the Wineguard antennas. But a friend uses a 20' telescoping window washing pole as a flag pole on his TT. Perhaps it would be possible to use a pole like that to raise an antenna on campsite. The Wineguard wing is likely too heavy for the pole but there may be other antennas that would do the job.
Thanks Steve,

I do have a new 96" UHF antenna With a 120 mile range that I am not using at home.
Before my next trip to the FL keys next year I will try using part of that antenna on a telescoping pole.
I was hoping someone would have tried something that worked by now, (one year after the digital conversion)
Or someone would make & sell a better RV antenna.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:23 AM   #13
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I'm a ham radio operator for almost 20 years now, and one thing I have always found very interesting are antennas. Spent a lot of time reading about them and lots of time building them. Far from an expert, but here goes my attempt at "antennas 101"..


All things considered, the Winegard Sensar performs very well. It *is* a compromise antenna for a few reasons.

When it comes to antennas, size matters. The length/size of antenna is directly proportional to the frequencies it is intended to receive (or transmit). Along that line, there is an optimal size for any antenna, anything smaller is a compromise, and generally a big compromise at that.

The amplfier in the sensar head "helps" make up for some of the missing size, however, amplifiers will amplify noise just as well as they will signal - another compromise. It is also impossible to amplify what is not already there.

Anyone who ever used an SWR meter to tune an old CB antenna will understand the basic size principle.

Antennas can be omnidirectional or directional. The radio antenna on the roof of a Sunline is an omnidirectional antenna. This means that it will receive from all directions equally.

The Sensar TV antenna on our trailers is considered directional. Directional means that the antenna will provide the strongest (best) reception in one (or two) directions. Basically, a directional antenna hears really well in one direction, much like what happens if you cup your hand around your ear. You hear really good in one direction, and barely hear in the other. The phenomenon is called antenna "gain" and explains why you need to turn the antenna for the best reception.

The more directional an antenna is, the more "gain" it will have, and the better it will hear in that one direction. It will also need to be pointed more precisely. What the wingman add-on aims to do is make the Sensar *more directional*. If you could draw out the way the Sensar "hears," it would look very much like a figure 8, with the strongest reception occuring perpendicular to the two "bat wing" elements. Once the wingman is added, the pattern would look egg shaped, perpendicular to the elements, but pointed in the direction of the wingman.

I won't claim this doodle is 100% technically accurate, but it should help folks understand the basic principles at play here:




The next big factor at play here is the frequencies involved. The digital TV signals are pretty much in the same place ("VHF" and "UHF") that the old analog signals were. As you go higher in frequency (from VHF to UHF), the signals become what is called "line of sight." It literally means the way it sounds - if you can't "see" it, you will have a hard time receiving it. This is why antenna height is paramount. "See" is in quotes, because it is not 100% literal - things like reflections come into play, but it's darn close.

One other catch with the wingman - due to it's size, you can really only expect it to help on stations using the UHF spectrum. The good news is that in most places the transition to digital moved most stations to the UHF portion of the spectrum. The bad news is that UHF is extremely "line of sight". Another catch - with the move to digital, the channel numbers are an arbitrary reference only and no longer indicate the frequency the TV station is transmitting on. If you want to know that (and most people dont care or even know why they might want to care), you'd have to go look it up.

The final piece of bad news is that as part of the move to digital, a lot of TV stations were forced to reduce their transmit power. This obviously decreases range. The general explanation was that the digital signal would be less affected by the reduced power, however, people's complaints indicate otherwise.


As far as what you can do for a better signal, that's pretty simple:

#1 - Height. The higher the antenna, the better the chances of receiving a signal. Unfortunately, traveling with a 20+ foot mast is probably not very practical.

#2 - "Better" (bigger) antenna. A bigger antenna will increase your chances of getting a good signal. If you are in an area that has moved to the UHF bands for all the digital stations, that's potentially good news - a UHF antenna is much smaller physically than a UHF one.

#3 - Take the time to point the antenna well. A lot of the newer digital TVs have a signal meter buried somewhere in the setup menu. If you can bring that up, you will be able to get a good indication of signal strength as you turn the little knob.


Ideally you would have a very tall mast with quite a large antenna on the top. Talk about adding set-up time


One final note: Don't let someone fool you into needing a "digital antenna." That is, quite frankly, a big crock of you know what. An antenna is an antenna. It does not care what form of modulation is being used (digital, analog, or other).


Hopefully this helps somehow and has not confused anybody further.

- Frank
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:52 PM   #14
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I have been using the regular antenna, without the wingman, with my digital tuner and now a smaller RCA converter since before the full scale conversion. In Bar Harbor Maine I used to see 2 channels kind of fuzzy with analog, the last few years there the picture is crystal clear on 4 channels 40 miles away.

Here is the antenna I use at home on a 20 ft pole behing my house. It is small and light enough to carry in a camper. I get stations 50 mile away with it. I much prefer the "flat" antennas like this over the long "boom type" antennas. The gain is high, the beamwidth is wide and they are easier to handle.

$37.99


I ordered it from this company.
Antennas Direct DB4 UHF HDTV Antenna (DB4) - Antennas Direct - DB4 - 853748001040
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