Television Antenna

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grashley

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We just got home from our first trip of the year!! Antenna issues. At home, when extended, no channels found. Lowered antenna and it found 3 channel groups (15 channels). Camped 30 mi from Memphis, and no channels found, regardless of antenna direction or when down. Also, the elevation crank (new) slips on the shaft. The drill worked to raise and lower. Then the directional knob does not want to engage or turn the antenna. ENOUGH!! TIME TO REPLACE!

I am looking at the King OA8500 Jack and the Winegard Rayzar R1. Both are "surface" mount, about 8" high, directional with inside direction adjustment. Any comments on which one is better? Are we talking Ford vs Chevy? If I do my homework and know which direction to aim the antenna before we leave home, is the signal strength meter really needed?

Thanks in advance for your unbiased advise and experience.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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No real technical data on either one, other than they're both UHF sized. What the performance would be for FM or VHF compared to a batwing is an unknown. Probably "good enough" with the included preamps. An interesting feature to the King antenna is a signal strength indicator and an attenuator. What signals the indicator responds to is another question but it's something to go by when doing an initial channel sweep. Using the signal strength indicator on the TV is a more accurate means to zero in on the transmitters for those particular channels once a scan picks them up. Hopefully the issue you're having with the existing antenna is the antenna and not the coax or DC supply or this antenna isn't going to work any better than what you have.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Jkoht

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Jul 24, 2017
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Might be a silly question but I'm going to ask anyways, was your antenna turned on? In both mine and my parents' campers there's a little button on the faceplate of the "antenna out" jack near the TV. When turned on they both light up a green led. I only ask because I know if they get bumped into the off position they don't pick up anything.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
First the antenna you have (Ye old batwing I assume) is likely the best antenna in terms of signal gain (Distance it can see)
Sounds like the coax from the roof to the antenna is in need of replacement.

TO do this properly you need the proper tools but cut one end off the old cable. new cable has no end Use heat shrink tubing (Marine grade might be best due to the mastic) to join the new to the old and then pull the old out while feeding the new in.. Try not to pull them apart.

Now put ends on the new (I like compression type ends not crimp ons but then I have the tool)

That said: It can happen due to things a bit hard to explain that sometimes a LOWER antenna works, but it's rare. Usually height is might.

But no antenna made for RV use will outperform the Winegard Sensar IV with Sensar Pro wall plate.
 

grashley

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Western Kentucky
Yes, the amp is turned on (not at first) and not a silly question.
Yes, I did multiple TV scans.
Yes, I have a Sensor Pro wall plate.
If I know what direction to aim the antenna for a rough setting, then fine tune with the Sensor Pro, is there a need for the King signal strength indicator?
Since I did get a good signal - once - I assume the wire is good, but I will go up and attach rabbit ears to test the cable before ordering a new one.
 

Larry N.

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Well, even though they both say they're good for both VHF and UHF, you can expect that the reception won't be as good as with a batwing (I fully agree with John) -- there's no substitute for surface area/size to capture radio waves -- but they're compact and still directional they say, though probably not quite as directional as the batwing. Still, having no experience with either one, and finding little information other than the promotional blurbs, in my mind it's a toss-up which to get.

But don't get wound up in the hoopla about HDTV, since the antenna doesn't "know" or "care" what the ultimate display will be, it just "sees" radio waves and "deals in" signal strength.

de N8GGG/AE
 

SpencerPJ

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Buy each one (make sure it has free returns on Amazon), play with them at home. Keep the best. I often run my scan, then rotate antenna, run it again, Often times it gets better or worse. Under heavy trees or in a valley or remote area, forget it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At my Silver Springs FL home
I'd say there is a good chance you have an intermittent coax connection at the antenna end. Between the antenna motion and weather corrosion, that's not an unusual problem.

As John says, it's hard to beat the old batwing antennas for VHF reception and with the models with the UHF upgrade they do ok at that too. I've not ever owned one of the new self-contained models like the Razor. so can't comment on how well they work. Most owners seem happy with them, but maybe they are in areas with good reception anyway. Your mileage may vary. :unsure:
 

ziplock

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Dec 3, 2017
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We left Maryland last Sunday and in Virginia our antenna blew off. We looked, and the holder where the antenna goes on the roof was cracked. Wires still there. Duct taped the hole where the antenna came out of.

I wonder how much it will cost to replace that cracked holder?

Our antenna does not go up and down. It turned though.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Albuquerque, NM
The problem I ran into when working through suspected OTA antenna issues when I first got my RV was living in a metro area, TV signals are strong enough to pick up stations off the disconnected coax on the back of the TV. So in my driveway everything worked great, it wasn't until I was out in the boonies a bit to discover that while the preamp helped I wasn't getting the stations I thought I should. I'm not a TV watcher but sometimes being able to catch some news or weather while on a trip is a useful thing. So this past winter I went through the RV's TV cables end to end, using an old channel 3 RF modulator as a signal source. I discovered that the PO did some "re-arranging" to incorporate some kind of satellite TV or cable setup. There was a satellite antenna module installed in the wet bay that re-appropriated the CATV and satellite inputs there. Up front the CATV input cable was disconnected. Other coax jumpers under the front cap were both utilized and abandoned. The roof antenna input to the preamp unit was connected to one of the rear cable runs, which was open. So functionally my antenna wasn't the batwing on the roof, it was a 25' piece of RG-6. Now that things are hooked back up per the factory drawing I can consistently get OTA reception 30-50 miles away line of sight, which is what you would expect for a batwing (folded dipole) up ~15 feet off the ground. Even a compromise antenna like the Wineguard R1 or King should work OK, maybe not as well on the fringe area of reception like the batwing might, but "good enough" for most stations - provided the rest of the system is up to snuff. So the point of all this is don't assume that the existing cabling and equipment is functional and correctly configured, do some substitutions and test with known equipment and levels and prove out the signal path up to the point of the antenna. Or at least have an awareness of these issues when things don't work out the way you might expect.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
If I know what direction to aim the antenna for a rough setting, then fine tune with the Sensor Pro, is there a need for the King signal strength indicator?

Compared to the signal strength indicator on the Sensar Pro the King's sensor is a piece of junk.
The Sensar Pro is far, far, far, far superior.
 

rvhometown

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United State
I purchased a King antenna to replace my broken batwing. The installation is dead simple. I did not need the amplifier that came with the unit as I already had one installed. The signal did not even get any weaker when I lowered the antenna from 36" to 12".
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I purchased a King antenna to replace my broken batwing. The installation is dead simple. I did not need the amplifier that came with the unit as I already had one installed. The signal did not even get any weaker when I lowered the antenna from 36" to 12".
well if you meter the signal it dropped at least by 1/2 as the king is half the antenna at best the Winegard is.. And the amplifier is not where you think it is. It's inside the antenna. not inside the RV. that's just the power supply. (And switch)


As for the signal strength between 36" and 12" .... Sometimes it matters. Sometimes it does not. I've had it happen where the antenna worked better flat on the roof.. I have training and resources to help me understand but the short answer is Trees.. Sometimes raising the antenna it's looking at trees and low it's looking under.. Other times (if you are close enough to the tower) it don't matter.

Of course if you are not close enough it matters big time.. I tell the story of chatting with some hams.. They are in Toledo OH, I'm in Downtown Detroit and the repeater we are bouncing it off (The Tower) is in adrian.. A ham running roughly 160 times the transmitter power I was running, at 30 feet in the air, was not making the trip (I was holding a one watt hand held with a negative gain antenna for about a quarter watt effective power and I was making it.. I was on the 21st floor of a skyscraper).
 

Larry N.

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Wonderful links, Tom -- thanks, though it was long evident to me that the batwing had to be superior, just due to size, type, construction (I'm a ham).
 
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