Monday, December 12, 2016

RV TV Antennas....upgrades and mistakes.

      In my novice 13 years of RVing I have always just assumed that when I set up and cranked up my old standard TV antenna that it was the best I could do.  We (at least me) I don't really have any interest in a satellite system so far so I was quite satisfied with just picking some local stations to view the news, weather, ABC NBC CBS, etc. 
      The vast majority of RVs come with this standard T system crank up antenna which does work pretty well in itself.  In our first RV, a Keystone Cougar, this system worked very well for the entire 11 years of it's life.  On our new model RV you can see the crank up handle is clearly labeled LUBRICATE GEARS TWICE YEARLY.  I did not pay any more due attention than I do to my latest gas receipt.  This only requires a quick spray of a silicon based lubricant.  This was not the case on our first RV.  LESSON LEARNED  Unfortunately our new RV, a Rockwood Windjammer we were not so lucky.    MAJOR MISTAKE.  Recently I noticed that the antenna was becoming harder and harder to raise and on the last stop it was nearly impossible.  I decided to lower the antenna, but on the down stroke the antenna finally jammed and the entire inner gear assembly broke off and fell into my hands inside the RV.  I lowered it best I could and addressed the issue when we once again visited civilization.  I would effectively label this experience "familiarity breeds contempt".   So I would caution folks to make sure you realize that this maintenance requirement exists so as not to experience my 'faux pas'. 
      Nevertheless here we are and rather than simply fix the same system that I destroyed in the first place I looked for an upgrade that would make my life easier and maybe even more efficient.  While visiting our grandson I set up an appointment at the local RV dealer to upgrade my current antenna system with something more efficient, streamlined, and low profile.  By this I also mean NOT REQUIRING CRANK UP. 
      We decided on the King OA8200 HDTV antenna.  This unit is low profile and once installed only requires an azimuth adjustment easily done within the RV itself.  The antenna system was easily adapted to our old RV mount. 

      Additionally, the inside antenna control mounts in the same position and includes azimuth (left to right) steering as well as a DC powered amplifier with attenuation control and LEDs to indicate signal strength.  You simply turn on the TV, run an auto channel scan, turn the antenna control to improve picture, turn on the powered amplifier, and turn the attenuation control to fine tune the reception, voila!  I am not going to go into all the specifics and tech specs about antenna gain or -dbm, but it is a much more efficient system.  For those of you thirsting for these specs there is   There is no raising or lowering the antenna system.  When packing up to depart you should return the unit azimuth control to the default position which is actually backward, but the most aerodynamic for road travel.  The entire unit on the roof stands a modest 8" tall. 
      I would be less than honest to state that this issue did not originally result from my own ignorance, but I feel it important to share the fact that more avenues do exist for OTR TV reception and improvement.   My cost for this upgrade was $314......and a bit of humility. 

      The TV reception was remarkably improved; crystal clear and sharp.  We also expanded our menu, going from 14 to 22 channels at our current location. 

"Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error" 
                                                                 Marcus Tullius Cicero

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