Jump to content

Over-air TV antennas


Kirk W

Recommended Posts

In looking through a recent RV accessory catalog, I notice that there are several replacement heads or add on antennas for the typical bat-wing antennas that come with the vast majority of RVs. It is difficult to find much by way of reviews of any of them so I thought that I'd ask here if anyone has actually tested any of these new, "improved" antennas and if they might post something to compare the improved version to the bat-wing and comment if any of them are worth what they cost?

 

I use one of the amplified, directional antennas from Amazon at our house and it seems to provide mixed results which I'm not really sure are any improvement, but more importantly for an RV owner, it would seem to me that it is fragile and would need to be taken down when traveling on the highways if used on an RV?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The original Winegard Sensar antenna was optimized for VHF signals which was the basis for most over-the-air National Broadcast channels. Some were amplified.

 

The replacements are amplified and optimized for UHF which has become the main OTA transport as most of the VHF band was taken for First Responder use.

 

The Winegard Wingman mounted on an older Sensar antenna adds elements more sensitive to UHF. If the Sensar is already amplified, then it is about the same as buying a new style Sensar head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk, when we were in Wasilla, AK. last summer, of course no satellite TV, we ran the Winegard batwing up. No reception and all stations coming out of Anchorage were digital. So I go outside and check other rigs, you dummy, we never did anything for digital. So I found an RV supply place and bought the Winegard adapter for on the batwing with the agreement I could return it if it didn't perform.. Installed it and got zilch. By that time, I took a second look-see around the park and took notice to these "funny" looking antennas. The guy next door came out was curious. He told me he had bought the adapter and also had no luck and needed something since he was going to be there all summer. He then bought a Jack. I found another RV parts place that had a Jack and with the same agreement if it didn't work it could come back. Brought it back to our fiver, changed the Winegard batwing out to the Jack. Real easy! We then got all the Anchorage stations and since then have used it occasionally and have had great results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have tried all three types of antennas mentioned above. The Winegard Wingman (additional filaments) add on to the standard batwing did improve the reception marginally and works OK in areas that are within 40 miles of the antenna. The Jack antenna works great in more remote areas like already mentioned, but is very directional. The only issue we had with the Jack antenna was in areas where the channels are divided between different cities or the city is large enough that one channel may be on one side and another channel on the other side of the city. Then WE found that we were constantly adjusting the Jack antenna towards the direction of the antenna for the channel we wanted to watch. We have since changed to the Winegard Rayzar replacement head. The Rayzar is directional like the Jack, but it also receives off both sides of the head so less adjustment is needed to pull in stations. Many time we can position the Rayzar at a 90 degree angle between two different cities and pull in stations from both cities. The Rayzar is not as wind resistant as a Jack or batwing antenna in the raised position and only uses one mast pole, so you will need to use the pole that comes with it or risk the chance of the original longer pole twisting in the wind and breaking (we know this first hand).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I retrofitted our Winegard batwing with a Jack and had similar results. It was direction sensitive, but did receive signals from much further than I anticipated. I think if I said how many miles, folks would think I was exaggerating. I was very happy with it. I never drove off without the antenna lowered, but somehow I either snagged it on tree limbs or vines and ripped it off at the very light aluminum bracket that attaches the plastic antenna unit to the Wingard dual mast assembly. I have not repaired or replaced it yet, so I will be following this thread.

 

I took my mast down to add solar panels. I can't mount an antenna over the bedroom now. I will either have to stand on a chair in the 5th wheel living room or kitchen to reach ceiling to crank up the antenna or get one that does not crank up. I have a high trailer. 13 feet 4 inches to top of front AC. I am concerned that any antenna that does not raise may have trouble picking up stations aligned with one of my AC units if it can't "see" over them.

 

I am leaning toward a Razar on my old Wingard mast assembly. My prefered location is close enough to our Traveler sat dish that I expect there may be times we would need to lower the OTA to get the Sat to work or vice versa

 

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

What about Lava's HD-RV2000 or HD-RV2015? Any input? These are omnidirectional, so no adjustments needed and pretty good range. Have not used but am looking at using to replace OEM batwing.

 

Among antenna experts, "omnidirectional" means "equally bad in all directions." A directional antenna like the batwing/Wingman combo will always out pull an omni except when all the towers are quite near by, then they'll both pull the same number of channels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The original Winegard Sensar antenna was optimized for VHF signals which was the basis for most over-the-air National Broadcast channels. Some were amplified.

 

The replacements are amplified and optimized for UHF which has become the main OTA transport as most of the VHF band was taken for First Responder use.

 

The Winegard Wingman mounted on an older Sensar antenna adds elements more sensitive to UHF. If the Sensar is already amplified, then it is about the same as buying a new style Sensar head.

 

The VHF hi and low bands are still very much in use by the 400 plus stations that have not, nor will be, moved to UHF. Adding the Wingman yagi add-on to an existing batwing optimizes the UHF portion for increased gain. Replacing the standard power injector with a Sensar Pro amplified power injector increases all the signals and adds signal strength monitoring for aiming ease.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

The VHF hi and low bands are still very much in use by the 400 plus stations that have not, nor will be, moved to UHF. Adding the Wingman yagi add-on to an existing batwing optimizes the UHF portion for increased gain. Replacing the standard power injector with a Sensar Pro amplified power injector increases all the signals and adds signal strength monitoring for aiming ease.

You would be surprised how many OTA channels are in the 2-14 range that actually in the UHF band. Remapping was part of the Digital changed over. A huge portion of the VHF band was taken for First Responder communications.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You would be surprised how many OTA channels are in the 2-14 range that actually in the UHF band. Remapping was part of the Digital changed over. A huge portion of the VHF band was taken for First Responder communications.

 

I think you might be surprised by how many network outlets are still broadcasting on the VHF hi and lo bands. Stations like KSNV, the NBC outlet in Las Vegas on virtual channel 3.1, and broadcasting on RF channel 2, or WRGB, the CBS outlet in Albany, NY on virtual channel 6.1, and broadcasting on RF channel 6, or WPVI Philadelphia, also on virtual 6.1 and RF channel 6, plus many more in both large and small markets. When I wrote "...400 plus stations that have not, nor will be, moved to UHF.", I meant stations that are broadcasting on those RF channels, not their displayed virtual channel ID's.

 

Check out the spreadsheet at RabbitEars.info

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay 1400 UHF band channels, 400+ VHF band channels. A antenna biased towards UHF has wider coverage.

 

And an antenna that's well balanced with good gain on both bands will provide more universal coverage. When all of the major network stations are broadcasting on VHF channels in a given market, do you really want a UHF biased antenna?

 

Follow this link for an excellent technical comparison of the batwing with and without the Wingman add-on and the Jack as done by a fellow RV'er and professional broadcast engineer using a pro level Rhode & Schwarz Spectrum Analyzer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dutch, while the data is now 2 years old, it is really interesting and I'd doubt that it has changed much. Thanks!

 

Yep, there's been no changes that I'm aware of with the products tested. Jeff is planning to redo the testing when time permits, adding the Sensar Pro power injector/amplifier and I think the Rayzar Air to the mix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother mounted a King Control model 0A8200 on his 5th wheel. He loves the darn thing. He had so many channels on his last trip he didn't know what to chose from. We're thinking of taking off our 2000 vintage Braun and installing on

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wondering if anybody has used one of those thin rayzar antennas? The ones you mount in a window with suction cups. We have seen them being used by truckers in rest stops. Are they any better than the indoor amplified vhf/uhf set top antenna we have for use when there is no cable and local OTA stations are available.

 

Carl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carl, the success of any antenna is first dependent upon the distance it is from the signal source. The antennas like that are just a modern version of the old rabbit ear antennas and like those will work very well if the signal is strong enough. The modern digital TV signals are transmitted at much higher frequencies and those signals do not have as good a distance patterns as did the old, lower frequency, analog signals.

 

People who live on farms and ranches used to be able to get fairly good TV by using an expensive antenna that was mounted high up on a tower but today most all of them have a satellite dish for good TV reception. RV folks are in similar circumstances. Close to the cities most any antenna will work fine, but out in remote areas you will need satellite service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Kirk, yes I agree, in the good old days of analog signals, you might not get the best picture, but you often could get something, (with a bit of snow), Boonedocks, I don'tknow for sure, but I believe Bill signed off the forum , and he is missed, perhaps he can come out of retirement once in a while and share his wisdom with us.

Dick, no the one I refer to is a thin square indoor amplified antenna designed to be hung in a window, similar to the set top rabbit ears I use now when no cable, and we are near a city. Wineguard, confuses the issue by calling more than one antenna by a similar name.

 

Carl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk,

I installed the Wingman add on yagi to my "bat wing". It works very well and cost very little, I got mine for $20.00. We still have some stations on VHF and a lot on UHF. I can pickup station in my yard from Joplin, Springfield, and from Arkansas to the South.

When I went to Eagle Rock, MO COE I could pickup Springfield, MO stations and some from Arkansas with no problem.

I think if you have the old "batwing" the winman add on is about the best deal.

 

John in Joplin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Dish For My RV.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...