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Red Crewzer

OmniDirectional Antenna Upgrade?

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I have an OmniDirectional Antenna on my 2008 motorhome that doesn't get very good reception.  After doing a scan I get maybe 10 channels on one tv and get maybe 15 channels on the second tv.  Our neighbors, 50 feet away with a batwing crank up antenna, gets 20 channels.  Is my antenna just getting old?  Nothing has changed in the coach, same tv's, cables.  I did replace the splitter with a new one and made sure those connections were tight.  I do use a booster at the incoming connection outside.  Don't want to put hole in ceiling to go back to old style crank up antenna.  Are there any good omnidirectional antennas on the market?  I have looked at the motorized over the air antennas, but the reviews are not very good.  All suggestions appreciated.

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Other things to consider about number of channels you are recieving. The gain of the antenna does make a difference, interference from other devices, obstructions such as trees and buildings. One factor could be the number of connections between antenna and the TV, each connection loses about 1db of signal strength. Finally the difference in brands of TV' s will do a better job of amplfiling the signal. 

Lots of variables to consider. Hard to compare apples to apples!

Good luck, 

Jim

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Antennas that have to be pointed often provide greater "gain" than do omnidirectional ones.  IMO RV manufacturers started installing omni antennas because their customers didn't like having to point their batwing antennas each time they set up.  The batwing is an excellent antenna even if its design is many years old--the physics of electromagnetic wave propagation haven't changed.

As for the difference between your two TVs, one simply has a slightly more sensitive tuner than the other and can receive somewhat weaker channels.

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In the amateur radio community we say that an omnidirectional antenna performs equally bad in all directions.  When it comes down to the basics, it all comes down to metal in tha air and high up.

The old batwing style and Yagi style are still the gold standard.  The Winegard Sensar IV has the Wingman extension to aid in the UHF frequencies and makes the antenna more directional.  

There are several phone apps that tell you where the local off air stations are located referenced to your location.  Use an app to see where the closest stations are and start by pointing the antenna toward them (broad side of the Wingman 90 degrees to the station)..

Ken

Edited by TXiceman

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Thanks for the input.  That said, I don't want to put a hole in the ceiling of my motorhome.  Are the newer model omnidirectional antennas and the newer model control better than a 12 year old antenna?

I do have an old dome satellite sitting in the very front of my roof and wondered about relocating the antenna from back part of the roof to this new location.  Old antenna sits between two air conditioners, where the location of the old dome sits right up front.

Thoughts?

Don

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13 hours ago, Red Crewzer said:

Are the newer model omnidirectional antennas and the newer model control better than a 12 year old antenna?

I wouldn't expect a "newer" antenna design to be significantly different.  Antenna design hasn't significantly changed over the years.

13 hours ago, Red Crewzer said:

I do have an old dome satellite sitting in the very front of my roof and wondered about relocating the antenna from back part of the roof to this new location.  Old antenna sits between two air conditioners, where the location of the old dome sits right up front.

 

Today's digital OTA signals are mostly in what we used to call the UHF band so they are a bit higher in frequency (which is why the Wingman is now added to the Batwing antenna.)  Those higher frequencies don't diffract as well around objects and, therefore, could be  a bit  more subject to "shadowing" by metal objects.  All this is a roundabout way of saying that moving the antenna away from the A/C's might yield a better signal under some conditions, but I wouldn't put a lot of faith in that resulting in a major change in reception.

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On 2/1/2020 at 8:04 AM, docj said:

I wouldn't expect a "newer" antenna design to be significantly different.  Antenna design hasn't significantly changed over the years.

Is it possible that his 12 year old antenna (probably a 12 year old coach, who knows how old the antenna really is) predates digital TV signal and is still an analog antenna??

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5 minutes ago, Big5er said:

Is it possible that his 12 year old antenna (probably a 12 year old coach, who knows how old the antenna really is) predates digital TV signal and is still an analog antenna??

There's no such thing as an analog or digital antenna.   An antenna is an antenna, it picks up any type of RF from the air and sends it to the receiver.  It's the receiver that decodes the analog or digital signal.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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I have the Winegard Razor automatic, not as good as a batwing, but automatic seeking and don't have to worry about catching it in a tree. One wire. I am about 40 miles from Houston and get about 80% of the stations the batwing did.

https://winegard.com/products/hdtv-digital-antennas/vhf-uhf-antennas/rayzar/rayzar-automatic-white

Edited by jcussen

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4 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

There's no such thing as an analog or digital antenna.   An antenna is an antenna, it picks up any type of RF from the air and sends it to the receiver.  It's the receiver that decodes the analog or digital signal.

Works for me :) I have been on satelite for so long I have no 1st hand knowledge.  I just remember all the yelling and screaming when the change was made. I guess I would have drank the kool-aid if I was still watching OTA. 

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1 hour ago, Big5er said:

 I just remember all the yelling and screaming when the change was made. I guess I would have drank the kool-aid if I was still watching OTA. 

For several years after the changeover to digital there was a significant marketing effort in the RV community (and probably also in the fixed land-based one) to sell OTA viewers "digital antennas" to replace their obsolete analog ones.  I'm sure plenty of people succumbed to the hype.

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9 hours ago, docj said:

For several years after the changeover to digital there was a significant marketing effort in the RV community (and probably also in the fixed land-based one) to sell OTA viewers "digital antennas" to replace their obsolete analog ones.  I'm sure plenty of people succumbed to the hype.

I had that discussion last week with a fellow that insisted the only reason my old batwing receives digital signals is because it has the Wingman "adapter" (his term) installed. He wouldn't believe that it picked up digital stations prior to installing the Wingman as well. I finally had to walk away from the conversation...

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Dutch, I feel the pain.  You cannot educate someone that is not open to education.  

I am a amateur radio (ham) operator and on the same antenna, I can operate side band (voice), CW (Morse code Which is actually a digital mode), AM (amplitude modulation), FM (frequency modulation) and digital mode.  It all boils down to the receive/transmitt equipment that is attached to the antenna.

When it gets down to the final performance, you cannot beat the batwing style with the Wingman or the old Yagi style antenna and elevation.

Ken

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There was a push towards UHF only antennas at the start of digital broadcasting, as almost all digital stations were located in that band.  That's what the Wingman does, enhances the UHF performance of the original batwing.

However, the FCC had been steadily shrinking the UHF TV spectrum to make room for new cellular data and other services  (the highest RF channel in the US is now channel 37, not 83), re-packing TV stations closer and closer together in the remaining spectrum.  A substantial number of digital TV stations are electing to return to the VHF bands (RF channels 2-13), meaning you'll need a VHF antenna or an all channel VHF-UHF antenna to receive them. 

Edited by Lou Schneider

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Would any of you know of an antenna I could attach on my upper ladder? Actual ladder is removed and uppper part still there. Will be removing my batwing for room for solar. I actually have not used the batwing for years. But might sometime.

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18 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Would any of you know of an antenna I could attach on my upper ladder? Actual ladder is removed and uppper part still there. Will be removing my batwing for room for solar. I actually have not used the batwing for years. But might sometime.

I've seen a few omni and Winegard Rayzar Automatic installations on top of A/C shrouds.

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On 2/3/2020 at 12:49 PM, GlennWest said:

Have no Acs up there. But if they go there I should be able to put on ladder.

I mounted a Winegard Sensar IV on a mast and attached it to my ladder. The mast is military surplus that I purchased on eBay. It consists of 4 foot sections that stack. I use this when I'm in a fringe area. If you mount your antenna to the top of your ladder with a piece of pipe, your biggest challenge will be rotating the antenna.

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I could not do that but that is impressive. My ladder is gone. Just top section there. I can mount one similar but not that high. Don't have support  for it.

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Ok, looks like I will be putting a hole into my ceiling to get a rotating antenna mounted.  Now which one?  Local dealer is pushing the Winegard RZ-6035 Rayzar z1 rotating antenna.  I was also considering the King Jack OA8501 with the included signal finder. Reviews do give the King Jack a slightly better review, because of the signal finder feature.  Dealer also suggested I remove my old King Dome and put the new antenna in it's place up front closer to the tv and control panel running a new short cable on top of the roof and then through a new hole in the roof to a lower cabinet.  Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, Red Crewzer said:

Ok, looks like I will be putting a hole into my ceiling to get a rotating antenna mounted.  Now which one?  Local dealer is pushing the Winegard RZ-6035 Rayzar z1 rotating antenna.  I was also considering the King Jack OA8501 with the included signal finder. Reviews do give the King Jack a slightly better review, because of the signal finder feature.  Dealer also suggested I remove my old King Dome and put the new antenna in it's place up front closer to the tv and control panel running a new short cable on top of the roof and then through a new hole in the roof to a lower cabinet.  Thoughts?

I bought a King Jack to replace my old Winegard batwing.  A year later went back to the Winegard Sensar.  the King Jack did fine on UHF, but was inferior to the Sensar on VHF.  Lot's of stations are on VHF.  The Sensar is the superior product.

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On 2/5/2020 at 4:57 PM, Red Crewzer said:

Ok, looks like I will be putting a hole into my ceiling to get a rotating antenna mounted.  Now which one?  Local dealer is pushing the Winegard RZ-6035 Rayzar z1 rotating antenna.  I was also considering the King Jack OA8501 with the included signal finder. Reviews do give the King Jack a slightly better review, because of the signal finder feature.  Dealer also suggested I remove my old King Dome and put the new antenna in it's place up front closer to the tv and control panel running a new short cable on top of the roof and then through a new hole in the roof to a lower cabinet.  Thoughts?

Both of the recommended antennas are small, therefore they would not work well for VHF channels. The Winegard Sensar IV (aka Batwing) is considered the best RV antenna. The wide "wings" of the Sensar IV assure better reception for the VHF channels. About 25% of TV stations are now broadcasting on the VHF band.

rvw-395_l.jpg

An accessory called the SensarPro is available which is an amplifier/attenuator and signal level meter which aids in positioning the antenna. It replaces your existing wall plate.

rfl-342_l.jpg

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