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Old 04-13-2009
dwaynebmsg dwaynebmsg is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Millen
Posts: 31
Default Satellite or over the air antenna

Howdy Ya'll,
I just finished installing a 22 inch LCD set and when I connected the antenna-nothing. I checked the wiring and even ran a cable directly from the TV to the antenna. Nothing. I still have the original Mini-State saucer antenna. So, my question is, would you replace the regular "over the air antenna" or just go ahead and get a tripod/dish for Direct TV. I have an extra receiver that I can put in the Bird. I can get either for about the same money.

Wayne Burke
88 FC35SB "Miss Daisy"
Millen, Ga
84 Ford Ranger diesel! TOAD
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Old 04-13-2009
'just wanderin?'s Avatar
'just wanderin? 'just wanderin? is offline
Early Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Payson
Posts: 120

So, if you're saying that you're parked at home or somewhere where you know there is some broadcast TV to be received, and yet you're not getting even one channel, it's unlikely that the saucer ant is bad. there's really nothing in there to go bad. My old one works fine (even the lift motor) and DTV is some really good lookin' TV! It's just a loop of wire inside there, and if the connection looks good on the outside, and since you went straight to it with another lead, I would think there must be some setting on the tv itself set wrong. TV tuners have a menu driven switch that selects the tuner mode. Be sure "broadcast TV" or "air" is selected, and not "cable". Also, there are sometimes two antenna input jacks on some new TV's so look for that and be sure to use the one labled DTV (digital tv), and not "NTSC" (old, analogue TV). Also, on the input menu itself, on the tv, there is sometimes a separate input selectable for "TV" (meaning NTSC and "DTV" (digital), so be sure to choose DTV. And you should get something. If not, either the TV, the cable, or the ant is bad. You can troubleshoot around the cable with another cable, and the ant, with any old cheap rabbit ears, and you should get a signal on at least a few channels when you re-scan for channels.

The decision of whether to do satelite TV is purely based on whether you camp away from cities enough to need it.

Good luck.
Fred & Wendy Bellows
Payson, AZ (hour north of Phx)
SOB 2015 Sprinter van DIY conversion
"The Wunderlodge"
build blog info
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Old 04-13-2009
Tim Tim is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pea Ridge
Posts: 303

Hi, I guess you did run the scan channel program on the new tv , you have to do that ever time you change locations with the coach, unless you know what the off air channels are where you are, and cant directly enter the channel numbers,and the antenna sure can be bad, water can get in the head and corrode the components, and the rotator inside the head is bad to stop working,so you cant change directions , there is also an amplifier for the antenna system mounted on the overhead 12 v panel, that has a fuse that could be blown, I would probably up grade the antenna to the new style just to get the best signal possible, and you also get a wireless remote control
Tim Gunter , RV Interiors
Wanderlodge & RV Tech, 44 years experience
Our Address is 1900 Slack St. Pea Ridge Ark. 72751,
Just east of Bentonville, Ark, in the North West Corner
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Old 04-13-2009
White Hat Guy's Avatar
White Hat Guy White Hat Guy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Oneonta
Posts: 2,638
Default Satellite or Over the Air

Had two new Toshiba HD Flat Screens put in in September. I also had a new HD compatible (Wingard, I believe) "flying saucer" with a rotator device to find and "lock in" the best antennae direction. Excluding the costs of the TVs and some special cabinet work, the labor and new equipment was less than $300.00.

You'd be surprized how many digital and analog stations I now get. In some urban areas upwards of 20 or more stations. Downside of course in some remote arears you might only get a couple of stations. It beats the dickens out of $3,000.00 or so for one of the new satellite systems.

Better heads than I on this forum and others believe that changes are coming to the satellite folks (Direct TV and Dish Network) after all the stations go digital in June. Hopefully technology will improve and the price will come down. I'm going to wait.
Tommy and Martha Rountree
1994 WLWB 40/2001 Honda CRV
FMCA #F31522
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Old 04-14-2009
jdarst's Avatar
jdarst jdarst is offline
Jay Darst
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rehobeth
Posts: 46

I'm still using the antenna that was factory installed. I have added 3 LCD HD flat screens. They all receive any of the HD signals avaiable in my area or any area I go to.

Wouldn't suggest changing antennas. The one from the factory works great for me.

I subscribe to DirecTV and like it ok... kinda spensive.

Setting on your TV is the first place to look. They usually are defaulted to a "cable" setting which wouldn't pick-up much on a braodcast antenna.

Your new TV probably will probably auto-set all the channels you can receive, just fyi.

Jay Darst
Dothan, AL
217-971-0036 cell
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Old 04-14-2009
peteaeonix's Avatar
peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
Former Bird Owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ridgefield
Posts: 2,010

The broadcast signal -- a radio wave -- is essentially the same for digital transmission vs. analog. The content of the signal is different.

About 18 months ago, I replaced my 'flying saucer' antenna (as the rotator motor was dead) and I noted on the box that it said "HD compatible" -- while that is a comfort, well... most antennas that got an acceptable signal are likely to bring in the digital signal.

What I understand, however, is that in 'deep fringe' areas, where you might have received a (barely) acceptable analog signal, you might not get a digital signal. Where ever you get a decent broadcast signal, the digital should look a lot better. (The digital circuitry does a better job at sorting out ghosts and unwanted reflected signals and noise.)

The comment about cable setting vs. broadcast is quite pertinent. When on the road, we frequently stay RV parks with cable service and I rarely seek broadcast signals. When we stayed in a state park (no cable), I was puzzled why TV stations were showing up on the "wrong" channels. For example, channel 10 was showing up on 17 (or something else), etc. but not on channel 10. Then I remembered having seen the cable/broadcast menu item -- I went back and switched from cable to broadcast mode, and discovered that not only did I get the channels on the channels they claimed to be broadcasting on -- they were much clearer as well.

Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
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Old 04-14-2009
Gray Eagle's Avatar
Gray Eagle Gray Eagle is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange Park, FL 32073
Posts: 128

We also purchased one of the new "flying saucer" antennas when we upgraded to an LCD last fall. We are still using the factory installed King Dome that was original equipment and it is working fine. Although the dome is incapable of receiving HDTV, the digital picture is good enough for me to wait until the dome craps out before I buy a new one. On the other hand, the new saucer does receive in HD and we are finding that we are watching the local commercial channels far more often as the picture is spectacular. And since what I really want HD for is to watch sporting events that are usually available on network TV, I think the $200 or so for the antenna was money well spent.
Terry & Cathy Baker
Orange Park, FL 32073
2000 43' LXI
"Always Something"
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Old 04-20-2009
fishfarm fishfarm is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Homosassa
Posts: 424

Another technology is coming too. According to this article, "mobile DTV" for cellphone, laptop and car-based receivers is being rolled out.

Bob McLaughlin
Homosassa, Fl
No 'Bird, Just Blue
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Old 04-20-2009
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vernon Center
Posts: 1,302

I would suggest you use both the original antenna on your bird and a Satellite antenna. You can buy many KVH satellite antennas for less then $1300 and some for less then $700. Here is one for $550 http://tinyurl.com/d37ef9

I bought mine thru ebay about 6 years ago from a KVH dealer in New Orleans for $600 new.

These antennas are easy to install and use by anyone with a few basic skills. Might be one installed at the upcoming Vernon,NY Bluebird Rally June 11-15th.
Tom Warner
Vernon Center,NY
1985 PT40 SOLD
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Old 09-19-2010
martyspaulding martyspaulding is offline
Rockey Scientist
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kalamazoo
Posts: 36

The difference between old (analog) and new (digital) signals is like the comparison between old tube tvs and more modern solid-state things.

Analog (old) tv and tube equipment never worked "perfect". There was always some deterioiration of the signal as the tubes got older or spacing from the broacast center became greater or had other interference.

With digital and solid state you either have it ... or you don't. Yes/No, Black/White.

"Grey" for digital broadcast is the pizza-scramble screen you get when a storm comes in. But it either comes back in or it doesn't momentarily. And the equipment is trained to "not see" marginal signals.

The days of "kind of" getting a sketchy signal on TV that you could manipulate by turning the antenna etc is over. For the most part it either comes in or it doesn't at all.

I bought a KVM sat unit that took some tinkering to get to work (and wasn't cheap). But now that its dialed in, as long as I've got clear line of sight to the sky I have clear solid TV anywhere.
Marty Spaulding
Kalamazoo, MI
'86 PT 40
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