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Old 06-11-2010, 08:54 AM   #1
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TV antenna...

I am sure it has been discussed before, but I am looking for a good tv antenna to put on the roof of my bus. I am being a little picky and have a few requirements:

1) Analog reception is okay...Canada hasn't converted to digital broadcast yet.
2) No crank-up styles. I don't want to have to remember to lower it, and I may use it while travelling at some point.
3) Omni-directional. Again, I want to be able to use it while in motion. And I hate aiming antennas with every channel change.
4) Good looks. Should look like it belongs.

Any ideas on what I should be looking for?
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:01 PM   #2
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Re: TV antenna...

I got one of these for the house and one for TWE. The one I mounted in the rafters of the house works great after finding optimal position, but on TWE it depends on location and I have to adjust for signal depending on tower location from where parked. I got these two and the next one at Walmart (both in stock in our local store).

http://www.consumer.philips.com/c/tv-an ... 27/prd/us/

I got one of these for TWE to try to cover two different angles so I don't have to reposition antennas but again, while it works great, it is subject to tower location/antenna position where parked. (The link is to Best Buy, but I got it at Walmart for 1/2 that price.)

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Antennas+Di ... Id=9119642

I ordered this one just the other day and have not received it yet so I don't know how it will be, but I will post when it arrives and I get it set up. I got it primarily for the remote control positioning feature (tired of adjusting antennas in the rain, heh).

http://www.heartlandamerica.com/browse/ ... =S&DL=SEH6

Overall, I am quite pleased with the two I got at Wallyworld, and hope the new one will pick up signals as well the others. HTH!
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:05 PM   #3
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Re: TV antenna...

I have actually seen that first antenna locally. I just wasn't sure if the new HDTV compatible antennas were compatible with the old-school analog broadcasts.
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:46 PM   #4
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Re: TV antenna...

The first two types I have both pick up analog just fine and I'm sure the one I'm waiting on will also...sorry I forgot to say that, especially since that was part of your question...
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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Re: TV antenna...

Griff, how much was the Phillips antenna? That one says indoor and outdoor. Do you have it mounted outside of the bus? If not, do you think that could be part of the reception problem? Having all that metal around the antenna might interfere with reception.
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:58 PM   #6
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Re: TV antenna...

Now that's more of what I was looking for Smitty. Have you had a chance to test it to see how well it works yet?
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:18 AM   #7
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Re: TV antenna...

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Griff, how much was the Phillips antenna?...Do you have it mounted outside of the bus?...
The Phillips was just shy of $40 and yes, it is mounted externally for the very reason you mention.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:25 AM   #8
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Re: TV antenna...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Griff, how much was the Phillips antenna?...Do you have it mounted outside of the bus?...
The Phillips was just shy of $40 and yes, it is mounted externally for the very reason you mention.
Did you have it on an elevated mast?
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:50 PM   #9
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Re: TV antenna...

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
...Did you have it on an elevated mast?
The Phillips is mounted on the passenger-side towards the rear, on a small, position-adjustable mast, nearly, but not elevated above the roof at present. The Clearstream is mounted on the driver-side mirror bracket and therefore has little ability for position adjustment at present. I only temporarily mounted the antennas because I knew I'd be relocating/replacing them with something that will be on/above the roof after the deck and solar stuff are installed.
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:59 PM   #10
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Re: TV antenna...

OK Kids, I've had this antenna about a week now and finally made time to assemble, mount and test it (the box was gettin' in my way). Here're the results:

Took about an hour to assemble, unit pieces out of the box seemed flimsy and was short a few of the smallest screws. Had difficulty getting some of the smaller tubes in place without "grrr-ing" 'em up trying to put them in holes that were slightly smaller in diameter than the actual tubes. Instructions were sparse, and assembly steps could have been in a better sequence to expedite assembly, (i.e. don't attach the signal straps until the unit is fully assembled or they get in the way).

Also wished there was a size #1-1/2 phillips screwdriver because all but 2 screws were too small for a #2 and too large for a #1 to fit properly, but finally got the screws to seat by being extremely careful not to strip the heads.

Mounted it on the post that I had the Phillips mounted on after repositioning the post to allow the antenna to clear the bus roof (took about 15 minutes total to mount, route cables & connect). I am currently parked in an area surrounded by steel storage buildings and am pleased to announce that it picks up an additional 9 channels over what the Phillips and the ClearStream2 did combined (still have the ClearStream2 combined into the circuit, but don't think it's helping much, I will probably remove it when time allows).

Anyway, at first blush I'm pretty satisfied. The remote control rotation feature is S-U-H-W-E-E-E-E-T!!! NO MORE GOING OUT IN THE RAIN TO RELOCATE ANTENNAS!!! (...and there was much rejoicing...)

The only downside - unlike Smitty's antenna, this one (at least in it's current configuration) will have to be removed for travel, but otherwise...for $40 bucks US and free shipping, I wish I had bought this one first! I probably wouldn't have bought the other two...oh well...live and learn, heh!

Will see how long it holds up. The alleged "waterproof" box the circuit board is mounted in does not appear to be all that waterproof. I will be applying some sealant to help ensure weather resistance.

Any questions on this unit, don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: TV antenna...

NEWS FLASH!

There is no difference between a digital antenna and an analog antenna, except for marketing hype. The antennas pick up a particular set of frequencies, while digital versus analog is the waveform used for encoding and decoding the picture and sound on that frequency.

That being said, during the transition in the states, most digital TV was on UHF. During that time, most stations had two transmitters on the air. For example, analog 6 would be on VHF 6, and digital 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 would really be on channel 35 or something. Antennas like the Phillips are high-performance UHF-only antennas. The Phillips worked great during this period (my boss brought one to work to try out) because VHF was almost completely analog.

After the transition, each station got to pick which channel to stay on. Did they want to turn off analog 6 and digital 35 and turn on digital 6, or did they just want to turn off analog 6 and keep digital 35 where it was. The UHF-only antennas suddenly became not so good when many or most stations shifted to their old frequencies.

It is important to note that all the antennas suggested in this thread have built-in preamplifiers. A good, low-noise preamplifier is crucial to fringe area reception, and is important when the antenna metal is the wrong size for naturally tuning the channel. A full-sized channel 2 antenna should have rods that extend 52 inches on either side of the boom. A channel 15 antenna would only need rods that extend 5 or 6 inches on each side. The rod length for natural tuning goes down as the channel number goes up. The preamp helps make up for the mismatch.

The antenna Smitty has is the best one to meet the parameters you described - omnidirectional, non-retracting, useful in motion.

A problem with omni-directional antennas is multipath reception. You may pick up multiple beams from the tower to your antenna. When signals are reflecting off of urban buildings or the Rockies, a beam that bounces off four or five obstructions will take longer to reach your antenna than a beam that bounces only once or twice. On an analog picture, this produces "ghosting" where the late beam will display a second head on a person to the side of the one displayed by the earlier beam. On a digital signal, late ones and zeros arriving with near equal strength may cancel out the digital information, causing the picture to freeze up or not lock in.

A directional antenna is not practical in motion, without gyro-controlled steering like the mobile satellite set-ups. But a directional antenna can be pointed to the strongest beam reaching it, and not pulling in so many weaker beams hitting it from the sides with different arrival delays. This can greatly help eliminate ghosting and loss of digital lock.

The best of both worlds would be to mount an antenna like Smitty's for in-motion use plus stops in good signal areas, and have a pre-amplified directional antenna like Griff's in a storage bay to be able to set up when parked in a fringe or multipath area. An connector can be pre-wired for the directional antenna with an A/B selector switch to pick antennas.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:53 PM   #12
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Re: TV antenna...

I like my old school Winegard "AWACS" looking disc omnidirectional antenna. Looks like a UFO landed on the roof.

2 "shotgunned Terk antennas inside my house has unreliable, sparse signal, the Winegard disc pulls in 13 channels in the driveway.

Looks kinda like this...

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Old 07-06-2010, 02:19 PM   #13
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Re: TV antenna...

thats what parents have on their camper. "signal commander 2" it says on it. used it this last weekend camping. wasnt bad but i forgot the booster on when i crashed and killed the battery...
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:10 AM   #14
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Re: TV antenna...

Every time I see those disc antennas I keep thinking about finding a model of the original enterprise to mount it to... Pulls in TV, and makes people shake their heads while muttering "Startrek Geek!"...
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