Television Antennas for Caravans

Hello all,

I would like to fit a permanent TV antenna to our caravan. Does anyone have recommendations for makes and models or reasons why a portable one might be better?
Thanking you all in anticipation,

Greg.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:44

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:44
that all depends on what you consider poratable and permenent...and how much you want to spend.

The comming of digital television and the accompanying channel restack has changed the game.

We no longer have the long range performance of channel 0 and 2, but that means the antennas can be a lot smaller.

We also have the advantage that ghosting is not the problem that it was due to the digital system....multipath distortion will however still give problems with digital.

BUT in many areas range is reduced and many small transopnders have been decommissioned in favour of the VAST satilite service.

Now all that said......VHF television is pretty well restricted to capitol cities the remainder will be UHF.

Remember caravanners are often pushing the range issue due to places they want to stay.

I am sure someone will pipe up and recommend that you just get a satilite system and be done with it...and I can see the argument....but you wont be getting local TV and you may not be getting the programe choices you will get from terestrial free to air.


Now all that said...if we want good relaible terestrial free to air reception we still need an aerial with good gain and good directional properties....and in many cases height is everything.

There are a number of "caravanner" aerails out there...some of them work well and some of them are a running joke among the TV antenna trade.

As I said the size of aerials has come down with the dropping of the lower frequency channels.......there is no longer a need for an antenna 8 feet wide at the back to recieve these frequencies..we are down to arround 2 feet wide for VHF.

There are some good combination areials out there.
the Matchmaster DE7 and DE13 have been solid performers for decades if a little lo on gain...the Matchmaster DC15 and DC 21A are good solid high gain antennas of very robust construction and will survive outside on a lowered pole at 100KMH no problem

The aerial industry is however very much tending toward the twin beam log periodics like the Fracaro LP43HV and its coppies..because they are light cheap and have good gain.

There is a case for having seperate antennas for UHF and VHF......if you are staying exclusivly outside metro capitols you will not be needing VHF, so a dedicated high performance UHF may be a better proposition.
The twin beam log periodics are still a strong performer, like the Fricaro LP4F and its coppies, but the cake rack style antennas are a very strong contenders like the Wissi EE06 and its coppies.

Now remember we still have a mix of transmitter sites that are horisontal and vertical polorised.....so for best performance you have to change your antenna from the horisontal plane to the vertical plane.

In lower signal areas inspite of the good gain from the antenna you may need a masthead booster to amplify the signal.....the performance of these has improved considerably in the 20 pluss years I have been arround aerials......but without a field strength meter you will have to stay on the conservative side and stay with low gain boosters.
What you need is a low noise masthed bosster not a distribution amp.

NOW as to that being portable or permanent.

Well that depends on how you set it up.
Many travel with the aerial and the mast mounted with no problems...a few smaprts about how the cable is run and stowed and its just a matter of pushing up the aerial, pointing it in the right direction and locking it off.

others are quite content to chuck the aerial on the bed and lay the telescopic pole on the floor or in the tubes.....and mount it up when they get there.

Remember its all about how well it is set up.......propery set up neither are a problem.

There are flying saucer antennas that get permanently mounted, and they have amplification built in....they are expensive (hundreds$) and they dont work well in many situations.....they are actually marine antennas and designed more or less for open water...some of the top end mobile homes and busses that have legal seating away from the driver have them so the Tv can be used when mobile....but...serioulsy..why.


It all comes down to what you are looking for.

Just stay away fro the things that look like a bloke glued up a couple of bits of conduit in his back yard...that that is what happened.

I could draw you a diagrame of how to knock one of those up in about half an hour......or less if ya don't mind bare wire and it looking like a coat hanger.

cheers
AnswerID: 538729

Reply By: Member - mike g2 - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 10:14

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 10:14
hi greg, excellent answer bantam, may I add.. if you want to, agree, sat dish or tv ant is main 2 choices. its easy to research the difference. can have painters extension pole mounted via bracket to front A bar, then clamp on a small ant to the top. some vans already have tv ant. home made one must be put down when travelling obviously. good trick to locate signal direction is to align with what everyone else is doing at c/van park ( if that's where you camp) or what you see on rooftops of any local buildings. you will probably need digital ant as well now as most analogue finished.
i have done this and used the painters pole with a hardware store antennae many times and all was good. I assume by "portable one" you mean one of those small spiral T bar types or bunny ear extendable types.. they work, but wouldn't recommend.
MG.
AnswerID: 538780

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