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Main Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: glenncc on February 23, 2011, 07:36:17 pm



Title: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: glenncc on February 23, 2011, 07:36:17 pm
I haven't had much time to play with the Samsung TV and surround sound system on my 2010 PC yet, but the one time I cranked up the roof antenna and turned on the TV I got a message that no signals were available.  Now I know there are at least six digital stations available on my home TV using the roof antenna, but maybe the motorhome antenna is too low to get those signals.  It did occur to me that if the RV antenna was not aimed in the right direction I might not get a signal from any station.  If that is the case does a person have to turn off the TV, move the antenna, and repeat that process multiple times until a signal is received?  Is there a way to move the crankup antenna once the TV begins its search without confusing the procedure? 

Any help is appreciated from the "expers" on this forum.  Thanks again, everyone!

Glenn


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bobander on February 23, 2011, 08:03:10 pm
Hi Glenn,

You may need to run the auto scan, I find that I need to do that every time I move the RV.

Raise the antenna and point it where you think the signals are coming from, it doesn't need to be exact.  Then select "menu" on the remote to select "air" for the antenna and run the "auto program".  Also, make sure the antenna amplifier is on, press the button next to the cable connection in the cabinet above the passenger seat so that the red led is on.

Hope this helps, Bob


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 23, 2011, 09:32:29 pm
This very topic is quite interesting.  I've had poor experience with this which is why I pretty much give up using the antenna and resort to DVD movies we bring from home.  You might have read a few of my posts mentioning I wished I never had the roof antenna mounted, just as I had the factory do with my roof rack and ladder.

At home in the house, we have a digital converter that came in handy to point our roof-top antenna toward the source.  There is a feature to identify signal strength, so with Walkie-Talkies, my wife instructed me to turn the roof antenna until the signal bar was at it's best.

In our 2007 PC with aftermarket 26" Samsung TV, that signal strength feature might be built into the TV, but I could not find it.   With digital technology, you have to pre-point the antenna to the right place, cross your fingers, scan for channels, and hope for the best.  In the places we typically camp, that process almost always yields nothing.  If I get two stations, I am doing great.  But they are weak so then what happens?  Digital pixelation and the sound cuts in and out.  So out comes our DVD binder with all our movies.

The analog days were real simple and reliable.  Turn on the TV to a popular station like channel 2, 5, 7, and then turn the antenna until the picture is at it's best.  It was a very forgiving process.

One final nail in the digital coffin is that digital technology requires line-of-sight.  If there is anything between you and the signal source, like a grove of trees, it's Tough-Luck-Charlie.  Supposedly you should be able to get a signal bounced off a mountain or canyon wall, but never any good luck there for me.

The only time the antenna actually works well is when we are staying in a larger city that broadcasts a digital signal.  But that places us into RV parks.  And guess what RV parks have......Cable TV offering many more channels...clean signal channels.  So what good is the antenna?

Okay I will type this again.  I sure wished I had PC-USA give me the Winegard antenna in it's shipping carton and free my roof of more holes and unsightly caulk, especially because it it mounted up front in the nice B+ cap.  It would also eliminate the nasty rattling the antenna makes when the roads are a bit rough.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: glenncc on February 24, 2011, 03:06:19 am
I was hoping for better news, but am not terribly surprised at what you had to say.  During the walk-through at the factory the TV scanned for channels from inside the garage and we got an excellent picture in no time.  I even commented on how great the signal was from inside the building.  Was that because they knew which way to point the antenna and possibly because Chicago broadcasts some strong digital signals that can be picked up in Elkhart? 

I own exactly zero DVD movies because I never enjoy watching the same movie more than once,  Has anyone experimented with streaming video from Netflix, Hulu, etc. using the Samsung TVs we have in our PCs?  Some TVs have that ability built in.  I have a FiveSpot with Verizon Wireless for internet service as well and though streaming movies takes a lot of memory maybe it would be cheaper to pay more monthly for a more expensive plan than to go with satellite and the headaches that entails.  I really don't like the idea of putting a dish on the roof of the PC and using a portable dish would just be too much trouble in my opinion. 

The best idea is to probably wait and see just how often I camp where cable TV is offered, but my preference is generally to camp in State Parks and National forests. 

Thanks for the input.

Glenn


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: TomHanlon on February 24, 2011, 07:39:48 am
I see Winegard has come out with a new product to help us with the aiming problem. Go here: http://www.winegard.com/mobile/wallplates.php to see the SensarPro™ RFL-342 TV Signal Meter.

Has anyone used this yet or any other product like it?


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: GoPhoenix on February 24, 2011, 10:48:23 am
I’m pretty sure your problem is that the antenna amplifier is not turned on (where the TV cable plugs in).  Our new 3100 gets over 30 channels (between Cincinnati and Dayton).  It gets none with the antenna amplifier off.  Rotating the antenna probably helps in some areas, but here, the reception is the same regardless of antenna direction.  And the Samsung HD TV is terrific.  On our Route 66 trip, http://www.mytripjournal.com/HistoricRoute66 in our prior 2900, we got TV reception everywhere except Meteor Crater RV Park in Winslow, AZ (no cable either – wouldn’t stay there again).  We used an analog-digital converter then.  Although a bit of a hassle to search for channels, but we never had a problem.  Also, we were on some fairly rough roads on Route 66 and never experienced noise from the antenna.  In fact in 30 years of RVing in motorhomes, we have never noticed noise from an antenna. 

As for a ladder, I wouldn’t want to be without one.  I’m frequently on the roof – recently installed vent covers.  I regularly check caulking for leaks and wash the roof.  The roof rack helps an old guy like me when getting on and off, and I think it adds to the looks of the coach.  In all the years we’ve owned motorhomes, we’ve never had a roof leak from the ladder, rack, antenna or anywhere else.  I do, however, keep a close watch on all the seals.  As for access to storage behind the ladder, I removed all the hooks, anchors and straps, and store our chairs there, so I’m not in it too often.  I keep all hoses and electric cords in the storage area under the 3100 slideout.

Check the antenna amplifier and you’ll get good reception.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 24, 2011, 11:32:57 am
I swear my amp is on as the little red light is lit.  I never seem to have any luck with a decent signal, but I almost never camp close enough to a city that broadcasts.  Even where I live is 40 miles from the old Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) and there is a hill between me and the direction of Chicago because I live in the Fox Valley (for those who are familiar), so trials at home are futile.  The same problem if I try to capture a broadcast from Rockford which is about the same distance but in the opposite direction.  I have yet to install the Winegard Wingman that mounts on the underside of the antenna and will add thick felt feet to the areas of contact with the roof.  Maybe that will quiet the noise it makes.  I did already add felt feet recently but have not driven the motor home since.  Now I have to relocate them for the Wingman. I won't know any results until our first trip this year.....whenever that is.

I too spend some time inspecting and cleaning the roof doing as gophoenix, but I use a big sturdy 10' step ladder for the task.  I stay off the roof as much as possible, reaching from the ladder with a brush on a broom stick instead.  That does limit my roof access only when home.  On trips I have none.  I really don't know what I would do with a stubborn tree branch.  But without the ladder and rack for branches to get tangled up in, I have not yet been in trouble.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: GoPhoenix on February 24, 2011, 12:06:59 pm
Ron, as for the antenna amplifier, I was responding to the original post by glenncc.  I believe that problem is the amplifier.  As for the rest, we’re sometimes in our PC for one to two months at a time, often stationary, so I like roof access.  I regularly clean the vent cover screens.  Even with vent covers, debris gets on top of the vent screens.  Also, personally, I wouldn’t lean a ladder against the PC.  Just personal preferences…


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 24, 2011, 12:21:46 pm
Oh I see you point, and also being stationary for months at a time, needing to clean off debris there.

As for my 10' step ladder, It never touches the motor home.  It is free-standing, setup adjacent to the RV on a flat concrete driveway.  That ladder has a very wide stance, making it very safe to reach onto the roof.  But such a ladder is impossible to carry along on a trip.  It is a home-use only item as seen in this picture, the orange ladder partially out of view, leaning against the garage wall.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3563/3491191885_607fd68df6_z.jpg?zz=1)


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: billy on February 24, 2011, 01:43:27 pm
Tom, we picked up our Cruiser and we both had withdrawals, no DirecTV. But it was not all that bad. Almost every where we stayed we did get a pretty good picture from the Wingard. I don't think I would spend my money on the sensor you had the link to. As Bob stated, crank up the antenna, make sure the booster is on, run an auto search and turn the antenna for best results. billy


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 24, 2011, 02:34:53 pm
run an auto search and turn the antenna for best results. billy
Autosearch?  I got to find that on my TV.  That would help so very much.  I hope all my "wineing" about this has a happy ending for me.

That is a "TV Driven" feature, right?


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bobander on February 24, 2011, 02:43:25 pm
Regarding the antenna booster, I was having a rough time in the beginning with both the over the air antenna reception and the cable input.  It took me a while to figure out that the booster had a dramatic effect on both the antenna and the cable input, it had to be on (red led on) for the antenna to work and it had to be off to work on cable input.  Actually, if the over the air signal was strong enough, the antenna would work ok with the booster off, but the cable input would not work at all with the booster on.

We are pleased with the antenna, I have been surprised to get great antenna reception in remote areas.  One that comes to mind is boondocking at Flaming Gorge Reservoir in NE Utah.

Regarding antenna noise, I also was bothered by the noise on the roof from the antenna while going down the road.  I found that one of the antenna wings was only about 1/8 inch from the roof and would vibrate against the roof.  I bent it up a bit and that noise stopped.  There was still some vibration noise that I finally stopped by tightening the crank more firmly to remove all slack in the mechanism when storing the antenna in the down position for travel.  Now all is well!

Bob


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bobander on February 24, 2011, 02:49:47 pm

[/quote]Autosearch?  I got to find that on my TV.  That would help so very much.  I hope all my "wineing" about this has a happy ending for me.

That is a "TV Driven" feature, right?
[/quote]

Ron,

Yes, you have to run the auto search to find the tv stations that are available.  I don't know why, but when we move to a new location, I have to run the auto search every time.

You can find the auto search, or auto scan, in the TV menu.

Good luck, Bob


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: glenncc on February 24, 2011, 03:11:57 pm
I honestly don't remember if the antenna booster was turned on or not when I tried searching for channels.  The PC is still in its storage garage at this point, but I should have it out in a week or two and I will definitely try your suggestions.  I have higher hopes for success now than before!  Thanks. 

I did check Verizon and it would cost $80/month for their largest wireless internet plan (10 GB).  I already have the 3 GB plan that costs $35/month and I only average about half the usage that plan offers.  The difference of $45 would offer a savings over the $71 I now pay for DirecTV at home if I wanted to use Verizon's service exclusively.  I'd still have local channels at home via the roof antenna for the bulk of my use and I could use the wireless signal for movies.  I even have my old Dell computer still that will work wirelessly with the Verizon FiveSpot so I could designate it just for use on the home TV and even be able to surf the internet on my newer laptop at the same time if I chose.  Still, if the crank-up antenna on the PC works as well for me as it is for many of you I will happy with that. 

Thanks again everyone!

Glenn


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 24, 2011, 03:12:23 pm
Bob,

I know about scanning for stations.  I thought the feature was scanning to identify the best place to point the antenna, prior to scanning for stations.

My analog to digital converter at home is set up with a "where to point the antenna" feature, prior to scanning for stations.  I wondered if my TV in the motor home has that extra feature as well.  Do any of you have what I describe?


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: TomHanlon on February 24, 2011, 03:41:25 pm
Ron, look at my post above with the new Winegard aiming plate. I think it is what you are looking for. I have never tried one and am also wondering how good they are. It would replace your current plate and still have the power booster built in. I always turn on the power booster when watching off the air and off for cable. Sometimes I get the digital signial but feel I am not quite aimed properly. I am sure when you install the wingman, you will find it helps a lot, I did on the old motorhome.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 24, 2011, 04:58:17 pm
Okay Tom, I will have to install my wingman, then drive my PC out from the valley I live in, up to where I have a better chance in getting a signal from Willis Tower (Sears Tower), then experiment from there.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bobander on February 24, 2011, 05:08:36 pm
Bob,

I know about scanning for stations.  I thought the feature was scanning to identify the best place to point the antenna, prior to scanning for stations.

My analog to digital converter at home is set up with a "where to point the antenna" feature, prior to scanning for stations.  I wondered if my TV in the motor home has that extra feature as well.  Do any of you have what I describe?

Ron,

Sorry, total confusion on my part.  Never heard of scanning for where to point the antenna, now I have something new to learn about.

Bob


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bigbadjc on February 24, 2011, 06:13:31 pm
I can't give any help on how to aim your antenna, but there is a government website that will give you a list of available tv stations and approximate signal strengths for a city, zip code, address, etc.  This will at least tell you what you might expect to get.  The website is http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/.  I also know that in some locations you cant find a local antenna sales business website with instructions on which direction to point your antenna.  I have looked at one in Kingwood, TX, as an example. By the way, I always use the amplifier and have had limited success. In some locations, even in the country, I have gotten several channels, while out in the mountains of the western states about the only thing I saw on my TVs were DVDs.

Jerry


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: NLK on February 25, 2011, 12:23:11 pm
Before I acquired cable TV at my home, I had a unit sitting next to the TV that would turn the roof antenna to different directions to watch some of the channels.
On my PC when we raise the TV antenna that was installed by the factory and turn the antenna booster on, there have always been numerous channels available.  Occasionally we need to run the auto scan.  However, we did have a problem with reception on the TV and cell phones in areas within the Allegany Mountains.  The only aggravation that I have is occasionally when using the remote for the TV over the rear bed; it will change the channels on the TV up front.  We still haven't found out how to stop that from happening.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: lghjr on February 25, 2011, 05:09:15 pm
Bob,

I know about scanning for stations.  I thought the feature was scanning to identify the best place to point the antenna, prior to scanning for stations.

My analog to digital converter at home is set up with a "where to point the antenna" feature, prior to scanning for stations.  I wondered if my TV in the motor home has that extra feature as well.  Do any of you have what I describe?

Ron,

Sorry, total confusion on my part.  Never heard of scanning for where to point the antenna, now I have something new to learn about.

Bob

Bob,
Did you find when we were in Santa Fe the over the air signals from Albuquerque were better than the cable in the campgrounds.?  And that using converters since our TV's were before all this digital nonsense.  Reason I ask your unit is way newer than mine.
L. G.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: bobander on February 25, 2011, 05:29:32 pm


Bob,
Did you find when we were in Santa Fe the over the air signals from Albuquerque were better than the cable in the campgrounds.?  And that using converters since our TV's were before all this digital nonsense.  Reason I ask your unit is way newer than mine.
L. G.
[/quote]

Hi L.G.
Sorry, I don't recall if I used the antenna or the cable in that RV park in Santa Fe last fall.

I have been on the road in Arizona for the past 5 weeks and I have used the antenna in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.  I couldn't get a signal in Buckskin State Park on the Colorado River or boondocking in Quartzsite.  I installed the Wingman on my antenna last week and will try those places again on the way home.  The picture with over the air digital is outstanding, and no converter box as the set is newer.

May head for home in a week or so, have to wait for the snow storms in the Sierra Nevada to stop.
Bob


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: lmichael on February 25, 2011, 07:22:06 pm
Ron, the tv does not have the "where to point the antenna" feature.  One note to the original poster for this subject, you also have to make sure the tv is set for over the air reception and not cable.  I sometimes forget to change this after I use cable or directv, and my search for stations comes up empty.  We almost always get a load of Mexican, religious and ION stations when we use the antenna.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 25, 2011, 08:08:03 pm
Ron, the tv does not have the "where to point the antenna" feature.
So how is everyone doing it them.....just point in the general direction of where you "think" the signal is coming from?

Here at my house, because of the long distance and poor landscape circumstances (I live in a valley), the slightest change in direction of the antenna, makes a huge difference in signal strength.

In my analog to digital converter box at home, it has that "Signal Strength" feature I mentioned earlier, there to assist in directing the house antenna on the roof.  I wonder if I should somehow work that into my Winegard antenna in the motor home, just to aid in where to point the antenna, before I start scanning for channels.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: jdw on February 26, 2011, 08:41:23 am
So how is everyone doing it them.....just point in the general direction of where you "think" the signal is coming from?

I use www.antennaweb.org.  If you put in the address, they will give you the compass headings of the broadcast antennas for every station you ought to be able to receive.  Usually they're almost all in the same spot, so you just point the antenna that way.

This has served me well everywhere we've gone so far except Marathon, FL which was just a bit too far from Miami to do any good.  (Still got the obligatory Spanish channel though -- the only thing funnier than the "Magic Bullet" infomercial is the "Magic Bullet" infomercial dubbed into Spanish.)

However, being in a valley, this might not help you much at home if the best (or "least worst") signal is actually being reflected from some other direction.  But it's been pretty handy on the road.

I've also learned that the digital OTA channel numbers are all "fake" and even for channels with low numbers, like 4.1, the actual signals are usually broadcast in the old UHF range, not VHF.  So there's always that extra fussing required to get them in right.  If my childhood UHF experiences are any guide, having someone stand holding the antenna with one hand while leaning in a certain direction with one foot in the air may be your best bet to significantly improve reception.*

Quote
In my analog to digital converter box at home, it has that "Signal Strength" feature I mentioned earlier, there to assist in directing the house antenna on the roof.  I wonder if I should somehow work that into my Winegard antenna in the motor home, just to aid in where to point the antenna, before I start scanning for channels.

In the RV that would be a bit hard to do because the signal strength meter would have to have the entire tuner built in.  Otherwise it wouldn't know what channel's signal strength to report.  So I'm not sure there's a smaller equivalent you could get.  Taking that thing with you might be an option; you could temporarily plug it in where the TV connects and then reconnect the TV after you're satisfied.

*Take appropriate precautions before doing this on the roof of your PC! ;-)


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: lmichael on February 26, 2011, 02:43:16 pm
All I do is raise the antenna and run the auto channel search.  However, being in the West most of the time, I'm either on flat land or on a mountain with no obstructions.  I have noticed that I usually find more stations on the Samsung tv up front than on the 19" I installed in the bedroom.  About the only time I rotate the antenna is when reception is fuzzy or pixle freeze occurs.  The digital addition to the antenna on my current PC and on my previous 2007 2700 PC did make a significant difference.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 26, 2011, 02:55:10 pm
The digital addition to the antenna on my current PC and on my previous 2007 2700 PC did make a significant difference.
Could you clarify what you mean by "digital addition"?  Are you referring to the add-on Wingman?

We bought our 2007 2350 with Winegard antenna and signal booster during the time of analog, but no TV's.  I installed digital TV's later.  I bought a Wingman but have not yet installed it.  I will before our first excursion this year.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: lmichael on February 26, 2011, 03:00:21 pm
Yes, it's the wingman--feeble mind couldn't recall the name so I fudged.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: ron.dittmer on February 26, 2011, 03:14:48 pm
Yes, it's the wingman--feeble mind couldn't recall the name so I fudged.
Thanks for the clarity!


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: billy on February 26, 2011, 08:29:18 pm
Saw this in my motor home magazine.  

http://www.kingcontrols.com/surelock/digital_tv_signal_finder.asp  

scrool down to specification sheet, good info   billy


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: TomHanlon on February 27, 2011, 08:27:12 am
Good find Billy. The way every thing is explained should be very helpful in this discussion. This meter is similar to the Winegard signal strength meter I referenced in an earlier post in this tread, but at half the price. Now I just have to find out which would be more accurate, One has four LEDs and the other a scale of 1-99.

Which magazine did you find this in? I looked through the "Motorhome" that I got yesterday and could not find it.

I just found the "installation and Operation instructions" here: http://www.winegard.com/kbase/upload/2452217.pdf After reading them I have a better understanding of what they are talking about. I am thinking that I may just stick with what I do now. I look to see which direction the other antennas in the campground are pointed and point mine in that same general direction. It is so much simpler than what they want me to do.


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: billy on February 27, 2011, 11:16:51 am
I'll need to look for the article, some times things between the brain and the fingers things get lost  pyho

They both look like good products, I must say when we were coming home from picking up the Cruiser all we had was the Winegard and if you moved it a tad the signal would change a lot. billy


PS    MotorHome, March 2011, page 61, Tech Savvy


Title: Re: Finding digital tv signals over-the-air
Post by: jwhyt10 on April 23, 2011, 04:33:57 pm
I found it difficult to decide which direction to point my antenna for the best signal.  I discovered that there is a signal finder called "King Controls Sure Lock Digital Signal Finder" I ordered one from Adventure RV Net.http://www.adventurerv.net/king-controls-surelock-digital-antenna-signal-finder-p-23208.html
I tried out only from home but it seem to work very well in finding where the signals are.