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Old 01-17-2009, 04:54 AM   #1
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Best antenna for digital TV

With the digital switchover upon us, what is the best antenna for digital signals? I took off my ol Christmas tree Skyliner years ago, but still have it. How would the Skyliner work compared to a new antenna. Recommendations?
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:51 AM   #2
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Having never used a skyliner (mine was long gone when I got the trailer) I cannot say if it will work or not. However! I have one of the relatively current versions of the bat wing at it does fine. For longer term stays I use my Direct TV dish on a stand alone tripod. FWIW I don't watch much television at home or on the road. We did have a regular rotator type antenna at home that does just fine hauling in the digital signals. The newer type antennas have an amplifier, but I don't know if it works with the digital signals or not.

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Old 01-17-2009, 09:13 AM   #3
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My Skyliner works great! You can also get more powerful amplifiers for well under $50 if you are willing to search out exotic specialty stores, like Wal*Mart.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Any old TV antenna will work on digital. There is no such thing as a "digital" antenna, although some may use that as a marketing ploy. Digital uses most of the old analog channels, so just about any antenna that worked on the old analog channels will work on digital as well.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
My Skyliner works great! You can also get more powerful amplifiers for well under $50 if you are willing to search out exotic specialty stores, like Wal*Mart.
If there is not much difference in performance I am thinking do I want to put the Skyliner back in for a retro look or go with new.

Is the amplifier you speak of a separate amplifier or an amplified antenna?

I've also got an old Weingard, but it needs repair and I'm not sure it is worth messing with.

By the way usually camp pretty far away from the cities and TV transmitters.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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I don’t know how the newer batwing antennas work, both of mine have Skyliners. I find it hard to believe that the smaller batwings would outperform the Skyliners. I have been told that the omni directional antennas don’t perform as well as either.

My Excella had a couple of amps from Radio Shack mounted on the wall inside the credenza that looked original. I replaced both with a new one from Wal*Mart that had a higher Db rating. 50 vs 35. It’s a GE product. It is an AC amp rather than DC, but so were the originals.


Vintage Trailer Supply carries gears and other parts for Skyliners if you need anything
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
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Winegard works great

I know the standard Winegard (wind-up) antenna we have works perfectly for digital reception. I think it is a Sensar model.

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Old 01-17-2009, 04:01 PM   #8
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I don't know that I would use an antennae.

If I am in a campground, they either have cable, or are too far away from
a TV station. If I am boondocking, I wouldn't want to use up power with
an amp, and again too far away. I think that I would be self concious running a genny to watch television. $attelite $eems to make more $ense
I have watched videos on mydaughters Xbox ( whatever )
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:32 PM   #9
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If I am in a campground, they either have cable, or are too far away from
a TV station. If I am boondocking, I wouldn't want to use up power with
an amp, and again too far away. I think that I would be self concious running a genny to watch television. $attelite $eems to make more $ense
I have watched videos on mydaughters Xbox ( whatever )
That's pretty much been my attitude also, but I am rethinking. Out west, where I do my camping, more often than not I am 100 or more miles from a TV station. I'm also considering satellite. I have it at home. But have resisted having one more piece of technology to set up. If memory serves me right, I think I used to go camping to get away from all this stuff. I think the official Boy Scout Manual said dig a ditch around your tent for drainage. Heck my Airstream Owners Manual has instructions on how to dig a hole to drain your blackwater.

Your post does beg the questions:
Does a digital signal have any more range than old analog?
How much will an amplifier improve reception and how much juice does it use?

To some extent the genny / boondocking thing is a moot point. If I want 110 from a generator I probably (by not always) am out somewhere by myself where the only person I am going to bug with the genny noise is myself..
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:28 PM   #10
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Any old TV antenna will work on digital. There is no such thing as a "digital" antenna, although some may use that as a marketing ploy. Digital uses most of the old analog channels, so just about any antenna that worked on the old analog channels will work on digital as well.
Hmmmm, A local station ran a test for digital only reception. I tried our 22" digital TV in our coach hooking it as always to the vintage telescoping/fold out antenna which always works great for us with analog broadcasts but failed the digital only broadcast. Radio Shack says I need a digital converter box. I had the belief as you stated that a digital ready TV will work with any antenna. I posed this question to the TV station that ran the test but yet have no reply.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:28 PM   #11
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We're kind of in holding mode. The problem is that we're very rural, hence subject to the digital-conversion escape clause: "Certain" rural areas that are served not directly by stations, but via translator:

Quote:
You may have noticed that Congress mandated that “full-power” TV stations will not be able to broadcast in analog after February 17, 2009. While the majority of the viewed TV broadcast stations are full-power stations, three other categories of TV stations exist – “low-power” stations, “Class A” stations, and “TV translator” stations. There is currently no deadline for these stations to convert to digital broadcasting.
Soooo, we may not see a switchover at all here, but we won't know until it does or does not happen. (The translators are run by a non-profit group in the next town down, and they don't even have a telephone number.)


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Old 01-17-2009, 11:26 PM   #12
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Lumatic----check out antennaweb.org lotsa info.

Neil-- I have a spare $40 discount coupon!!! has your name on it!! I hooked up my new convertor thingie and was real pleased with the improved reception and more stations are available. The biggest improvement was in the lower channels like 3 and 6. These stations transmit in the low VHF band and pulling them in on an antenna is always a little fuzzy. once you get higher into the channel selector like channel 9 or so interference isn's so bad, Most all of the New Digital signals will be in UHF .
Somewhere in another thread I went on about this and how antenna's on airstreams will be a thing of the past. FWIW.
Anyway I have great tele here at the vinyard now, just have one other thing to plug into the ac line.
Another thing Neil- you've seen my 26" Samsung in the Excella, It's digital ready as far as the screen goes, it just NEEDS a digital tuner to make it function. That's what the convertor box does. I feel that the sales poeple that were selling tele's a few years ago when I got mine had NO clue about what they were talking about. Yup I thought my set was "ready" ;wasn't.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:51 AM   #13
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Soooo, we may not see a switchover at all here, but we won't know until it does or does not happen. (The translators are run by a non-profit group in the next town down, and they don't even have a telephone number.)
I think the translators have another year. They are run mostly by non profit church groups and PBS stations. We have one in Gainesville that is fast tracking the switch to digital because it's old frequency is to close to our rebanded 800 mhz public safety radio system and could cause interference to police and fire radios.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:54 AM   #14
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Hmmmm, A local station ran a test for digital only reception. I tried our 22" digital TV in our coach hooking it as always to the vintage telescoping/fold out antenna which always works great for us with analog broadcasts but failed the digital only broadcast. Radio Shack says I need a digital converter box. I had the belief as you stated that a digital ready TV will work with any antenna. I posed this question to the TV station that ran the test but yet have no reply.
Neil
Neil,

Have a look in the manual of your digital TV: you need to have a tuner that has "QAM" to decode HD from "off the air".

An NTSC tuner is standard definition cable (or the old "off air"), an ATSC tuner is used for HD signals and a QAM tuner is used for Over the Air HD signals.

I do not have an HD tuner yet, but I hear consistently that HD signals do not give the same broadcast range that the old NTSC transmitters did.

But assuming that your TV's tuner is of the right type, it may just be that you are too far from the source...
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