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Old 09-11-2018, 12:36 AM   #1
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Best TV Antenna

I have a '64 Airstream Safari that has the original TV antenna on a rotor on the front of the trailer. I haven't tried it yet with a new HDTV but I suspect it won't work all that well. In the past I had another '64 Airstream that had the rotor and pole but the antenna was gone so I just added a Jack antenna on top and used the rotor in place of the Jack rotor. It worked quite well. Anyway, it's now five years later and I'm restoring another Airstream, and I want to get the best possible antenna for it. Which one is it? There are so many choices and if you look hard enough, you can find reviews claiming every last one of the me is the best ever made. So, please chine in with whatever opinions you have. Which is the best? Which is the worst? Why? Is my old antenna worth anything? Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:34 AM   #2
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I would say your original antenna will work better than you think.
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:00 AM   #3
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There is no such thing as a "digital antenna". Ads are just marketing.
Try your old antenna before ripping it off.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:56 AM   #4
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Every time I read the ads about the digital antennas I wonder what could make an antenna digital. Thanks for confirming my intuitive suspicions regarding digital antennas. If the old antenna will work well, I would love to keep it as it's the original 1964 antenna and looks right on the Safari.
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Old 09-15-2018, 01:18 AM   #5
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Advertising hype written to ensnare an uninformed consumer.
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by r carl View Post
I would say your original antenna will work better than you think.
Unfortunately, the original antenna isn't working too good at all. It won't even bring in one channel for more than a second or two. I've messed with it quite a bit, adjusting the antenna and changing out converters (from flat two wire to coaxial cable) and re-scanning. It never gets much better. I'm thinking I may just have to bite the bullet and buy a new antenna. I've attached a photo of the Jack Antenna I mounted on my old Airstream that is now for sale and my new Airstream with it's very original antenna. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:10 PM   #7
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It Is All About Science

VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) are two different radio frequency bands of electromagnetic waves used in television transmission. Most digital channels are broadcast in the UHF frequency range versus the old analog signals which were predominately in the VHF range. "Digital" antennas are optimized for UHF reception so it is more than just marketing hype as stated above. It takes a physically bigger array of 'antenna parts' to receive VHF vs UHF, hence the smaller head units for the new 'digital' antennas.

Electromagnetic waves with the frequency range from 30MHz to 300MHz are called VHF. VHF band is sandwiched between HF (High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands in spectrum and is used for FM radio and television signals. The frequency range of 300MHz – 3000MHz (or 3GHz) in electromagnetic wave spectrum are known as UHF. UHF band is sandwiched between VHF and SHF (Super High Frequency) bands in spectrum. UHF is used for television and cell phone signals (GSM networks usually utilize the 900MHz – 1800 MHz band).

So, if you want to get today's digital channels you need to modify the antenna for improved UHF reception. Get a new antenna head for the pole mount as you did before. I can't say which of the new units is better than another as my experience is they perform equally having tried both the King Jack and Winegard.
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:33 PM   #8
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I just tried the old antenna by hooking it up directly to the TV via a coaxial cable rather than the two lead flat wire that the Airstream is wired with. Well, I couldn't believe it, but it got a bunch more channels. Everything in this area, Sacramento, CA, except 6 and 10.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:06 PM   #9
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There's been a lot written about the new AS mushroom antenna. All bad. Do not consider that one.

I will trade you for your old antenna and the one on my new classic!
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:48 PM   #10
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Actually now that the antenna is picking up all the UHF channels, I'm thinking I need to figure out what it's missing that picks up the VHF channels I can't get. I would think that because of it's age, it would be a primarily VHF antenna but that's what I can't get. To go from the flat two lead wire that comes from the top of the mast to the the Airstream, I'm using a couple of short jumper wires with alligator clips. This is temporary. Anyway, those are connected to one of these small cylindrical adapters we used to use on the back of old TV's for cable when they weren't cable ready. Is that filtering out the VHF as the signal that is going through it opposite of the direction it was designed for? I didn't think these things were directional but I'm really feeling pretty ignorant at this point and I'm grasping.
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:56 PM   #11
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Wouldn't you only be interested in the HD digital channels? It does not receive HD.
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:13 AM   #12
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Wouldn't you only be interested in the HD digital channels? It does not receive HD.
Of course it receives HD. Radio doesn't know whether the signal is digital or analogue. It's just a radio signal in either VHF or UHF. At this point I'm getting the UHF channels in full HD but no VHF channels.
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Old 09-23-2018, 12:11 PM   #13
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Thumbs up OEM 1964 Airstream Antenna w/modern Television

Greetings 64Lincoln!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Lincoln View Post
Of course it receives HD. Radio doesn't know whether the signal is digital or analogue. It's just a radio signal in either VHF or UHF. At this point I'm getting the UHF channels in full HD but no VHF channels.
I think that you are on-track with your original antenna. My '64 Overlander only had the pole and rotor for its original so I ended up opting for a "Bat Wing" antenna which is performing quite well but detracts from the originality of my coach. My experience with the '64 Overlander suggests that your reception may be improved with a 12-volt signal booster -- the paperwork that came with my Overlander indicated that a "signal booster" was part of the connection when the TV antenna wire was plugged in to the outlet. I know that without the signal booster on the "Bat Wing" reception is far from that with the booster. It might be worth trying a modern "booster" plug/outlet in the setup and see if that improves the reception with the original antenna.


Good luck with your project!


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Old 09-23-2018, 07:26 PM   #14
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I'm getting close and the old antenna is winning. At last post I had most of the UHF channels so just for the fun of it, I removed the little cable to wire adapter and replaced it with a couple of wires with alligator clips. Next scan, most of the VHF channels came in. A friend of mine who happens to be an electrical engineer tells me I ought to try it with the 300 ohm flat wire the whole way to the antenna because that is what the antenna was designed for. Ok, thinking that maybe the wire pre installed by Airstream could be damaged somewhere, I try. Back to nothing. Ok, I'm no electrical engineer, but it seems to me that the more 300 ohm wire I have, the worse the reception. So, now I decide to eliminate the last bit of that wire by taking the coaxial cable directly to the antenna and hooking it to it with alligator clips. Well, what do you know, but my hunch was right. Now it's working better than ever, picking up everything I knew we had around here.



Last test. Sitting right next to this Airstream is my old Airstream that hasn't sold yet. It has a modern Jack antenna and a TV made by the same manufacturer. One may say Jenson and the other Supersonic, but all the menus and remotes are the same. I ran a scan with both antennas pointed the same direction and the Jack antenna only picked up a couple more, and they are the low power shopping channels I don't want anyway.


It looks like I have to replace all the old 300 ohm wire with new coaxial cable and I can run a vintage antenna on my vintage Airstream. I'm happy.


Next, I'm going to add an amplifier to the old antenna and see how it does against Jack then. After all Jack already has an amplifier so it's not really a fair contest.
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