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Old 09-11-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
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Rooftop Antenna Replacement for HD Broadcasts?

Folks,

So I'm unable to pull in any over the air HD broadcasts through my original 2005 TV aereal. It routes through an after-market digital TV converter set-top box to the original TV, but nothing.

Has anybody attempted an aereal replacement with an antenna better tuned for bringing in digital over the air signals? I'd be replacing the original LCD TV with a newer TV with built-in digital tuner as well, connected to the coax that leads to the antenna.

Thoughts?

Airstream Dad
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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The factory Winegard antenna should work just fine with HD, make sure you have the amplifier turned on (the green or red light) if not you won't get any channels. Winegard does sell a add on to the antenna to help improve weak signals it's called the wingman.

SENSAR RV VHF/UHF Television Antenna - #1 Antenna in the RV Industry!

But we don't have any issues with the factory antenna and HD channels.

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Old 09-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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Welcome to the digital tv age! Another common gotcha is the antenna needs to be pointed in the direction of the desired channel(s) before you can successfully run a scan on your tuner box or built in digital tuner. If you are using a converter box you typically have to set the output to channel 3 or 4 and then tune the tv to that channel. You know you are right if you can see the menu from the converter box on the tv. As the previous reply noted, be sure your amplifier is switched on. The coax from the faceplate goes to the converter input, the converter output then goes to the tv antenna input.
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damonbeals View Post
The factory Winegard antenna should work just fine with HD, make sure you have the amplifier turned on (the green or red light) if not you won't get any channels. Winegard does sell a add on to the antenna to help improve weak signals it's called the wingman.

SENSAR RV VHF/UHF Television Antenna - #1 Antenna in the RV Industry!

But we don't have any issues with the factory antenna and HD channels.

Damon
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Ditto.

There's nothing special about antennas for HDTV.

Problems usually arise from the amplifier not being turned on, being hooked to a cable connector (if there is one), rather than the antenna, not scanning for channels on the receiver, or other connection issues.

Search for HDTV and you'll find many threads.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #5
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Remember, that in the case of the "bat wing" antenna, the wall plate is not the amplifier; it is only the power supply for the amp. The amp itself lives in the plastic housing between the wings.

I have had the plastic part of the antenna leak water and corrode the circuit board in the bat wing, and was unable to get any signal.

All the above are correct that any TV antenna will work for digital channels.

Best of Luck.

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Old 09-11-2012, 08:19 PM   #6
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HD only uses the UHF part of the antenna. You can get an HD only antenna which is basically a UHF antenna. An antenna tuned for FM only probably won't make the best HD antenna. The whole thing about having to scan for channels is a pain and it can take a long time and then if the antenna is not in the right direction you have to do it again.

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Old 09-11-2012, 08:56 PM   #7
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Digital TV stations can still uses the original Channel 7 to 13 frequencies, not just UHF. No more use of CH 2 through 6 though. To confuse the situation more, some stations with long histories were allowed to use their original channel numbers, even though they actually moved to UHF frequencies.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:49 AM   #8
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I also heard that small local stations could still broadcast analog at low power levels.

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Old 09-12-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by perryg114
I also heard that small local stations could still broadcast analog at low power levels.

Perry
That's true. Low power stations were exempt from the digital mandate, also repeaters in rural areas are often still analog. As with digital stations, they are predominately in the UHF band. For the user with an older TV and a converter box, this complicates life even further. The converter box must be labeled for analog pass through or be bypassed to receive such stations. Newer TVs that contain both an ATSC (digital) tuner and a NTSC (analog) tuner can receive both, but depending on the manufacturer, switching between analog and digital may be a simple button on the remote or an obscure entry on the menu tree.

To return to the OP's original issue, this link can be useful to determine the relative direction of the closest transmitters from your location.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

In my travels, I've found locations where the antenna needed to be within about 3 clicks of dead on or the scan found nothing, in other locations close to major metropolitan areas the signals were strong enough that the antenna position was much less critical.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #10
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You can get Omni directional antennas but the gain will be less on them than the directional ones.

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Old 09-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #11
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You just have to hold your mouth right (and get everything else straight, too).

The amplifier switch must be on;
The TV must be tuned to the converter output station (3 0r 4, usually);
You must scan for channels using the converter box only;
You must be pointed in the correct direction;
If no channels, move the antenna 90 degrees and scan again. Digital stations are much harder to pinpoint in remote areas.

Good luck - Pat
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:28 PM   #12
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My Interstate came from Jackson Center with a Winegard RS-3460 omnidirectional HD antenna. It's a disc shape, and works very well when the amplifier is turned on, even while driving.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:46 PM   #13
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I am looking to replace my old antenna at some point. I need to fix a broken wire first to see if it is necessary.

Perry
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:04 PM   #14
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Digital television does not need any special or different antenna. But, pointing the antenna in the right direction is more critical. With analog, you could simply turn the TV on, select a channel then rotate the antenna until you had an acceptable image. With digital, it doesn't work that way because you have to scan all available channels for each direction your antenna is pointing. That is a frustrating way to go.

There are available, at low cost, RF signal strength meters that you can connect to the output of the amplifier on the AS. These devices connect via cable to one of the outlets for your television. Some have analog meters, others have a series of LEDs to indicate when the antenna is detecting strong television signals. Turn on the amplifier, connect the signal strength meter and rotate the antenna until you have the highest signal strength as indicated by the meter or LEDs. Then use the scan function on your television to find the digital channels.
This makes everything much easier.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:12 PM   #15
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Couldn't remember which meter I have. Quick run to the AS and here it is. It is a King Controls SL1000 SureLock digital TV Signal Meter. Cost about $40. Just remember to turn it off once you have aligned the antenna or the battery dies pretty quickly.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:03 PM   #16
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There's an app for that too - TV Antenna Helper Free for Android, or Antenna Helper for iphone. It shows you the direction, distance, and channel list of nearby stations.

Of course, needs cellular signal to provide you the information, so if you are going somewhere where there's no bars, look it up before you go. Or find a nearby bar :-)
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:00 PM   #17
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Thanks all for the advice! So it turned out to be two challenges for me.

One was indeed turning on the ampflifier in the antenna. Neighbors at the Trap Pond rally pointed out that the switch is actually next to a 12V power jack under the dinette table, next to the cable bypass box. After extending the antenna, I turned that on, green light indicator on.

Second challenge was the digital TV converter box that the previous owner had installed for reception. I made sure all cables were connected, then tried to bring up the menu on the TV set to channel 3. Turns out the remote had corroded battery terminals, which I scraped clean and inserted a new set of batteries. That allowed me to bring up the menu, did an auto-scan of channels, and VOILA! It saved a few dozen channels which I'm easily able to surf.

So thanks all again for the pointers!

Cheers,

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Old 09-30-2012, 04:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
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... Neighbors at the Trap Pond rally pointed out that the switch is actually next to a 12V power jack under the dinette table, next to the cable bypass box. ...
Maybe if we issued a challenge to those boys in JC, they might find a really good place to hide it! Glad to hear you had success. Just remember, those channels you stored are good for your current location. Whenever you relocate, you will need to repoint the antenna and run a new scan.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:45 PM   #19
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In the past, one of my favorite things about camping was freedom from the television.

When I got my trailer I removed the television antenna as a possible leak source. When I loosened the base I discovered that the lead wire was severed right at the point where it entered the trailer body. Only the Vulkem was holding the wire from flying loose.

I saved the antenna in case the next owner wants it, but my plan was/is to use a portable Direct TV dish.

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