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Old 02-25-2009, 01:58 PM   #1
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Winegard Wingman?

Recently saw this in an ad from the folks over at camping world.

Winegard Wingman - Item - Camping World

In one of our favorite camping areas, we are right on the very edge of broadcast coverage. I was hoping to make a "final" decision on what to do after the Feb switch to all digital broadcasts. If we just can't get broadcast TV, then we can go satellite. The propagation maps show some improved coverage around where we camp once the analog signals are turned off, so it is possible this will be a non-issue by mid-summer. I am wondering if this is worth a try though just to improve reception in fringe areas.

Anyone with any direct experience yet? If not, then for less than $30 it may be worth just taking a chance...
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:12 PM   #2
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I have had my converter installed in my trailer for several months and in general I can receive a lot more channels while using the converter for a digital signal than I can for analog channels. Those channels that are fuzzy on analog come in clear on digital.

My advise would be install the converter and check the signal strength on the channels in question before spending any money on a new antenna.

If your tv has a digital tuner already in it just run the test on digital now most channels are already broadcasting the digital signal.
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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The only channel I have had problems with is channel 2. It is weak in fringe areas in analog and the signal just drops out or becomes unlookable with digital. If you are using the higher frequency channels, you will get more channels and better reception in the fringe areas. Test out your digital reception before you buy the adapter antenna.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:09 PM   #4
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TV Sorta Semi-Woes

I rarely watch television in my unit - so when my partner found a good inexpensive HDTV for his office, he asked me if I wanted one for the Airstream too. Without thinking I said sure... then let it sit under my dinette for weeks and weeks.

Last night I decided it was time to go ahead and put it in since I'd missed Antiques Roadshow.

Never allow less than 2 hours for a 5 minute job!

So, the first thing that I realized was that my current TV runs on 12 volt, and the one we bought is of course standard AC. Well, I don't boondock a lot, and I never watch TV while boondocking because of the battery usage. Well I finally got it done, but had to modify the mount to get the set up to the right height.

Need advice on threading the power cord through the wall and the mount - am I going to have to take out the refrigerator?

BTW the reception is great with no update to the antenna.

Also, does anyone want a good pre-HDTV 12 volt television? It's probably 13 inches.

Paula
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:33 PM   #5
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My local CW did not have this in stock last time I was there. So I have not tried this. What it does is act as passive elements to the existing directional dipole. If you look at an old fashioned roof top home TV antenna you will see that the antenna cable is only connected to one loop (just like the one loop on your RV antenna). This gizmo adds some of those other elements (like on a home roof top antenna) to increase the signal gain and directionality.

With an analog signal you get a snowy picture if it weak... the weaker it is the less you can see. With digital it is either strong enough for reception or it isn't. You have seen it watching cable or with satellite. The picture gets jagged and the freezes.

The $27 you spend to add those extra elements can in some instances make the difference between having a signal strong enough to watch or not. How much difference? All I can say, is it depends... Distance, mountains, trees, other RV's in the way... But the elements will help. Think back to those roof top home antennas. The farther away from the station, the bigger the antenna and the more elements. If you were close enough the rabbit ears were enough. Testing reception in one place means nothing when you move on down the road.

I'll bet someone could come up with a formula for the lengths of wire (aluminum of course) needed to do this and we could all "home brew" our own...
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:44 PM   #6
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Well, I think I may give this a try. If the thing makes the antenna even a little more directional or increases the gain even a little, it may make the difference.

Right now, all the stations in our area are broadcasting both digital and analog. In the camping area I mentioned above, Tawakoni State park, just outside of Wills Point, TX, we can barely get the analog signals to come in. Picture is pretty snowy on VHF low channels. A bit better on VHF high, but unwatchable again for the most part in the UHF band. Only at random intervals is the digital signal strong enough to watch reliably. Plenty of "weak or no signal" messages.

While I am not a total TV junky, I do like my news... It also makes things a little easier sometimes when we have the teenager with us. Once the days get longer and the weather a little warmer, inside entertainment options become much less important.

I will post the results of the experiment once I find one of these.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:31 PM   #7
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Likely disapointed

Well - I gave up finding one at camping world. It seems they are running through them as fast as they can get them and they are allocating what comes in on the truck to people that are "on the list". I decided to order one online. It came via UPS on Thursday, so I took it down to the trailer storage location and installed it.

Installation was pretty simple. The bottom of the antenna has four rubber feet where it rests on the roof. You pop these feet out, hold the wingman in place and install 4 plastic "push rivets" (at least that's what the installation instructions called them). No tools required other than a ladder to reach the antenna.

The storage location is close enough to the Dallas stations to pick up all the digital signals fine, so I couldn't fully test the thing. I did however try it by pointing the antenna towards Tyler. With the amplifier on and the wingman not installed, I could pick up the analog signal for the ABC affiliate. The signal strength on the digital signal was weak with only one bar coming and going. No picture at all. After installing the wingman, I still couldn't get a picture on the 23" Samsung in the living room, but I was getting a very slightly stronger signal. It was still one bar off an on, but it seemed to be more "on" than off. I have a 19" Samsung in the bedroom. It reported the same singal strenght, but was able to bring in a picture, although it frequently froze and became pixilated.

Contrary to Winegaurd's advertising, I don't really think there will be a "100%" increase in signal gain. The device is totally passive. It may increase the directionality a little, but in my location I couldn't really tell anything.

I won't get a chance to check the results down at the state park for some time, but I simply don't think this will make enough of a difference to justify the $32 (including shipping).

If I do find that the results are actually better than I think they will be, I will update the thread.

Wayne
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:14 AM   #8
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Winegard Wingman

The Wingman ONLY enhances UHF signals (ie those above the old channel 13). In the new word of digital TV, MOST stations moved their actual broadcast channel to a new one in the UHF band. It is the lower VHF channels that are being auctioned by the FCC for uses other than broadcast TV. DTV has a feature where the channel you "tune" on the receiver no longer has any bearing on the actual channel that is tuned. This is why you were advised to have your TV or converter box rescan for channels after the switch earlier this month (should do it about once monthly as stations can add more channels (8-1, 8-2, 8-3 etc since DTV can send multiple subchannels over the same bandwidth as used to be taken by a single analog channel). On the day of the actual switch it was imperative that a rescan be done since many stations not only shutdown their analog transmitters, but in some cases moved their final digital transmitter frequency to one other than what they had been using during the transition period of the past few years. This fact is why many people that had DTV up and running prior the switch suddenly found that they could not tune some DTV signal (ie they needed to rescan so their DTV receiver could remap all the physical channel transmitters to their "tuned" channels)

Now as for the ABC affiliate in Dallas (WFAA), they are one of the VERY, VERY few DTV stations in the nation that maintained their VHF channel before and after the switch. I was an early adopter of HDTV technology (a little over 10 years ago). Until the actual switch, WFAA was broadcasting their digital signal at a reduced power on physical channel 9. On the day of the switch, they powered down both physical channels 8 and 9, switched the channel 8 transmitter to their digital transmission antenna and powered WFAA DTV back online at FULL power on physical channel 8 (now tuned as 8-1). The change here in north Plano was dramatic. OTA digital WFAA prior to the switch had always been problematic at best. After the switch, the signal is strong and virtually never shows any signs of picture breakup.

I will probably add the Wingman to both my Airstreams since the majority of DTV stations are now in the UHF band and the Wingman increases the gain on those frequencies from 3-6db (3db is a doubling of received power). I am able to tune all the DFW DTV stations even without the Wingman, but I suspect that it would make a difference at more fringe location such as typical of when camping in a state park.

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Old 08-20-2009, 01:13 PM   #9
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We picked up our new 2009 27' International FB two weeks ago, and on the way through Jackson Center, we toured the factory, bought lots of goodies in the store, and got the Winegard Wingman to add to our antenna. I tried to install it today, but the location of the rear Fantastic Fan above the dinette interferred with the Wingman as it retracted to the stowed position. I've posted some pictures below to help explain. Wayner61, we have similar trailers, but I'm not sure if your trailer has the same location of the roof vents, so I am curious how your install went. I should have measured first I guess!
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream 65 View Post
Wayner61, we have similar trailers, but I'm not sure if your trailer has the same location of the roof vents, so I am curious how your install went. I should have measured first I guess!

Hmmm.... On our trailer, the wingman comes down right between the rear fan and the skylight. Hard to tell from your photos, but the layout on my roof "looks" identical. Maybe the mast on your antenna is a bit taller or maybe the antenna itself has been moved towards the rear a bit for some reason. You would think that the locations of all that stuff on the roof would be well established and identical, but my feeling is that the locations of a lot of stuff in my trailer is APPROXIMATELY the same as other units of that model. I guess that is just further evidence that these things are hand-built, limited editions

Wayne
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Old 08-20-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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It looks like you could shorten the mast with a sophisticated tool like a hacksaw and have it nest between the vent and skylight. The few inches shorter height should not affect reception noticeably. You could probably also mount the antenna on the other side of the mast, but that might be over the edge of the roof.
regards,
Ken

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Originally Posted by Airstream 65 View Post
We picked up our new 2009 27' International FB two weeks ago, and on the way through Jackson Center, we toured the factory, bought lots of goodies in the store, and got the Winegard Wingman to add to our antenna. I tried to install it today, but the location of the rear Fantastic Fan above the dinette interferred with the Wingman as it retracted to the stowed position. I've posted some pictures below to help explain. Wayner61, we have similar trailers, but I'm not sure if your trailer has the same location of the roof vents, so I am curious how your install went. I should have measured first I guess!
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:12 PM   #12
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You can remove up to the second director if you wish without losing too much signal. We do not recommend taking off the second director or you will really affect the ability of the Wingman to help direct the UHF signal.
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