So I've decided on getting the batwing as a replacement antenna since mine was missing when I picked up my airstream (1974 Sovereign 31').
My question is this... I have a connection just forward of where the fridge is that has a 12v cigarette style outlet, and two holes that says "antenna." I'm guessing something plugs in here... but shouldn't this be coax?
Sorry if this is being dense! But I've never seen anything like this before, and I want my free tv.
The two holes are for a weird connector that plugged in there and was connected to the TV with the old 300 ohm flat wire.
In my 1983 Excella, there was coax all the way from the antenna to the back of plate that had the 12v connector and the two holes. I put a signal splitter inline and ran one to the electronics that went to the two holes since this circuitry also supplies the signal to the radio in mine. I then drilled a hole between the 12v outlet and the two holes and ran the other line from the splitter to a fitting there. I just took the fitting part of an ordinary coax wall plate and installed it in the hole. Then all I need is a short piece of coax from the connector to the TV and I get perfect HDTV from the old Skyliner antenna.
Here's a photo of the back of the plate in the Excella that has the 12v outlet on one side and the two holes on the other. You can see the coax installed between.
On my 1967 Trade Wind, it was even simpler. I did have to pull coax in because the antenna used the flat 300 ohm ribbon all the way from the antenna, though. I used a weatherproof 300 ohm to 75 ohm adapter and pulled the coax inside. The control panel is above the fridge in the Trade Wind and the 12v outlet and the two hole outlet was in the control panel. There was plenty of room to just drill a hole and put one of the same coax fittings there. Also simpler because the Trade Wind had a separate radio antenna on the front of the trailer, so less connections to deal with.
One of those two is the coax coming from the antenna, the other is the line to the radio. The circuitry is called the autocoupler, and it separates the signal into a 300 ohm one for the two holes (which you won't need anymore) and a signal for the radio (which you will still need).
Determine which one is coming from the antenna and cut it. Install fittings on both ends and install a splitter there. The single connection side is connected to the antenna, one of the two connections on the other side goes to the lead that is still connected to the autocoupler. Also, leave the radio lead connected to the autocoupler. Drill a hole for the fitting from the wall plate and connect it to the other connector on the two sides of the splitter with a short piece of coax.
You can see the signal splitter hanging down below in my photo.
It will be a little difficult to stuff all that back in the hole in the wall, you'll have added some coax and the splitter, but with patience it can be done. At least you don't have all those yellow wire nuts on yours. Yours looks much tidier than mine.
You will need some coax, connectors, and a tool to install the connectors. You can get them at Home Depot, Radio Shack, and maybe even WalMart. Home Depot actually has a pretty good selection of stuff and I like the tool they carry too.
On edit, I just looked more closely at your photos. You even have a label identifying the autocoupler. I hadn't seen one of those before.
Another way to handle the antenna situation would be to drill a hole in the plastic piece that holds all the wires and mount a 75-ohm panel mount socket (see picture). On one output of the splitter that you installed in Vaughan's suggestion, a short piece of coax with connectors on each end will allow you to go from the splitter to the back of the 75-ohm panel socket. Tighter the nut.
Then the other output of the splitter would use a second piece of coax with connectors on both ends long enough to get you to the back of the radio. Then put a 75-300 ohm matching transformer on the cable and connect to the radio's antenna in.
In that way, once you put it all back together, your plastic piece will look just like the cable outlet on the wall at home, and you will do away with the antique circuitry of the autocoupler. You have a much better chance at a clean signal now, both on the TV and the radio. You can also remove all the old AS stuff, autocoupler and all.
Truth be told, an almost-40-year-old device that has capacitors and resisters in it very likely is not functioning anything like it was designed to at this point in time. Capacitors dry up as they age, losing their capacity to work, and even resistors' resistance can go high or low with age. About the only thing that hasn't change it the little choke I see in there.
The only drawback to what I am suggesting is that you will only have one antenna output. Luckily, this is fine for most campers, since you are't there just to watch TV.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
You can always do something like run a new cable through the fridge vent or something and bypass all that Airstream mess. There are a lot of potential drops in the system and everytime you go from one type of wire to another you loose something even with the proper baluns. You can amplify and distribute from a clean connection that way. I have the original antenna and I know for fact the wire is broken. If it gives me trouble I will just bypass the internal stuff.
So I received my Batwing GS2200 in the mail... this is the "amplified model".... does anyone have this setup? I'm a bit concerned that I should have just gotten the gs1100.... non amplified... anyone have an opinion?
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