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Old 04-16-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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It seems my crank up Antenna doesn't work

We've only owned our AS since last July. We've never been able to get the antenna to work. Right now we have it in our driveway. I know we have strong reception in our area with several close by TV stations. I have the winguard (I think it's named) stock AS crank up antenna. The switch where the cable connects seems to be on as there is a red led lit next to it. I have it connected to a digital HD TV, so I'm baffled.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:10 AM   #2
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I would guess that the wire from the antenna is broken somewhere outside after 20 years. Also could be the amplifier is shot and even though the red led is on, the amp is not working. They were not super high quality units and the wiring is stuffed into small spaces to boot. You or someone else will need to start at one end and work to the other to look for problems. If you don't understand what you are looking at, you may have to have it done professionally.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:01 AM   #3
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We replaced the original 1980 AS antenna with a Winegard amplified digital antenna about two years ago. Last Fall we started having the same problems Re-Pete describes. We did the tests specified by Winegard as idroba describes and replaced the entire cable from antenna to amplifier. It seemed to work where we were but, in more remote areas, it didn't do the job. So, we installed a new amplifier ( Winegard calls it a power source ) and, BINGO, it works like a champ. We were just in a campground in Fort Stockton, TX, where they said to forget trying broadcast TV. I put the antenna up anyway and we got six channels.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:21 AM   #4
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Well, this is all very encouraging. I'll check the cable today. Is there anyway to test the amplifier, such as with a multimeter? I own one, but admittedly I'm not that knowledgeable in using it. I'll look up Winegard on the web and give them a call also. Thanks for the good tips so far.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:26 AM   #5
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I bypassed all that stuff and ran a new cable from the antenna to the fridge vent and down and then back through the wall next to the fridge to the entertainment center. It works great even for HDTV signals.

Perry
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:18 AM   #6
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I bypassed all that stuff and ran a new cable from the antenna to the fridge vent and down and then back through the wall next to the fridge to the entertainment center. It works great even for HDTV signals.

Perry
Directly to the TV, ignoring the amplifier?
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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The common failures are a loose or corroded connection where the cable plugs into the antenna head or the cable itself. On the Winegard Sensar (batwing) antennas I've seen, the amplifier is a circuit board mounted in the center section of the antenna itself. The box on the wall is a switch and power supply; it can fail yet the light may work. When switched on, It sends 12v DC up the cable and the amplifier sends down the RF signals. If you have a meter or 12v test light, you can check to see if the 12v is at the end of the cable that plugs into the bottom of the antenna. If the 12v is missing, test at the connector where the cable plugs into the wall box. I'm not aware of a user test to determine if the amplifier is up to par.

Winegard sells a non-amplified antenna PN 2120430. I don't know why someone would buy one, but if a PO thought they were getting a good price on a replacement, it is a way to get bit. The PN for the amplified Winegard antenna head is RV2001A.

Some have reported that the Jack antenna is a good replacement for the Winegard. If the cable is good and 12v is present, the Jack head runs about $50 and is a simple DIY swap. The most difficult task is R&R the 2 E-clips that secure the mounting pins. While the Jack is very compact compared to the Winegard, its shape may interfere with a skylight or something else on the roof in the lowered position so it might be worth simply setting the head on top of the Winegard to check the clearance before taking things apart.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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Yes. My experience with digital is that amplifiers don't help that much because you just increase the noise level as well. The Signal to noise level is still the same and if the noise is too high you don't get anything. I have some high quality cable amplifiers at home and they don't seem to help make the incoming signal better. They will however allow you to run several down stream devices without loosing signal. An unpowered splitter reduces the signal by a good bit. The internal wiring in the older Airstreams has the potential for adding alot of noise into the signal and with digital you just won't get anything. You can always add an extenal amp if that has any benefit. In my case it was easier to just run new wires as opposed to trying to figure out all the issues that are there by design and the issues the PO made with his rat's nest of cables and wires.

Perry

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Directly to the TV, ignoring the amplifier?
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Silver Goose View Post
The common failures are a loose or corroded connection where the cable plugs into the antenna head or the cable itself. On the Winegard Sensar (batwing) antennas I've seen, the amplifier is a circuit board mounted in the center section of the antenna itself. The box on the wall is a switch and power supply; it can fail yet the light may work. When switched on, It sends 12v DC up the cable and the amplifier sends down the RF signals. If you have a meter or 12v test light, you can check to see if the 12v is at the end of the cable that plugs into the bottom of the antenna. If the 12v is missing, test at the connector where the cable plugs into the wall box. I'm not aware of a user test to determine if the amplifier is up to par.

Winegard sells a non-amplified antenna PN 2120430. I don't know why someone would buy one, but if a PO thought they were getting a good price on a replacement, it is a way to get bit. The PN for the amplified Winegard antenna head is RV2001A.

Some have reported that the Jack antenna is a good replacement for the Winegard. If the cable is good and 12v is present, the Jack head runs about $50 and is a simple DIY swap. The most difficult task is R&R the 2 E-clips that secure the mounting pins. While the Jack is very compact compared to the Winegard, its shape may interfere with a skylight or something else on the roof in the lowered position so it might be worth simply setting the head on top of the Winegard to check the clearance before taking things apart.
Good Info, Based on it痴 I知 pretty sure I have the Batwing. I値l check it out today. I値l start by checking the power level of the cable at the antenna end. I think I値l also try cleaning up the connection and running a test cable from the antenna to my TV around the outside of the AS. Those two things should tell me if the antenna is working at least.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Yes. My experience with digital is that amplifiers don't help that much because you just increase the noise level as well. The Signal to noise level is still the same and if the noise is too high you don't get anything. I have some high quality cable amplifiers at home and they don't seem to help make the incoming signal better. They will however allow you to run several down stream devices without loosing signal. An unpowered splitter reduces the signal by a good bit. The internal wiring in the older Airstreams has the potential for adding alot of noise into the signal and with digital you just won't get anything. You can always add an extenal amp if that has any benefit. In my case it was easier to just run new wires as opposed to trying to figure out all the issues that are there by design and the issues the PO made with his rat's nest of cables and wires.

Perry
I知 going to try something similar to your suggestion as a test. I知 hoping I get a good result. I知 just going to run a loose cable wire from the antenna outside the AS to the TV and see if I get a signal.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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Silvergoose's suggestions are excellent. Check for the voltage at the Antenna end of the cable. If none, check at the power supply end in the trailer to see that it is present there. That would tell you something about the power supply. You also could run a piece of temporary cable from inside to the antenna which would test the quality of the cable in place in the AS walls. If it works that way, you would know you have a cable issue. As suggested, look for loose or corroded terminal ends on the cable wire. Sometimes water will invade and travel down the cable for a ways, so you might have to cut back the cable to find a good part.

Without very specialized equipment it is very difficult to test the signal from the antenna itself.
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #12
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The connection at the antenna was really clean, but I sprayed it with electronic contact cleaner and lubricant anyway, can't hurt. I did a voltage check and was getting about 13 V. I was pretty sure I knew the problem at this point, but I direct wired another cable from the antenna to the TV, alas the same result, no signal.

Based on the feed back you guys have provided, I'm thinking the amplifier in the antenna is kaput. I have a call in to Winegard and I expect I'll hear from them tomorrow.

So, I'm not sure if the Winegard is repairable, suggestions.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Silver Goose View Post
Winegard sells a non-amplified antenna PN 2120430. I don't know why someone would buy one, but if a PO thought they were getting a good price on a replacement, it is a way to get bit. The PN for the amplified Winegard antenna head is RV2001A.

Some have reported that the Jack antenna is a good replacement for the Winegard. If the cable is good and 12v is present, the Jack head runs about $50 and is a simple DIY swap. The most difficult task is R&R the 2 E-clips that secure the mounting pins. While the Jack is very compact compared to the Winegard, its shape may interfere with a skylight or something else on the roof in the lowered position so it might be worth simply setting the head on top of the Winegard to check the clearance before taking things apart.

I forgot to check the model number of the my Winegard. I'll do that next. I'll have to look up the Jack as I've never heard of it.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:55 PM   #14
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I forgot to check the model number of the my Winegard. I'll do that next. I'll have to look up the Jack as I've never heard of it.

Pete
I guess you don't know Jack.

Sorry, just couldn't resist.

Here's a link to a thread where the Jack antenna was discussed: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f450...nna-73890.html

Also here's a link to a source for them: Jack RV Digital Antenna - Complete Antenna - PPL Motor Homes
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:50 PM   #15
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I guess you don't know Jack.

Sorry, just couldn't resist.

Here's a link to a thread where the Jack antenna was discussed: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f450...nna-73890.html

Also here's a link to a source for them: Jack RV Digital Antenna - Complete Antenna - PPL Motor Homes
No offense taken, I almost used it myself. Thanks for the links.

Received a call back tonight from a Tech at Winegard. He told me that there is a couple of replacement heads (Sensar 3 and Sensar 4) for my unit (fits anything after 1990). I'll check out the Jack units and make a decision. I'm doing this as much for protection against more tired out jokes as anything else.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #16
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Okay so now I know Jack. I watched the demonstration video and what I didn't like right off is that they were talking about using 110V power to the amplifier head. I found the manufactures website and found that it actually uses a transformer to reduce the voltage to 12 V. If you have a pre-existing 12V set up there is no need for the 110V to 12V transformer. They could have made that clearer in the video. I bought an RV so that I did not have to be tethered to an electric meter.

The Jack replacement head is about $20 dollars cheaper than the Winegard Sensar IV. What to do.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:38 PM   #17
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My 1983 Excella came with a separate amplifier located in the credenza like this one:



It also requires AC power, as you can see in the image. However, it's not an issue for me. My television is AC powered. So, no AC power, I'm not watching TV anyway.



The Excella has the old Braund Skyliner antenna, hence no amp up on the antenna. My Trade Wind also has the same type of antenna and amplifier. The Skyliners work great for HDTV by the way.

I do agree, though, that it's a little strange to convert 110AC to 12VCD to power something that's going to be installed in an RV.

Since my antennas work perfectly, I'm not in the market right now. If I were, though, I would lean to an entire Jack antenna system that rather than a head that goes on the crank-up antenna. I like the idea that remains in place without cranking up and down.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #18
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Because I needed to get this done quickly, leaving on our trip on the 26th, I ordered the Jack from Amazon. I found a lot of very good reviews there and at least one other place that helped me make up my mind. It's suppose to arrive today. I ordered the head only for the same reason already mentioned, time available. Later, I may into a stationary mount.

I'll post some follow up reviews as I have something worthwhile to post.

Pete
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:10 PM   #19
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Just a passing thought... When I tried to use my TV on our first trip I got no signal and thought I had a problem. A fellow camper suggested I run the TV's auto program function and suddenly everything worked just fine. I don't know if this is your problem, but it sure would be easy to try.

Just my 2 cents,
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:06 PM   #20
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Just a passing thought... When I tried to use my TV on our first trip I got no signal and thought I had a problem. A fellow camper suggested I run the TV's auto program function and suddenly everything worked just fine. I don't know if this is your problem, but it sure would be easy to try.

Just my 2 cents,

Well, Scott J-24,
You win the cigar. To bad I'd already ordered the new Jack Antenna. I also forgot to try your suggestion before took down my old Winegard Sensar and hooked up the new Jack. After hooking up I still was getting the no signal message and then I remembered reading your suggestion. I did the autoscan and it found about 10 stations. I changed the inside cable and ran the autoscan again and it found 15 stations. I was pretty happy that it was working, and thinking I should check it out with my new 12V TV.

Then things got ugly. This is where I learn that the inside skin is a vinyl cover aluminum. Here's the story, although those in the know probably are way ahead of me here. I had pulled the combination Antenna Coaxial connector / 12V Amplifier Switch / 12V Socket plate off the wall and had it dangling. I did this partly because I was trouble shooting and also because the threaded coaxial connector was just spinning and I couldn't unscrew the inside cable from the connector. I removed the cable, tightened up the connector barrel and installed the new cable. Without incident. I decided before I plugged in the new 12V TV I'd attach the outet plate back to the wall. I was trying to get this unwieldy thing back into the hole when ZAP, I shorted it out against the aluminum inside wall skin. S***!

I checked the fuse and it was definitely blown, so I put in a new one. Not being very quick on this occasion I did my best to cover all the exposed metal and the circuit board attached to the back of the plate with electrical tape and tried to put it back again. Zap Again!

Many more expletives, this time peppered with the word Mother and followed directly by another that rhymes with Trucker. Cussing doesn't reverse the situation, but it still makes me feel better. At this point the light is beginning to dawn, my dim witted brain is beginning to fully grasp this situation. I-am-not-making-this-better. Fortunately it finally occurred to me, I could turn the battery switch off, which I promptly all-be-it tardily did.

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I replaced the new, but now burned up fuse with a new, new fuse. Installed the plate without further incident and turned the battery switch back on. I plugged in the new 12V TV and it powered up. I ran the autoscan and it found only 11 channels. I tried again and that time it only found 10, I think. Also the reception was terrible. It was getting late about 8:30 PM. I decided to call it a night figuring I'd done enough damage for one day. My plan being that today I'd check the 120V TV that got 15 channels when I first connected it and see if it still did. It was dark by that time so I could finally check to see if the LED on bottom of the Jack antenna was lit. It wasn't. This was not a good sign.

This morning I connected the 120V TV and it only found about 8 or 9 channels with mostly poor reception. I climbed up topside and checked my voltage at the cable end. It was only about 8.9V. Friday, when I checked it, it was 13.1V. So, I'm guessing I fried a resistor or a diode or something else I can't even identify on the little circuit board attached to the back of the cover plate. What I don't know yet is whether or not I've damaged the Jack antenna, but while I was writing this confession I figured out how I can test it, so if it stops raining this afternoon, that will be my next move.

Meanwhile I have a call into Terry at Out OF Doors Mart in Colfax, NC. He's a very knowledgeable Airstreamer and I hope he'll know what I need or what I can do to find out.

Pete
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