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Old 02-07-2011, 04:20 PM   #1
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Jack Digital Over-the-Air Antenna

I have an '87 Excella and need to install an off-air antenna. Last year, King Controls introduced the Jack, which supposedly had better reception than the Winegard Sensar 4 (with or without the wingman addition). I saw mixed reviews on whether it produced better results, so I recommitted to the Winegard; HOWEVER, King is now producing a Jack that is permanently installed 12 inches high. No cranking up (and no forgetting to crank down) needed. This seems to be an attractive option, but has anyone put one of these on their Airstreams to date? Pictures of the Jack are included. I look forward to hearing what you "pros" think.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:20 AM   #2
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Tallytown, I'm interested to hear what you or anyone else knows about this. Here is a link to the antenna: JACK Aftermarket Antenna
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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Here is a picture of an Argosy 20' owned by Jim Bounds at the Cooperative Motorworks. He has heard great results from the Jack antenna.

I currently have one in a box in my living room awaiting installation. I removed the old antenna last weekend.

I'll try to take pictures of the installation. The two challenges are:
  1. The antenna requires a 2" hole (larger than the original hole)
  2. I want the coax to be hidden and not run on the inside of the wall.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:35 AM   #4
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Does this antenna require a seperate power supply? Asking because the old antenna was removed from my trailer years ago and the hole was sealed over, not sure if the wiring even remains.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF
Does this antenna require a seperate power supply? Asking because the old antenna was removed from my trailer years ago and the hole was sealed over, not sure if the wiring even remains.
The coax runs from the antenna to the booster outlet similar to other set-ups. The 12v power goes to the wall plate.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985air345 View Post
...

I want the coax to be hidden and not run on the inside of the wall.
That's a contradiction in terms isn't it?

How do you propose to hide the coax without running in inside the wall?
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield
That's a contradiction in terms isn't it?

How do you propose to hide the coax without running in inside the wall?
Yeeesh!

On the inside wall vs. Inside of the wall.

I knew that would come back at me! I just want the coax hidden. :-) My original antenna is pre-coax! I might try to pull coax through using the original wire.
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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Yeeesh!

On the inside wall vs. Inside of the wall.

I knew that would come back at me! I just want the coax hidden. :-) My original antenna is pre-coax! I might try to pull coax through using the original wire.
That's what I did on my Trade Wind. I used one of these Outdoor 75 To 300-OHM Matching Transformer with Weather Boot on the antenna itself. Works great.

My Excella was already coax from the antenna to the back of the wall plate. The wall plate had the two holes for 300 ohm flat cable to plug into. I drilled a new hold between them and the 12v outlet and mounted the coax directly there. You can see that in the photo.

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Old 07-27-2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
That's what I did on my Trade Wind. I used one of these Outdoor 75 To 300-OHM Matching Transformer with Weather Boot on the antenna itself. Works great.
That is PERFECT! I was tinkering in the Argosy today and actually thought of this before I read the follow-up post! I am delighted to hear that it works!

I could see no easy way to run the new coax between the inner and outer panels. Airstream used some pretty stout wiring for that old antenna.

QUESTION: Would it be better to use a digital Antenna balun instead? I would need one on either side of the old antenna wire (one to the Jack antenna and the other to the wall outlet).
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:33 PM   #10
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I used a 2" hole drill bit to cut the upper hole. I used a spare 2x4 as a pilot to keep the drill steady.

The 2" drill bit would not work for the ceiling panel. I drilled a series of 1/8" holes, pried it out, and cleaned up the opening.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
That's what I did on my Trade Wind. I used one of these Outdoor 75 To 300-OHM Matching Transformer with Weather Boot on the antenna itself. Works great.
What did you use to fasten the antenna to the roof? Rivets or sheet metal screws?
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:12 PM   #12
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What did you use to fasten the antenna to the roof? Rivets or sheet metal screws?
I'm not going to be any help here. I was just running coax to the original Skyliner on my Trade Wind, not going to a new antenna. I just jumped in on this thread because the problem with the coax was the same.

I've been watching the threads on the Jack with interest. I can see how it would be nice not to have to raise and lower the antenna. I would really like to see before and after results with a Skyliner to Jack conversion. Number of channels, sensitivity to direction, etc... My Skyliners work so well, that I won't be doing that comparison myself anytime soon.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:44 PM   #13
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I was able to use a fish tape to pull the coax through the walls of my Argosy. Fortunately, I had the center fan and roof AC out so I had two additional access points! I added a new hole for the wall plate and used the adjacent 12v outlet for power. everything is up and running great! I have full digital signal on my local stations.

FYI - I tried to use passive closed circuit TV baluns to use the existing 2-wire antenna wire but I could not get enough signal strength to justify using it.

I am using my laptop to watch TV using the Averty USB TV tuner. In a 20' motorhome, everything needs to have multiple uses! I also connect the PC headphone jack to my dash stereo for better sound!

My roof project blog More pictures to come..

Avertv Hybrid Volar Max TV Tuner Kit for Windows MTVHVMXSK
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
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I have completed my Jack Antenna installation in my Argosy 20' motohome.

I did run new coax through the wall since my fan and AC units were already out. The old antenna wire could not be used to operate the antenna.

Here are some pics. I have painting scheduled for October 2012. This was one of my pre-painting projects!
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #15
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Nice looking installation, and thanks for posting the photos. Were there any limitations as to how far away from skylights, A/C units etc the Jack antenna should be installed?
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:17 PM   #16
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Nice looking installation, and thanks for posting the photos. Were there any limitations as to how far away from skylights, A/C units etc the Jack antenna should be installed?
There was not anything in the installation instructions regarding location. I used the same location as my original antenna.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:34 PM   #17
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I would like to know how well the new antenna works? Christmas is coming and the inlaws are asking what I want...Do I want a new Jack or not?
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:51 PM   #18
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We recently installed Jack and are very happy with reception. Not to mention the fact that it requires zero cranking up and down! Go for it!
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:09 PM   #19
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Okay.. reviving an old thread here in hope of getting some help!

I have a 74 sovereign with an old skyliner that was long gone when I got the trailer. The "two wire" from the roof to the jack/outlet is there... can it be used for the Jack Anetenna or no?

I've tried pulling... and I didn't see anything budge on either end...

Help someone please!

Thanks

Quote:
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There was not anything in the installation instructions regarding location. I used the same location as my original antenna.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:22 PM   #20
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The "two wire" from the roof to the jack/outlet is there... can it be used for the Jack Anetenna or no?
I had the same thought with my 1977 Argosy MH and the answer is NO. I tried several different baluns and also called the company. I never got it to work. I was able to run coax while installing the Fan Tastic fan and fixing the AC installation.
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