I am using the AVERmedia Volar Max hybrid [will receive analog signals as well as digital—analog capability not worth much these days]. I am happy with the tuner but the bundled software is inflexible. A set of channels for a given area cannot be saved. Channels cannot be input manually, only through an autoscan procedure that takes a few minutes.
This can lead to problems when combined with the all-or-nothing-at-all nature of digital signals. I find that a given station may be receivable only with the antenna pointed, say, north. Let’s say that other channels can be found with the antenna facing west. The north channel is lost after the autoscan with the antenna facing west. The north channel cannot be manually input to produce a complete set of receivable channels. To receive the north channel once again, after rotating the antenna to face north an autoscan must be performed. At this point the west channels have been lost.
I’m not sure if a better software is available. I looked at a trial version of SageTV [about $75] but was not happy.
trailer came with a roof-mount crank up antenna. We removed it to install solar
panels. After that I used the tiny antenna that comes with the tuner. It works fine if you are in a city with strong signals. Then I bought a set of Phillips amplified rabbit ears from WalMart. While an improvement and usable inside the Bigfoot
, they require power and do not pull in the signals that well.
While I still use the mentioned two antennae at times, most of the time I use an outside antenna on a mast. For my antenna I got a small AntennasDirect cage from Amazon.
Amazon.com: Antennas Direct DB2 Multi Directional HDTV Antenna: Electronics
I’ve been pretty happy with it, though it seems fairly directional. Perhaps someone else knows of an omni-directional antenna that is not too large.
Finding a place to mount the mast on the trailer proved difficult. Eggs do not have vertical walls. At least ours does not. Such an antenna location might also shade the solar
panels when the mast is raised. I decided to mount the mast on the back-door ladder on our Dodge Sprinter van. From Lowe’s I bought four conduit clamps of the appropriate size. Through the clamp mounting hole, one clamp is bolted to another with a stainless machine screw and a nylon lock nut. Between the clamps is a rubber grommet I had in my “I might use this some day” box. It’s actually the base of a rubber valve stem. I found several of these bases on the pavement at a Goodyear tire store while getting new trailer tires
. One side of a clamp pair gets clamped to the ladder. The other side is for the antenna mast. One pair is mounted about 5’ above the ground and the other about 7’.
I needed a mast that would come apart for storage. I made a “tent pole” from emt conduit. I used ¾” emt conduit [it comes in 10’ lengths] and ½” emt conduit, both available at Home Depot and cheap! I cut a 20” piece of the ½” and gave the rest away. Ten inches of the ½” is inserted into a piece of the ¾” and held in place temporarily with Gorilla tape. A hole is drilled through both to accommodate a nut and bolt. I cut the ¾” conduit in two at a place where the piece with the ½” conduit inside could be inserted into the other end from below while the other end is mounted to the ladder.
What I ended up with is a one-piece mast of about 5’ that can ride permanently on the ladder with the antenna attached. The mast is in a lowered position for travel. Four days ago it rode that way without moving for the 20+ miles of “high clearance” but in parts “4 wheel drive” known as Titus Canyon Road in Death Valley. I can raise the mast above the tall van roof for receiving signals by loosening and re-tightening the clamps. To raise the mast REALLY high the second mast piece is inserted from below and the now two-piece mast raised and reclamped.
At the moment Gorilla tape shims around the ½” emt makes for a snug fit into the other piece to prevent it from rotating in the wind. I may one day drill holes and hold the two pieces with a clevis pin but for now the Gorilla tape works fine.
Coax cable must be attached each time the antenna is used. It is routed through the electrical
hatch to a splitter. From there cable has been fished to two receptacles, one forward and the other aft. Perhaps because the coax was fished alongside 12v and 120v wire, the TV tuner only works when my laptop is on battery
. When I plug the laptop into either 12v or 120v, the signal disappears. Ah well, another project for another day.
I did buy satellite-quality coax cable in case one day I wanted satellite. It has improved the TV reception over the standard coax. This source was fast and reasonably priced:
I’m the first person to admit that this system is a cumbersome work-around. Our full-time life in a Bigfoot
17 seems to be a collection of these. Anyone else experience this?