How Can We Improve The Digital TV Reception In Our RV?

by Rich

How to Improve the Digital TV Reception In Your RV

How to Improve the Digital TV Reception In Your RV

I have a dual TV tuner (analog/digital) on my RV TV. I have found that the signal gets interrupted by numerous devices. My wife uses a portable DVD player to watch movies. It completely wipes out the digital signal even if the DVD player is running on battery. The laptop pc also wipes it out. I suspect nearby RVs using satellite wipe it out. I have seen helicopters flying over wipe it out. I'm talking complete wipeout here, not just a screwed-up picture.

We have a Winegard amplified antenna. Do not have this problem when using analog tuning. It looks like digital is going to be bad for reception in the RV world. I have also talked to many people having similar problems using digital TVs or converter boxes.

Are there any filters or something I can install to correct this problem?

ANSWER: Important Update: Since I answered this question Winegard has released a brand-new antenna called the Winegard Rayzar z1 antenna. This multi-direcional antenna was designed from the ground up by Winegard to maximize signal reception of digital TV channels and expands the coverage area to provide maximum channel reception with less aiming or pointing. Watch the video below to learn more about the Winegard Rayzar z1 antenna:

Winegard also makes an antenna called the Rayzar Automatic Hd Antenna that automatically finds channels in your area and rotates to maximize signal quality. It is a dual band VHF/UHF antenna that utilizes a state-of-the-art amplifier to increase range and channels while reducing the chance for pixilation and dropouts. The antenna is enclosed in an ultra-sleek, attractive dome, all elements are protected to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Watch the video below for more information on the Rayzar Automatic Hd Antenna.

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End Of Update

I am sorry to say that a filter may not be the solution to your problem. I believe that your problem is due to weak signal strength getting to your TV. When it comes to digital TV signals you either get the signal or you don't. With a weak analog TV signal, you sometimes get a snowy or wavy picture and poor sound. With a weak digital TV signal, you will either get a frozen picture or no picture or sound at all.

The fact that DVD players and Laptops are interfering with your TV's picture only confirms that the Digital TV signals you are receiving are too weak to maintain a picture.

I will assume that you have already checked all the cable connections in your RV to make sure that the cables are not loose. This would include going on the roof of your RV and checking to ensure no damage to the cable going into your antenna. A loose or damaged cable can also cause the signal loss that you are experiencing.

You are going
to have to buy a signal amplifier. The one I personally recommend is the 2-Port Bi-Directional Cable TV HDTV Amplifier Splitter Signal Booster with Passive Return Path
. The reason I recommend this booster is because it is highly rated by people who own it. It boosts both Digital and Analog signals. It is easy to install and can be used on systems that use an antenna to receive signals and cable TV systems. It also supports pay-per-view and video on demand. The most important factor is that it can improve signal strength by up to 32 times (15 dB). If this does not get you a better signal, then nothing else will.

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Booster Installation I am going to assume that you have a video switch box on your RV that has buttons or knobs that allow you choose various sources for your RV's TV, such as antenna, cable, DVD player, satellite etc. I am also going to assume that you have more than one TV in your RV.

Since you have an amplified antenna, you are not going to be able to hook up the signal booster to the cable coming out of your antenna and going into the Video Switch Box. That cable probably has 12 volts DC running through it and could damage the signal booster. Instead, you will have to hook up a signal booster to the cable running out of the video switch box going to the TV. In this situation, you would need one signal booster for each TV in your RV. I would suggest that you only get one booster and try it on one of your TVs. If the results are satisfactory, you can always get another one for the other TV.

The signal booster should be installed right at the Video Switch Box. You will need one extra piece of coax cable to perform the installation. Disconnect the cable from the back of the Video Switch Box that is going to the TV you are going to use. Attach that cable to the TV-out port on the signal booster. Now hook up your short length of Coax cable to the antenna in port on the video booster and the TV-out port on the Video Switch Box. The video booster needs to be plugged into a 120-volt electric outlet to power the signal amplifier. You need to repeat the above process for each TV. You are putting the booster at the Video Switch Box because the closer the Video Booster is to the antenna, the better it will perform.

If this does not resolve the problem for you, then I am not sure what else will. If any of our visitors have any suggestions for you, they can add them to this page by clicking on the add a comment link near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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RV TV Hacks That Worked For Me
by: JP

Couple of tips for better tv options...

Antenna-Scanning for channels in a fringe area may not lock on a lot of channels that really are there. It seems the sensitivity of a lot of TV's doesn't grab these channels in the short time they are scanning. A workaround is to scan at home or any place with strong reception and keep those channels programmed. Next time you're camping, go to those channels and Voila! Many will be there. After deleting non English speaking and infomercial stations, I still get 58 SF Bay Area channels in front of my house in Union City. At Half Moon Bay State Beach I get 36 channels. I do need to rotate my antenna between transmitters for different station groups and when weather goes bad, stations drop off significantly. I'm using a King Digital Antenna on the standard mast that came with my 2003 Southwind.

Internet TV-I have a 40GB shared data family plan with AT&T for our mobile devices. Using my iPAD as a personal hot spot in the RV allows high quality streaming on the smart TV when I have good 4G reception. Much better than the low bandwidth WiFi available in many parks. Those just aren't good enough for video streaming especially when a couple dozen other campers are sharing the bandwidth. I also added an AppleTV (Gen 2) which allows me to get iTunes music, movies, etc. Netflix and Hulu are available on both, Apple TV and the Smart TV but Amazon is only on the Smart TV.

Rv Park Host Driftwood Rv BROOKINGS OREGON

I service 100 Rvs per day making Rv cable work

99% percent of the time the Cable is Tested out
side the RV and 99% works with a clear pitcher

99% of the Timed the RV Has number of problems.

Plug-ends fail over time
amplifiers, splitters, lose connections all
cause snow in cable cox by increasing and decreasing signals in cox cable.
When you hook-up cox G-6 underground cable to
back of the TV direct Your TV PICTURE Result

Remember after testing through window or door. then make new route and outside connection
that only goes to TV That looks good. Now you
TV Problems are over

You Must have another Problem.
by: Anonymous

I have a Winegard Tv Antenna 2008 with the Extra bat Wing. It did improve a little bit. I park right next to an Air port with small planes and Helicopters flying in and out allay. No Interuption at all. Do you have the TV Converter/ Splitter Box. This is the usually Brown Box that changes from DVD-TV -VCR-Sattelite ECT, Without this you will have very limited signal. I get at least 80 channels in Central NJ.

In the mountains of Pa. We get 3. So I bought the Winegard Satellite System with the 110 Box from Dish. It cost $ 7.00 per month and works AWESOME. I purchased on AMAZON PRIME
for Like $ 229.00 the whole kit. 50' cable 110 Dish Box and Satellite receiver. You just put that Receiver pouting due North and it sets itself in less than 15 minutes. One thing I also bought was an HDMI Amplifier /Splitter for 3 televisions. Then I ran HDMI wire to other televisions. This Unit only runs one Satellite program. So you all watch the same channel. But we Love it. If you have direct TV it works for that as well. A Little more money. Dish also lets us turn on and off when not in use. I also bought The 50' HDMI wire and other HDMI wires on Amazon and the HDMI splitter. Look under Jerzey Joe.You can see what I purchased and my reviews....Good Luck.You definately have an older antenna or short somewhere.

TV Signal Strength
by: RCAircraft

If your OTA antenna signal is converting the signal to digital then most likely the converter or TV has a signal strength meter built in to help with the signal strength question.

I use both analog and digital TV's in my RV. The two newer TV's are digital and have the signal strength meter built in while the outdoor TV is an older analog unit connected via an analog to digital signal converter which has the signal strength meter built in. All of these "meters" are software based and are accessed via the TV or digital signal converter menus.

All our TV's are connected to both the roof mounted Wingard SWM3 DirecTV satellite dish and the Wingard OTA antenna with the Wingman. The satellite signal is usually very strong however there are times that the OTA signal is low.

As has been mentioned in the above posts an amplifier will only amplify a signal if one is present. Kind of like there needs to be water present for a water pump to work.

If I was thinking about a signal booster/amplifier I would first use the above mentioned built in signal meters and determine if there is a signal to boost. If so, try the booster and determine if the results are worth the cost.

The booster could help the viewing quality however a weak signal will be impacted by other nearby electrical devices such as hair dryers and other similar devices. The signal is being boosted as it comes off the antenna. Nearby electrical devices will still cause signal problems at the OTA/satellite antenna regardless of the booster as the booster is downstream from the antenna. The signal between the booster and the antenna will not be improved by the booster and only possible to improve between the booster and the TV.

Now that all this has been said it could be worth checking your electrical grounds. Good electrical grounding can significantly reduce interference that is electromagnetically coupled into the RV wiring. Check the coax shield grounding, TV grounds, grounds for any device connected to the coax and grounding from the RV to earth ground. Good coax cable with double shielding, between the antenna and booster can also help.

Also, check the coax connectors. I use a set of tools and coax connectors from Home Depot that strip/trim the coax cable and install first class coax connectors. It is well worth the cost as digital signals do not like the old tool less type twist-on/push-on coax fittings or fittings that have been installed improperly.

One last note - if there are any coax splitters in the system check that any unused ports (where a coax cable could be connected to) are connected to a terminator cap. These caps contain a passive circuit to help maintain the required impedance which is necessary for a good clean signal. They are also available at Home Depot.

by: Jackie


You certainly don't need a large r.v. to have sat. t.v. You don't have to mount the satellite on your rv. We have a 20 foot travel trailer with our old dish we had on our house. My husband goes out with his compass and a stand for the dish every time we go camping and sets it up till it's aligned.

It can take from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the campsite and how clear a shot he has to the satellites. We use our spare box as well so we get every channel we have at home. Weekends I personally wouldn't bother but if we are camped a full week or longer it is sure nice to have, especially on rainy days and during baseball, football and hockey season!!!

TV reception
by: RKrawl

Satellite is extremely affordable if you are already paying for it in your house, it will double for your camper, all you need is a satellite dish to hook it up to, which you can find almost anywhere for free! I love watching shows we get at home, on the road.

Winegard Wingman in Canada
by: juliette_29

does the Winegard Wingman work in Canada also?

Switch for recommended booster
by: Rich

Hi, great site you have. This is Rich who asked the original question. I still have not installed the booster. As I was thinking about it I came up with another question. You said I have to go through an input switch to connect the booster. I only have one TV and no switch. DVD is direct plug to TV. Can I use a simple A-B switch? Seems that would be the same as direct from antenna to me. Do I have to install an electronic switch?

Satellite is not an option for me. Have a small 24' RV and would not go to the extra expense. I'll read more instead.

Thanks for the help,

Comment From RVing Al: Yes you can use a COAX A-B Switch.

by: Rich

I installed a Wingman on my antenna when in Florida this year. It is not a cure all. Picked up some more channels in the location where I was at the time. About 60 miles south of Orlando. After installing I was able to pick up some Tampa stations I couldn't get before installing. However it did very little for me in the Pan Handle. Where we go in the Pan Handle is about 50 mi from Panama City and 70 mi. from Talahasse. Both magor broadcast locations. Could hardly get anything even though about the same distance as Orlando and Tampa were from me. For the price I guess the Wingman is worth while but not a complete answer. It cost me $34 and took about 10 min. to install.

I did not get around to installing the amplafier you recommended last year. Going to this year before we go to Florida. Of all the palces we go Florida gives me the most trouble. Assume you would still recommend.
Thanks for the info,


Comments From RVing Al: Hi Rich thanks for your comments. You are right the Wingman is not a cure all, but as you said you are now picking up additional channels. Once you install the amplifier you may end up picking up a few more channels.

Digital signals are far more fickle when it comes to location then the old analog signals were. My recommendations are the least expensive solutions that I have found to increase the chances of receiving the most off the air digital TV channels you can.

The ultimate solution is to install a satellite system in your RV and subscribe to a satellite TV Service, but not all RVers want to pay for satellite service.

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