News and FAQ'S on Antenna & digital TV, as at August 2013
Happy Wanderer Caravan Accessories is pleased to provide our thoughts below on TV reception.We state that these are our views & opinions after many years of supply of Antenna products to the industry & talking to caravaners. We welcome debate on any of these topics and we are willing to enlarge our comments through the "contact us" section of this web site or by telephone.
NOTE: BELOW IS DETAILED INFORMATION BUT FOR A BREIF UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO GET MAXIMUM DIGITAL TV RECEPTION SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF THIS SECTION & OPEN OUR CARTOON ADVERTISMENT.
- Vertical & horizontal signal
- Van wall connection
- Set top boxes and digital TV's
- 2 TV outlets inside van
- Boosters /amplifiers
- Tuning TV sets
- DX2700 antenna trouble shooting
- Digital TV Roll out (latest Information) & digital testing
- TV signal & satellite Finders
- LED TV sets & tuning signal on LED TVs
(1) Why is there vertical & horizontal signal transmission in Australia?
In Australia signal is transmitted in some locations in Vertical polarisation & in other areas Horizontally (almost 50/50 by location). This is to stop signal interference & therefore increases the number of stations that are available & thus makes for better TV coverage. Both UHF & VHF signal can be an is transmitted in Vertical or horizontal. It is therefore critical that you choose an antenna that can be set in vertical mode in vertical signal locations and horizontal mode in horizontal locations.
Further, there is an antenna that mounts on caravan roofs that can be raised up & down and rotated from inside the caravan. These antennas are less than ideal as they do not account for Australian broadcast conditions. For example, as you move from town to town the polarisation changes from HORIZONTAL to VERTICAL however the original versions of these antennas cannot be set in vertical mode. We receive many comments from caravaners with these American designed antennas who find they do not get good signal in Vertical signal locations. This is realised when they compare with a neighbor who is set vertically with an antenna such as our products that have simple swing head device attached to change polarisation. Since early 2012 there is available a retro fit kit to fix this problem an these kits are available from us or for Adelaide area we can also fit these kits.
We repeat advice from above. When ordering your new van or buying an antenna, it is critical that you choose an antenna that can be set in vertical mode in vertical signal locations and horizontal mode in horizontal locations.
We see no sense in having one arm of antenna vertical & the other horizontal as the signal received on the arm set wrong can be badly affected. Our antenna cannot be set one up & one down and this was a deliberate design consideration. Happy Wanderer antenna models are supplied with our registered designed and simple to use "swing head" which can be rotated vertically or horizontally or any angle in between.
(2) Is current Caravan & RV coaxial connectors through van wall ready for Digital signal?
The introduction to Digital signal may mean many caravans will have wiring of TV cable installed that is not satisfactory for digital. The Australian standard for digital & satellite is AS1367:2000. This is not an enforceable standard, but anyone connecting TV installation domestically knows that use of screw "F" connectors & use of RG6 or RG59 coaxial cable is the required standard and is critical. (FOX TEL only use this "F"system)
Most caravan manufacturers are still installing the "PUSH IN" fittings & this more than certainly will have the potential to cause problems when tuning to digital signal through set top boxes. Discuss this when ordering a new van. Certainly, flat ribbon cable should not be used & should be replaced. A report on this subject is available, obtained independently from GME Kingray.
In the Adelaide area we have a service whereby we can convert push in plugs to "F" using your vans existing wiring & replace the exterior & Interior plates and this is a mobile service so phone Bob 0412 125 983 for a quote over the phone.
Open link under this to see breif description on HW019 or SCROLL to bottom of FAQ page for PDF file on complete instruction.
(3) What are Set Top Boxes for Digital signal and are they also built into TV's?
We cover briefly below but for more detailed answer see PDF file 31 at bottom of page supplied by The Government of Australia.
We recommend obtaining a set top box as soon as you can. They are now inexpensive, small and very easy to use. What a set top box does is convert ANALOGUE signal to DIGITAL enable use of existing TV set. When receiving digital signal through a box there is a definite improvement in signal (especially on channel 2 stations that have changed to digital)
When using a SET TOP BOX the STB provides the TUNING of stations & your TV is only a screen monitor. Put simply, the STB runs the TV. Ensure you set the TV to AV mode so it works in conjunction with the STB.
We have available a good quality 240 volt/12 volt HD set top box for $110 retail. Called a "MINI DIGITAL SET TOP BOX FOR CARAVANS AND BOATS" this box is so small it fits into the palm of your hand. Also, it has a infrared extender that allows you to put box in a cupboard or behind TV out of sight.
Another, and prefered, choice is to purchase a TV with in built set top box (tuner).We point out here that some brands of the NEW LED TV's with built in set top boxes need more signal to tune the set & a booster may be required and generally it in the cheaper range so ring Bob 0412 125 983 & he can talk to you about this point. See also point 5 - Boosters
Our antenna range is digital ready & work well with set top boxes.
(4) I have 2 TV outlets inside my Caravan.
If you are ordering a new caravan or RV & you want 2 outlets ask for "satellite splitters" ("F" screw) and ask that "ALL PORTS PASS POWER". Alternatively, if all ports do not pass power then the power pass goes upward to the Antenna. This will ensure good quality antennas that need boosted signal to the head pass power in the right direction. These splitters are only a few dollars dearer but worth every extra cost & ensure highest quality signal without reducing the signal because of the splitting.
(5) Amplifier/boosters, are they needed?
If you are traveling extensively you will most likely need a booster. Because of the small run of cable in a Caravan (4 meters generally) it is not necessary to have connected on the mast. We recommend they be set up inside the van, as this has been confirmed & tested by our supplier. A good reason to do it this way is because it is very simple & quick to by pass booster in strong signal locations.
Having signal too strong can cause poor quality signal and pixilatin effect on screen for Digital TV's. This is also the reason why we selected 20 Db to 24 DB gain models as opposed to 34DB gain. Again, our supplier advised on this product selection for caravan use. Also 34DB gain model is very complicated in the motherboard & more prone to damage in a traveling application. The 34 DB gain is good for something like a motel with long cable runs & many TV's in line.
Our booster model HW024G is wired up to use inside van with both push in plugs & "F"screw plugs. Simply throw away the push in adapter if you have screw plugs & there is a 12 volt model available. The HW024g model is optimised for both digital and analogue TV signal amplification.
Since 2012 we have available a compact easy to use TV signal finder/amplifier booster built into an "inside van/in line" case with a variable controller switch. This will make first tune at your new location very easy so the product is called "EASY TUNE" Click on photo on HOME page to open more detail on the EASY-TUNE. See more on tuning TV in section 6.
(6) Tell me about Tuning TV bands when on the move to locations within Australia?
At home we have our TV's tuned & pre-set but as one travels to many locations in a caravan it is neccessary to tune your TV set at each new location to obtain signal from the 57 channels in use now in Australia. Most modern TV sets have automatic tuners but if your tv set only has manual tuning it may not be easy at first but once it has been done a few times it is usually less of a problem. Professional members of TV repair shops can pre-tune your manually tuned TV set for you then you will only need to select the appropriate channel from you remote control. If buying a new set for travel always pay extra & obtain an AUTOMATICALLY TUNED set.
Remember to study the TUNING section of your TV set guide book. Also, fine tuning may be needed as sometime an exact lock on a channel may not be achieved. Once again, the TV set guide book covers fine tuning. Fine tuning will clear up the sound & make picture clearer but most of the time Automatic tuners lock on to channel 100% accurately, but be aware of the fine tuning function.
We recommend tuning take place with antenna in boost mode (if you have a boosted system) & with antenna properly set to VERTICAL or HORIZONTAL mode & pointing at station to best lock onto signal. If you get "no signal" on screen or your TV advised "signal overload "turn off" or Bypass booster & re tune. Some antenna have fixed boost at all time & this is not a good situation so buy an antenna that the booster is optional or can be turned off. There is a new roof mounted antenna that is in boost mode all the time and also, cannot be set vertically so I would be wary about this & we are awaiting feedback as it only hit the market March 2012.
We have 5 bands in Australia. Band 1 (channels 0 to 2) , Band 2 (channels 3 to 5) and band 3 (channels 5a to 12) are all VHF. Band 1 is hardly used now & ABC have moved to the much clearer band 3.
Band 4 (channels 28 to 35) and band 5 (channels 36 to 69) are UHF.
Most of Australia outside Capital cities (about 95% of locations) is UHF band 4 & 5 (band 5 to be phased out once converted fully to digital). Australian capital cities also have VHF channels repeated in small UHF transmitters.
The antenna rods on the DX2700 Active 1 antenna (now obsolete & replaced with the HW-DT8 antenna) do not need to be extended for the UHF bands 4 and 5.
With digital signal introduction, in most cases, transmission will be about the same frequency (channel number) as it is presently in analogue. A major plus is channel 2 will be taken out of band 1 to higher band & we feel improve this situation. Any problems currently with channel 2 will be a thing of the past.
(7) I have a problem with my DX2700 Active 1 antenna & how do I do initial test before contacting you?Simply contact us by email & we will reply with full information to assist you.
(8) What is latest on Digital TV roll out by the Australian Government
The "Word" document (28 ) below advises on the situation as at January 2009. Our products are DIGITAL READY & we will brand accordingly once stickers are available. Our brochures state DIGITAL READY now. Scroll to bottom of page for this word document.
Also below, is a large PDF file on answering many "frequently asked questions" on Digital TV roll out. It is interesting to note there is little mention on TV ANTENNA'S. What is said is that if you receive good signal now then you will receive good signal in digital. We also add that the signal received through SET TOP BOX or built in TUNER is Clearer & without interference. It's amazing in fact.
For a report on a digital test we conducted simply contact us by email & we will reply with full information to assist you.
Conclusion. TV lovers will get great joy in upgrading to DIGITAL on their analogue sets (see 3 above) & that selection of a high quality antenna with built in booster & ability to be set both HORIZONTALLY & VERTICALLY is a must have.
(9) TV SIGNAL FINDERS.
TV EASY TUNE Finder & Booster in one.
Since 2012 we have available a compact easy to use TV signal finder/amplifier booster
built into an "inside van/in line" case with a variable controller
switch. This will make first tune at your new location very easy so the
product is called "EASY TUNE" Click on photo on HOME page to open more
detail on the EASY-TUNE. This is a great product but do not use with antenna with built in boosters (Winegard's for instance to name 1) for these antenna use signal finder only - see photo below.
See more on tuning TV in section 6. reccomended Retail $79 inc GST + $4.00 postage
TV SIGNAL FINDER ONLY
This is attached to antenna lead at point lead goes into TV for powered and boosted TV antennas or before lead is plugged into the outside of caravan for non boosted antennas.
This unit has a scale of WEAK to STRONG with LED lights coming on as the stronger signal is found. You simply swing antenna 360 degree & in horizontal & vertical mode & find the best strongest reading.
IT WORKED EXTREMELY WELL. In seconds we found best signal & set antenna appropriately.
Because it finds best signal direction before tuning your TV set is a must have to save time.
TV signal finder price is $66.00 inc. GST. RRP (+$4.00 for posting)
Below is a photo of the TV signal finder - for a full brochure go to "OTHER PRODUCTS" section for a PDF brochure file in TV SIGNAL FINDER section.
By the way, the TV Signal finder is a must have product for people with Roof Mounted Wineguard type products as it allows for finding the strongest signal before tuning TV set. What they do without finder is wind up antenna, tune set then turn antenna to try & improve picture.
Wrong, wrong, wrong – because this antenna is very directional, especially with addition of WINGMAN, the signal will not lock into set & not all stations are found if antenna is not exactly facing transmission tower . In a test we have repeated many times in various locations, we have gone from 1 or 2 channels to many more after signal finder procedure.
Even Wineguard web page recommends use of signal finders with their product. To use simply take cable out of TV into finder & rotate antenna until maximum lights are displayed then put cable back into TV set & auto tune.
Photo above is TV signal finder and photo below is TV & SATELLITE SIGNAL FINDER
TV & SATELLITE FINDER IN ONE
If you are planning to use a satellite dish, we now have available a TV & SATELLITE professional signal finder. Whilst only UHF on TV this is not a problem in that UHF and VHF are transmitted from same tower in nearly all country locations so best direction can be found using the UHF plug in.
TV & satellite finder price is $94.00 inc. GST. RRP (+$4.00 for posting)
Go to "OTHER PRODUCTS" section for PDF file brochure on TV & SAT finder, or scroll to bottom of this page for a photo.
(10) LED TV SetsWithout getting too technical, following a test we conducted in May 2012, we concluded that LED TV sets tune at a higher signal strength required than a LCD TV & where most antennas would put pictures onto a TV set without boosters in a large percent of Australia, the LED TV,s will need a amplifier booster to lift the signal strength to tune set adequately.
The conclusion of the testing technician was that the TV antennas used all had good ability to tune on LCD TV's & LED TV sets that are now causing a lesser performance on tuning in weaker signal areas but all is not as bad as it first seems. Use a SIGNAL FINDER & an AMPLIFIER/BOOSTER for non boosted antenna. Roof wind up antenna have in built boosters so only a signal finder is needed
In July 2012 we will have available a world first TV signal finder/amplifier booster built into an "inside van/in line" case with a variable controller switch. This will make first tune at your new location very easy so the product is called "EASY TUNE". See BOOSTER section or SIGNAL FINDER section in PPRODUCT section of web page for more information & a PDF file product brochure.
More on tuning TV in section 6 above.
Full Brochure on HW019 Thru Van Wall
Photo of PRO TV & Satellite signal finder
This large PDF file supplied by the Australian Government
Answers may questions on Digital TV. Long document but well worth the read.
Word document on Rollout of digital TV.