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Satellite in your RV are you tuned in?

Satellite television is a good choice for an RV.RV Satellite
Satellite service is very similar to a home system. The primary difference is in the antenna (dish). There are a variety of dishes available that will work. A basic “portable” dish provided by a service provider can work several ways. It can be attached to the RV with some type of a clamp or it can be mounted on a tripod. This type of dish must be manually aimed to find a satellite. There are many dishes made specifically for RV’s. There are manual crank up, electric pop up types, domed semi automatic, domed fully automatic, and domed fully automatic tracking dishes.

Wiring your RV is part of the satellite installation process. RG6 coaxial cable must be used. Most newer RV’s have RG6 already routed to the standard television antenna and many have a factory pre-wire installed for a satellite system. Older RV’s may have RG59 coaxial cable. This is an older style “smaller” coaxial cable that should not be used for satellite TV. Some satellite antennas use 12 volt DC wiring to run the electric motors. These 12 volt DC wires would need to be routed to the antenna. Routing wires can be difficult. Research the installation procedure prior to deciding on a system. Sometimes spending extra on the system will prevent a difficult or costly installation.

To make any satellite system work, you must have satellite service from a provider and a receiver with a valid card installed. RV’s are subject to special service rules. Some programs may not be available. To be certain you’ll be satisfied, I recommend getting the information on programming prior to deciding to purchase or install a system.

A manual crank up dish is mounted on the roof with a crank handle protruding through to the inside. The crank handle is used to raise and lower the dish and then rotate after the correct height is reached. They work similar to a standard crank up antenna. Sometimes finding the satellite with this type of dish can be difficult. There must be a clear view to the satellite. Trees can block the signal. It may be difficult to know whether the signal can get through or if it simply isn’t being aimed correctly. The same problem exists with using a portable dish.

An electric pop up dish uses an electric motor and a GPS to find a satellite. When parked and switched on, it will find the satellite and lock on. It is not enclosed and is subject to weather. One advantage to this type of antenna is a slightly larger dish than a domed dish.

A domed semi automatic dish uses an electric motor to move and rotate. The dome encloses the unit and protects the components from weather. There is a control to operate the antenna. The operator finds the coordinates for the satellite by looking at the zip code of their location. The coordinates can be input or the control can be put in to an automatic scan mode. This type of antenna works fairly well.

A domed fully automatic dish is similar to a semi automatic dish. The primary difference is a GPS unit. The GPS unit finds and locks on to the satellite automatically. This is easier then using a semi automatic antenna. It takes the “I’m not sure” factor out of finding a satellite.

A domed, tracking, fully automatic unit is the top of the line. These units will automatically find the satellite and move as you drive to keep the signal locked in. This makes watching TV while driving possible. Overhead obstructions such as bridges, tunnels, or trees may temporarily obstruct the signal.

There are a wide range of prices for antennas. They start at around $100 and can go as high as $3000.

My experience: I have tried many but not all of the satellite antenna brands. I have used all styles of satellite antennas. In my opinion, a basic portable dish will do the job. There are some issues with finding the satellite with any manual alignment dish. Tree interference tends to make the alignment even more difficult. You don’t know whether there is tree interference or another problem. Regardless of the cause, it is always the same result: no reception. Fully automatic antennas are very nice. I think the tracking dish is worth the extra money when buying a fully automatic. In my opinion, Trac Star makes the best satellite antenna. Out of the different brands I have sold and installed, the Trac Star is the only one that has worked every time without any problems. The Trac Star unit uses a very simple method for wiring. Their unit uses only an RG6 coaxial cable for the entire operation from the antenna to their inside unit. No other wires need to be run from the antenna to the inside. This means no drilling or trying to find a route for wires.  Their antennas track very well and they have good technical support with very knowledgeable people. Response from a phone call is quick, unlike any of the other satellite brands I have dealt with. The service and quality product is definitely worth the extra money.

If you are looking for a professional to install a TV Satellite system, please call Wilson RV at 888-800-7340