If you want to watch some TV in your RV, one of the options you have at your disposal is to use an RV television antenna. With an over the air RV antenna, you get instant and free access to potentially hundreds of different channels.
If you haven’t connected an RV antenna to your TV before, you might be a bit confused about how exactly to hook it up correctly.
Here is a complete step-by-step guide on what you need to do, and some great tips to boost your RV TV reception.
How Do You Hook Up A TV Antenna To Your TV
Whether you are hooking up your TV to an existing antenna or to a new antenna, both processes are pretty straightforward.
Below, we have put together two step-by-step tutorials on how to hook up a new antenna and an existing RV antenna to your television.
Hooking Up A New Antenna
If you are buying a new antenna, make sure that you get a good quality one. With your new antenna purchased, follow the steps listed below to hook it up to your RV TV.
1. Build The Antenna
If your antenna came in pieces, you’ll first have to assemble it. To assemble your antenna, simply follow the instructions provided with your model.
If the antenna is already assembled, you can skip this step.
2. Mount The Antenna
The next step here is to mount the antenna. You need to find a very secure and unobstructed area on the roof of your RV to attach the antenna.
Exactly where and how to attach the antenna is going to differ from one model to another, so once again, refer to the owner’s manual for instructions.
If you don’t feel comfortable going up on the RV’s roof yourself or you just don’t know what you are doing, you can always hire a professional.
If you are using a portable antenna then you will not need to mount it and can skip this step.
3. Run And Connect The Cables
You will now need to find the hookups or the holes in your RV where the cables can be fed through. You’re going to need to run the interface cable and the power cable inside the RV so you can connect them to the television.
In other words, you need to connect the antenna to the television.
4. Do A Channel Scan
All you have to do now is a channel scan to find the channels. Exactly how this is done is going to depend on your television, so refer to the owner’s manual of your television.
If you cannot find any channels, you may have to reposition the antenna or refer to the section further below on what to do if you’re not getting any channels.
Hooking Up An Existing Antenna
Hooking up an existing RV antenna to a television is relatively easily done and takes just a few simple steps, here is what you need to do.
1. Connect The TV And The Antenna
These antennas, whether high-definition antennas or over the air antennas, will usually always connect to the television using a coaxial cable.
All you have to do is to take that coaxial cable and screw one end into the RV antenna and the other end into the coaxial cable port on the rear of your TV. If your TV doesn’t have a coaxial port, then you will need to get what is called an ATSC tuner.
You will then connect the coaxial cable to the ATSC tuner, which then uses either HDMI cables or AV cables to connect to the back of your TV.
2. Mount The TV
You may need to remove your television from the wall to access the ports where the cables will go through. If you had to take your TV off the wall first, once all of the cables are connected, you then want to remount your TV.
If you don’t know how to mount a TV on an RV wall, this is something you will want to research. You don’t want the TV falling off the wall while you are driving.
3. Do A Channel Scan
With everything properly connected and securely mounted, you now need to make sure that the antenna is turned on and then run a channel scan.
You can run a channel scan right on the TV, but exactly how you do so depends on the television. Therefore, you’re going to want to read the owner’s manual for your specific television on how to do this.
If you can’t find any channels, you might have to adjust your antenna and try again.
3 Ways To Boost Your RV TV Reception
Here are three easy ways to boost the TV reception on your RV antenna.
1. With A TV Antenna Booster
How good your reception is will depend on local signal towers, terrain, surroundings, and weather. However, a simple TV antenna booster can improve the signal quality quite drastically.
These are relatively fordable products that you can buy in most electronics shops. Using a TV antenna booster is only something that you can use if you have an unamplified antenna.
However, if you have an amplified antenna, it already has a TV antenna booster built into it.
2. With A TV Antenna Rotator
How good your signal is will often depend on the direction that the antenna is facing, especially when you move the RV and it’s positioned.
Manually adjusting the antenna can be quite a challenge and time consuming too. However, you can get a remote operated antenna rotator that allows you to adjust the angle of the antenna with a remote.
Some even come with so-called channel saving features, which cause the antenna to rotate to the best possible position for specific television channels. Some antennas do come with this built in, whereas others do not.
3. With An Antenna Signal Meter
An antenna signal meter is a special device that shows the signal strength of the antenna whenever it moves. This great device allows you to easily find local stations that are within range.
These signal meters also allow you to adjust volume audio signal feedback, rotate the antenna, and adjust the amplification so you can fine tune your picture quality.
Why Is My RV Antenna Not Picking Up Channels?
There are a number of reasons why your RV antenna may not be picking up any channels, so let’s take a quick look at the common causes;
- If you happen to be using a digital RV antenna, your TV needs to be capable of receiving those digital signals. Most TVs should be digital friendly, but you may need a digital converter box if it is not.
- Obstacles and your surroundings will make a big difference too, mountains, forests, hills, and even very large structures placed between the antenna and the transmission tower can cause problems. You can try changing the position of the antenna, rotating it, or even moving the RV.
- If there is very severe weather, such as a windstorm or rainstorm, it may very well prevent the antenna from being able to pick up a signal.
- It may also depend on your coaxial cable. If your coaxial cable is longer than 100 feet, you might lose a good deal of the signals that you should otherwise be getting.
- The signals that these antennas can pick up are effective over about 70 miles or around 110 kilometers. If the broadcasting towers are just too far away, your antennas won’t be able to pick up a signal very well.
- It may also be the case that the antenna itself is damaged or broken. If the cords, cables, or any of the other physical components are damaged, then the antenna is obviously not going to work properly.