TV Reception Checklist
1. Are all of the cables connected properly?
All connections must be firmly fastened with an 11mm spanner, or similar. Do not over-tighten these connections, but finger tight is not enough! We simply cannot stress how important this is, as the antenna on the roof cannot compensate for poor cables and connections.
All of our antenna kits feature a new cable provided to run from your amplifier/wall plate to the TV. These are made from the same Quad Shielded cable as used in our antennas. We provide these in order to prevent the use of cheap unshielded cables that are routinely provided with your TV. We cannot recommend the use of this cable more highly, as the interface to the TV is a major source of poor reception concerns.
One common mistake that must be avoided, is to have the TV RF cable in a "tidy conduit" with the power cable for the TV (refer example picture right). These cables need to be separated to prevent interference from the power cable corrupting the TV signal.
2. Is the power to the electronic booster turned on?
The electronic booster on your Winsig antenna is crucial to the operation of the system. 12-volt DC power must be connected or you will be unable to receive any TV reception.
In the case of the Winsig Ultra series of antenna (wind up), this is achieved by activating the caravan TV wall plate switch. When operating correctly, the light next to the switch will be constantly illuminated. If the light flashes of does not illuminate at all, this is an indication that the power is not reaching the electronic booster, and professional help should be sought to rectify this.
In the case of the Winsig camping antenna, the supplied power injector (either 12v or 240v) must be plugged in and the main power switch activated for the power to reach the electronic booster.
Note: A further check can be made at the coaxial cable on the roof, using a multimeter. There should be 12 volts (+/- 1 volt) at the connection to the antenna booster. Simply place one terminal on the copper centre wire and one on the connector body to check this.
3. Do you have a filter installed to remove mobile phone interference?
LTE filters, like the one shown (right) are essential in order to receive good quality reception.
In late 2015, the ACMA - the Australian Government body tasked with looking after all radio frequency transmissions, reduced the television frequency band and allocated the space made available to the telecommunications industry for the 4G LTE network. In the time since, all of the telecommunications companies have expanded this to the point where it has now saturated all televisions transmissions with interference. An LTE Low pass filter is therefore required to remove this interference. It is also important that this filter be placed between the antenna, and any signal booster. This ensures that only "clean" signals are amplified and then sent to your TV tuner.
4. Have you oriented the antenna toward the best signal transmission source?
After you have raised your antenna (either on a pole for camping antennas, or by winding up the Ultra series antennas), you will need to orient your antenna toward the most suitable transmission tower in your area. As all Winsig TV antennas are directional, this is imperative to receiving reliable television quality. In the case of camping antennas, you will also need to determine whether the transmission source is vertically or horizontally polarised. There are several ways to determine this.
- Look at the surrounding buildings, whether they be houses, or fixed cabins if you are in a van park. This will tell you the direction of the most likely source for TV, and by the orientation of the polarity for camping antennas. Note: As all Ultra series (wind-up) antennas have both vertical and horizontal receptors, these do not need to be checked for signal polarity.
- There are several mobile phone applications that provide location information for the nearest transmission towers. The two examples shown right, are for Apple and Android Mobile devices. These handy tools use the GPS sensor in your phone or tablet to find your current location, and then provide a compass-like arrow to show which direction the nearest (and alternative) transmitter is located. By aiming your Winsig antenna in the direction of this arrow, you will have the best chance of receiving quality TV reception. In addition to the direction of the nearest transmission tower, the applications will also show:
whether the signals are vertically or horizontally polarised
Frequencies of the transmissions
The power of the transmitters.... etc.
- The last and most powerful source of TV information is the Australian Government Digital TV Website.
Myswitch, as shown to the right, is a very comprehensive tool which can be used to not only know which direction the nearest antenna is, but also to give an indication as to whether there is a reasonable chance of TV reception for your current or future location via a shaded (Green/Orange/Grey) map of your area of interest.
To Use the mySwitch website, simply enter your desired location or address into the box at the top of the screen (Queenscliff VIC is shown in the example on the right), and press the "Get Info" button. You will be presented with a map of the surrounding area of the entered address, shaded to simulate areas of good (green), Variable (orange) or no reception (grey).
Alternative transmitters are also available from the pick list in the top right of the map, and switching to these will show their transmission maps.
The green line from your desired location (red pin) shows the direction of the transmitter being displayed, and this may be used as a compass to help you aim your Winsig antenna. Note: North is always at the top of the page.
Further information on the transmitter chosen is available from the "more coverage information" link in the green box at the left of the transmission map. Pressing this link will bring up some other useful information on the chosen transmitter, such as:
Distance and bearing of the chosen transmission tower
Signal strength indication
Alternative transmitters and bearing from your chosen position
Elevation profile from the transmission tower to your location (useful for identifying where signals are blocked by hills etc)
Frequencies of transmission
5. Have you conducted an Auto-Tune of your TV since you last moved positions?
There are approximately 32 active channels for television transmissions in Australia (Channels 6-51), shown right.
When travelling within Australia, the major networks change the channel or frequency upon which they broadcast, in order to prevent interference occurring when the observer is between two broadcasting transmitters. As a consequence, you favourite TV station (ABC for instance) will be broadcast on different channels, and consequently at different frequencies in different parts of Australia. It is therefore imperative that each time you set up your antenna, you run the AUTO-TUNE function on your TV so that the local stations can be viewed.
Note: It is possible that as you move from area to area some of the channels will be the same, but it is worth retuning your TV set regardless, as this can cause confusion. An example of this, would be to move from Melbourne to Sydney. Many of the transmitted TV channels are the same, but the electronic TV guide may still reflect the Melbourne stations, and as a consequence some programming could be incorrect.
6. Are there any obvious obstructions between your antenna and the transmission tower?
Digital television requires direct line of sight between your antenna and the transmission tower to guarantee quality reception.
Brick walls, large tree trunks, buildings......etc which block a direct path of the television transmissions to your antenna are the enemy of digital TV. This is the reason that "higher is better" for your antenna is the golden rule. Whilst this is not always the case, your antenna needs to be at least 300mm above the roof of your van, and must clear any obstructions on the roof, such as air conditioners to ensure line of sight to the TV transmission tower.
7. Have you checked for interference from other powered sources within your van?
Any item within your van that is electrical in nature can cause TV interference.
Some common source of electrical interference are air conditioners, LED lighting, cooling fans, microwaves.... etc. We often here that the reception is worse at night, and this can be due to the lighting of your van. The best way to identify which source if any is the culprit is to systematically turn on and off all of your appliances. Don’t think that just because your van is new, you are OK. We have seen many new vans with these issues as well.
8. 240-volt TV problems
Caravan parks are notorious for having inadequate power systems when the park is full. This leads to "dirty" power supply issues to you van, and this in turn can adversely affect your TV reception.
The best way to combat this, is to use a 12volt TV. This way your vans battery acts as a power accumulator between the 240v power system and your appliances (its smooth’s out the peaks and troughs in the power supply). We generally find that 12v TV's do not suffer as many problems in this case.
9. TV Tuners - not all TVs are created equal
Choosing a TV for your caravan is not a simple task, and the quality of the tuner inside the TV has a major bearing on whether your TV reception will be crystal clear, or variable in quality. The best recommendation we can supply, is to purchase a reputable branded TV which is designed for the caravan industry. If you buy a cheap TV it will inevitably have cheap electronics inside, and part of this is the tuner. Frustration can ensue from here!