It’s easy to take watching TV for granted until you find yourself holidaying in a caravan very far from home. In this post, we will share some tips on how to get a good TV signal in a caravan.
Let’s say you decided to hit the road in your caravan and you found yourself in a perfect campsite with wonderful folks and almost endless series of fun activities.
But soon, you notice that the day is gradually winding down and the outdoor activities are coming to a close which means it’s time to retire to your caravan and enjoy some relaxing moments, preferably in front of your awesome motorhome TV watching your favourite shows or movies. But no, you can’t get a signal and The Walking Dead is just starting!
While on the road, keeping up with your favourite television shows, games and movies can be a bit of a challenge. Many RVs come equipped with TV antennas and satellite dishes for good television experience, when you’re parked in a remote area and very far from a TV transmitter, the antenna or satellite dish your caravan came with may be unable to find any signal. Even when they do, the reception is usually very poor with highly pixelated images – this can be very frustrating.
But the good news is that you don’t have to put up with the grainy pictures your antenna feeds you with or even worse staring at a blank television screen while getting worked up over missing your favourite TV shows. But the good news is there are some things you can do to help get good TV signal in your caravan and improve your reception. So let’s take a closer look.
How to get a good TV signal in a caravan
1. Survey your environment and try adjusting your antenna
If you’re having TV reception problems in your caravan, the first thing you should do is to look around and find out if you parked your caravan close to tall buildings, trees, metal building or any significant metal object because any of these things can block satellite and digital TV signal.
Or maybe you packed in a valley, if you are, quickly move your caravan to the nearest hilltop. And if you notice you’re packed close to any object that can block your caravan TV signal, simply move away from there and pack in a better place. But if you are not packed in a place that can mess with your signal yet your reception is not clear, then it’s time to adjust your antenna because it may be facing the wrong direction.
To adjust your antenna, first try to make it longer by extending it, then gradually rotate from side to side to find better reception. This should work, but if you’ve tried it with no luck then you should move on with the next tip.
2. Upgrade to better cables and antennas
You may not know this but if you have struggled in the past, upgrading to better cables and antennas may be what you need to get a better TV signal and improve your reception. It’s no news that the antennas pre-installed on most RVs by their manufacturers aren’t exactly top-notch or high definition and with these antennas, frequent poor reception is not uncommon.
Or sometimes the problem may be from the cables connecting your antenna to your television. So if you are consistently getting poor TV reception in your RV, buying a new cable or antenna might do the trick. Some cables and antenna to consider are;
Coaxial cables: these are heavily shielded cables used for connecting your antenna or satellite to your caravan TV. This cable has a hexagon screw-type connection at each end it comes in different sizes.
HDMI cables: these are used for HD and 4K signals to your TV. The HDMI cables have different connector ends and many flat-screen televisions now use these cables instead of the much older coaxial cables. Before you buy any cable, it’s important you know what you’re connecting to and the right type of cable for it.
Digital antenna: getting a new high definition (HD) antenna for better over-the-air TV signal is great for better signal and clearer reception. Some of these antennas can pick up signals from as far as 30 to 40 miles away while some others can detect signals much farther, up to 60 to 70 miles away and this is perfect if you like to take your caravan very far from the city.
If you go as far as getting new cables and a new HD antenna, but your reception is still not as clear as you’d love it to be, then you should…
Get a signal booster or amplifier
Signal boosters and amplifiers are devices that can increase or amplify the signal your antenna receives for better reception. These devices can make it feel like you’re very close to a television transmitter because they have the ability to tremendously amplify TV signals, no matter how weak these signals are.
Signal boosters work by detecting a weak signal and increasing it so that your TV reception will be absolutely clear with no annoying pixelated images. And they can help your antenna trap a wider range of signal from TV transmitters, usually, the signal booster is connected to your TV and your antenna using coaxial cables.
Signal boosters and amplifiers vary in how powerful they are, some are very powerful while some are not so powerful. As a camper probably camping someplace with little or no TV signal but looking for excellent TV reception, your best shot is getting the most powerful signal boosters you can find. But if you like to camp very close to the city, then a moderately powerful signal booster will be fine for you.
Try signal finders and strength metres
One reason why you may not get good television reception in your caravan is probably that your antenna may not be properly aligned with the TV transmitter. In this case, a signal strength metre will measure the TV signals in your area and help you connect to the strongest signal.
This device connects it to your caravan antenna, while you then rotate it to search for a signal. While doing this, make sure you keep an eye on the signal strength metre to check the metre’s signal level display to see which area the signal is strongest, then lock your antenna to that position. You will have to repeat this each time you relocate your caravan.
You may need an extra hand but getting a helping hand shouldn’t be a problem on a campsite.
If your antenna really doesn’t work, you can try a satellite dish
A satellite is an excellent alternative to an antenna. And there are satellite dishes specially designed for caravans and they fall into two types; installable and external satellite dishes. The installable satellite dishes are mounted on the roof of your RV and are multi-directional while the external dishes are attached to a tripod stand and made to sit wherever you deem fit.
You can find websites and apps that can help you find the directional coordinates so you can better position your satellite dish. For a very clear TV reception, your satellite dish should be placed only where the sky is in clear view, and if you’re using a roof-mounted dish, make sure you never park your RV under a tree and your tripod-mounted dish should never be placed under a shade.