When you think of camping, what comes to mind? For me, it’s the smell of fresh mountain air, the sounds of birds chirping and water gently flowing down a stream, and the sight of a crackling fire with my family gathered around it. To me, camping is all about getting outdoors and soaking up all the beauty and wonder that Mother Nature has to offer. But sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and you’re faced with having to spend a lot more time inside your RV than you had planned on. Or everyone is pooped out and needs a break from all the hiking, biking, swimming, and sightseeing you’ve been doing. This is when it would be nice to be able to turn on your RV’s TV and relax in front of your favorite shows, sports, or news programs that you watch at home. With the right RV satellite equipment, you can enjoy satellite TV on the road!
RV satellite TV is a monthly subscription service for which you pay a fee. The equipment needed is pretty straightforward. You need a satellite antenna to capture the signal, and you need a receiver that processes the signal for your TV. However, deciding which service and equipment is best for your RV isn’t quite as easy. RV dealerships and camping stores, not TV service providers, will be the most helpful in determining the right solutions for your RV satellite needs. Let’s look at your options.
RV Satellite TV Options
Portable antennas provide ultimate flexibility and are available in automatic and manual versions. The automatic antennas offer no-hassle set-up. Simply hook it up to a 12V power source inside your RV and find the best location for optimum reception. Temporary and permanent mounting options are available. The manual antennas are an inexpensive, but popular, option that sets up fast. Featuring a bubble level, compass, elevation markings, and coax, it does all the work of finding a satellite for you. Both are compatible with the major satellite TV providers. The Carryout Anser Portable Satellite Antenna by Winegard is a good choice.
This is an economical way to enjoy satellite TV on the road. Materials required are: a receiver, dish, tripod, compass, satellite finder, and a lead-in cable. The receiver is the box from the satellite service provider that plugs into the dish and also plugs into the TV. Using the receiver’s menu program, you can select the exact positioning coordinates for your dish using the zip code of your location. When choosing a dish, make sure that the model number or type printed on the dish is compatible with your receiver. Since most standard dishes are mounted on the roof to stay, they’re very hard to adjust and move. So a satellite dish conversion kit comes in handy as well. Once you set up camp, set up your tripod and set your dish on it. Align the dish to receive the satellite signal(s) using a compass. Investing in a satellite finder is a good idea too. This small electronic box is temporarily attached to the end of the 3’-long cable on the dish and the cable leading to the receiver while you’re setting up the dish. The indicator needle on the box sends out a pitched sound as the satellite signal gets stronger, helping you set up your tripod. Equip your RV with about 100’ of lead-in cable to ensure that you have enough cable to reach an open spot. Consider using two (2) 50’ cables and using RG-6 coupling fittings to join them together when 50’ is not enough. In this case, it’s better to have too much cable than not enough. Winegard and DIRECTV both make satellite dish RV tripod kits.
In-motion dome system-
If using a dish isn’t for you, then consider using an in-motion dome system for your RV satellite TV. These systems allow you to acquire a satellite signal even when you’re traveling down the road. So, if your family wants to watch their favorite show or the big game as you’re heading to your next campsite, they can do that with an in-motion dome system. Many of these systems offer dual hook-ups too, so your little campers don’t have to agree on watching one show. One can watch cartoons in the bunkhouse and the other can watch the big game in the living area. Harmony! Domes are a low-profile option that don’t take up much of a footprint on the top of your RV. Some RVers even like the sleek look of the dome on their RV. Thanks to its small, portable design, it’s not at risk of getting ripped off the roof by a low bridge or low-hanging tree branches like a large dish. And its rounded design eliminates water and snow build-up that can interfere with satellite reception. When choosing an in-motion dome system, look for one that is compatible with all the satellite networks, such as DISH and DIRECTV. Ones that feature DVB (digital video broadcasting) signal acquisition offer the fastest results. And if you buy one that is compatible with the standard network receiver you got from your provider, then you won’t have to buy an additional receiver for your new system. The KING Quest Automatic Satellite for DIRECTV is a great choice, as is the Compact Winegard 15” RoadTrip MiniMax.
Multi-satellite TV antennas-
With one-touch on/off operation, the Winegard TRAV’LER multi-satellite TV antennas rise and rotate around to find all satellites. This allows campers to watch different channels on different TVs at one time within the RV, and they work with DVRs. Each antenna is specific to satellite providers, so which one you buy will depend on which provider you prefer.