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Getting TV when arriving on site..


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I know I'm missing something very simple here, but could anyone kindly Talk me through getting the TV set up when you arrive on site? I went to a site last week, auto-tuned the TV in and the reception was unwatchable. I assume it is something to do with the Vision Plus aerial on top of the van, which you seem to operate using the little pole inside the van. I swiggled this around various places, retuned the TV but couldn't get the TV reception to get any better. Having Googled it, I downloaded some apps that purport to help 'find signal'? Namely 'UK aerial alignment' and 'SatFinder Lite' but I've no idea how these are supposed to help me tbh, or what I'm supposed to do with the aerial.

 

I'm sure I'm overcomplicating this somewhere, but it would help our sanity massively if the kids had TV to watch on our next trip....

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I have been caravanning for two years, and I still find it a massive hassle.

 

I have the same aerial as you, but I'm bored of messing with it. You can get 35 odd channels sometimes, and they look fine, but if somebody walks past the TV to the kitchen, it all goes.

 

The TV takes a few minutes to autotune, so you can be farting about with it for hours before you get it half decent.

 

I have now given up and we stream Netflix / Amazon Video / Disney+ and use a blu-ray player.

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6 minutes ago, Hort2074 said:

I have been caravanning for two years, and I still find it a massive hassle.

 

I have the same aerial as you, but I'm bored of messing with it. You can get 35 odd channels sometimes, and they look fine, but if somebody walks past the TV to the kitchen, it all goes.

 

The TV takes a few minutes to autotune, so you can be farting about with it for hours before you get it half decent.

 

I have now given up and we stream Netflix / Amazon Video / Disney+ and use a blu-ray player.

 

That's that the, take Chromecast with us on our next outing!

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3 minutes ago, philip697 said:

 

That's that then, take Chromecast with us on our next outing!

 

Please don't let my frustration and laziness put you off solving your issue.

 

But streaming does work very well (signal dependent) - I have unlimited data on my phone so create a personal hotspot with that.

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Philip, don’t tune the TV until you have the aerial pointing correctly.
 

Not sure how those apps work, but if in doubt point it the same way as everyone else, or better still the same way as the nearest house.

 

Does the app tell you whether the aerial  needs to be horizontal or vertical, as that is also important?

 

  • So, first raise the aerial by undoing the collar, then pushing it up gently to maximum height.
  • Then turn it by grabbing the pole and twisting - go outside to confirm the correct direction.
  • Then, if it needs to be vertical, twist the little handle at the bottom of the pole, and go outside again to check.
  • Now turn the booster on - it should be next to the aerial and there should be a light to confirm it’s on.
  • Check you’ve connected the aerial lead to the back of the TV.
  • Tune in your TV.
  • Sit back and complain that there’s nothing worth watching 😁😁😁.

 

Good luck, John.

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I purchased a Freeview finder gadget from Scewfix for about £15.  Dead easy to fit and as you move the aerial about you get lights on the device to tell you if you have aerial pointing the correct way. Before like you I was waving it around hoping for the best.

 

When you have the best signal then you will probably have to rescan channels but that is the easy bit.

 

Andrew

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Philip, I use the Freeview transmitter finder -

  • Go to https://www.freeview.co.uk/help
  • Where it says “Check Freeview at my home” - Enter the site’s postcode, press Check
  • Scroll down to “Detailed View” and click
  • You’ll get a list of the main and alternative masts, and their bearing (use a real compass or the one on your phone) and whether horizontal (H) or vertical (V).

This has never failed me.

 

John

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18 minutes ago, ascsbe said:

I purchased a Freeview finder gadget from Scewfix for about £15.  Dead easy to fit and as you move the aerial about you get lights on the device to tell you if you have aerial pointing the correct way. Before like you I was waving it around hoping for the best.

 

When you have the best signal then you will probably have to rescan channels but that is the easy bit.

 

Andrew

 

Boom, great idea. I have bought one and will mount it on the wall by the aerial. 

 

Hopefully this helps.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0084BVK56/ref=pe_3187911_185740111_TE_item

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There are phone apps available too for getting the general direction

 

This for Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.crazyhatter.aerialalign&hl=en_GB

This for iPhones - https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/antenna-aligner/id530277946

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 Look at where the aerials on the 'vans and/or houses around you are pointing, point your aerial in the same direction and then retune. ;)

Edited by Flat_at
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Just upgrade your status control box to the one with the light on that changes colour to green at the strongest signal.  Straight swap for the existing cheaply model. Then take it with you when you change vans. Had ours for 6 plus years.  

 

Search amazon. eBay. Status  signal finder. Model. VP 4 or. VP 5 with built in DAB radio. 

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You don't really need one of those signal meter gadgets.  All TVs I have ever played with have one built in that does a better job, although you do have to wait a few moments for the readings to appear and settle as you move the aerial around.

 

A compass is useful-ish but a map of the site can do just as well.  Copy house aerial pointing directions and polarisation. NOT other caravans (unless it's mine and a few other on here who know how to point aerials) - I've seen some shocking attempts on many sites.

 

Use the Freeview/help prediction tool (use caravan site name or just caravan for house name/number) and then the 'detailed view' button to get predictions.  These give transmitter direction (bearing), polarisation and in the coloured parts the frequency channel number of each multiplex.  That frequency can be input as a manual tune on the set and then the aerial fine adjusted for maximum signal strength and (more importantly) quality.

 

SOME locations can have too strong a signal level. 

This manifests as poor quality with a good signal on the meter, and picture breakup etc.,. as a result.  Reducing the signal is possible.

Older status boxes had a switch with a NorMaL full amplifier gain position and a LOcal position. In fact an attenuator is switched in to reduce the signal out rather than altering the gain of the device in the box.  Modern boxes have a variable attenuator control to go from minimum signal out to maximum.

 

Some locations need the various transmitter options to be tested in turn to see which is best/most reliable to use.

 

Some locations we can get away from it all so well that TV from terrestrial transmitters is non-existent.

 

Name and address of  the problem site would allow me (and others?) to comment on whether reception should be easy or difficult there?

 

http://www.fringeelectronics.co.uk/fringeleisure/page12.html make a very good replacement to the Status with a signal finder.  I was given one to try and it works very well.  The leds are very bright though.

 

 

 

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I also find the Fringe amplifier works well and to a large extent will "ease" the OP's problem.

FRINGE INDICATING AMPLIFIER                In use it replaces the Status supplied unit, I changed to it after our Staus box failed.

 

With this the wide array of LEDs gives the signal strength the areial is pulling in as you rotate it about seeking the strongest.

Do this prior to "autotuning", ideally though note whether the local TV aerials are mounted with the rods vertical or horizontal, and set your Status to the same. 

 

We carry a satellite dish as typically we caravan in rural areas where often any TV signal is poor; but if setting a  Status aerial is challenging, then setting up a dish is I feel likely to be somewhat more so, but so much more reliable in getting a picture given you are not pitched close by north of high trees.

 

 

 

Edited by JTQ
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7 minutes ago, ascsbe said:

 

I also have one I have had since before the Status amplifier went wrong, but if into spending £15 on it I would unhesitatingly change to the £23 Fringe unit with the LEDs already integrated into it.

This performs better than our Status did, but as that ultimately failed, that poorer performance might have been a precursor to the Status one always being a defective unit. 

 

 

Edited by JTQ
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It is worth checking the aerial cable socket is correctly wired and also the socket on the back of the tv. When we first got our caravan I found the socket needed the cable wiring tidying up since the connection was badly done. Last time out I struggled to get a good signal and it kept going off but once home I found the tv socket central pin had opened up so had not made a good connection. At the aerial booster there are a few different cables that can be plugged in so I have to make sure the right one for the tv is being used and not the radio one.

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20 minutes ago, JTQ said:

 the £23 Fringe unit with the LEDs already integrated into it.

This performs better than our Status did, but as that ultimately failed,

Agreed.  That was my finding.  The Fringe worked better, albeit not enormously so at the locations I tested it.

20 minutes ago, Paul1957 said:

It is worth checking the aerial cable socket is correctly wired and also the socket on the back of the tv. 

 Agreed x 100 !!  Many reception problems are due to dodgy cables and connections. 

 

https://www.aerialsandtv.com/knowledge/how-to-attach-wire-up-plugs-aerials-and-wall-plates might help the OP check things.

 

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A couple of comments.

Before leaving home go to wolfbane.com, select the UK television predictor option (ignore the comment in red). Select Distant, set the aerial height to 3m, enter either the postcode of the site or (preferably) the map ref and hit enter. This will give you a table of the transmitters available, their direction, their polarity, and an indication of signal strength - anything above about 45 should work. If you have a local station (3 channels) at, say 60, and a main station (6 or 8 channels) at 47, I would go for the main station as you will have more to complain about but better quality.

If you have an older van - say before about 2006 - the aerial wiring inside may not have been done with modern foil-screened cable and you can end up with pixelation as someone walks around inside the caravan. If this happens rewiring with ?F100 (? can be C, N, P, or W) is the only option but it is not difficult.

If you have an omni-directional aerial (the Flying Saucer) ignore what anyone says, they DO work with digital signals and actually better than with the old analogue variety.

Also if you have a Status aerial with PURPLE righting on it note that the amplifier is inside the aerial and the internal box is only a power supply so changing it for a Fringe amplifier will not work. Orange/red writing means an external amp that can be replaced with a Fringe. [I've been using Fringe for 30+ years and would recommend them to any and everyone.]

 

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You don't say what site you were on,  you wont get a signal in  Freshwater  East  for example. There are quite a few sites that you wont get the full array of channels.

 

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My process is to get a rough idea from the other vans, but now I'll try these apps to get that rough idea.

 

The freeview box we have has a signal strength meter in the settings menus, so we just move it around to get the bar up, very effective!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Woodentop said:

Before leaving home go to wolfbane.com, select the UK television predictor option

Don't Really Don't.  Not on its own at least.

 

Wolfbane is really out of date wrt the transmitter frequencies (It still reckons Winter Hill is group C/D when it's moved to group A with the 700 MHz clearance). Wolfbane no idea about the transmitter radiation patterns or beam tilts, nor any interference predictions.  Use the Freeview predictor.  It uses data provided by the UK Spectrum Planners (BBC, Aqiva and Ofcom) and is the only truly accurate source of reception predictions for interference from other transmitters in the UK and overseas.  The predictions are for locations within a 100 metre x 100 metre square if a house name / number is used.

 

Wolfbane uses postcodes which, in rural areas, can cover enormous areas with varying terrain.  It doesn't find my home's postcode (and the house is some 12 years old).

 

I use Wolfbane as a rough and ready field strength predictor (even though the frequencies are wrong) when advising about likely reception and it can indicate if clear line of sight is available or that something is diffracting the signal (making reception more challenging).

Edited by Rodders53
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52 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

Before leaving home go to wolfbane.com

 

7 minutes ago, Rodders53 said:

Don't Really Don't.  Not on its own at least.

 

Totally agree Rodders. Been telling people for years to use Freeview Checker, not Wolfbane .

John

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