Luxurious Camping: The Best TV Antenna For RVs
If you are spending the night camping in an RV so that you have some of the comforts of home in the wilderness, then being able to watch a little television before you go to sleep or when you first wake up is one of those luxuries.
Stations are not always the easiest thing to acquire when you are camping, but depending on the location of your campsite, an antenna could be a great addition to your camper.
There are a lot of antennas that you can use, but which is the best TV antenna for RV camping?
In this guide, we will look at five great options, but before we jump into the reviews, let's take a look at some considerations that you should make before deciding which antenna to purchase.
Top 5 Best TV Antenna For RVs Reviews
- Indoor Or Outdoor
- High Definition
- A Weak Signal Strength
- 5 Best TV Antenna For RVs Reviews
- Winegard SK-SWM3 DIRECTV TRAV'LER RV Satellite System
- KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna with Mount and Signal Finder
- Winegard SK-1000 TRAV'LER Gray/Black DISH Multi-Satellite TV Antenna
- Winegard PA-1000 DISH Playmaker HD Portable Satellite Antenna
- Winegard GM-2000 White Carryout G2 Automatic Portable Satellite TV Antenna
- Final Thoughts
Indoor Or Outdoor
When you are looking for an antenna for your RV, the first thing that you will need to consider is whether you want an indoor antenna or an outdoor one.
The outdoor option will be more effective at picking up local stations in the area, but it will also give height to your RV. If you select an outdoor unit, then you should make sure that you are able to lower it before you drive down the road.
The last thing that you need is for your antenna to get caught in a tree on the way to your campsite. Once you arrive, you can raise the antenna back up into a position where it will get reception.
The indoor variation has a bit less range than most outdoor antennas, but the reason to get this type is that it can stay in the same location. You do not need to move it when you travel, and it often does not need to be angled in a specific direction to get reception.
Most of the antennas on the market today are high definition options that allow you to access the versions of the local channels that offer high definition signals.
The traditional analog signals are not broadcasted in the United States anymore; in fact, the transition went into effect in 2009.
If you decide to purchase a second-hand antenna, purchasing an antenna that is not high definition would still leave you without channels to enjoy.
A Weak Signal Strength
Depending on where you travel, the signal may not be as strong as you would like. To help optimize your reception, you can get a booster that connects to the antenna that you purchase that is designed to increase the signal.
You may even be able to get more stations with a booster.
In addition, the direction that you have your antenna facing may help you get more clear stations at your campsite. In fact, there are a few sites available that are designed to help you optimize your viewing options.
If you are a Dish or a DirecTV customer, then there are a few antenna options that you can use on your RV that work with the services that you already pay for.
If you are not already a subscriber, having the extra stations is not required, especially since many campgrounds offer free cable TV options to guests who are staying in the campground.
Having TV is nice, but too many channels could take away from your outdoor experience, which is why you went camping instead of simply staying at home.
If you are in an area where the reception is weak, then you may want to consider an antenna that has Wi-Fi capabilities as well. This makes it so that you can use streaming services like Netflix and Hulu at night instead of subscribing to a cable service for your RV.
When you are considering where to install the antenna on the top of your roof, it is best to actually get up there so that you can look for yourself.
We have found that many manufacturers recommend placing the antenna near the vent in the middle of the camper, which is the one next to the refrigerator in most cases.
Once you find an ideal spot, you will need to drill a hole for the coaxial cable and the antenna itself. Make sure the holes are perfectly straight to get the best reception.
Put the drive shaft of the antenna in place, and then mark where the travel support holes will need to be. This will consist of three to four more holes that you will need to put in the roof of your RV.
Once the travel mount is on the roof, pull the shaft through the ceiling and secure it with the ceiling plate. The last thing that you need to attach is the crank handle, which is the tool that is used to raise and lower the antenna with ease.
Before you decide to go on a camping trip, make sure to inspect everything to make sure it is secure. If it is not secure, caulking can be used to help.
5 Best TV Antenna For RVs Reviews
The first antenna for your RV that we are going to look at is the Winegard SK-SWM3. It is designed to be a unit that works on the go, so it is built to last. It is only about 53 pounds, so when you install it on the roof of your RV, you will not have much of an issue. The best part is that this device is fully automatic, which means that it has a single on and off button.
This unit is 9.75 inches high, which makes it the perfect size to stow away while you are traveling to your destination. In addition, this antenna should only be used when the RV is in a stationary position so that unwanted damage does not happen on the road.
In addition, this satellite antenna is designed to be able to receive reception from multiple sources at once. This is a great feature to have available when you are traveling with your family because it allows you to watch more than one television set at the same time.
If you are having a great night by the campfire when your favorite show comes on, you don't have to sacrifice your night to make sure that you catch the episode. There is even a DVR feature that you can use on this satellite antenna.
This is one of the few antennas that you can purchase for top of the line image quality; in fact, as long as you have the right type of television, you can get your DirecTV in full HD. You will receive all of the standard and HD channels that are available to DirecTV on satellites 99, 101, and 103.
- This antenna is simple to install on the roof of your RV.
- The high definition programs are amazing.
- Being able to watch shows off of multiple satellites makes it easier to watch any program that you want.
- This unit is a bit heavy.
- Retracting the antenna can be difficult at times.
If you are already a DirecTV customer with an HD compatible television, then this is a great satellite antenna for your camping needs. It is a compact device that is simple to install, and you will be able to watch all of your favorite shows across multiple devices.
The next antenna on our list is one that is manufactured by KING. This is the latest KING design, and it is one of the most technologically advanced antennas that they have created to date. The design is still a rather simple one that will not take up a lot of space, but it is a high-tech model that is able to find all of the channels that you are interested in watching with ease.
The device is designed to be installed on the roof of your RV, the best part is that when you travel from your home to the campsite, you do not need to adjust or stow away the antenna, it will be fine on the roof of the RV. The antenna features an aerodynamic design that is actually about 70 percent smaller than previous models.
The antenna is designed to give you clear high definition television no matter where you travel. One of the ways that you are able to get such good reception is the UHF reception that the device uses to pick up stations. This is where the majority of the television stations host their HDTV options, so you should get nice clear pictures every time you want to watch something on the television.
If you need a stronger signal, all you need to do is use the signal finder that is located on the device to find the strongest signal. Then, use the handle that will be located inside of your RV to turn the antenna towards the signal. The antenna can rotate a full 360 degrees, so you will never have an issue maximizing your reception.
- This antenna is very easy to install.
- You get great reception, even while camping in the woods.
- You don't have to retract the antenna while driving the RV.
- The reception in mountainous regions could be stronger.
- The red indicator light is not easy to see in bright sunlight.
If you are looking for good television reception during your travels, then this KING antenna is a great option. It receives both UHF and VHF channels, the antenna has a small aerodynamic design that does not need to be stored away during travel, and it has a signal finder that makes it easy to locate a stronger reception.
The next antenna is another Winegard model, but this time it is the SK-1000 TRAV'LER. This model is a little bit lighter than the previous one that we reviewed, coming in at about 45 pounds. This means that if you have an RV with a thinner roof, you don't have to worry about adding too much weight to it.
The great thing about this antenna is that it is designed to provide you with the highest quality HD television that it can, which is why it picks up reception from three different satellites at once. It is a rather large device, so it can only be used while you are parked at your campsite or your home. Otherwise, it should be retracted to keep it safe during travel.
This antenna is designed to bring you the same service that you get at home, so you will even have access to a DVR that allows you to record the shows that you want to watch when you are doing other activities.
Want to know the best part? You can watch and record two different shows on different devices inside of the RV. This is perfect for families that take their kids on camping excursions with them because it gives you more viewing freedom, which is important, especially on a rainy day.
You do need a subscription with this satellite antenna, but once you have it, you will have access to all of the SD and HD channel options on both DISH and Bell TV.
- It is easy to adjust to get better reception.
- The antenna is completely automatic, which makes getting all of your favorite shows on the TV a breeze.
- There is a DVR option available with this device.
- A subscription is required for service, though if you already have one, no further action is required.
- The installation of this antenna is a bit complicated.
This is a great antenna for anyone who has a DISH subscription. If you do not have a subscription, then you need to weigh whether or not you go camping enough to make the service worthwhile. Any regular campers would say that it is, but you may want to select another antenna that gives you television reception without a subscription service.
The Winegard PA-1000 Playmaker is a portable satellite antenna that is perfect for most RV needs. It features a sleek, compact design that is only 13.5 inches high and 14.3 inches in diameter. In addition, this unit is only 10 pounds in weight. One of the reasons that it is such a great model for traveling is that this model has easy grip handles that make it very easy to carry.
It does not need to be installed on the roof of your RV; in fact, you can simply place the antenna anywhere to get reception. Areas with a clear view of the southern sky tend to work best. Then, you connect the coaxial cable from the Playmaker to the receiver. A 25-foot coax cable is included with the packaging to ensure that you can make this connection. To have HD quality video, you will need to have an HDMI cord connect the receiver and the television as well.
Once everything is connected, you only need to press scan to find reception in the area; it's that simple. The antenna will access satellites automatically to give you the best reception possible. If you are having issues with reception, there are mounting options that you can take advantage of. This antenna is only designed to be used when you are in one place, so if you want to have a little television while you are on the road, wait until you get to your destination.
When you purchase this unit, be aware that you need a subscription service to get channels to watch. You can either use the DISH subscription that you already have or choose the pay-as-you-go option that does not lock you into a long contract.
- This model has a very user-friendly design.
- The setup of this antenna is easy and the installation required is minimal.
- Pay-as-you-go service is available for this antenna.
- The available reception in mountainous regions is not optimal.
The Playmaker is a great option for people who are always on the go. It does not require a subscription that locks you into a specific service, and it features a very lightweight design that is east to mount if you need.
The final antenna that we will be reviewing in this guide is the GM-2000 Carryout G2, which is another portable satellite antenna from Winegard. This model is actually about 40 percent smaller than the previous model, which makes it one of the smallest satellite antenna on our list; coming in at 13.5 inches high with a diameter of 14.3 inches.
Installation and setup is a breeze; in fact, you don't even need to mount the unit if you do not want to. There is a tripod available that can be used instead of mounting it on the roof. The small, compact design makes it easy to move when you need to get better reception as well. Once the antenna is set up, the satellite will automatically search for reception.
You will need a provider with this antenna, but you are not limited to just one. The Carryout G2 allows you to select from DISH service, DirecTV, or even BellTV. The best part about this antenna is that it supports two receivers at once, which means that you can watch your shows on two different televisions.
- It is very simple to setup.
- The automatic functionality finds reception rather quickly.
- It has a very compact design that is perfect for RV travel.
- You can lose the signal in some camping areas, especially in remote areas.
- If you choose DirecTV, you will not be able to access HD channels.
If you are looking for a satellite antenna that has a lot of flexibility, then this may be a good option for you. You can choose between a few different services, there are multiple mounting options, and you will have the ability to get service on more than one television.
When you are traveling in an RV, you typically want a few of the comforts of home during your trip. All of the antennae on this list are designed to get you the stations that you enjoy while you are out in the great outdoors.
I reviewed quite a range of antennas, but if I were to choose one to install on my RV, the Winegard SK-SWM3 DIRECTV TRAV'LER RV Satellite System wins out in the end.
It connects to several different satellites to give you the best viewing possible, and it even has DVR functionality. Of course, you will need a subscription, but in my honest opinion, that small cost is well worth the enjoyment that you will have across multiple devices while you are camping.