How to Increase Signals With RV Antennas

by Mark Applegate

One of the blessings of spending valuable retirement dollars on a recreational vehicle is to see the world around you. Sometimes you may do so without regard for who will provide your essential entertainment and information services. Few things frustrate like parking long enough to check the local weather to find that you have no television signal. Your despair grows when you realize your cellular signal for checking weather on the Internet is also sketchy. There are some things you can do, however, to increase your antenna signals.

Antenna Basics

Generally media and phone antennas are much more likely to have a strong signal when some or all of the antenna has a line-of-sight view to the transmitting tower. A television signal is typically measured in decibels and a cellular signal in bars. Using a signal booster to increase dB gain does so in multiples of the signal you are currently receiving. It does not, however, create signal where there is none. Additionally, since 2009, you must have either a high-definition television or a digital converter box to receive any local television channels. Keep in mind that you must scan for TV signals in every municipality you park, because channel numbers vary by location.

Television Considerations

A visit to AntennaWeb will help you select an antenna with the range you will typically need considering your driving and parking habits. This site categorizes antennas into color codes to approximate ranges to reception. While larger antenna sizes and taller towers will help with signal range, they may be impractical to mount on or by your RV. Some of the size difference can be mitigated by using a powered antenna booster available at your local electronics store. Similarly, satellite dishes may be mounted on a tripod mount or more expensive roof mounts that point automatically. Regardless of mount, a satellite dish needs a clear view of the southern sky to have a strong signal. Another advantage to using a satellite is the availability of integrated Web access with some carriers, a substantial benefit if cellular Internet is inconvenient or not available where you travel.

Mobile Phone Considerations

Mobile phones used to make calls or surf the Web are also susceptible to signal problems. While it may be an option to roam and use another carrier's signal, you may have no tower options available. If your phone does not automatically update its roaming service, manually do so when you stop at a new location. Verizon, for example, suggests you press "*+228+send" to enter the roaming service update menu, then option two to update. Consult your phone or mobile hotspot service provider to see updating is necessary. Consider a cellular booster available at your local electronics store to increase signal gain.

Other Considerations

Consider your parking location to enhance the antenna signal of all of your devices. Park on as high of a slip as possible with gaps between the trees. Avoid parking in areas near power lines, transformers or things that can cause interference to antenna signals. Consider RV parks which provide television service to your site to avoid the hassle of boosting signals. Similarly, many RV parks now offer complimentary or paid Wi-Fi access throughout a park to its patrons.

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