Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free TV Is Good Enough For Me

I picked up a great flat screen TV about a week ago on a weekend trip to North Dakota. It got installed in the motorhome, mounted at the base of our bed on a ledge in front of the window. We have been able to watch DVDs for evening entertainment, but we miss the daily news. When travelling, we like to keep informed on local, regional, and international affairs. And it is always recommended to stay informed on weather conditions. So, being able to get TV reception was one of those things we were interested in getting.
When my husband and I were at the RV show at the Convention Center in Winnipeg last month, we were talking to some of the local RV companies about TV reception and Satellite Dishes. We were told a self tracking Satellite Dish could cost us as little as $1000, and we could pick up a Bell TV package  which provides coverage as far south as Arizona. That all sounds great, we would have tons of channels to choose from, but would have a hefty initial cash outlay along with monthly fees. Another option that was mentioned was to just get an antenna and hook it up to our digital TV. Thanks UncleBob.
A few days ago we started pricing antennas around town. I had already been on the internet checking prices on ebay and other sites and thought I had a handle on things. Our first stop was one of the RV joints, GNR over on Dugald Rd. I wanted to see what sort of things they sold there anyway, and this was an excuse to drag my husband over to check things out. I started wandering through the shop and was soon approached by one of the employees. She was very friendly, and willing to go check on prices for antennas. It seems the cheapest antenna they have was about $250. That seemed a bit high, and I said that. I mentioned that I thought I found RV antennas on the internet for around $50. Not knowing a lot about them, it was possible that I found antenna parts, or upgrades, and not a complete antenna for the price, but I was not prepared to spend that sort of cash just yet. I thanked her for checking, and my husband and I continued looking through the shop at the items they had available.
We picked up a new cap for the sewer. Ours was broken on one side. And we priced a few other items we need to get eventually.
Yesterday, we went to The Source in St Vital Center. I wanted to see if they had any TV antennas that might work in an RV. They have several different indoor TV antennas ranging from simple rabbit ears for $10 to more high tech HDTV antennas for $80. The employee who helped us said they do get a lot of people trying these antennas out and returning them. Some models get returned more than others. She said we could try one out and bring it back within 30 days if it did not work for us. How can you go wrong with that. So, we went for one that was priced at $40. It was a flat digital antenna, about a foot square and half an inch thick. And if it didn't work, we would just take it back.
This morning I hooked up the antenna. I just attached the coax cable from the antenna to the back of the TV, and leaned the antenna against the window. It perched itself in the window track and stayed in place quite easily on its own. Then I turned the TV on, set it to TV instead of DVD, went to the menu, selected SETUP, then AutoChannel. The TV quickly scanned and found 5 digital channels. Its just like the days before cable TV. We get the french channel (3), CBC, CTV, Global, and a new channel. I think its a local Punjab station. The reception is great. CTV gets a bit pixely sometimes, but in general, the reception is awesome.
All I got to say is, we don't need no stinkin' RV antenna! This cheap RCA indoor antenna is just fine for me.


  1. Have you thought about your route? Sounds like you will end up is southern US in a heat wave - you will need air and not the kind running off your engine. The picture does not show if you have roof air but even if you did it would need more than 1000 watts to run it - look for a cheapie 4000 BTU window unit at around $100 - the new ones are more efficient not an old used one - the generator might just kick it on

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  3. BTW you can also cut down a great deal on your 12 volt draw by switching your interior lights to LED

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