CAMPING PRODUCT REVIEWS

AERIALS

 

Camping Product Reviews - Aerials

 

 

 

 

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Aerials

 

UHF antenna (compact)
UHF antenna (compact)

 

Price: $varies
From: Specialist stores
RATINGS:
How useful is it: ****
Value for money: ?
Ease of use: ****
How well designed is it: ****
Product quality: ****
Our recommendation: Ok to buy

 

This antenna came with a caravan we purchased so I don't have information on pricing or suppliers but it is worth including in the review page because it actually produces a better picture than the model shown below. It is also more compact and therefore easier to store (or mount) on a caravan or motorhome.

 

Hills UHF antenna
Hills UHF antenna.

 

Where we can (and it is getting harder and harder) we support Australian companies so we bought the Hills antenna and not the cheapie import. This type of antenna is needed in areas where TV stations broadcast on the UHF frequency (as opposed to the old VHF that has now been phased out.)

This is the bigger 18 element version and there is a smaller 9 element variant for areas with a better strength signal. The antenna was a simple to assemble click together system with only the mast bolts requiring a spanner to do up. Because this antenna easily clicks together it is easy enough to pull it apart again for travelling. The area we have the bus in now means the old T bar (see below) antenna is useless but it is still good enough to take with us in the caravan.

 

T Bar antenna
T Bar antenna

 

Price: $99
From: Caravan Accessory Shops
RATINGS:
How useful is it: *****
Value for money: ****
Ease of use: *****
How well designed is it: ****
Product quality: ****
Our recommendation: Ok to buy

 

We have had two types of this antenna, this is the second and much simpler design (which you could easily build yourself). It consists of nothing more that antenna wire which splits at the T and runs down each arm and back to the centre. It works reasonably well in areas where there are not too many hills.

The second type of T antenna we have owned has a black box on the side with some electrical connections inside. This is the type we started off with and it worked very well in most areas including those in hilly regions. The connections on top finally gave up and the black box on the side fell to bits. I simply re-connected the aerial wires to the top of each arm with a screw and it still works perfectly back at our big bus. This T bar antenna is more complex than the one pictured above and each arm of the T has a hollow copper tube inside. It can be used in a horizontal position in flat areas and in a vertical position in hilly areas.

The T Bar style of antenna is easy to erect and easy to store as it comes apart and folds flat.

We have also used a 9 element UHF antenna when we stay in the Karratha area. There is also a (better) 18 element model which other people use. These UHF antennas are widely used by those who stay in this area camping at Cleaverville and 40 Mile. Other antenna types do not perform as well in this area. (WE now have an 18 element UHF antenna - see above.)

 

Satellite Dish
Satellite Dish

 

Price: $varies
From: Specialist dealers
RATINGS:
How useful is it: ****
Value for money: ****
Ease of use: **
How well designed is it: ****
Product quality: ****
Our recommendation: Ok to buy

 

The best way to get TV while on the road is by a satellite dish and decoder box. While we had a lot of experience with the old sat system we have none so far with the new VAST system. We have just acquired a new system and will be testing it out when we go away on our next trip. Once we have had a chance to work things out we will start to post the information here.

 

Raised satellite dish
How to get satellite signal in an area with bushes all around.

 

When we need to get a satellite dish up higher to get signal we use a piece of metal pipe and some guy lines. This seems to work well and surprisingly stays in place and the signal doesn't break up.

Taking a satellite dish means you need more storage space as the dish itself is a very awkward shape. Taking the front arm off helps a bit but you will still need some sort of mount for the dish and you will need to learn how to find the satellite signal. This is made a bit easier by getting yourself a satellite finder but there will be times that finding the signal can be quite frustrating.

 

Hills satellite dish stand
Hills satellite dish stand

 

Price: $105
From: Shops specialising in satellite gear
RATINGS:
How useful is it: *****
Value for money: ****
Ease of use: *****
How well designed is it: ****
Product quality: ****
Our recommendation: Ok to buy

 

This is probably the best portable satellite dish stand we have seen to date. It is effectively the top end of a Hills folding clothes hoist turned upside down with a couple of bits missing.

The one problem we have with this stand is that the pole that holds the dish is a little too short and this makes getting satellites like Panasat 8 very difficult if not impossible.

Otherwise the design is good. The folding legs drop down to form a nice flat stable connection with the ground and once pegged in, the stand puts up with 40 knot winds without any trouble.

The stand comes with a bag and the addition of a small section of poly pipe slit down one side will stop the mounting pole from becoming scratched by the dish.

We have recently got a different style of stand but are yet to test it out but once we have we will include a review here.

 

Satellite dish and stand
Our most recent and as yet untested dish and stand.

 

 

 

 

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