View Full Version : TV Antenna

11-18-2012, 02:38 PM
I am looking to put a TV antenna on our boat to pick up VHF/UHF digital tv signals. Not satellite tv. Searching RV sites, etc. I have found several makes, models, sizs, etc. some requiring 12v or 110v power for amplifiers. Any recommendations?

11-19-2012, 12:14 PM
I bought my '06 boat used and was very surprised that the Shakespeare antenna grabs digital signals out of the air. I figured it would only net me the old analog signals. At any rate, they're specifically made for marine applications, which means they cost a lot more than your typical house unit. Mine has an amplifier that must be plugged into a standard wall power socket to work. I'm very impressed by the picture quality and surprised at the quantity of channels I get as well. When we're out on the water, we don't watch too much TV anyway, so this is more than adequate for our needs.


I just can't justify spending thousands of dollars on a marine satellite system, but here's an excellent and fairly economical alternative.

11-19-2012, 02:37 PM
GoVols - thanks for the info. I'm with you in that I am not looking to install an expensive satellite system. I just want something so that on some occasions I might be able to watch the news or pick up a sporting event. I'm curious about the range on the Shakespeare antennas. I have looked at various 'home' and 'RV' antennas and all of them typically have some sort of info. on range. Our boat is about 50 to 75 miles from any large cities, though we are closer, 20 - 35 miles from other cities but I don't know if any of them broadcast.

Frantically Relaxing
11-19-2012, 03:07 PM
Believe it or not, this right here---


--- is usually all you need to pick up digital TV. I have an identical set to this in our boat, sittiing behind the TV in the bedroom, picks up all 32 local channels. Try a set before spending good money on an ugly antenna you might not even need... and if you BUY a set of rabbit ears, and they have a "gain" or amplifier function, be SURE it's compatible for digital TV or it'll have the reverse effect...

11-20-2012, 10:58 AM
That's funny......my rabit ears didn't come with a hairy hand in the box. I wonder if they forget to pack that in there over in China. LOL!

11-26-2012, 05:36 PM
Digital TV signals are much harder to pick up over long distances than the old analog signals. It's pretty much line of sight like VHF marine radios. So if there are lots of mountains or other obstructions between you and the transmitters, no antenna is going to do much. But a little experience. I live in my motorhome, on the roof is a Wingman antenna by Winegard that can be cranked up and down. It works pretty well. I have tried three other brands and none work as well as the Wingman. I am currently about forty miles from the transmitters and am parked in a forest of very large Douglas fir trees. The trees block a lot of the signals, but I still get most of the local stations. This antenna also has a small signal amplifier. Without the amplifier i get nothing.

Everything blocks the signals. I mentioned the trees. I am at an Air force Base. Every time a plane takes off or lands it scrambles the signals. I have had signals blocked just by being behind an rv that is taller than my antenna.

So the antenna is only half the equation. Height is very important. Your location is also important. (location, location, location) When I was in a different spot at this RV park, only about 200 yards away, I got only about 1/3 of the channels. A good amplifier is also important. But knowing where to point the antenna is all important. There are web sites that will tell you the direction of the transmitters from your location. Sometimes pointing the antenna the opposite direction actually gets better reception (most antennas work either way, pointed at the transmitter or 180 deg out.)

When I go to Port Townsend (about 90 miles from here, and about 40 miles from Seattle) I only get 4 or 5 local channels, but I get the Canadian stations just fine because Victoria is 20 miles away across the water and it is direct line of sight.

11-27-2012, 06:26 AM
I use a simple square indoor antenna from big box stuck on the ceiling of the houseboat. Doesn't work well at the dock (too low, too many houses) but it's fine everywhere else. Probably would NOT work if your superstructure is metal.

11-27-2012, 10:13 AM
Frantically Relaxing-Where did you get that photo?

11-27-2012, 10:28 AM
Stmbtwle-Is the big box antenna from Shakespeare?