From The Forums

Published in the March 2013 Issue March 2013 News

The forum is a great place for fellow houseboaters to receive advice and answers to your houseboating questions. Head on over to the forums to see what’s going on at marinas and lakes all around the world. Looking for a solid TV antenna that will pick up VHF/UHF signals so you don’t miss a good sports game while you’re out on your boat?


Potis from the forum posted: I am looking to put a TV antenna on our boat to pick up VHF/UHF digital TV signals, but I don’t want satellite TV. I have found several makes, models and sizes requiring 12-volt or 110-volt power for amplifiers. Does anyone have any recommendations?


GoVols had some input: I bought my '06 boat used and was very surprised that its Shakespeare antenna grabs digital signals out of the air. 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. We don't watch too much TV anyway, so this is more than adequate for our needs. Check out
If you can't justify spending thousands of dollars on a marine satellite system, here's an excellent and fairly economical alternative:


Potis replied: 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. Our boat is about 50 to 75 miles from any large cities.


Frantically Relaxing shared: I have an identical set to these rabbit ears on our boat and it picks up all 32 local channels. Before spending good money on an ugly antenna you should try these. Be sure the rabbit ears are compatible for digital TV.


Ike added: 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. I live in a motor home, and on the roof is a Wingman antenna by Winegard that can be cranked up and down that works pretty well. I have tried three other brands and they don’t work as well as the Wingman. I am 40 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 which I get nothing. Height, location and a good amplifier are very important.


Stmbtwle commented: I use a simple square indoor antenna from big box stuck on the ceiling of the houseboat. It doesn't work well at the dock, but it’s fine everywhere else. It probably won’t work if your superstructure is metal, however.


To read more, visit the forums at and search for “TV antennas” thread.

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