Can you use a Genie 2 with a Winegard Trav’ler (SK-SWM3)

Here’s another one that comes to us courtesy of Signal Connect, our commercial and special-purpose division. Signal Connect handles activations and installations for businesses, boats, RVs, and other special “vertical markets.” One of our crack representatives asked me if it would be possible to use a Genie 2 with the Winegard SW-SWM-3. It’s not as easy of a question as you would think. In fact, it takes a bit of explanation.

What is the Trav’ler SK-SWM3?

The Winegard Trav’ler SK-SWM-3 is a self-aiming dish designed for RV use. Your DIRECTV system thinks of it as a standard satellite dish, and it uses many of the same parts. However, it also uses a folding mechanism which puts the dish down flat for when you’re driving. A sophisticated control box aims the dish when you’re parked for the night.

What is the DIRECTV Genie 2?

AT&T’s Genie 2 system is its most advanced DVR ever.  You can record up to 7 programs at once and watch TV in up to 7 rooms at once. It’s compact and simple and really efficient when it comes to power use. It might not be the first device you think of when you consider an RV, because it’s designed for a decent sized home. However, it does away with a lot of the wires and extra doodads that older DIRECTV systems have had. In that way, it makes sense for an RV where space is at a premium.

How can they work together?

First of all, the Genie 2 is designed to work with AT&T’s Reverse Band LNB, which is not included with the Winegard Trav’ler as I write this in summer 2020. Eventually I do expect Winegard to make that change as AT&T has stopped making the non-reverse-band models.

Putting a reverse band LNB on the Trav’ler might stop it from folding down. So far I’ve seen no tests on this, but the two LNBs are different shapes so the system would have to be engineered to let the larger reverse band LNB fold properly.

The good news is that shouldn’t matter. Three years ago I tested a Genie 2 with a SWM-16 (non-reverse band) system and it worked. I even published raw video showing it.

So I am thinking that the SWM LNB on the Trav’ler would work as well. The Genie 2 is designed to use the full capacity of a 13-tuner reverse band dish, but it will pull only 7 tuners if it is connected to a system that only supplies 8. I’ve confirmed that this is still true today.

Will there be any problems?

It’s hard to see that there are any limitations to this setup at this time. The extra tuner capacity doesn’t enable additional recordings, but it used for advanced features that could enable higher quality 4K broadcasts in the future. For now, that is not an implemented feature. The only thing that you’d be missing would be certain international channels which are only available on the reverse band.

At some time in the future, AT&T is going to consider the non-reverse-band setup obsolete. That means they will have no problem just switching channels so that they can only be received with the reverse band hardware. But, I see that as being a long time in the future and it shouldn’t stop anyone who is looking to get an RV system now.

If you’re ready to jump into the world of satellite TV on your RV, contact Signal Connect at 866-726-4182 or fill out the form below.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.