Should you mount a TV antenna to your RV?

It seems like lately I have been asked this question a lot. People want free TV in their RV, and in the past the answer was pretty clear: mount an antenna to the roof. Unfortunately, since the digital TV transition in 2009, it’s been nearly impossible to get live over-the-air TV in a vehicle moving more than 15 miles per hour. It’s a technical limitation that was actually designed into the system — the TV has to lock onto the signal which is impossible if it’s moving too far in relation to the broadcast source. This is great for stationary antennas but it’s a problem for moving ones. The next generation of broadcast television should solve that problem, but we don’t know when that’s actually going to launch.

Here’s the real story

permanently mounted antenna like the one above doesn’t cost a whole lot but if you’re going to have it installed, the costs can rack up quickly. That’s why we recommend something like our Dinova Boss Mix which assembles quickly and aims easily. It has everything you need to get free HDTV when you’re parked, which is the only time you’re going to get reception anyway. All you need to do is add a tripod and mast for the complete experience. You can even add something like this flat cable if you want. That way, you’ll be able to fish it through a window and still close the window, too.

If you’d prefer an even easier experience, try something like this omnidirectional antenna. While it’s pricey, it is a much better experience for those folks who watch a lot of TV. You can mount it permanently to the roof of the RV and unlike the traditional Sensar antenna, it doesn’t have to be aimed. There’s also a similar antenna for use on a tripod. A tripod-mounted omni antenna goes up quickly and helps you get the best possible reception without having to fiddle with the antenna.

Permanent mounting vs. tripods

Of course, there is an advantage of permanent mounting. With a permanently mounted antenna, you don’t have to figure out where to store the antenna while you’re moving. It’s also permanently wired into your system. That’s great if you have the budget to do it. Needless to say, there’s no guarantee that a roof-mounted antenna will give you any better performance. It might not even get more channels than one you put on a tripod. So, why not save a little bit of money and still enjoy the free TV channels you want? Remember, even if you have satellite TV, it won’t bring you local channels while you’re away from home.

Get what you need from Solid Signal

You can find everything you need when you shop at Solid Signal. We have all the best accessories for your RV, plus thousands of hard to find parts. We can also help you improve cell service in your RV or even upgrade your phone. Want to know more? Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast hours. We’re happy to tell you all about it!

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 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.