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.

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 HDB4X Tripod Kit 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. If you add an inexpensive flat RG6 cable you’ll be able to fish it through a window and still close the window, too.

Of course, the advantage of permanent mounting is that you don’t have to figure out where to store the antenna while you’re moving, and it’s permanently wired into your system. That’s great if you have the budget to do it, but there’s no guarantee that a roof-mounted antenna will give you any better performance or 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.

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.