Should you permanently mount your TV antenna to your RV?

Free TV when you’re out on the open road. That’s basically freedom piled on top of freedom right there, and that’s the American way! No wonder so many people get over-the-air antennas mounted to their RVs. Are you one of them, or are you thinking about mounting your antenna to your RV?

It’s a tough question to answer, thanks to the government

If you had an RV prior to 2009, you might remember watching live TV while driving. At least hopefully your passengers remember it and you personally remember driving with your eyes on the road, right? Well you survived whatever you were doing, so I’m sure you were safe enough.

Before 2009’s digital transition, regular TV signals worked while your RV was moving. Today, they don’t. The digital technology that gives us high definition also takes away… because the digital TV signals don’t work if your vehicle’s going faster than about 15mph. Obviously it’s possible to make signals that do, since you can use your phone while moving, but I guess back in the 2000s that was a little too much to ask of live video.

There’s a possibility that RVers will get the capability to watch over-the-air TV while in motion again. The new ATSC 3.0 standard, if it’s ever adopted, will let free TV again… roam free. But we still face a long and uphill battle before we get to that point. If you’d like more info about ATSC 3.0, read it here. We’re going to talk more about what you can do today.

The benefit of a permanently mounted antenna

If you have an antenna on your RV’s roof, it’s not taking up space inside the RV. That’s really the big advantage. It’s there, ready to be used and worst case scenario you would just have to aim it. Some RV antennas are permanently mounted; I’d recommend springing for one that you can aim from inside the RV. After all, the odds that you’ll park “just right” so the antenna gets a great view of the towers are pretty slim.

On the other hand, a permanently mounted antenna means you’re drilling holes in the RV. If you’re ok with that, then don’t worry. But are you ok with that?

The benefit of a separate antenna

Yes, I get it. You have limited space in the RV. You don’t want to carry around a tripod, an antenna and a bunch of cable. However, it’s the most flexible way of getting antenna signals and that means you’ll get signals from further away. You can put a tripod on the ground or strap it to the roof of the RV when you’re parked, and you can aim it just perfectly so you get the most live TV channels.

A tripod and an antenna don’t take up a lot of space. Our Solid Signal Mast and Tripod combo folds up when not in use and Televes’ Diginova antenna is powerful and incredibly compact. Together they fit in nooks and crannies you probably weren’t using anyway. They set up quickly and once you do it a few times you’ll be an expert.

In the end it’s up to you.

If you prefer the convenience of a permanent mount, by all means do that. If you’d rather go with a tripod, you’ll succeed there too. Personally I prefer the tripod method because the antenna is just better and you get more channels. However, there’s one way you won’t go wrong, and that’s shopping for all your RV needs at Solid Signal.

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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.