Thursday, July 3, 2008

Giving the old KIT a TV antenna

Well, I've been living in this camper of mine for a couple months now, and I've decided that you can only read so many books before you want to be able to veg out in front of the TV and see what's on the news, or put in a DVD.

Since Old G.W. Bush has sent out these nice stimulus checks to everyone (to the tune of $600) I decided it was high time to add an antenna of some kind to the camper and install a flat screen TV.

For the antenna, I decided on this little jobby:

Winegard Dipole 82-Channel TV-FM Antenna

Its not terribly expensive ($28 when I bought it) and has the same basic properties as your average bat-wing antenna. The big difference is this one doesn't have a handy little crank in your ceiling to raise and lower it, or aim it for the best signal.

You get to go outside to aim this one.

But, there wasn't a whole lot of option, my camper has the downside of not having any kind of wooden under layment underneath the roof's aluminum skin, so there's no where up to to attach something like a bat-wing antenna.

In most RV's there's a signal booster built into face plate with a 12-volt cigarette plug and a cable jack. In my case, I had an old left-over Trucker's TV signal booster that I wired in direct feed from the antenna to boost the signal to all the cable jack outlets in the camper. A simple On/Off switch was installed on the wall next to the fridge so I could flip it on and off from bed by leaning out and flipping the switch.

I wired in a set of outlets up in my cabover, where my new TV was going to be installed, with one outlet wired to the inverter and the other wired to the shore power outlets, a cable jack shared this outlet box.

The TV was mounted at the foot of the bed, a nice Insignia 19" w/built-in DVD player. I later discovered well after the fact (and the opportunity to return it) that the DVD players in these sets were junk and rather than have a 16:9 widescreen, it had some weird-ass 16:10 ratio....

The one below is similar to my set, but slightly newer and has more HDMI inputs, perhaps they fixed the screwy ratio?

Insignia® - 19" Class / 720p / 60Hz / LCD HDTV DVD Combo

Model: NS-LDVD19Q-10A | SKU: 9154737

9154737 Larger Front9154737 Angle

Oh well, you live an learn. It still does fine with the Digital/HD broadcast signals, I just have to fiddle with it a bit to make the picture full-screen for the DVDs.

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