It’s always fun to be out in nature, spending time with family and friends while camping out in your RV. However, it’s also nice to sometimes have the modern creature comforts to which we’ve all become accustomed. Maybe you want to catch the big game or the latest episode of your favorite TV show, or maybe you want to read your favorite blogs, or a few shows on Netflix for a little while? It can also be extremely helpful to have good access to TV, internet, and even radio in case of emergencies or severe weather.
To do all of these things and do them reliably, you’ll need an RV antenna to pick up the signals and make your RV feel like a bit of a contemporary oasis among the rustic woods and campgrounds.
Here are seven things you should know about the various types of RV antennas.
1. Want to Picky up Local Channels? Get a TV Antenna
To pick up the HD signals put out by local affiliates of major networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC, etc. you will need a TV antenna. There are both indoor and outdoor RV TV antennas available. Which is best? Well, that depends, as they both offer advantages and disadvantages.
- An outdoor RV antenna for TV is attached to the roof, and you need to raise and lower it before driving down the road.
- Outdoor TV antennas are made of plastic and aluminum, both of which snap easily, so if you leave it up and drive under a tree, chances are good that you may find yourself in the market for a replacement very soon.
- On the plus side, the location on the outside of the vehicle means they often pick up lots of channels.
- But wait! Outdoor TV antennas now come in a sleek, aerodynamic design that doesn’t need to be raised or lowered.
- An indoor RV TV antenna does not have the same range, and it does need to be stored when it’s not in use, but it’s also easier to position and control.
2. Make Sure Your Outdoor TV Antenna is HD
HD, or high definition antennas are a must if you want to receive HD channels. All new antennas are HD, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks by buying a used RV antenna for TV, make sure it’s an HD model, like the King 0A8000 HDTV Antenna, available on Amazon.com. Stations put out HD signals, and you want to make sure you’ll be able to receive them.
3. Consider a TV Antenna Booster
A simple contraption such as a Winegard TV Antenna Booster can work wonders if you find yourself needing to boost the signal. Simply snap the booster on your existing outdoor TV antenna and watch more channels.
4. Find TV Stations Near Your Location with Online Tools
There are some great websites that will tell you the distance to the nearest TV stations, and the direction in which your RV antenna needs to be pointed in order to pick up a signal. Both antennaweb.org and the DTV Reception Maps from the FCC are free and simple to use.
5. Want Dish Network or DirecTV in your RV? You’ll Need a Special Antenna
If you want satellite TV you need a Dome Antenna designed to pick up satellite signals. One of these will probably set you back a few hundred bucks, and you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription rate on top of that. But if you’re a serious TV watcher, you may find the cost worth it.
For Dish users, the KING VQ4500 Tailgater is a very popular model on Amazon, with nearly 500 reviews and a 4-star rating.
On the other hand, you might find that having all of that access to television takes away from your camping experience, so carefully consider if you want to do this. It’s also good to remember that many campsites offer free cable TV service to their guests, which means that a dome RV antenna and all of the expenses you incur from satellite TV service may be unnecessary.
6. Improve Campground WiFi Reception with a Wifi Booster Antenna
There are two basic kinds. One is mounted on the exterior of your RV, while the other is a small device that sits on a desk (or attaches to a window using suction cups) and then plugs into your laptop. Either one can keep you surfing the internet comfortably without having to wander around looking for a decent signal. If you work out of your RV, an RV wifi antenna may prove to be an invaluable piece of equipment for you.
7. What About an RV FM Antenna?
With all of the music and podcast listening options we have at our disposal, it may seem a bit antiquated to want to get plain old FM radio in your RV. However, lots of RVers still really like to listen to local radio. It offers a feel for the regional flavor and is good source of information. An RV FM Antenna can help to boost radio reception within your RV. Installing one in does require drilling a hole through which to thread the necessary wires, but it’s a fairly straightforward job for anyone who’s even just a tiny bit handy.
You might hop in your RV and go camping to get away from everything, but in this day and age, many RVers don’t want to be 100% disconnected from the outside world.
Plus, individuals who live in their RVs full-time don’t want to have to rely on others for their connections. Having access to TV, WiFi, and even radio is helpful and often essential, but getting those signals into your RV often requires an RV antenna. Whether you’re an RV beginner or a comfortable old pro, this list should give you enough information on RV antennas to get you started!