Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"

Discussion in 'Talkback' started by Tracey, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Tracey

    Tracey New Member


    My question is simple enough - but I can't seem to find the answer ANYWHERE! I am customizing an old "shorty" school bus to accomadate my growing family. With 6 kids, our new "van" will eliminate having to travel "convoy" style in 2 vehicles as we have had to do for the past few years.

    The bus is an old 25 footer that is titled as a "van", as it isn't "self-contained" like a camper is. We have equipped it with a booth/table w/benches, mini fridge, microvave, an exsisting bus bench, a "captians chair and a futon. We've recently installed a 14" TV/VCR combo for the kids.

    My question is....

    What EXACTLY do I need to pick up UHF/VHF reception on the TV while in motion? I've seen dozens of antennas that state that they are for when the motorhome is "parked". I need some way for the kids to be able to utilize the TV as well as the VCR while we are on the road (try getting a 16 year old and a 2 year old to agree on a video)!

    I've seen "TV TUNER UNIVERSAL" - is this required to convert the power source to VHS reception? I've also looked "batwing" antennas - will these work while in motion? Any info I can find is written in the context as if the buyer ALREADY KNOWS what they need - therefore doesn't elaborate on the products capabilities.

    ANY help/suggestions/instruction would be MOST APPRECIATED! We hope to take'er out this weekend for the first time - I'd love to have it all completed.

    Thanks a bunch, Tracey
  2. Tracey

    Tracey New Member

    Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"


    Before someone replies with the suggestion of "satellite" TV as a solution to my problem - let me add that I've already thought of that and would only consider it if it were my ONLY option. We have Dish at home, but unless they offer a "special" rate for additional service, we don't want to go to that expense.

    No more than we will be using the bus, UHF/VHF is more than sufficient. I understand that "local" channels will come and go, fading as we leave one region and enter another - that okay, the kids will just have to "channel-surf" periodicly and stick to 30 minute sitcoms. Hopefully there exists an antenna with a range of 50+ miles that will carry me from one major station tower to the next.

    Again, I know NOTHING when it comes to what I need, so IF what I'm trying to put together is even possible, PLEASE, someone let me know..

    Thanks again, Tracey
  3. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"

    Tracey: The "batwing" antenna came out because the basic problem with VHF/UHF antennas is their fragility in the wind cause by driving. The "batwing" is strong in the wind. The second thing about VHF/UHF is its directive nature. Your antenna generally has to be pointed at the transmitter. Otherwise the received signal is weak at the TV. The "batwing" can't be turned toward the transmitter.

    You can get an antenna system that is in a "saucer" shaped pod (to protect it from the wind) that allows some kind of rotation of the internal antenna elements and it has an amplifier to boost the signal. I think RCA made one at one time.
  4. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"

    Satellite TV is probably not an option while travelling. Most dishes need to be stationary to work. They do have an antenna which tracks the satellite while the vehicle is in motion, but I think it is several thousand dollars.

    I'm thinking your 50+ mile wish is not going to happen either. As TexasClodhopper says, the better antennas are highly directional. Even if you do get one which can be rotated, it probably wouldn't be practical for use while travelling (requiring either constant adjustment or expensive auto-tracking). And although you can probably find an omnidirectional antenna which would work during travel, the range is likely to be poor. Perhaps 10 miles and probably not over 20. Amplification will help some, but not to the degree you would like.

    Probably your best bet is to have multiple (3?) self contained entertainment centers. You can get personal ('pocket') DVD based systems and 'hang on the back of the seat' based systems either VHS or DVD fairly reasonably priced these days. I think I got an ad for a VHS based system with screen which hangs on a seat back for $99 a few months back. Looking for used units is another thrifty option.

    May want to have one of them which can be set up for video games as well...
  5. Tracey

    Tracey New Member

    Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"

    So far everything you guys have told me has been correct. I've done some more calling around and found that the "Winegard RS-2000" is about the best affordable omnidirectional antenna I can find. I don't know about range, but it states that it doen't have to be "cranked" like the lesser model does.

    Dish TV (where we have home service) told me that I can simply use one of our 4 home receivers to take onboard while traveling - all we need is the actual dish and to have it programed for the receiver (by Winegard). The problem is, the price of an "in motion" satellite dish STARTS at $2,100.00! Otherwise, I'm right back to a NOT "in motion" dish.

    The most recent suggestion is also an option, as we already have the 5" LCD TV/VCR travel combo that hangs on the back of the headrest. Santa brought it to our 2 year old for Christmas. It is also equipped with headsets and cables for video games etc.

    I guess that combined with the 14" TV/VCR combo + the omnidirectional antenna (plus booster) is gonna have to do. If the kids can't agree and get along, they'll have to resort to Gin Rummy or Checkers!

    Appreciate all the help/suggestions - I'll continue to check back in case anyone has any fresh ideas, I'm open.

    Thanks again, Tracey
  6. Poppa

    Poppa Member

    Basic UHF/VHF question from a "newby"


    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but what you are looking for does not exist withou an expensive price tag.

    Precious and I fought this problem for a while and have since reverted to VHS tapes by the box load and a CD player.

    Now the onnly problem is who has their choice next and Precious keeps a little note book so the kids don't have any arguement. If they don't want to watch whats on they can break out their coloring books or take a nap.

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