Even when you are outdoors, an rv tv antenna lets you connect to a television and watch your favorite shows and movies. To help you make a wise pick for your rv tv antenna purchase, this guide explains factors to consider such as signal reception, weight, type, and other features.
Living a full-time RV life means you can experience the joys of both outdoor activities and quiet living inside your vehicle.
But it does not mean you can’t use gadgets such as television.
By investing in the best TV antenna for an RV, you can remain updated with the latest news or weather reports, as well as record shows.
With information coming from TV programs, you can even adjust your trip or improve your RVing lifestyle.
Selecting the best tv antenna for rv depending on your rig and preferences could be challenging.
But with the help of this article, I’m going to explain product specifications, as well as commonly asked questions about TV antennas for RVs, camper, motorhome and travel trailers.
In terms of range, signal acquisition, and durability, there’s no doubt that the Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV is the ultimate pick for The Best RV Antena.
Even at a 55-mile radius, this antenna lets you get all available VHF and UF channels in HD and SD. It also has a built-in amplifier that attains a clearer reception.
Since this antenna is made from long-lasting materials, you can mount it either indoors or outdoors. You can use the two-year warranty and email support for concerns.
The 6 Best RV Antena Reviews in 2020
When buying the Best TV Antenna for RV, you must pick the one that can acquire a constant signal to bring you several channels.
So, if you’re looking for the best best TV antenna your RV, look no further: In this review guide I've rounded up some of the best available RV antennas whether you're looking for over the air, digital or portable TV antennas for your RV.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our recommended models:
1: Best For RV And Motorhomes: Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna
Reasons To buy
- Broader range up to 55 miles.
- Receives all VHF, UHF digital, and HD signals.
- Can be installed both either indoors and outdoors.
Things we don't like
- Analog TV users will need a digital-to-analog converter box.
- Gears are made of plastic.
For three decades, Winegard Sensar has been manufacturing reliable antennas.
The brand developed the Sensar III by integrating enhanced UHF, and then the Sensar IV came to be.
As a result, the antenna receives all available VHF/UHF channels at an unsurpassed range up of a 55-mile radius.
This rv hd antenna lets you enjoy watching all your favorite local programs in standard or crisp clear HD.
More than that, this model gets HD and SD that air local TV broadcast channels, including FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC.
Also, you can snag other networks such as Azteca, Univision, Qubo, MyNetworkTV, ION, Telemundo, and Telefutura.
Note that the availability may depend on the location and distance from the broadcast tower.
But generally, it should cover local news, education programs, and weather reports.
One of the good things I like is that this unit is compatible with the SensarPro signal meter.
This meter delivers detailed feedback on the signals, all while enabling users to increase or lessen amplification.
With the help of the built-in amplifier, you can boost weaker television signals to get crystal clear reception.
You can try to raise, rotate, or lower this antenna to secure UHF and VHF digital channels.
One of the unit’s best assets is that it works with any TV or device that has an ATSC tuner such as PCs, laptops, and digital recording devices.
Even if most over-the-air signals are now digital, the Sensar IV still needs a digital-to-analog converter box to work with analog television.
On the bright side, you can connect the Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV RV Antenna to several televisions through the power supply or wall plate that comes with the model.
The user manual states that the antenna needs 46.25 inches length by 15.25 inches width, unobstructed roof space while stowed.
However, it lowers to only four inches above the roof while traveling. It also requires a minimum of 16 inches from the boom to the edge of the vehicle or nearest object.
When it comes to long-lasting durability, you can be at ease because of the powder coating that can withstand harsh RVing conditions. Likewise, it amplifies the antenna and lift assembly.
The package comes with a +12 VDC white power supply with on/off switch.
Should you need any assistance, the brand gives a complimentary email and telephone support.
- Has a built-in amplifier and Over-the-Air Digital and HD Ready Antenna.
- Works with any TV or device that has an ATSC tuner.
- Compatible with SensaPro signal meter.
- Comes with a two-year parts warranty and a one-year warranty for labor.
- Made from durable materials that can go against tough environmental conditions.
2: Runner-Up: KING OA8300 HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna
Reasons To buy
- Wider reception area that makes it easier to lock on to available TV signals.
- Very affordable price.
- Comes with a replacement head that guarantees long-range signal acquisition.
Things we don't like
- Can’t be installed on top of your RV roof if the pitch is greater than three degrees.
- Does not exactly sit level when raised.
KING has reinvented its Jack line with the latest technology to deliver the best directional over-the-air antenna available.
By doing so, this model has a better signal and more free channels.
Its sleek and high-tech design gives greater performance and improves UHF signal reception while getting remaining VHF broadcast channels.
In fact, more than 80% of new DTV channels are broadcast while still providing a great reception of existing VHF channels.
All in all, this unit provides broader reception coverage quickly by locating the strongest signal and maximizing reception.
Because of its long-range signal acquisition, you can mount the antenna either outdoors or indoors.
Since there are more programming options, there’s no need to subscribe to monthly plans.
One of the best things about this unit is that it is less directional than traditional television antennas.
Aside from not needing to constantly rotate the antenna, the built-in amplifier and 110V power-injector deliver powerful signal performance.
Furthermore, the KING Jack head comes with all the necessary gear to upgrade your current batwing antenna to digital HD. A five-minute retrofit will ensure less wind resistance.
This means you can avoid monthly cable or satellite bills since your crystal-clear digital HD receptions will obtain more local channels. In short, you get HDTV for free.
The upgraded technology boosts the UHF signal reception while still gaining VHF broadcast channels.
This is because of the unit’s broader reception coverage that quickly locates the strongest signal while maximizing reception.
For the package, you’ll receive the antenna, universal mounting brackets for RV and home use, AC to DC power supply, power injector, and hardware.
At 1.5 pounds, the KING OA8300 HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna is the most lightweight, compact, and sleek antenna on this list.
Hence, it won’t be challenging installing the unit indoors or outdoors.
When I tried RV mounting, I observed it is better to mount the unit a bat-wing style using the supplied bracket.
If you will take the antenna for a walk, then better to opt for pole mounting.
- Easy to install and use.
- Comes with a one-year warranty.
- Free HDTV anywhere you go.
- Upgrade high-tech design.
- Quickly pinpoints satellite locations to avoid the need to conduct multiple channel scanning.
3: Price-To-Performance Pick: KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna
Reasons To buy
- Provides better signal in a high-tech way even with a simple design.
- Amplified, ultra-high gain antenna.
- Delivers more free channels.
Things we don't like
- Not suitable for Winnebago Aspect RVers.
- No LED indicator light.
Like all other KING Jack units, this model has been reinvented with the latest technology, to let you have the best directional over-the-air antenna.
This antenna acquires a long-range signal that provides more free channels.
Since it gets broader reception coverage quickly, the antenna locates the strongest signal while maximizing sleek design.
One of its main assets is the built-in Signal Meter that pinpoints the TV towers to optimize high definition reception.
On the other hand, the SureLock Digital TV Signal Finder simplifies antenna aiming.
Hence, you can spare yourself from spending too much time locating local television channels.
Use the interior knob to rotate the antenna. Then, watch as the signal meter detects digital TV signals as you rotate.
Continue rotating the knob until you get the best position for maximum reception.
The KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna rotates a full 360 degrees to remove any dead spots.
In effect, the signal meter locates strong signal reception and you can scan for several local channels.
Aside from that, the upgraded technology improves the UHF signal reception. Even so, you can maintain 80% of VHF broadcast channels.
The aerodynamic design minimizes wind resistance. Meanwhile, the compact design makes this unit 70% smaller than traditional RV antennas.
Such features make the antenna always ready for full-time RVing.
The package includes the antenna with mount, the interior enclosure with rotation knob, and wall mount power injector.
There’s also the SureLock Signal Meter and shafts for varying roof thickness.
As you can see from the antenna’s parts, the whole system is easy to install. You can connect and mount and antenna in under 10 minutes.
- Built-in signal finder for more effective signal acquisition.
- Comes with a four-year parts warranty and a one-year warranty for labor.
- Upgraded technology enhances UHF signal reception while still receiving remaining VHF broadcast channels.
- Long-range signal acquisition that gives more programming options. Fast antenna with 360-degree rotation.
- Fast antenna with 360-degree rotation.
4: Great For Digital Video Recording: Winegard TRAV'LER SK-SWM3 Slimline Antenna
Reasons To buy
- DIRECTV standard and high-definition programming.
- Compatible with all satellite receivers and digital video recorders.
- Delivers a strong, uninterrupted signal regardless of the weather.
Things we don't like
- Can’t be installed indoors.
- High price tag.
It supports all new DIRECTV HD receivers, which makes this model a fully automatic DIRECTV satellite antenna.
Subsequently, it becomes the only mobile automatic antenna that provides maximum DIRECTV HD programming.
Since it can view three satellites simultaneously, the power of multi-satellite viewing lets you watch any program on any RV television.
You can angle the antenna from 99, 101, and up to 103 degrees for complete SD and HD programming.
Winegard TRAV'LER SK-SWM3 is one of the best rv tv antenna because it only takes about five minutes to raise and locate satellites.
Then, it will fold and stow in under three minutes. Pretty neat, right?
Aside from watching a variety of programs, this antenna is great to use with digital video recorders.
Thus, you can watch and record from different satellites at the same time.
One of my favorite things about this product is that a single button lets you extend and retract the antenna. However, this model is for stationary use only.
The antenna is made with certified reflectors that deliver the strongest signal strength.
Note that you can only use port c to make connections to the mount base.
The package includes a roof mount, a 21V SWM power inserter, and a four-way splitter. There’s also an interface box, interface box power supply, cable entry plate, AC power cord, and black coax cable.
To properly install the Winegard TRAV'LER SK-SWM3 , make sure you have ample clearance and there are no obstructions taller than 33 feet of the base’s center.
As for the cables, plug the interface box into a well-ventilated 110V outlet.
You can install the power inserter inside the RV, but I noticed it is better to place the splitter on the roof.
However, I discovered that you must pay additional receiver fees every month. Yet, it is still cheaper than paying monthly dues for Dish.
- Comes with a two-year parts warranty and one-year labor warranty.
- Has complete SD and DIRECTV HD programming.
- No need for extra HD converters or switches.
- Works with Genie.
- Simple and straightforward installation.
5: Best Dish Option: Winegard Company PA-1000 DISH Playmaker Satellite TV Antenna
Reasons To buy
- Effortless portable satellite setup.
- Automatically locates Dish satellite orbital locations.
- Lets you add Pay-As-You-Go programming to your home account.
Things we don't like
- Not designed for roof installation.
- The playmaker only receives the West Coast arc satellites.
Winegard is a well-trusted name in the world of satellite data antenna for mobile applications.
One of its current innovations is this fully automatic dish that easily locates DISH HD satellite orbital locations.
This works exclusively with DISH HD solo satellite receiver technology and programming.
Yet, it is compatible with dish receivers such as Wally, viP 211k, viP211z, viP 211, and 411 solo HD.
In addition, this model is compatible with your existing DISH subscription or pay-as-you-go satellite programming. This spares you the pain of long contracts or commitments.
Its dimensions are 12 x 12 x 18 inches, which makes the unit portable. As a result, this is perfect for RVs, motorhomes, cabins, and even for hikes.
Also, it only weighs 10 pounds. Therefore, the antenna only needs minimal space indoors.
To make the Dish Wally functional, this RV antenna must always have a clear view of the southern sky.
If not, I observed that you’ll need to pick your state and scan with no results.
If this happens, reposition the mobile antenna to get a clear view and then scan again.
Make sure you’ve connected the coaxial cable to the Wally and the Winegard PA-1000 DISH TV Antenna to activate the receiver.
Also, don’t forget to link an HDMI or coax from the satellite receiver to the TV. Power up the satellite receiver and TV to complete the satellite receiver setup.
To make the receiver more effective, update the receiver software occasionally. Leave the satellite on signal to put the receiver in standby mode.
Simply press the power button on the remote or front panel of the receiver.
Furthermore, you can mount a temporary and portable satellite mount. In this way, you can raise the antenna off the ground for better reception.
You can also build the Winegard TR-1518 tripod mount and MT-SM30 window or side vehicle mount. These two can withstand the harsh outdoor environment.
As for the construction, the high-strength reflector delivers improved signal strength.
- Sleek and compact design for portability.
- Powered via coaxial cable from the primary receiver.
- Comes with a one-year warranty.
- Has a Pay-As-You-Go satellite programming.
- Made from durable materials, including military-grade aluminum reflector.
6: Portable RV TV Antenna: KING VQ4550 Tailgater Portable Satellite TV Antenna
Reasons To buy
- Can also serve as a DISH Wally HD Receiver.
- Automatic satellite acquisition and switching
- Capable of securing a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Things we don't like
- Defaults to SD often.
- Tends to restart itself.
Aside from the Tailgater portable satellite TV antenna, you can optimize the Dish Wally HD satellite receiver.
The Tailgater will automatically locate DISH satellites and deliver live HD TV in minutes.
For a budget-friendly take, the pay-as-you-go plan from Dish only bills you for the months you use.
When the season ends, you can cancel the satellite service any time without penalty or contract termination.
If you already have a dish, you can add the new receiver to your account for one bill.
Although you must call your provider to see if local channels are available in your area.
This unit has built-in dual coaxial outputs that support up to two receivers.
Using the built-in dual coaxial outputs, the antenna supports multiple TV viewing. In the same way, it has fully automatic satellite acquisition of Western arc satellites.
What makes this product one of the best antennas for RVs is its Wally HD receiver that can score Wi-Fi connection.
Although the USB Wi-Fi adaptor is sold separately, it lets you connect to a wireless network.
The package includes the KING Tailgater Antenna, coaxial cable, mounting feet, DISH Wally HD Receiver, HDMI cable, and remote control.
Open the box to get the components and then you can scan for signals once installed.
You can use this model either as a portable antenna or roof mounted without any additional brackets.
Afterward, plug the Tailgater antenna into the Dish receiver using the coax cable.
Then, connect the satellite receiver to your television using the HDMI cable.
The KING VQ4550 Tailgater Portable Satellite TV Antenna is powered through the receiver with no separate remote or power source.
Weighing just eight pounds, this portable and lightweight KING Tailgater for DISH is easy to set up.
Aside from its sleek form, it has a built-in handle that makes it easy to carry.
If you want, you can permanently place this unit on your RV’s roof. However, you have to consider buying the KING MB160 mounting bracket.
- Exclusive for DISH service--both SD and HD programming
- Two receiver outputs that support multiple TV viewing.
- Sign up for pay-as-you-go or add to your home DISH service.
- Optional tailgating outdoor installation.
- No separate remote or power source included.
Why You Should Trust This Review of RV Antennas
As you’ve discovered, an RV antenna enables you to get reception and wide coverage of channels.
I devoted a month-long trial period to examine the products using a comprehensive set of factors and features.
Pairing my RVing knowledge with this review experience, I made sure that the products on this post provide the following benefits:
- Due to good and stable reception, you will not miss a single episode of your favorite show, news, weather, and sports-- even when you are camping in the woods.
- Great reception = best signal = high quality definition viewing and non-stop entertainment.
- Since an RV antenna picks up a wide range of local channels, there’s no need to pay a monthly subscription.
- If you are a freelancer or home-based employee, an RV antenna’s Wi-Fi feature lets you connect to the internet.
- Since you gain plenty of media options, you can read e-books and stream videos.
What Is An RV TV Antenna?
An RV-specialized antenna gets reception for recreational vehicles. Consequently, it provides an exceptional list of TV channels.
Its components enable the system to get a wide range of signals and good signal reception.
It is constructed using tough materials, so it can withstand various kinds of weather.
Likewise, you can mount an antenna on top of an RV and it will remain in place while you are driving.
Since most models can pinpoint the strongest signals, there's no need to crank or rotate the antenna to secure signals.
How Does It Work?
In a nutshell, an antenna for RVs works by finding satellite channels, local channels, or UHF/VHF signals. This would depend on your model.
Some units are even HD- and digital-ready that can provide exceptional signal reception regardless of where you park your vehicle.
What Are The Types Of An RV Antenna?
When you want to snag the best antenna for RV, knowing the type can mean the difference.
First, consider whether you need an outdoor or indoor unit.
Outdoor RV Antenna
Bulky, yet has better coverage. Since it is installed outdoors, this is the most widely used because it effectively picks up reception.
If you have a big trailer, then you can opt for this type. The main problem is that leaves can fall on it or branches may hit a too high antenna. These situations may limit the antenna's capabilities.
Indoor RV Antenna
More compact, but has lower coverage. However, this is the best type if you are after convenience and only a few channels.
Likewise, this is a good option if you don't need high definition quality. You can install this system on top of your television.
Although an indoor antenna requires some angle adjustment to a specific location, you won't have to take it out to get better reception.
The Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna and KING OA8300 HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna can be installed both indoors and outdoors.
Meanwhile, the KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna and Winegard Company PA-1000 DISH Playmaker Satellite TV Antenna are more effective indoors.
Finally, the Winegard SK-SWM3 Slimline Antenna and KING VQ4550 Tailgater Portable TV Antenna are best used when installed outdoors.
Types Based On The Received Signals
Next, you must make sure that your chosen model is compatible with the television or service with which you intend to use it.
Satellite TV Service Antenna
This type works with the receiver of satellite service. If you are subscribed to network providers, this type will receive a satellite TV service signal.
This is a reliable option if you want to watch programs anywhere or anytime. However, a subscription would mean a potential monthly fee.
UHF/VHF/Digital And HD TV Free Program Antenna
Depending on your location, this type can pick up several channels in HD. UHF covers channels 14 to 51 while VHF includes channels 2 to 13.
If you want to secure DTV signals from various stations, then the antenna should pick up both VHF and UHF channels.
Note that there are antennas that can only obtain VHF or UHF channels.
The bottom line— what makes an RV antenna the best is whether it is compatible with your television and needs.
How I Picked And Rated Products?
Aside from knowing the type of antenna appropriate to your RV, you must consider specifications and features to get the perfect model.
Reception Or Signal Reception
Find out how far the antenna can reach. Next, check what kind of satellites the antenna has access to.
It’s better to pick a model with higher coverage. Otherwise, a low signal reception distance might need a booster.
Similarly, determine the best spot to install the antenna. Therefore, know whether you need an indoor or outdoor unit.
If you have excellent reception, you can achieve a quality viewing experience. This is why you’ll notice that distance can also impact the reception.
With the high-tech signal acquisition, check out this table to see how their respective reception can secure channels.
Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna
VHF, UHF, SD, HD
KING OA8300 HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna
VHF, UHF, HDTV
KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna
Winegard SK-SWM3 Slimline Antenna
DirectTV, SD, HD
Winegard Company PA-1000 DISH Playmaker Satellite TV Antenna
KING VQ4550 Tailgater Portable TV Antenna
SD, HD, Dish
As you can see, the Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna has the best signal acquisition. Thus, it gives you several channels to choose from.
Many units these days now come with Wi-Fi capacities, which is useful especially when you need access to the internet.
If you have a streaming subscription or GPS, you will need access to strong Wi-Fi.
For this list, only the KING VQ4550 Tailgater Portable Satellite TV Antenna can provide Wi-Fi.
But hey, if you only need channels to watch a show, then the lack of Wi-Fi shouldn’t trouble you.
You must consider the weight, especially if you are buying an outdoor model.
If you are going to areas with lots of branches, then a lightweight outdoor antenna is a bad choice.
For areas experiencing strong weather, a bulkier and sturdier antenna is better.
The KING OA8300 HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna is the most lightweight at 1.5 pounds.
But sometimes, being too lightweight might pose some challenges when it comes to durability.
If you are after balancing weight and functionality, then you can go for either KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna or Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna.
Mounting Location And Ease Of Installation
If the mounting is flexible, you can put the antenna on the roof, mirror bars, or bumper. Additionally, an antenna should be easy to mount and adjust.
Make sure that the location won’t obstruct the direction of transmitters or broadcasting towers.
To lessen signal acquisition time, park your RV on a level surface.
Ensure you have a clear view of the sky. Pick a location that provides enough support for a secure installation.
Material And Durability
Antennae with weak materials tend to break easily, especially if mounted outdoors. You can avoid costly repairs if the antenna is made from sturdy materials.
Generally, antennas are made from plastic. This kind is preferable for indoor models.
On the other hand, aluminum-made antennas won’t rust even if you must go through long periods of rainfall.
The best units are constructed using powder coating, which protects the antenna from harsh outdoor elements like UV rays.
Cost And Warranty
The buyout price varies from model to model. The materials and features tend to dictate the price.
The cheapest ones can go as low as $50, but the premium models can reach as high as $1,500.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best TV Antenna for RVs
How to Use a TV Antenna for Recreational Vehicles?
Installation processes vary from brand to brand, as well as the type of antenna. But in general, it’s a simple and straightforward process.
Make sure to read the product manual and follow the installation process. Commonly, installations involve plug and play.
Once the antenna is firmly mounted, you can start scanning for channels. Check the signal reception from time to time.
How to Change an RV TV Antenna?
Remove the old one and then set the new antenna by following the installation process.
Is an RV Antenna Considered Free TV or Subscription?
Bell TV, DirecTV, and Dish are pay satellite services that need a subscription. Some models provide pay-as-you-go options, so you can dictate your duration.
If you have an existing subscription, you can use that for your RV antenna. However, some providers apply additional fees.
For the most cost-friendly option, over-the-air antennas secure signals from local broadcasting towers for free.
Can I Watch TV While Driving?
That depends on the type of your antenna. Most brands indicate if their item is for stationary use only or not.
If you use stationary-only antennas while driving, you might lose satellite connection.
You can opt for over-the-air antennas instead. However, your surroundings and distance to a broadcasting tower might impact the signal strength.
How to Repair and Maintain an Antenna for RVs?
Repairing could prove challenging if you are not mechanically inclined. The most typical issue is the need to buy a replacement head.
In case of a troubleshooting problem, it’s wise to call customer service or get professional help.
How to Direct a Television Antenna for RVs?
There is no correct direction where you can point the antenna. Remember to point the antenna in a direction where you’ll get the best signal reception.
Use the conversion box to scan and find channels. Some units can perform an automatic channel search.
If you can’t secure a reception, adjust the antenna and rescan again until you get signals.
Another surefire hack is using a satellite TV strength meter to locate the clearest and strongest signal.
Simply put, use a meter in monitoring the signal strength. Then, optimize a booster to enhance the signal.
Moreover, some brands offer an amplified antenna package, which boosts weak signals.
A booster helps secure a more stable signal that lets you access channels in HD.
As much as possible, avoid parking your RV in areas where there are obstructions such as tall buildings, trees, or hills.
Safety Tips and Friendly Reminders
- Do not install an antenna under any wet conditions, especially when it is raining.
- Antennas and televisions tend to use lots of energy, so pair them up with a good deep cycle battery or generator.
- Use a high-quality coaxial cable to lessen the signal loss.
- Do not paint the antenna.
- But an antenna booster if you want the antenna to work at maximum capacity.
- Make sure there are no obstructions, such as trees or buildings, above the antenna that will prevent it from raising.
- Keep your antenna intact and free of debris.
- For outdoor antennas, use a solid line of approved sealant to connect the unit to the mount base.
- If you have, use the TV’s built-in tuner to scan for channels.
- To get better reception, move the antenna to a quarter turn and scan for channels.
- Use a signal strength meter to help you locate the best direction to point an antenna.
- Do not mount antennas to a pole on a vehicle.
- Park on high ground to get optimum signal strength.
Get Ready for Tons of Free Channels!
Antennas are good investments for RVers who want entertainment while on the road.
However, you must understand what you should look for in a model.
Using the product selection and buying guide I’ve explained, select the antenna that is best suited for your preferences and RV’s needs.
Determine the kind of antenna that is most appropriate for your RVing conditions.
Then, weigh which one has the features you need to get more channels.
All of them have exceptional features that make them a reliable source of signal.
Once you have installed an antenna properly, you can watch your favorite movies or shows without interruption.
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