TV Aerial/ Antenna Installations on Static Homes/ Caravan - Tips/ Advice
If you’re interested in having a TV/ Radio aerial installed on a static home or caravan. Read this article for tips and advice on how to do this properly, where to point the antenna, fixings that can be used and much more. This article has been written with caravans and static homes in mind, but the concepts can also be applied to summerhouses, out buildings, garaged, sheds and so on. Let’s begin.
Best TV Aerial For Caravans
I recommend reading my previous articles on how to choose the best TV aerial for your installation, but to surmise here. With TV aerial installations it’s not always a case of picking your aerial and then installing it, installers would generally speaking pick the aerial as per the installation requirements. There are many factors that at work here, but they include what sort of signal area are you in, how high does the aerial mast need to be installed? What will you be fixing into? etc.
Lighter Weight Antennas More Suitable
For static homes I would suggest trying to opt for a smaller design aerial rather than a large high gain version as you’re most likely not going to be able to install large brackets and mast to support the weight/ wind-loading on the antenna. What I mean is that you’re not going to have a brickwall that you can install T and K wall brackets on.
Specific Aerial Types/ Manufacturers
Regarding specific makes and models for the installation. Manufacturers such as Vision, Wolsey, Antiference, Triax, Fraccaro, and Televes all make and manufacture high quality TV antennas. I personally would recommend something like a log periodic which numerous companies manufacture. make for the installation or a compact design aerial like a Vision 32 or a Wolsey HG5.
Omni-directional vs Directional Aerials
If you do some searches for aerials for caravans and motorhomes, you will see lots of omni-directional aerials being advertised. An omni-directional aerial is one that collects signals in all directions, it doesn’t need any specific alignment. The advantage for these on caravans is that if the caravan is moved frequently, you won’t need to keep adjusting your antenna, but just retune the TV. The downside of an omni-directional antenna is that as it doesn’t focus in any particular direction, it doesn’t pick up as much signal as a directional aerial would where you would align the antenna for maximum signal strength. The correct terms to describe this would be forward gain and acceptance angle. Also as omni aerials. To try and overcome this many types of omni antennas will have built in amplification to try and compensate for the reduced signal level.
Where Do I Fix Aerial on Caravan/ Static Home?
Obviously, you going to need to find a place to mount the aerial and this will be different with each installation. If you have a wooden or plastic fascia board, these can be ideally place to fix a mounting bracket. With wooden fascia’s you can nearly always get a good strong fixing but with plastic ones you should spend some time finding the strongest parts. This can be done by knocking on it to see where feels strong and where doesn’t. This should help you find where the fascia board itself has been secured to, or you could look for fixing screws in fascia board. There will usually be a wooden beam behind.
If there is not fascia board, right at the edges of the caravan a strong fixing can usually be found. There is usually a wooden frame around the edges of the caravan and which can be found with a drill and small drill bit. There will be other places where there are wooden beams to fix into but these may be difficult to find, and you could end up putting loads of unnecessary holes in your caravan.
Install Transmitter Side
If you have an option of potential sites on your caravan for your TV aerial, it’s usually a good idea to site this the same side to the direction where you antenna will point to the transmitter. This means that the caravan itself will not block the signal.
Suitable Brackets and Mounts
If you’re mounting onto a fascia, if there is room I would recommend something like a galvanised 6” wall bracket (don’t get the painted ones, they rust in no time), or if there isn’t room a Heavy Duty Fascia Bracket(HDFB) with a J mast. You will want to keep mast height as low as possible if you can, so a 3’ mast would be ideal.
If you’re mounting onto the edge of the caravan into one of the wooden beams, again a 6” wall bracket would be ideal. If you need additional height a couple of these could be installed with a spacing in between to allow it to support a larger mast/ pole. This could be helpful to get enough height to clear the roof of the caravan/ static home itself. If you need to clear rainwater guttering, a 6” bracket with a 9” standoff is usually fine, or you could install some form of crank mast.
Types of masts (blog) - Masts/ Poles For Aerials, Length, Diameter, Gauge & Metal
Types of brackets (blog) - Brackets For TV Aerials & Satellite Dishes
A few different types of fixings could be used, but it depends on what you’re fixing into. I personally would drill a small 4mm pilot hole and use coach bolts, 40mm/ 1.5” would be fine. Alternatively, you could use wood screws. If doing this get some with a decent diameter and try to find stainless steel ones, chances are you will need washers to as the heads of the screws may be too small for the fixing holes on the wall mount.
If by chance you have to fix in a hollow part of the caravan/ static home, wall anchors like those used for plaster board fixings could be used. Just bare in mind that these may not be intended for exterior use so they may rust fairly quick.
The cables required for TV/ Sat installations are coaxial cables. With static homes that have already been pre-wired with TV cabling/ wall-plates, these can usually be found underneath the static home/caravan. If they are not, they may be inside a cupboard or something similar. When installing your TV aerial the cable will need to be brought underneath the home to join onto the cable(s). If you have multiple cables feeding several TV positions, a splitter or multi-output amplifier will need to be installed to connect them all. As there is unlikely to be an electrical socket to plug into an amplifier, a masthead amplifier with separate power supply unit that powers the amp over the coax cable will need to be installed instead.
If you need to install additional cables for extra TV points, this can be done by drilling down through the floor and routing them underneath the static home. This of course may require some awkward clambering underneath the caravan and you may encounter the odd spider and get a bit dirty, so a change of clothes may be required first!
Can’t Get TV Aerial To Work On Caravan
There are multiple reasons why you might not get a TV signal signal on your caravan. I recommend reading this article ‘Why is my TV aerial not working’ for more information which should help you find the problem. There is a possibility however that where you caravan/ static home has been sited that it is just a poor signal area. A lot of sites where caravans are sited are often surrounded by trees which can cause havoc with TV aerial signals. Worse case scenario, if you can’t get a reliable signal, you may want to consider a satellite dish which itself has better coverage due to the fact that it receives it’s signal from satellites orbiting in space, not land based TV transmitters.
Moving Caravan/ Home To New Site
If you’re caravan is going to be moved to a new site, chances are if you are moving more than a few miles away that an aerial alignment/ adjustment will likely be required at the new site and possibly the mounting polarisation may need to be changed together with retuning the TV.
Questions About Fixing TV Antennas on Caravan
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Until next time,
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