Let’s face it, when we arrive at an new location we sometime need to setup and use our over the air (OTA) TV antenna. We do this for all kinds of reasons, but mostly to get local news and weather is my guess. (Seeing a lot of us use satellite dishes.)
If you have a crank up antenna that you can rotate, or a motorized antenna that you can turn like the one that comes on mostly all Tiffin products, then you have a much quicker way to be able to find the best pointing position before you tell your TV to scan for channels. Doing so saves a lot of time from having to scan for channels and then maybe have to scan again, or even again and then finely fine tune to get the best lock.
That is where the Winegard SensarPro Signal Strength Meter comes into play as it not only allows you to find the best direction. It also helps you fine tune before you scan with it’s built in meter; which even has a channel selector to help find your most watched network and lock on it. And the best part…it is a direct replacement for the standard plate switch that allows you to switch between the OTA antenna and Cable TV and I am going to show you my quick install.
It is good to note that in a lot of places the HDTV towers are placed somewhat in the same direction, however in other places, they are not as you may be in between two larger areas that each have their own towers. As such, you may need to make the choice on what channel you really want to lock into, and thus the direction. But this device will help you do that. So when you check into a park, they usually give you a sheet that will tell you the local OTA channels, this is DIFFERENT usually than cable channel numbers and will look more like 13.1 ABC. (You can also look it up on line) The first digits is the HDTV channel number and is what will show on the display with the strength of that channel. The number after the dot are the sub-channels. Such as 13.1 (main) 13.2 (sub 1), 13.3 (Sub 2). The broadcasters will carry different programming on these sub-channels. If you have the main channel, the sub-channels will be the same tuning.
Ok, with that said, here is a quick video of how quickly I can find our best direction after we pull into a park. This does not get into the “fine” channel tuning, but shows how you can find the strongest channel on the first scan and then achieve that best signal that channel can receive before scanning on your TV. Again, this is for ONLY antennas that can be turned. It is no good for you unless you can point your antenna.
Here is the upgrade install I did on our Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP Solar Storm and it all starts out by removing the current cable selector that is installed in most RV’s.
It is actually easy to do, however it will require you to do some cutting based on the layout of the board on the SensarPro. The good news here is that the wood I was cutting was just thin cover board that I cut with my utility knife. You WILL NEED TO use the spacer that comes with it. This is due to where they have the screw holes. No way to screw that into wood based on where the screws go after you cut out the hole.
So, we first remove the old selector unit, paying attention to the name of the port each cable came off of. You can read this next to the connector. Then label or mark somehow each of the three coax cables. Antenna, Cable TV, and RV TV. You will also find two power connectors. The great news here is you can just pull them off the spade connector and you will use these as they will go right onto the SensarPro. Just please be sure to not let the ends touch or the power lead to touch a ground of a coax cable. I know the spade connector should be inside the sleeve just saying to be sure as you could blow a fuse and may never know it.
After marking the cables now slide the spacer over the wires so you can mount it to the board. And yes, I said mount it. The reason I did this was that I then used the spacer as the template to cut out the hole that is needed. So, I just used my utility knife and carefully cut out the wood inside the plate.
Now comes the time to connect the cables and wires to the SensarPro. This is very easy as the have nice cable extensions on each tap and are clearly labeled. So seeing you labeled your cables (you did that right?) you just match them up. You will have one left over, TV 2, no worries.
After you have the cables connected, now put on the negative cable and then the positive and the SensarPro will light up and beep once. If not, well, hummm, maybe that fuse I warned you about?
All good? Great! Just now place it all back into the hole and use the screws that came in the kit to secure it to be spacer plate. Step back, and admire your work. ;-)