Andrew Steele

Television & Radio Hardware - Caravans and Boats

Caravans and boats installations are possibly more difficult to plan that those of a permanent building due to the increased number of variables which can affect television and radio reception. Careful choices will need to be made to get the best equipment to do the job, but which isn’t difficult or inconvenient to transport and setup.

Television

Aerials

The only realistic choice of aerial type is a wideband. As it is required to work in potentially any location, a grouped aerial will cause problems when attempting to use it on a transmitter of the wrong grouping. A wideband however is generally a bad choice on locations with poor signal. The physical size of larger aerials which can potentially receive a better signal means they can be cumbersome to travel with. Also of note is the robustness, with it being installed and removed regularly meaning an increased chance of damage. Larger aerials pose a problem in mobile instances as they generally don’t have a solid fixing location as opposed to a building. The largest of aerials could easily damage a caravan or boat if strong winds.

Many caravans (and boats) are seen with omnidirectional aerials. Although they generally look good (comparatively) on the caravan and they theoretically don’t need to be adjusted for direction each time the vehicle is moved, they are a bad choice for any area other than those with strong signals. A directional antenna is a much better choice.

A DM Log aerial will receive the best signal in relation to its relatively compact size. They are around one metre in length however. A shorter DM Log 18 which measures around seventy-five centimetres is available are will have slightly less gain.

Satellite

A satellite dish install is another option which may work better than an aerial in some locations. They do have some issues which make them less desirable for caravan and boat use in that the size makes them cumbersome to transport. There are also issues relating to the size of the dish with the north of Scotland requiring a larger dish to receive the signal – and even more so in bad weather. The other thing to consider is the orientation of the satellite dish to ensure it is always in the correct alignment with the satellite.

Radio

Radio reception should be much easier to pickup on caravan and boating sites, and in most cases an omnidirectional antenna will work. However, DAB in particular, can be tough to receive in remote areas. As described on the radio page, an FM Half Wave Dipole or DAB Dipole will work very well in most locations.

Installing an aerial for radio reception should also be much easier as the wind loading on the equipment is significantly lower than that of a television aerial.

Cable

As the cable runs on boats and caravans are typically much shorted than on a building, the type is less important. However it is still recommended to go for a cable rated as satellite-grade as it will reduce potential interference problems. RG-6 will work well in most cases, and WF65 may be another choice. WF100 or equivalent is still recommended.