So you’re travelling around Australia with a caravan or motorhome and you want to be able to watch TV. There are a couple of main options that will allow you to receive free to air Digital TV while moving around the country.
Caravan TV antennas are usually omni-directional multi-band antennas. This means they are able to receive signals from any direction and on any of the bands used for TV. Caravan and motorhome TV antennas are often round and quite compact and use an internal TV amplifier to boost the received signal. Therefore they will usually have some sort of power connector that must be plugged into a 12V Cigarette Lighter socket or Mains power for the antenna to be useable.
- Compact size
- No aiming needed
- Designed to be resilient against damage from travel
- Handles any type of TV transmission in the area
- Low gain
- Poor performance in moderate to low signal areas
Things to look for:
- Look for VHF and UHF. May be listed as TV bands 3 to 5 or channels 6 to 69.
- Look for handling of Horizontal and Vertical polarisation. Some models may be adjustable.
- The higher the gain the better.
Compact Directional TV Antennas
Another option for TV reception while on the road is to fit an ordinary TV Antenna to your caravan or motorhome. There are a number of models on the market now that are quite compact and therefore suitable for use while on the road. There are however a number of considerations to take into account if you want to be able receive TV anywhere in Australia.
An antenna with coverage of VHF and UHF, covering bands 3-5 will be required. This should cover channels 6 through to 69.
The mounting bracket for your antenna should be able to rotate the antenna so that it sits either flat horizontal or vertical. This allows use with either horizontal or vertical polarisation transmitter sites. Vertical polarisation is common in many regional areas.
- Better gain means higher signal levels and better quality reception
- Reception at greater distances from transmitters
- More likely to get damaged while travelling
- Requires aiming to receive a good signal
What to look for:
- A compact antenna with robust components
- Low to moderate gain antennas will be more compact, but will be less sensitive
- High gain antennas will be larger but more sensitive
A third option for receiving Free to Air Digital TV is the VAST Digital TV Satellite system. This is intended for use by people who are outside coverage areas of terrestrial free to air Digital TV stations. It provides the ABC and SBS to anyone who want them and commercial TV stations to those who meet eligibility requirements. These eligibility requirements do cover people who are travelling around Australia.
VAST requires a special Satellite Decoder set top box. There are several different brands available including some that have built in Personal Video Recorders.