winegard rayzar air rv antenna

How to improve your RVs TV signal and get more channels

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How to improve your RV's TV signal and get more channels

If you’ve been on a few trips in your RV I’m sure you found that TV reception can be hit or miss.  One trip you might get 50 channels and the next you are lucky to get 2 or 3.  Some of this is out of your control.  Most TV stations broadcast from large antennas located near the city they are based in.  If you are hundreds of miles from the nearest big city there are some other options we will talk about later, but don’t count on using your TV antenna.

How to get more channels in your RV:

  • Adjust you RV’s Antenna

Advanced Options

  • Upgrade your Antenna
  • Upgrade your Booster

If your RV’s television isn’t working at all Click Here to check out another other article I wrote with step by step troubleshooting tips.

Now, let’s get into the tips and upgrades to improve your RV’s television reception.

Using your RV’s TV antenna correctly

The first thing to do is make sure you are getting the most from the equipment you already have.

3-steps to using your RV’s antenna

  1. Raise your antenna. While some RV antenna are fixed in one spot most raise and lower.  If you are new to RV’ing this is something you won’t be used to.  There will be a crank on the ceiling of your RV that says raise and lower.  Just turn it in the raise direction until it stops.  Don’t crank too hard or you could cause damage to the gears that make it move.
  2. Make sure your signal booster is turned on. This boosts the antenna signal to help you TV detect more channels and get a stronger signal.  Your signal booster should be located behind the main TV in your RV and will look something like the picture below.  You want the green led to be lit up when using your antenna.
  3. Turn the antenna. If you can raise and lower your antenna, you can also rotate it.  RV antenna are directional.  This means if it’s pointed the wrong way you will have a very weak signal.  Your antenna rotates by pulling down on the ring around the crank and spinning it.
rv tv antenna crank

TV antenna warnings

  1. Always lower your antenna before traveling
  2. Always turn the antenna back to the “Home” position before lowering. To do this match up the arrow on the ring that spins to the arrow on the stationary plate.
  3. Never rotate your antenna more than 180 degrees. If you need to turn more than 180 degrees go back to where you started and turn it the other direction, otherwise you could damage the antenna wiring.

Upgrades to improve your RV’s television reception

If you already tried the steps above, or if you just want the best possible TV reception in your camper here are a few upgrades you can do.

Replace your RV’s antenna

Next time you are camping look at the antenna on the campers around you.  You will notice that almost all of them have the same one.  That isn’t because it’s the best.  You will find the Winegard Sensar on almost every RV that leaves the factory.  That make it a great place to start.  Replacing your factory antenna is an easy upgrade.  You should be able to disconnect antenna wire and swap out the antenna in under an hour.

Economy RV Antenna Upgrade Option

I have the Rayzar Air on my 5th wheel.  Since installing mine it has been replaced by the Rayzar Z1.  This model is available in white or black and installs with its own base, or you can get the head only option and mount it right to your existing antenna mount (the same way my Rayzar Air is attached).

Here is a Link to check out the Rayzar Z1 on Amazon.  I am very happy with the performance of my antenna so I’m sure the updated Z1 model would be a great improvement.

Here is how the Rayzar Air looks on my 5th wheel.

winegard rayzar air rv antenna

Premium RV Antenna Upgrade Option

I think the manual crank up directional antenna have the best range, but if you are interested a set it and forget it antenna for your RV, you should look at the Rayzar Automatic.  This antenna automatically rotates and scans the channels for the optimum position. Then it locks in place get you the most channels with the highest signal strength.  It requires a little more work to install because it requires your existing antenna bracket to be completely removed.

The Rayzar Automatic comes with a new booster that works together with the antenna for the automation functions.  Using buttons on the booster you can manually rotate the antenna to a different position if you need to.

The Rayzar Automatic has some mixed reviews on its range, use the link below to read what others have to say about it.

Click here to read reviews of the Rayzar Automatic on Amazon.

Replace your RV’s signal booster

Like your antenna the signal booster can be upgraded to a better option.  Again, the factory option and the upgraded model are both mode by Winegard.

The process of upgrading your booster is easy

  1. Remove the cable on the face of the booster
  2. Remove the 2 screws holding the booster in place
  3. Mark the cables on the back of the booster so you know where they go
  4. Remove the cables
  5. Attach the cables to the new booster and secure it in place

So what does the SensarPro booster do?

The SensarPro is more than just a signal booster.  It has a signal strength meter that you use to set the position of you antenna.  You pick a channel and then the booster will show the signal strength of that channel as you rotate the antenna.  This allows you to dial in the perfect antenna position for the channels you want to watch.

The SensarPro also allows you to adjust the amount of gain the booster is adding.  This lets you boost weak channels a little more, or lower the gain if you are close to the tower.

Check out the SensarPro TV Booster on Amazon

My Recommended TV Upgrade

I recommend upgrading your antenna to the Rayzar Z1 and adding the SensarPro booster.  I think this combination is the best because you get the benefit of a raised directional antenna as well as the ability to dial in the position and strength with the upgraded booster.  Using this combination is less than ½ the cost of the Rayzar Automatic antenna and in my opinion will perform better.

Ditch the antenna completely

Another option is stop using your RV’s antenna and switch to satellite or a streaming TV Service.  Depending on where you camp and what TV service you already have at home these could be great options.

Mobile hotspots and streaming services

I cut the cord at home about a year ago and now watch TV using DirecTV Now.  With DirecTV Now I can stream live TV from just about any device with an internet connection.  If your RV has a smart TV you can stream using your phone and watch it on the smart TV.

My setup isn’t the only option for streaming.  There are plenty of services like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Netflix or Hulu.  Another option is to use a mobile hotspot in your trailer and then stream from a smart TV, Roku or Apple TV.

Satellite Services

Satellite TV has the advantage of working even where you can’t get phone service.  Packages are available from both DirecTV and Dish Network for your RV.  You can choose how much money to spend on your dish.  There are simple models that you set on the ground and aim manually, or you can get fully automatic models that allow you to watch TV while you are driving down the road.

I want to warn you that satellite isn’t the perfect solution though.  I have been camping several times with other who have satellite and the trees in the campground blocked their dish from getting a signal.

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By now I’m sure you figured out there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to improving your RV’s television reception.  If you already did the easy checks to make sure you are using your antenna and booster correctly, I would consider an antenna upgrade.  With broadcast TV being 100% digital you get HD TV for free.  Almost all the places I have camped had at least 2 of the major television networks and most of them I could get many more channels.

Just remember that watching TV shouldn’t be your top priority.  The shows will always be there on demand when you get home.  When I’m camping the TV only come on at night when we are laying in bed trying to fall asleep, or if it’s raining and were trying to stay dry.

If you are looking for more camping tips, here's a link to an great article  I put together with over 100 tips for new RV'ers.

Thanks for reading and Happy Camping,


4 thoughts on “How to improve your RVs TV signal and get more channels”

  1. Great article, exactly the information I was looking for and because you aren’t a rep for a company I find the information and recommendations more reliable. Thank you.

  2. I want to check tv hookup in the Rv. Previous owners had cable. I do not have cable and can’t get tv to work. When powered on it says no signal. I think it may not be hooked up properly.

    1. You might want to check and make sure the booster is turned on that that the output of the antenna booster is connected to the TV

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