It’s harder than you think to watch TV in a caravan! Caravan parks are typically surrounded by forests or located in a valley. This makes receiving a signal more difficult. A few years back, I was in a caravan waiting for Strictly Come Dancing (don’t judge), and The TV kept losing signal, which drove me potty!
It’s easy to take the TV for granted until you’re in a caravan or motorhome! In this article, we’ll discuss how to get the best TV signal possible for your location.
Suppose you’re pitched in a rural place far away from a TV transmitter. In that case, your caravan’s aerial or satellite dish may be unable to find any signal.
Even when they do, the reception is frequently poor, with severely pixelated visuals, which can be very annoying!
Going caravanning is supposed to be enjoyable, and stressing about your TV signal is a sure-fire way to ruin it!
Here are a few simple tips you can try to help you get a decent TV signal and improve your reception in your caravan. So let’s take a look!
Tips To Get A Good TV Signal In Your Caravan Or Motorhome
Whether you’re experiencing trouble getting satellite or digital TV reception in your caravan, the first thing you should do is look around to see if you pitched near any large obstructions such as trees or other metal objects, as any of these can block satellite and digital TV signals.
If you’re nestled in a valley or amongst dense trees, try to move your caravan to a clearing if possible. If you’re you’re pitched too close to anything that could interfere with your caravan TV signal, you’ll need to move your van.
If you’re still experiencing issues with your signal, it’s time to play around with your aerial!
You’ll most likely know to do this but try extending the aerial, then gently rotate it from side to side. If this doesn’t work, move on to the next tip.
Have you tuned in your TV? I often find that a simple re-tune will sort the problem out – The TV won’t work if you’re pitched up in Wales, and it was last working in Loch Lomond!
Upgrade To Better Cables And Aerial
You may not realise it, but just upgrading to better cables and an aerial may be all you need to receive a better TV signal and increase your reception.
The pre-installed aerials by most caravans and motorhome manufacturers aren’t exactly top-of-the-line or high-definition, so frequent bad reception isn’t unusual with these antennas.
Alternatively, the problem could be caused by the connections that link your aerial to your television. If your caravan’s TV reception is frequently poor, investing in a new cable or aerial might be the solution. Consider the following cables and antennae:
Coaxial Cables: These are thickly protected cables that link your caravan TV to your aerial or satellite. Each end of this cable features a hexagon screw-type connection, and it comes in a variety of diameters.
HDMI Cables: These cables are responsible for transmitting HD and 4K signals to your television. Most new flat-screen televisions now use HDMI cables, rather than the older coaxial cables with separate connecting ends.
Before purchasing any cable, be sure that you understand what you’re connecting it to and what sort of cable you’ll need to connect it.
Digital Antenna: Investing in a high-definition (HD) aerial for improved over-the-air TV reception is a great way to improve signal and clarity.
If you prefer travelling long distances in your caravan or motorhome, you’ll want an antenna that can pick up signals from at least 30 to 40 miles away. There are some that can pick up signals from up to 70 miles away!
If you’re still having trouble with your TV reception, here’s what to do next:
Get A Signal Booster / Amplifier
It is possible to enhance the reception of your aerial by using signal boosters and amplifiers. Using one of these gadgets can make it seem as if you’re standing right next to a television transmitter, even though you’re actually miles away.
Signal boosters function by detecting a weak signal and amplifying it so that your TV viewing is crystal clear and free of annoying pixelation.
They can also help your aerial pick up a larger range of signals from TV transmitters; typically, the signal booster is placed in the caravan cupboard near the aerial – or can be attached to your TV and aerial via coaxial wires.
Vision Plus VP4 12v 2 Way Digital TV Amplifier
- 12v 2 Way TV Booster perfect for caravan, motorhome, boat (Power Supply 10.8-28v DC)
- 18dB Gain (15dB Variable Gain)
- Built in signal finder for use with Vision Plus Status (non telescopic) and Image Aerials
- Frequency Range UHF 470-860 MHz. Output impedance – 75 ohms
- Dimensions 115w x 46h x 28d (mm)
An amplifier can either be very powerful or completely useless depending on the model. Buying the most powerful signal booster you can afford as a vanner will be your best bet if you routinely tour throughout the country to more isolated regions.
When camping near major cities, though, a low-cost signal booster should do the trick.
Try Signal Finders And Strength Meters
Your aerial might not be properly aligned with the TV transmitter, which is one reason why you may not receive a decent TV reception in your caravan. A signal strength meter will measure the TV signals in your area.
It will help you to connect to the strongest available signal.
You Might Be Interested In: Thetford Caravan Cookers: Common Problems And Fixes
This nifty device links to your caravan aerial, and you rotate it to look for a signal. While doing so, keep an eye on the signal strength meter to check the meter’s signal level display to see which area has the strongest signal, then lock your antenna to that place.
Labgear 27866R DVB-T Signal Strength Finder
- Lab gear TV Signal Strength Finder Digital and Analogue
- Perfect for finding the best direction to pick up Freeview and Freeview HD signals.
- Plug in lead from aerial into the socket marked Antenna (A Coax to F-connector adaptor is also provided)
- With LED level indicator
- Built in amplifier compensates insertion loss
You’ll need to do this every time you move your caravan.
Still Nothing Working? How About A Satellite Dish?
A great alternative to an aerial is a satellite! There are satellite dishes specifically made for caravans and motorhomes, which come in two types: installable and external satellite dishes.
The external satellite dishes are attached to a tripod stand and made to sit anywhere you see fit. The installable satellite dishes are multi-directional and fixed on the roof of your van.
Satgear Twin Beam60 Portable Travel TV Kit
- Fully Portable Satellite Dish Kit with robust variable height tripod
- Ideal if you want to use your new SKYQ box!
- Designed to work throughout the whole of the UK
- Everything you need to make your break truly memorable (for all the right reasons)
This Website will assist you in determining the directional coordinates so that you can find a better position for your satellite dish. Your satellite dish will work best positioned when the sky is clear for the best TV coverage, and if you’re using a roof-mounted dish, make sure you don’t pitch under a tree!
You will need a subscription to access the Satellite channels as you would at home.
Fire Stick / Roku / Now Stick
We always take our Fire Tv stick with us in case we might struggle with the signal. The stick can run off your personal phone hotspot or a dedicated Mobile WIFI ‘MIFI’ router. It’s a great backup to have – but aerials will only work when the internet signal is good.
Which would you choose between an omnidirectional and a directed aerial?
To be honest, we’d choose the directional aerial. You simply have more control over where it is pointed. It may be more difficult at first, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. There’s a potential you’ll acquire unwanted signals if you use an omnidirectional antenna.
Is a bigger aerial going to result in a better signal?
The larger the aerial, the better the probability of obtaining a better TV image. However, space is limited both inside and outside a caravan. Using a booster on a tiny aerial is unlikely to yield significant results.
Is the picture quality affected by the quality of the coax cable?
Yes. This may have an impact on the quality of the image. The cable’s length can also be a factor. Fortunately, this should not be a major issue because a caravan is small, but please invest in some high-quality coax wire.
A copper type is preferable to an alloy foil type. You could have a strong signal, but if your wires aren’t up to par, you’ll be disappointed.
Do I need a separate television licence for my touring caravan?
No, a television licence for your home covers your trailer or camper as well.
The only time it won’t cover it is if your caravan is permanently parked on a site.
How do I know which way my directional TV aerial should be pointed?
There are two options here.
The first is to look at where other caravan aerials are positioned on the caravan site and copy their placement.
If you are unable to do so, you can download the Freepoint UK phone app, which will locate your location and assist you in setting it appropriately.
We hope this guide will come in useful next time you go off touring – if not, then we recommend learning the long-lost art of conversation…and some good card games to pass the time!!