• Click here to view guides for helpful forum features.

Pointing the TV Aerial

Aug 24, 2020
108
52
135
Afternoon all

I'm thinking of getting a TV signal strength meter - I've just augmented the 'van with a directional aerial as well as the omni one (to use one or the other, not both together!)

I've had a look at what's available and whichever one you go for seems to have a wide variety of reviews, so what do folks here use? And is anyone NOT using the meter, but just aiming their aerial using one of the apps that are available?
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,513
489
1,935
We have the directional aerial and for some years now have nearly always had a signal. Perhaps it just luck on my part but I think signal availability is much better than it was.

The apps aren’t bad but could be better. Some don’t even tell you if the transmitter is horizontal or vertical.

Just in case, I now take a hard disk with a couple of hundred hours of TV on it.

I have never understood why, when sites provide a site map, they don’t include a simple directional arrow with an ‘H’ or ‘V’.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hutch
Nov 11, 2009
11,440
1,999
40,935
We have the directional aerial and for some years now have nearly always had a signal. Perhaps it just luck on my part but I think signal availability is much better than it was.

The apps aren’t bad but could be better. Some don’t even tell you if the transmitter is horizontal or vertical.

Just in case, I now take a hard disk with a couple of hundred hours of TV on it.

I have never understood why, when sites provide a site map, they don’t include a simple directional arrow with an ‘H’ or ‘V’.

John
Once analogue was switched off we have never had a problem getting a Freeview terrestrial signal on the directional aerial. Agree that it would be so easy for sites to just show the best direction and orientation on their info leaflet, or anywhere where they show local contact information.
 
Oct 21, 2020
183
86
135
Our van came with a splitter/booster fitted as they all do but I swapped it for the same make (vision plus I think) but with an integrated signal finder.
Works really well.

Kev
 
  • Like
Reactions: Clifford_374377114

Ern

May 23, 2021
94
39
85
We had the standard Vision Plus booster as fitted by Swift, and I was using a SLx meter but, it wasn't that good and needed connecting each time we moved site. I swapped the booster for a Vision Plus booster with integral signal strength light. It's a bit of a waste of money as it is no better than the old one. The signal strength light is supposed to change from Red through Amber to Green in theory, but all I ever see is Amber (it just about works) or Red (it doesn't).
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,139
170
19,235
Afternoon all

I'm thinking of getting a TV signal strength meter - I've just augmented the 'van with a directional aerial as well as the omni one (to use one or the other, not both together!)

I've had a look at what's available and whichever one you go for seems to have a wide variety of reviews, so what do folks here use? And is anyone NOT using the meter, but just aiming their aerial using one of the apps that are available?
Just do a little homework before you go for transmitters and direction, or when you get on site look where the aerials are pointing - specifically the warden's aerial or those on nearby houses, then point your aerial the same way and with the same polarity.* Dig into your TV menu and somewhere you will find some sort of diagnostic which will show you an indicative signal strength and possibly quality too. Remember quality is more important that strength on DTTV - 80% signal and 40% quality will probably give problems, but 40% signal and even 60% quality will usually work quite well. When you have found these indicators just turn the amp gain down until the signal strength starts to drop if it is near peak, then swing the aerial left and right to find the limits of where the signal starts to drop caused by the swing and put it back in the middle - then turn the gain up to full. Job done. [*Note we don't use slant polarisation in the UK, just vertical or horizontal.]
Simples?

If you buy a signal indicator Fringe Electronics at Clipstone near Mansfield do very good units. However you will also need an attenuator as the indication is rather coarse so you may need to reduce the signal to a level that you can work with.
 
Jul 15, 2008
3,313
188
20,735
Just use the phone App .......
UK aerial alignment

Gives name and strength of nearby transmitters, their directional location and whether vertical or horizontal orientation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parksy
Nov 6, 2005
4,716
406
20,935
Signal strength meters are useless in low signal areas - I use the Wolfbane TV reception predictor site and the campsite's OS grid reference to find out the compass bearing and polarization of the strongest (or least weak) signal and then set the aerial to that approximate bearing.
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,139
170
19,235
Signal strength meters are useless in low signal areas - I use the Wolfbane TV reception predictor site and the campsite's OS grid reference to find out the compass bearing and polarization of the strongest (or least weak) signal and then set the aerial to that approximate bearing.
Agreed, but don't necessarily use the strongest signal indicated (Wolfbane is notoriously pessimistic.) If you have two signals of strength about 44 or higher and one has only PSB1-3 but the other has Com4-6 as well then it is better to use the latter as it is a main station whereas the site with only PSB1-3 is a relay. Generally with few exceptions main stations use horizontal polarisation whereas relays tend to use vertical - NONE us slanted polarisation as will often be seen on sites. The narrow end of the aerial case should be closest to the signal source.
 
Jul 18, 2017
3,333
696
6,935
If you buy a signal indicator Fringe Electronics at Clipstone near Mansfield do very good units. However you will also need an attenuator as the indication is rather coarse so you may need to reduce the signal to a level that you can work with.
I have one but have not used it for the past 2-3 years. I would think that the old style flying saucer aerial is now the ideal aerial to use.
 
Nov 11, 2009
11,440
1,999
40,935
Apart from when I had a satellite receiver I’ve never had to use any instrument or app to find a tv signal using terrestrial analogue or digital. There have been some sites especially when there’s no signal ( Kingussie was one) and the site operator had installed bollards for connecting a long aerial lead. If there’s no signal and no bollard we read, watch downloads or dvds, or play cards.
 
May 24, 2014
3,183
467
20,935
You guys dont half make life hard for yourselves. Arrive on site, look where everyone else is pointing, and copy it. Why does it have to be more complicated than that unless you are on a CL and nobody else is there. :LOL:
 
Mar 17, 2020
202
131
635
You guys dont half make life hard for yourselves. Arrive on site, look where everyone else is pointing, and copy it. Why does it have to be more complicated than that unless you are on a CL and nobody else is there. :LOL:
HaHa. Ok. So what about when I arrive at a CL with 4 vans ad every one is pointing a different way!

I jest not! :rolleyes:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jcloughie
Aug 24, 2020
108
52
135
A bit of background to my question - my original "flying saucer" aerial has given poor signal on the last couple of sites where I've tried to use it - I don't know if it's developed a fault or if I've just been on two sites with poor signal. It could even be that the caravan's developed a fault with the internal aerial wiring, and there's no problem with the aerial at all.

So I bought a budget directional aerial to try.

Last weekend (Setthorns in the New Forest) the flying saucer gave a dodgy signal and the directional gave no signal at all. The app reckons I should have been getting a good signal from Rowridge on the Isle of Wight.

The trouble is, from where I have to stand to adjust the direction of the aerial, I can't see the TV inside the van, and if the TV is left without signal for more than about half a minute it just displays a "no signal" message and needs to be retuned.

So now I don't know if the problem with the directional was wrong direction, or a problem with the cable attached to the directional, or a problem with the external aerial socket on the 'van (fitted by me many years ago and has worked OK in the past) - or as said above, the wiring inside the van between the distribution amp and the TV.

I thought with a signal strength meter I could at least check if there was a signal from the new aerial to the plug that I normally plug into the caravan's external socket. Then once I've got signal there, I could check I was still getting one where the cable from the external socket appears inside the van - and so on down the chain until I determined where the signal wasn't getting through so I could rectify it. And I could do all those checks at the storage site where there's no mains to plug the telly in.

I should add that I'm fairly experienced with electronics and antenna theory (although it's not how I've actually earned my living for years) so I don't THINK I'm missing anything obvious, but again, a meter would let me check.
 
Jan 19, 2002
819
120
18,935
Thanks to GafferBill for his App advice, sounds a better bet than my usual (like others commented) copy the crowd! The iPhone includes a compass to make setting easier too! As I am new to the 'breed' I also find a spirit level in utilities although it would be more useful setting up if it made a 'ping' when level is achieved!
Just checked and the App store finds 'Antenna Finder' @ 0.99 and 'Antenna Mate' @ 2.99, (plus 'Antsig' but that seems to apply principally to Oz!) so could be a couple of quid well spent! Anyone using an App that could comment?
 
Last edited:
Oct 8, 2006
1,139
170
19,235
Unusually Rowridge transmits both horizontal and vertical signals in different directions from analogue days to avoid co-channel interference (CCI) from French stations. IIRC only one polarity transmits the full extended station range - now Com7 on transmitter channel 55 - and I think that is vertical to the west.
 
Sep 26, 2018
480
96
1,735
I bought a Labgear meter last year, and wouldn't be without it. Aerial stub is in a locker, and all I have to do is turn it to the best signal, then retune TV... For a less than £20 device, why wouldn't you? On site at Canterbury last week, very few aerials pointing in the same direction...
 
Jan 8, 2006
249
1
18,585
We have the directional aerial and for some years now have nearly always had a signal. Perhaps it just luck on my part but I think signal availability is much better than it was.

The apps aren’t bad but could be better. Some don’t even tell you if the transmitter is horizontal or vertical.

Just in case, I now take a hard disk with a couple of hundred hours of TV on it.

I have never understood why, when sites provide a site map, they don’t include a simple directional arrow with an ‘H’ or ‘V’.

John
In this country since all tv signals went digital there should be no need to put your aerial vertical.
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,513
489
1,935
In this country since all tv signals went digital there should be no need to put your aerial vertical.
I am on a vertical sites right now. There is a strong signal and does work horizontal. But clearly better vertical.

John
 
Jan 3, 2012
5,227
921
25,935
HaHa. Ok. So what about when I arrive at a CL with 4 vans ad every one is pointing a different way!

I jest not! :rolleyes:
Like the last site in wales they had the aerial pointing different ways but i put mine a different way still got a brilliant reception :)
 
Mar 17, 2020
202
131
635
Like the last site in wales they had the aerial pointing different ways but i put mine a different way still got a brilliant reception :)
HaHa You must have a secret compass in your head BB! Or maybe everyone had a good signal?
 
Jan 31, 2018
1,205
452
5,435
I wouldn't bother. Just download the app UK aerial alignment to your phone and pick the closest transmitter. Works a treat for us.
 
Jul 18, 2017
3,333
696
6,935
For digital the old saucer type status aerial is probably better for reception as it is Omnidirectional. TBH an old wire coat hanger will probably work just as well. LOL! :D
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS