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How to Use an RV TV Antenna

There are a few ways to get TV channels in your RV or camper. Among them are the antenna, satellite, and cable. In reality, all three connect to your TV in similar ways though they work slightly differently.

Ready to watch your favorite show show? Unsure of how to get all your TV stuff together? We can help you out.

Every RV is a little different regarding how to use the RV antenna. In some cases, you simply need to have a dish installed that connects to your TV. We will talk about some of the steps needed to make your TV work.

How do I setup my RV TV antenna?

We suggest checking your RV manual for a couple things before you start to install anything. We are also assuming you are starting without an antenna pre-installed. Also of note, if you are physically unable to get on to the roof of your RV, we suggest asking for help from someone who can – don’t hurt yourself!

  1. Check in your manual to see if have an antenna mount pre-wired on the roof of your RV or somewhere on the outside
  2. If your RV does have a pre-designed area to install your antenna, great!
  3. If not, find a place on your RV roof that has a good, unobstructed view and is secure. By unobstructed we mean it’s not looking directly at anything else, like pipes or parts of the roof that are raised.
  4. Install the antenna in the secure spot. Refer to the antenna instructions on how to install it.
  5. Many RVs have places in the roof to run cables down through. Your antenna wlll have at least one cable to run to the TV and possible a power cable. Put the cables through these places.
  6. Climb down from your roof and go back inside to complete TV setup.

Do all antennas need to be installed on the roof of my RV?

Nope! It’s entirely possible to find a portable antenna that doesn’t install on a roof. These antennas are normally labeled as portable.

The big difference is that an outdoor antenna tends to get a better view of the sky. An RV antenna can work for the interior of your RV – they are usually more powerful than a home antenna. They are designed to be more powerful and receptive because they are often surrounded by the metal exterior of your RV.

Some of these RV antennas just need to be mounted somewhere inside and connected to the TV.

How do I connect my antenna to the TV?

The good news is that this should be the easy part! This does depend on how your TV is setup, of course. This also assumes your TV has a built in digital converter box for hi definition TV, and most do!

If your TV is on a stand

  1. To make things a bit easier, first turn the TV so you can access the back of it. You should be able to turn it in place.
  2. Your antenna either came with a coaxial cable or an HDMI cable. The port for a coaxial cable is typically a copper color, labeled “Antenna” and is usually the only part sticking out.

HDMI has a unique shape and is usually labeled “HDMI 1”, “HDMI2” etc. 

  1. The antenna cable connects a little differently. Connect the coaxial cable to the port and push it on. Turn the nut on the outside of the coaxial cable to fasten it. 

The HDMI cable end can just be pushed into the HDMI port.

  1. Turn the TV back around

If your TV is on a mount

Some mounts do swing forward a bit to allow access to the backside. Try to first gently swing the TV forward to see if it does move. 

Your next step would be to lift the TV off the wall mount and install the cable. This is likely a two person job unless you have some place to immediately set the TV down. Remove the tv (generally by lifting up) and do the step from 2-4 above that applies to your HDMI or coaxial cable.

I installed the cable. How do I setup the antenna for my RV?

This process also varies from TV to TV. It’s also probably easiest done with the remote.

  1. Touch menu or settings on your remote
  2. The next step is most likely to go to settings or inputs
  3. You should be able to select cable or antenna at this point
  4. The TV will likely ask for a channel scan. Select channel scan
  5. The TV will go through every available channel provided by your satellite. You’ll also learn if your satellite is properly connected
  6. Once this is complete, your setup is done. Check to see if it works

What problems could I have with an interior antenna?

The most common problems with an indoor antenna is a lack of signal. You can adjust the “rabbit ears” of your antenna by moving them around, preferably while the TV is on and functioning. You’ll get a good idea of what the picture will look like.

Otherwise, you might want to move the antenna to a different spot. Moving it further from the TV might be necessary. You can get coaxial extension cables that make the current cable longer, if too short for this.


Well, you’ve reached the end. And hopefully your antenna is setup. The best part about setting an antenna up is that unless you get a different RV or TV, you won’t have to do it again!

Aside from the tips we gave you, your best bet is to read the instruction manual. Your RV manual may show you the best place to put an antenna on the roof or where to place a mobile antenna. 

Your TV instruction manual can walk you through how to scan for channels. Otherwise we hope you enjoy your shows and movies when they are on.

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