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How to Fix an RV TV Antenna That’s Not Working

TV comes into your RV in what feels like a mysterious way. You have an antenna that receives an invisible signal that gets a picture to your RV. Sometimes the RV TV antenna does not work as planned and gets either static or nothing.

Since you still want to watch your favorite show, sports event, or just have some background noise on, we can certainly help you figure out what’s wrong with your RV TV antenna. 

There are several potential sources of your RV TV antenna’s issues. We will start with basic thoughts like having the right connections and move to adjusting your antenna to get a better signal.

Where do I start fixing my antenna?

Check your connections

Antennas, whether they are from a satellite TV company or used to get free local and national stations, have connects to get them to the TV. You’ll know when the connections are not working when the TV says no signal, or is full of static.

The first and easiest thing to do to check your connections is to ensure that the coaxial or in some cases HDMI cable are connected tightly.

The coaxial cable should come down from your RV roof (or window in some cases) and plug into the TV, sometimes via  separate box. The coaxial connection used to connect sticks out a bit, while many other connections go into the box. The coaxial cable also has a “nut” about a half inch from the end that should be turned right.

If the coaxial cable is loose or poorly connected, tighten it and in many cases, the problem will be fixed. A loose or poor connection can result in no video signal being sent, which means no TV.

There is another connection behind your TV. Ensure the coaxial cable is tightly connected back here too.

Antenna direction

Your RV TV antenna might not be pointing the best way for the channel you prefer. Broadcast companies send signals all over, but they often come from specific places. Pointing your antenna in the wrong direction will result in no to poor signal.

There are a couple of ways to fix this. First, you can get an app for your smartphone that tells you which way to point your satellite based on your current position to receive the best signal for any channel. 

The next step is to turn the satellite fixture. Many RVs have a knob and crank in the ceiling that can be turned to rotate the sallite located on the roof. Some of these cranks have a compass built in so you can tell exactly which direction it’s pointing in. Turn the antenna until it’s in the right place, according to the app, and you should have a better picture.

TV Setup

While positioning and connections can go bad, sometimes it’s actually your TV. If you recently drove to a new place in your RV, you might need to rescan for channels.

Scanning for channels requires either your TV’s remote or lots of button pushing on the TV’s own button menu. You’ll want to find the settings area on your TV and go to a menu likely called “Cable/Satellite/Antenna” where you can start a channel scan. 

The purpose of the channel scan is to properly assign signals to the channels on your RV. The TV might rotate through every available channel and show you as the new channels come in. 

Rabbit Ears

Most RV antennas today are flat. Some still use “rabbit ear” antennas that have two aluminum prongs that resemble, well, rabbit ears to locate nearby TV signals.

Rabbit ears are relatively easy to adjust, but more difficult to get right. Placing a pair of “rabbit ears” near a window is your best bet to get a good signal. You can also move the rabbit ears back and forth to manually find the best possible signal.

Also, if you have rabbit ears and find them problemlatic, consider buying (or even finding one free) a newer style TV antenna that doesn’t require as much manual adjustment.

Check our wall plate

Many RVs have a “wall plate” that receives the initial coaxial feed. In some cases, this can be tuned incorrectly or be turned off. These are also called “boosters.”

The booster can have a dial or switch with antenna, cable, and satellte. These are distinct switches on the booster, and you should have it turned to the right one. Note that an actual satellite dish will use satellite, cable will use cable and a cable box, and antenna usually refers to an antenna with free over the air service. 

Try switching these to ensure you are locked into the right one. Another potential problem here is that the booster is not “on.” These can have a green light and a power button to indicate operation.

The booster can be accidentally turned off or potentially fail. Turning it back on or replacing it are definite options.

What if these ideas don’t work?

While antennas are fairly simple electronics, they can also fail. The antenna uses aluminum and wires to transmit signals, and any breakage will result in failure.

Consider plugging something else into your TV, including a video game system or a phone that displays on the TV to ensure that the TV itself works. The challenge with an antenna is that the only way to check if it’s working without a connection is with a multimeter. If you have one, great! 

Touch one of the two ends of the multimeter to the antenna tips and touching the other end to the end of the antenna cable. There should be no reading. Any resistance or numbers indicate a broken connection.

Conclusion

There are many, fairly easy to use, find and fix, potential issues for an antenna that’s not working. Check your connections, ensure the antenna is rotated in the right direction, and make sure the TV is working properly.

Once you fix it, enjoy your show!

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