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ARRGGGGH!!!!!! (Finding a digital TV signal)

October 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 


It was around five o’clock before we finally pulled off the highway into a nice, cozy little campground away from the traffic noise of the Interstate.

Once on our site I pushed some buttons to lower the leveling jacks, run out the slides and open the awning.  Both water and power were right at the side of the RV where it was easy to hook-up.  Boy, I love this push-button automatic stuff – it makes setting up so much easier than the old way.

This campground offers no cable hook-up and the canopy of huge trees overhead renders the satellite dish useless.

I want to catch the six o’clock news and then the National News that follows.  I have about 30 minutes to get the TV tuned in.

My only choice is to find the terrestrial stations in the area.  So, I crank up the “Batwing” TV antenna with the Wingman attachment and turn on the TV.

Since all of the TV stations are now digital, as is the TV, before I can even think about positioning the antenna I have to hit menu on the remote, select channel search and then antenna.

The TV in the bedroom (where the antenna crank and knob are also located) is a couple of years old.  The channel search takes a long, long time.  How long, you may ask.  Well, how about 15-20 minutes to check each and every one of the possible digital channels and determine if there is a signal there strong enough to use or not.  Compared to the old analog days, it is a true pain in the boscus.  The newer model TV in the living room is a little faster, but not by much.

OK – the channel search is over and the TV reports that I have six digital channels available.  But, the picture on ALL of them  is  constantly breaking up in a checkerboard pattern, freezing or dropping  out.  Apparently, the antenna is not pointed in the right direction.

So, I begin rotating the antenna in hopes of getting a stronger signal.  The only problem is I may NOT find the local channel that has the strongest and clearest signal unless I run another channel search – which can take another 15-20 minutes.  By this time, the news is over and Wheel of Fortune is on.  I like Pat and Vanna but they won’t give me the news.

ARRGGGGGH!!!!  There has to be a better way!!! Why in the ding-dong did Congress take away my old, simple to find, analog channels and give me this aggravation?  Did they not realize that there are some of us out here that do not point an antenna toward a station and leave it there for eternity?

Wait….WAIT….There IS a BETTER way.  It is a little black box from King Controls called SureLock .

FWIW, I bought this thing by saving my lunch money allowance for almost two weeks.  It is not a promo item given to me to write this review.  So, I can say anything I want to about the product – both good and bad.

First – the good.  This thing runs off of a 9V battery (included) that will last years.  It has an ON-OFF switch.  You install it by putting it into the antenna cable between the antenna and TV.  If you want, you use a piece of Velcro (included) to stick it on the wall.

Then you crank up your TV antenna with the SureLock power switch ON.  As you rotate the antenna a row of little green lights begins to stream across the face of the box as the signal gets stronger.  When you have the highest number of lights glowing, you have your antenna pointed toward the best signal in your area.  You are finished messing with the antenna and can turn the SureLock off. (See their presentation here.)

Now – for the bad.  Actually, I can’t think of anything bad.  It works extremely well and saves me not only time but also a lot of aggravation.  I like that.  The only item not included that you might need is a 75 ohm “patch” cable with standard “F” fittings on the ends to run from the box to the TV.  These are cheap and available most anywhere – even the grocery store and Dollar Tree.  The instructions suggest one method of installing using a 2-way splitter.   This is NOT a good idea as a 2-way splitter will cost you 3.5 dbmv of signal voltage.  You will most likely need all the signal you can get so an “in-line” install is best.



2 Responses to “ARRGGGGH!!!!!! (Finding a digital TV signal)”
  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Randy,

    We don’t get frustrated or upset when we can’t find a station when we camp; #1 THE NEWS SUCKS

    Smooth roads, clear blue skies & balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!

  2. d2reid says:

    Does it only find the strongest single station, or will it optimize the direction for many stations?

    There are web sites that have TV station broadcast locations. It appears that if you find the stations near you that you would like to watch, find the location on the map, then point the antennae in that general direction, then use the surelock to fine tune the signal.

    Or you could just turn the TV off and go for a walk.

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