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TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting

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Ron Dittmer

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TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« on: September 01, 2020, 07:26:56 am »
Our 2007 2350 has the old style crank-up rotational Winegard antenna with the extra add-on signal enhancer that attaches to it's under-side outside.  Our main TV is an early digital 26" Samsung.

Last week, we went on a weekend getaway to Starved Rock State Park located between small cities Ottawa & Lasalle in Illinois.  That Thursday, we wanted to watch President Trump's final speech at the RNC so I made the attempt to connect to the air waves, the first time in 4 years.

For reference, the camp ground is located on high ground, but our site was forested.  I first pointed the antenna in the direction of Ottawa and scanned to find 5 strong TV stations and nothing else, not even a weak station.  They were all entertainment TV stations.  None were CBS, NBC, ABC, or other news outlet station.  So I rotated the antenna in the opposite direction towards Lasalle but got the same results.  I then rotated the antenna in the other two quadrants but got the exact same 5 entertainment stations, all with a perfect strong signal but no other weak station.  I was surprised that it didn't matter which direction I pointed the antenna, I got the exact same results.  I was also surprised that we could not get any of the main TV stations.

Is this typical throughout the country?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 07:29:11 am by Ron Dittmer »
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JJCruiser

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2020, 08:37:12 am »

Ron,

We know that area well as that is less than an hour north of us.  It is a great place to visit, especially during the week when there are less crowds.  Another park near by is Matthiessen State Park, a neat place for a hike.

We stayed there a few years ago with our 2007 PC2350 at a park just north of I-80.  We had the same antenna you mentioned.  I remember that I was amazed in being able to pull in channels from the quad cities.  Our site was on high ground and few nearby obstacles like trees.

One enhancement we made to our setup was adding the "Winegard RFL-342 SensarPro White TV Signal Strength Meter". 

https://www.amazon.com/Winegard-RFL-342-SensarPro-Signal-Strength/dp/B004NFTOLY/ref=asc_df_B004NFTOLY/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=&hvpos=&hvnetw=o&hvrand=&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583726541209461&psc=1

Not sure that this amplifies the signal much more that the original booster, but it was nice to be able the see the signal strength change as I rotated the Winegard antenna.  I would see a significant change in signal strength as I would rotate the antenna.  I could rotate the antenna and watch the signal strength increase and stop when the number maxed out.  This fit into the same location as the original booster, but i recall it was a tight fit into the box.

My current antenna is a 360 degree antenna, so no rotation and no raising/lowering the antenna.  It works well too.

JJ

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2020, 11:38:41 am »
At the risk of hijacking this post, you mentioned Starved Rock SP. We are planning to stop there on our way home from the UP to St. Louis and have no reservations. Do you have recommendations, observations or concerns about the park? We will arrive with our 2351D on/or about 9/30 for a night over before heading to Bo Woods COE park.
thanks
Jack is what we call our PC 2351D, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it. We're no longer Team Bob. Just Jack the RV!

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2020, 05:20:24 pm »
At the risk of hijacking this post, you mentioned Starved Rock SP. We are planning to stop there on our way home from the UP to St. Louis and have no reservations. Do you have recommendations, observations or concerns about the park? We will arrive with our 2351D on/or about 9/30 for a night over before heading to Bo Woods COE park.
thanks
Camping during the middle of the week will be no problem without reservations, and the end of September also helps as long as the fall colors are not changing then.  Avoid the weekends like the plague.  The camp ground is actually a couple of miles outside the park.  Nice electric sites, roomy, flat, many wooded and some sunny sites.  Nice huge community bathroom with showers at the entrance to the campground, and Porta-Potties throughout.  The dump station is by the exit.

The park itself is actually quite a special place without the crowds.  About 5 years ago, we went there for the day with family during fall color changes.  We were stuck "in-line" like at an amusement park, in the middle of the woods on the trail for hours.  The park was that crowded, absolutely ridiculous.  The park has a huge overflow parking lot with shuttles that is both a good and a bad thing.

The park's many sandstone canyons are very unique and very beautiful.  If going there, plan one full day to hike into a few.  The longest hike to Lasalle canyon is only 2 miles one way.  There are also many beautiful views overlooking the Illinois River though the park really needs to cut down the trees that have been growing in front of it's special viewpoints.

The lodge overlooking the valley has a very nice restaurant to eat at.  I highly recommend eating a good meal there.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 05:28:31 pm by Ron Dittmer »
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2020, 05:33:02 pm »
Another park near by is Matthiessen State Park, a neat place for a hike.
Hi JJ,

Yes, a hike into Matthissen is another great hike.  Unfortunately the severe weather storm a month ago still has the trails there closed.  Starved Rock just opened their trails.  There was so much fresh cut trail clearing effort to be seen throughout our hikes.
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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2020, 07:53:54 pm »
Ron,  when we manage to pick up TV channels, I can't recall ever not getting a  major network station, unless reception was so poor it wasn't worth watching.
Jim

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 06:08:40 pm »
Well, my experience may not be relevant since we rarely boondock, but we always crank up the antenna and can usually get the majors plus METV and a few others.  And it makes a big difference which way you point the antenna.

It helps with aiming if you use an app on your phone to tell you where the stations are. Of course, that only works if you've got service. The one I use is called "DTV Antennas".

If we get really desperate for something to watch, we always take a Firestick.  We're finding more and more parks are providing highspeed internet rather than cable.  But if no WIFI, and we've got 4G service, we can just setup a hotspot on one of the phones and watch a movie or a couple of hours of Fox News before we hit our data limit (2G). 

By the way, while we're traveling, we also use iHeartRadio on my phone for something to listen to while driving.  It uses very little data.  Our favorite talk station is WJBO out of Baton Rouge (for Walton and Johnson).  I bought a $15 gadget that plugs into a cigarette lighter that broadcasts the phone over bluetooth to a blank space on the FM dial.  It's also a handsfree device if somebody calls.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2020, 09:09:47 am »
It helps with aiming if you use an app on your phone to tell you where the stations are. Of course, that only works if you've got service. The one I use is called "DTV Antennas".
I just loaded the "DTV Antennas" app on my phone.  It seems pretty plain and simple.  I will try it next time we are out in our PC.  Thanks BlueBlaze!

Years ago I added the digital signal booster called Winegard Wingman DESCRIBED IN THIS VIDEO FROM WINEGARD.
Here is a Winegard antenna with the Wingman attached.  Is it the additional Wingman the pointer?  Logic says "yes".

I will have to add a marker on the dial inside the motor home to indicate the pointer.




« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 09:18:12 am by Ron Dittmer »
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Joseph

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2020, 10:58:02 am »
Ron our experience is that it varies. On our way home in El Paso I picked up 40 stations without cranking up the antennae. I didn't look through them however as we found the weather station that I wanted to see and then shut it off. WE don't watch much tv on there road.

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2020, 11:24:42 am »
Thanks Ron. We should be hitting Starved Rock on a Wednesday with no reservations. We should be OK.
Thanks again
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2020, 06:57:02 pm »
Thanks Ron. We should be hitting Starved Rock on a Wednesday with no reservations. We should be OK.
Thanks again
You are welcome.  You will do well getting a camp site two days after Labor Day weekend.  I do wonder how trashed the public areas and trails will be.  Some people (especially from the big city) don't respect public places.  It takes only a small percentage to mess up the beauty with empty drink containers and snack wraps.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 07:00:46 pm by Ron Dittmer »
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zolman

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2020, 09:35:35 pm »
I've got another suggestion about TV reception that we use frequently for free.

If you have a Samsung Smart TV 2016 or newer you can stream 120 channels for free. I didn't know it existed until after I installed a new TV in my PC. We now watch the Samsung channels most of the time.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2020, 09:54:33 pm »
I've got another suggestion about TV reception that we use frequently for free.

If you have a Samsung Smart TV 2016 or newer you can stream 120 channels for free. I didn't know it existed until after I installed a new TV in my PC. We now watch the Samsung channels most of the time.
Interesting.  Was the TV it replaced, also a digital TV?  I would have thought any digital TV would receive the same quantity of channels.  I thought it's "reception dependent", not "TV dependent".
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zolman

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2020, 10:26:57 pm »
My RV is a 2005 so the old TV needed to be replaced. I did that with a 27" Samsung smart TV and a new mount. I just lucked out when I selected the Samsung brand. I later found out about free 120 channels, but only with a Samsung TV. I also can stream Direct TV and Amazon Prime, but you have to have a subscription for those. Another advantage of streaming is that the passengers can watch the TV while the vehicle is in motion. We simply use our cell phone as the hot spot.

I also have a Direct TV Dish setup on my roof. But many times its line of sight is blocked. So I actually have 3 options when the vehicle is parked.

PS with a Firestick or Roku you can stream with any TV that has an HDMI port.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: TV Channel Scanning These Days For Free TV Broadcasting
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2020, 08:01:52 am »
Thanks zolman for all the details.

We ordered our PC in 2007 without TVs, but we ordered the surround sound system.  Back then Phoenix wanted way too much for a TV which was a small 20" with a 4:3 ratio screen.  MSRP for that TV alone was $1526.00  I bought our main TV soon after our new PC was home.  It is a 26" 16:9 ratio Samsung that is one of the earliest digital TVs that I recall paying less than $400 at the time.  My oh my, how prices have come down so quickly.

The only issue I have with our TV is it's power consumption.  I can tell by the heat it generates and the drain on our batteries when boon docking which is most often.  So we generally avoid using it unless we will be driving a lot the following day.  It takes too much generator time to recover from an evening of "main screen" entertainment.  We instead watch TV in bed on the small Toshiba with integrated DVD player.  That TV setup is "battery friendly".

Today's edge-lit LED TVs are not power hogs.  They are also very thin and lack a large border frame like ours, so you get a larger screen in the same space.  Those are two monumental advantages.  One nice thing about our old Samsung is that it has all the controls on the TV itself that face me, located on it's thick frame.  So there is no need for a remote control to make things happen.  But that benefit does not outweigh it's disadvantages.

Our 26" Samsung made a lot of noise when driving.  It is filled with metal shielding inside that was the culprit.  After some irritating years, I finally had a Popeye moment (I can't stands no more) and took down the TV, opened it up, and strategically placed many felt pads to prevent the internal sheet metal from making noise.  That effort was a great success.

I recall around 6 years ago, I was "curious" shopping for a replacement TV.  I noticed that up to around the 24" size, some TVs did not have a 110V cord come out directly from the TV, but rather was setup similar to a laptop computer, using a transformer.  I read the voltage output which had me thinking that just maybe those TVs could operate directly off the PC batteries without the need to turn on the inverter.  That would be ideal when boon docking.  If I ever stumble on the perfect candidate, a 27" that can run directly off 12V, I would be very tempted to buy it.

It is hard to replace our perfectly good working 26" TV that fits right, looks nice, and does the job very well with exception to boon docking.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 08:32:32 am by Ron Dittmer »
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